Who needs a Mexican beach in January, it’s almost as warm here (not) | George Le Masurier photo
The Week: buzzing about city annexation (don’t bet on it) and 3L logging (yeah, probably)
There was a lot of buzz last week about 3L Developments on-going attempt to subvert the Regional Growth Strategy in order to build 780 new houses in the Puntledge Triangle. But 3L itself generated only some of that buzz.
A group of 12 people called the Save Stotan Falls Committee triggered most of the chatter. It sprung from a full-page “advertorial” they placed in the Comox Valley Record that suggested a forward-thinking Courtenay Council would annex 3L’s property into the city. This would save millions of dollars. Increased tax revenue for Courtenay. Free land for K’omoks First Nation. Save Stotan Falls. Preserve forests.
They stopped only slightly short of guaranteeing world peace.
But the group did not mention that 3L has recently hinted at dedicating a large chunk of their land to a future convention centre — disguised as an agriplex, whatever that really means. Or that certain members of the anonymous group have promoted the centre as their personal legacy to the Comox Valley.
It’s possible that two separate purposes have aligned: If 3L gets annexed, then the good old boys get some land for their convention centre. And both are using the preservation of easy access to Stotan Falls as cover for their true intentions.
To make the scheme work, they have practically exalted the swimming hole to sacred status. It’s become a shine that commands reverence to which all else should be sacrificed. No matter that maybe five percent of the local population goes there in any given year.
So the ad created some buzz. There were rumours of a counter-petition and possibly another ad refuting the Save Stotan Falls Committee ad.
But this is all wild-eyed speculation because annexation is off the table for now.
3L Developments has not applied to the city for annexation. It would have been rejected if they had. City planners are not accepting applications for annexation at least until the current Official Community Plan review winds up.
And when the city finally formalizes a new OCP sometime next year, the smart money will bet against annexation under its new terms.
Now, the other buzz last week was about 3L sending a letter to property owners adjacent to their land. The letters said that unless the regional district reached a deal with the company to purchase the land by Jan. 21, 3L would start cutting down trees.
Reaching a multi-million dollar purchase agreement takes time. And when you’re dealing with a government that is slow-moving by nature, the two- or three-week deadline was a fantasy. More likely a PR tactic.
The company may well follow through and do some perimeter logging in a week or so, but that doesn’t preclude any eventual purchase agreement.
The letters, the full-page ad and the petition flashed brightly for a few days. But we’re back to reality now.
— Sometime next week, the Comox Valley Regional District board will gather with a special mediator and listen to Comox directors complain about how they don’t like what’s happening to the Economic Development Society (EDS).
After a similar session last fall failed to pull directors into a common vision for the society’s future role, the Town of Comox asked for a formal service review. This is a legislated process to air grievances and seek resolutions. It’s also a required step before a participant such as the town can pull out of the service.
There’s no telling how long the service review might take. During the October session, it became clear that the Comox and Area C directors had one view and the rest of the board had another. There appeared to be little common ground.
Courtenay and Area A and B directors take a broader view of what constitutes economic development. For example, they see that providing affordable housing and accessible child care helps businesses attract and retain employees.
They realize that helping small local businesses create effective and competitive online sales platforms will sustain them beyond the pandemic. They believe that maintaining and expanding mountain bike infrastructure benefits businesses across the whole community.
Comox resists these new efforts. They want the EDS to help them fund a marina expansion and keep throwing the Seafood Festival party.
It may even be more personal than that. Everyone but the Comox directors think the town has benefited from EDS activities more than everyone else and to an extent that is out of proportion to their financial investment. If the EDS moves in the direction preferred by the board majority, Comox will no longer be the centre of attention.
So, it’s possible that at the end of the service review Comox will pick up its marbles and go home. Comox might choose to follow Cumberland’s lead and set up its own Economic Development office.
In our opinion, that wouldn’t be a bad thing. If each municipality had its own economic development officer and the electoral areas had their own at the regional district, they could all focus precisely on what each area needs and wants. Once a month, the four ED officers could all get together to explore ways of working together.
Or, maybe the directors will find common ground during next week’s service review. But don’t bet on it.
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The Week: Give us full transparency when paid ‘volunteers’ work with CV students
Faith-based volunteers can contribute positively to the educational experience in our public schools but everyone must be perfectly clear about who they are, what they can and cannot do and school administrators must monitor their activity closely and consistently
What’s dire: the lack of Comox subdivisions or climate change and gradual deforestation?
A Comox Valley developer is suing the Town of Comox because his permits to cut down trees and build more single-family homes haven’t been issued as fast as he’s wanted and because the town wants a wider walking trail through the property
The Week: Ken Grant fined by Elections BC and Parksville confronted by development, water issues
Another Comox Councillor was fined by Elections BC for violating BC elections laws, plus Parksville’s water supply is unable to meet provincial requirements for summer water flow in the Englishman River let alone provide water for a proposed 800-unit development
THE WEEK: As Puntledge River goes lower, Colorado drinking recycled wastewater
A serious fall drought has reduced flows in the Puntledge River, shutting down hydroelectric power generation for the first time in 55 years. Meanwhile, many states eye sending treated wastewater to kitchen taps
THE WEEK: Let the people have a larger voice at Comox Valley council meetings
Making it easier for citizens to speak directly to municipal councils might increase public interest in local government, which in turn might encourage more registered voters to actually cast a ballot
The Week: Comox, Cumberland appointments pass, but no word on Courtenay … yet
Cumberland and Comox municipal councils approve their mayor’s annual appointments, but Courtenay was a no show at its inaugural meeting. Is there conflict behind the scenes?
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THE WEEK: Water supplies are good, fireworks are bad and where Daniel Arbour lives
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Let’s put one of the craziest Comox Valley elections into the history book, and then close it
It was weird. But when the sun rose on Oct. 16, Comox Valley voters had made it clear they liked the direction charted by our local governments. In the municipalities, they elected all but two incumbents. In most races, the vote was a definite pat on the back for a job well done.
A few random items as the 2022 election comes to a close
Long-time public official Bronco Moncrief dies, Manno Theos hangs out in Greece, and Daniel Arbour reacts to lies about his campaign finances
You are right on! Partnerships are the only way to go.The CVRD has done a Great job on parks and rural fire halls. They have an exceptional financial position, with revenues from water and waste. The CVRD is One of the wealthiest local governments in the Province with 55 million dollars in cash at the end of 2018 from less than 80,000 constituents, in Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland and rural areas. They are very effective at raising revenues
Courtenay councils have struggled for decades about painting the fifth street bridge, used by all here , but they have responsibility for that infrastructure. The CVRD have no responsibility for major infrastructure other than water and waste, which is very well funded and makes a profit.
Don’t call the CVRD about potholes, bridges,flooding or snow removal, bike lanes or most things.
However, they are exceptional at funding Parks and trails, as you rightfully point out.
I was one of many valley residents, I suspect, who clipped the Jan. 6, 2021 paid advertorial about Stotan Falls and Courtenay Council in the Comox Valley Record. Why clip it? Because I wasn’t sure it registered with me the first time I read it and thought I’d read it again later in the day. When I did, it definitely registered and my reaction to it was even more negative. In my opinion, the advertorial was bold – in a negative way – crass, manipulative and unethical. What on earth were you folks thinking when you crafted this misguided bit of fake news in an era when we’re all up to our media eyeballs in “Trumpian” lies and manipulation? I want to assume that your intentions are good – but this approach does nothing but stir more anger and criticism. Some people don’t read articles or ads stem to stern, so with the feeble disclaimer in the final tiny paragraph of this bloated advertorial, I’m sure a few innocent readers missed the real point and issue, and I’m sure you’ve wasted a lot of our Councillors valuable time. All things considered, I would hope this group would re-group and find a way to direct their energies and resources into more honest, ethical, and collaborative modes of communication.
Good old boys or not, still have t9 deal with 3L and that’s a non starter for me! Then there is the other agenda…..forget about 3L lands…..
I looked up the definition of “Good old Boys”. Merriam Websters definition: ” usually white Southerner who conform to values, cultures or behaviour of his peers”
Given the mess that our Southern neighbours have created for themselves, I suggest that it is somewhat demeaning to use this label on well intentioned citizens of the ComoX Valley.
Phil, considering you are a member of the group calling yourselves the Save Stotan Falls Committee, you know the phrase was meant in this context, from the Urban Dictionary: “Good old boys” is a term for a tight clique of male friends. They are usually friendly to others but at the same time the “good old boys” will often **** others over if they think one of their own is in trouble or is in need of help.”
Obviously a hot issue for many.I have worked with Dave on A few neighbourhood projects and know he has only good intentions . As far as decisions by the “silo wed “local goverments, they are in self interests in protecting their expensive ,unique policies and jobs. I understand this , but in some cases, they need to work together.
I,m Thankfull that previous local councillors and CVRD directors worked to create Seal Bay Park, Nymph falls and many minicipal parks and trails,
By the way, Dave’s group of advocates are not all “boys”.
The only world leader that has beat COVID is the fine lady who is the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Shame on the “Good Old Boys ” in other democracies who have failed to meet the COVID challenge. Now we are talking “Good old boys.”
For example of collaborative successes, one can look at much more recent acquisitions. Just last year the CVRD partnered with the Cumberland Community Forest and Village of Cumberland on the 225 acres Perseverance Creek purchase. We love partnerships 🙂
Linda and Phil — The current regional directors and municipal councillors have also worked together to create new parks. And right now they are forming a regional parks service to create funding for more, something previous directors and councillors failed to do. All the parks and trails you mention were not attached to or a condition of a 780-house development. That’s a big difference you fail to recognize.