COURTENAY, B.C- Residents of the Valley won’t be paying to visit Stotan Falls anymore.

Last week, an announcement went out from 3L Developments Inc. stating that the toll road in the area and fees to access the falls will no longer be in effect this summer. The toll booth along the road has since been removed, and new signage has gone up in the area.

The tolls were first put in place last summer, with cars passing through the area being charged $2 and trucks $5. 3L is hoping to build a subdivision near the falls, but progress on the proposal has not been announced in 2018 since the company put the process on hold earlier in the year.

Disagreement between the company and the Comox Valley Regional District on the project has been a factor in it’s development.

According to 3L’s owner, David Dutcyvich, the relationship between his company and the CVRD has been improving. While he didn’t comment on the status of his development proposal, he mentioned that the company had “proven our point” with the tolls.

“It’s (the falls) just a gem of the valley, and it would be such a shame to see it not be a park,” said Dutcyvich.

“I’ve watched the kids over the years go there, and they’ve had a great time, and it’s getting to the hot season again, and I said, “we’ve proven our point” as you know we’ve had our dispute with the regional district and we’re starting to get along.”

Dutcyvich said that people could not afford to visit the falls if a toll was charged for access, which was a factor in why he dropped them. He also indicated he had been trying to make a point to people in the Valley with the tolls.

“It’s all my land, and the river bottom, everything is mine,” said Dutcyvich.

“I know that, right, but the point is that it shouldn’t be. It should belong to the people. I feel that it’s a natural Stanley Park. In fact, it’s nicer than Stanley Park.”

He has no plans to bring it back in the future, and wants to leave it open for the public.

“We’ll work a deal,” said Dutcyvich.

“If I get some houses down there, and some development. I did my own little survey, and 99.8 per cent of the people in the Valley that we’ve interviewed were all in favour of having a park there, and my subdivision, so I would like to see it happen. I’d like to get my money. I’ve got a lot of money tied up there for a long time.”

As for whether or not there was insurance in case of injuries at the falls, Dutcyvich stated that he had a liability policy, though he hoped no one would be injured.

He asked for anyone visiting the area to take out any garbage from items they bring in.