LETTER: Project Watershed opposes any river crossing south of the 17 Street bridge

Dear editor,

LETTER: Project Watershed opposes any river crossing south of the 17 Street bridge

Dear editor,

Re: Courtenay Transportation Master Plan update

The Comox Valley Project Watershed Society wishes to go on record as being opposed to any third crossing of the Courtenay River south of the 17th Street Bridge. The updated Transportation Master Plan includes an option “B” Courtenay River crossing whereby 21st Street would continue across the Courtenay River via a bridge. This route, which would go through wetlands, across agricultural lands and creeks in order to hook up with Comox Road and then eventually Macdonald Road, is ill-advised in the extreme. The permanent damage that would be done to sensitive ecological areas, including Hollyhock Marsh, Glen Urquhart and Mallard Creeks, as well as Dike Slough by such a project, is unacceptable. This additional crossing would also affect those that enjoy the recreational opportunities afforded by the Courtenay Airpark Lagoon trails.

The City, being our full partner together with the K’ómoks First Nation in the restoration of the old Field sawmill site (Kus Kus Sum), should appreciate the sensitive habitat values of the area and the importance of conserving key eco-assets. In this era of climate change and greater flood risks it also seems short-sighted to build a road in a floodplain. The City needs to ask what a third crossing south of the 17 Street bridge would accomplish. If the purpose is to help reduce the bottleneck at the 17th Street bridge then perhaps the City needs to explore the lights at either end of the bridge which cause this congestion and whether the adjustment of operational timing or perhaps the elimination of these lights could help move traffic. As well a new bridge over the Tsolum River (North Connector) was just completed, yet we are not directing traffic coming from the south on Highway 19 and coming from Cumberland to the north exit if they want to access the ferry, hospital, airport, Costco or other amenities at the east end of Courtenay.

We would respectfully ask you to please consider all possible alternatives to single-occupant, motor vehicle transport in the Comox Valley, including improved public transit, safe cycling and pedestrian routes, and alternate route signage directing traffic around perceived bottlenecks, before making large investments in unsustainable infrastructure.

Future generations will think very poorly of us if we continue to degrade their environment to accommodate convenient motor vehicle travel.

Paul Horgen

chair, Comox Valley Project Watershed Society

Comox Valley Record

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