We could be seeing a large seniors housing and care  complex on Cliffe Avenue.

At today’s meeting, city council will be considering a development permit that would pave the way for the 209-unit building.

CAO David Allen is recommending that council members approve the permit, with variances, to Courtenay Oceanfront Developments Ltd. 

If it takes shape, the complex would be at the intersection of 29th Street and Cliffe Avenue.

A staff report notes that the development proposal is for 83 independent living units, 120 residential care rooms, and six hospice units. 

“The independent living units will function much like an apartment – providing limited meal and care services to residents who otherwise have private, self-contained dwellings,” the report said. 

“The residential care component will serve people in need of consistent care and supervision such as those with dementia or other diseases/illnesses. The six hospice units are for those in need of care during life ending illness.”

Mayor Bob Wells said the complex, if built, would open up more rental stock in the valley.

“One of the things that we’ve been talking about for a long time is the lack of places for people to live in the Comox Valley and I think that having more seniors housing is obviously a benefit regardless of whether you are a senior or not,” he said. “That allows seniors to move there (who) might be living in other places where, say, younger people might be able to live. It just eases that pressure that we have with our rental vacancies here in the Comox Valley.”

Wells said he expects that the developers have built their business plan around the needs in the valley.

“I’m confident that this is something that will be something that will be utilized quite well,” he said. 

“And we do see other, larger buildings coming online. I think as a council we really asked for densification and people to provide the services that are required in our community. The fact that it’s going to be so close to the Driftwood Mall land the Smart Centre Mall, it gives people the opportunity to walk to get their groceries and stuff and maintain an active lifestyle which is paramount when we’re looking at any buildings but especially, I think, for seniors housing, as well.”

The 3.6 acre property next to the Courtenay River Estuary is currently occupied by three, dilapidated commercial buildings, which are destined for demolition.

The property was cleared in 2016 leaving clusters of native plants and trees mainly on the north, east and south edges of the property. 

An archaeological assessment was completed in support of the rezoning in 2017. 

K’ómoks First Nation asked that a guardian is present onsite during all earth disturbing activities to ensure the protection of any archaeological resources that unexpectedly are present. 

This was added as a condition of the environmental development permit. 

Should an artifact or other signs of historic First Nation human activity be observed, development must stop until further archaeological work is complete.