COURTENAY, B.C- Mayor Larry Jangula wants to see a new apartment building in Courtenay, quickly.

A proposal is currently in front of the city administration from Veyron Properties to build a 79-unit, five story apartment building at 911 Braidwood Road, a site currently vacant.

The location is close to the shopping centres at the bottom of Ryan Road, and the proposal included an emergency access route to the building’s proposed parking lot via Sandwick Road.

The units would be meant for the rental market, with the developer intending to keep them as dedicated rentals for the first 10 years of the building’s use.

During their first discussion of the proposal, council debated the possibility of an agreement with the developer to ensure a number of units would be dedicated to low-income tenants. However, after a speaker for the developer informed them this would delay the building coming on the market, they decided against making it a requirement.

On August 7, a short public hearing was held on the project, which drew Courtenay resident Fred Muzin to address council. During his presentation, Muzin expressed a desire for the current council to leave the decision of approving the development up to the next council, while stating his own concerns with how the city was planned.

However, a delay on a decision until after the upcoming municipal election appears unlikely at this time.

“I think this council has to approve it,” said Jangula, after the meeting.

“It’s very apparent that this person has laid out a lot of money, that there is a huge rental shortage, and this 79 units is very desirable. We can’t put it off, because it likely would put construction off until the winter or spring, and I don’t think it’s fair to the proponent, to say that.”

As for the possibility of rent being controlled or set to an affordable level for low-income residents, Jangula was not in favour.

“I don’t think it’s elected people or city hall’s business to tell people what they should rent their house for, or their apartment for,” said Jangula.

“Where we’re going to have some control of that, which frustrated me last December when I tried the motion about doing a tax-free zone in the downtown area, that’s where you’d be able to offer people higher density in return for some subsidies or lower rental units.”

He also believed the project might go away, if a delay came through actions by council.

“Invested money is fluid,” said Jangula.

“If they’re (Veyron’s investors) not being received well, or not happy with the way they’re being treated, they move elsewhere. That’s become very obvious. Look at Campbell River, look at how much development there is there, and growth there, and construction there, in comparison to here.”

The proposal has not yet been approved by council.