A changing political climate that brought new faces and fresh perspectives to the Comox Valley Regional District boardroom has thrust the three-decade-old Comox Valley Economic Development Society into an uncertain future.
Archive promotional image from 3L Developments Inc.
3L Developments prefers to sell Riverwood land but vows to log it and extract gravel
The current spokesperson for the 3L Developments Inc. company told the Comox Valley Regional District today that “the future of the lands” is in their hands.
The spokesperson, Rob Buchan, said the company will proceed to log the property and open it up to a gravel extraction operation unless the regional district purchases the property.
The four parcels of the property have a 2020 assessed value of $4.222 million.
Buchan referred to the nearly 500 acres of land in the Puntledge Triangle — four large parcels between the Puntledge and Browns rivers — that 3L wants to subdivide into 799 housing units.
Last week, the Electoral Areas Services Commission (EASC) of the regional district rejected the company’s request to amend the Regional Growth Strategy and rezone the property for a dense subdivision. Under current zoning, the company can only subdivide 50-acre parcels.
The EASC took their vote again in front of the full regional district board today and confirmed their rejection of 3L’s application to amend the RGS and also to direct staff to work with the company to restore public access to Stotan Falls.
Area C Director Edwin Grieve changed his vote. At last week’s EASC meeting, he voted against a motion to reject the 3L application. At today’s full board meeting, he voted in favour of rejecting 3L.
“The owner (David Dutcyvich) would prefer that the CVRD buy the lands,” Buchan said. But added that the company would proceed to the best use of the property under current zoning, which is to log and extract gravel.
No purchase price was mentioned.
Comox Director Ken Grant asked Buchan if some “middle ground” was possible.
“I’d like to say yes,” Buchan said. “But export log prices are at an all-time high, so there’s a small amount of time.”
Area C Director Edwin Grieve asked if the company had approached the City of Courtenay about annexing a portion of the property where they could develop a subdivision.
“Yes, we approached Courtenay about nine months ago,” Buchan said. “There was no appetite for annexation at the time. It’s unfortunate.”
Courtenay Director Wendy Morin wondered if there were enough high-quality gravel and timber on the land to justify logging, especially because of the riparian zones required along the river.
Buchan said he believed there was a “considerable sum of fir and cedar” trees to log and that the company had an offer from a gravel operator to buy the property earlier this year.
Morin said she was skeptical about the volume of resources and questioned whether Buchan’s information was accurate.
Regional directors also agreed to hear a presentation from Kathleen Pitt, who spoke before Buchan. She said there were only three options for the regional district: Rezone it (“in a perfect world”), buy it or stand by and watch it logged.
By not rezoning or buying the land, she said directors were “choosing” to have it logged and mined for gravel.
Courtenay Director Doug Hillian asked if Pitt was a Comox Valley resident because she gave no information about herself. But Pitt declined to answer any questions from directors.
WHAT IS THE ASSESSED VALUE?
If the Comox Valley Regional District pursued the purchase of the land, what price would they pay?
3L Developments has never floated a purchase price publicly and Decafnation has not been able to find public records of the price the company paid for the land in 2007.
But the assessed value of the property is public knowledge.
According to the BC Assessment office, the total 2020 assessed value of the four properties owned by 3L Developments that comprise the proposed Riverwood subdivision is $4,222,000. That represents a decline over 2019 assessed values by about $424,000.
The smallest of the four properties was the only one to increase in value while the three largest all dropped between five and 16 percent.
The largest 185-acre parcel (PID: 028-915-194) dropped from $1.642 million to $1.375 million or about 16 percent, roughly $267,000.
A 158 acre parcel (PID: 000-866-814) went down from $1.613 million to $1.411 million or about 12 percent, roughly $202,000.
The 118 acre parcel (PID: 003-922-308) fell from $563,000 to $534,000 or about five percent and roughly $29,000.
The smallest parcel of 33 acres (PID: 000-866-792) increased in assessed value from $828,000 in 2019 to $902,000 in 2020, about a nine percent jump or roughly $74,000.
There was no information on the BC Assessment website about how much 3L Developments Inc. paid for the four parcels in 2007. The website only shows last sale price information if the properties were sold within the previous three years.
This article has been updated Nov. 25 to clarify that only Electoral Areas Services Commission members voted on the 3L application and that Director Grieve changed his vote to support rejection.
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