People swim at the Stotan Falls area on June 23rd, 2018. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio
COURTENAY, B.C- The path for a possible change to the Comox Valley’s growth plans will be decided on Tuesday.
Earlier this week, the Comox Valley Regional District announced a change to a vote that had previously chosen a “standard” amendment process to the areas growth plans, which could allow for a development near the Stotan Falls.
3L Developments Inc has been trying to build the development, which in it’s current plan would cover 550 acres in the area, close to the fork of the Browns and Puntledge rivers.
The site would have 740 homes, a commercial centre, and a self-contained water and sewage system.
The CVRD has consistently disagreed with the company’s plans, which led to a court battle. 3L won, with the B.C Supreme Court ordering the district to consider the company’s plan as a growth amendment.
Two votes have been held at a committee level on the matter. The latest was first said to have resulted in a “standard” amendment process, which would take longer and involve more consultation then a “minor” process.
On Wednesday, the CVRD administration announced that the amendment process will be minor, due to the vote conducted on Tuesday being carried by majority.
However, the full board of directors for the district will still need to vote on the final process chosen.
“Because it’s the board and the board only that both initiates an amendment and decides whether or not a proposed amendment can be reviewed as a minor, we’re going back to the board on July 24 where the board will consider those two questions,” said Alana Mullaly, the Manager of Planning Services for the district.
“In preparing the minutes after the July 17 committee of the whole meeting, staff reviewed both the procedure bylaw and the voting structures and determined that a simple majority rather than a two-thirds majority vote would be necessary at the committee of the whole level, to recommend a minor amendment and based on that information the motion was approved by the committee.”
According to Mullaly, the 3L application to change growth plans in the district is the first one the district has received.
“Moving forward, we’re looking at making improvements to our processes to ensure that they are as clear and as straightforward as possible for everyone,” said Mullaly.
“In this instance it was a discussion about whether the committee structure needed to be the same as the board structure and in an abundance of caution decided that it was best to just apply the two-thirds as the act tells us at the board level, because the board is the decision maker, not the committee.”
She didn’t believe anything had been “done improperly” with the vote on Tuesday, and indicated that the final decision on 3L’s amendment application would be made on the 24th. She also indicated that the board could decide to deny the proposal.
“I think it’s really important to note that the regional growth strategy is the overall vision, growth management plan for our regional district, and so I don’t think anybody wants to see anybody rushing anything,” said Mullaly.
“As the arbiter of every decision point, the board can resolve to deny a proposal at any point.”
As for whether or not the CVRD would be up for purchasing the 3L land and preserving the Stotan Falls area as a park, which the company has repeatedly raised as a part of their development plans, Mullaly stated that the board would “have a conversation” if they were keen to do it.
“3L has made it clear that they see approval and dedication of the park as hand in hand, so that would come much later, if they are successful in firstly getting the board to initiate an amendment,” said Mullaly.
The board meeting will start at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday at the CVRD board office.