Rural Comox Valley zoning bylaw “more permissive”

Rural Comox Valley zoning bylaw “more permissive”

CVRD zoning bylaw will encourage market gardening and allow egg sales from a home

Rural Comox Valley zoning bylaw “more permissive”

By George Le Masurier

This article has been updated

After elected officials have added more than 60 amendments to a 14-year-old bylaw, it’s time to update the bylaw.

Ton Trieu, the Comox Valley Regional District’s relatively new manager of planning services, is rolling out a proposed updated zoning bylaw this month that will govern land use and density for rural areas A, B and C.

The new bylaw excludes Denman and Hornby Islands because land use there is governed by the Islands Trust Act.

Trieu says the changes will make the 2005 zoning bylaw consistent with the 2011 Regional Growth Strategy and the 2014 Official Community Plan.

“We’re also trying to capture the new trends in development,” Trieu told Decafnation. “We want it to be less restrictive, more permissive.”

Rural residents will have three opportunities in May to review and comment on proposed changes before it goes to a public hearing in August. The Electoral Services Commission will consider the updated bylaw in the fall.

Trieu said the existing bylaw is “still a good bylaw,” but it needs tweaks to adjust to constantly evolving development trends. And, he hopes, to make the bylaw less confusing.

Highlights of the proposed changes include a friendlier approach to home businesses, agriculture, aging in place, sustainable energy initiatives and incentives for economic development. The bylaw will also address sign clutter.

Trieu said this update of the zoning bylaw will not address vacation rental or cannabis issues. Planners will address those two issues separately in what Trieu expects will be the first two amendments to this updated bylaw.

Rural living

The new bylaw would permit market gardens, chickens and honey bees on parcels larger than .2 hectares (about a half-acre). It would allow residents to sell these products — including eggs, honey and vegetables — on their property. Selling meat is still prohibited, which is regulated by other authorities.

“You won’t be able to turn your property into a slaughterhouse,” Trieu said.

The maximum allowable height of accessory buildings would be increased from six meters to seven meters. The height change would reduce the large number of variance applications regarding building height that now cost property owners $500 to file.

Economic Development

The bylaw changes would encourage some home-based businesses by allowing one commercial vehicle with a maximum gross vehicle weight of 15,000 kg or greater (15 tons). The current bylaw allows only a single one-ton vehicle.

There aren’t many commercial zones in the rural areas, but veterinarian offices would be allowed in them because most of their work is mobile now. Horses and large animals are no longer brought to clinics.

And parcels of two hectares or larger (about five acres) could allow uses like home-based auto mechanics, with proper screening and setbacks.

The new bylaw would place some controls on the number of people congregating for some home-based enterprises, such as yoga studios or hair salons. There are no restrictions under the current bylaw.

Aging in place

The updated bylaw would offer more flexibility in carriage house design.

New regulations would not require the first and second floor square footages to match, and the area of the second floor could be smaller than the first.. And it will permit internal staircases to the second floor.

The height of carriage houses would rise to eight meters, to allow higher first floors for the storage of recreational vehicles or tall boats.

Sustainable principles

To encourage the use of solar panels, they would no longer be included in building height calculations. In the past, adding solar panels to a roof has put a building out of compliance.

And the updated bylaw would allow domestic wind turbines, as long as specific setbacks are met and they are not connected to the electrical grid.

Updated zoning maps

The CVRD hopes to make zoning rules clearer by reducing the number of zones.

For example, Residential 2, Residential 1B, Residential 1C and Residential D would all be collapsed into one zone, Residential 1. 

The new bylaw would also reduce split-zone properties on a voluntary basis. There are more than 80 properties in the CVRD rural areas that have both residential and commercial zones or residential and Agricultural Land Reserve zones.

The unique Commercial Composting zone, which is heavily regulated by the province, will be eliminated.

New sign rules

A new feature would regulate signage in rural areas, although it won’t be a detailed sign bylaw like those in Comox Valley municipalities. There are no regulations on signs in rural areas now.

The sign regulations would prohibit flashing signs and third-party signs, and specify a maximum size.

Third-party signs are those signs on properties not owned by the person or business being promoted. Although the new bylaw would allow temporary third-party signs, such as real estate or campaign signs

How to get involved

Trieu has scheduled three public workshops in May to explain the proposed changes. Copies of the proposed bylaw will be available. A public hearing is scheduled for August.

MAY 6, 2019 | 3:30–7:00 PM
Union Bay Community
Club and Recreation Association
5401 South Island Highway, Union Bay

MAY 16, 2019 | 3:30–7:00 PM
Oyster River Fire Hall
2241 Catherwood Road, Black Creek

MAY 22, 2019 | 3:30–7:00 PM
CVRD Boardroom
550B Comox Road, Courtenay

Residents can also learn more online

 

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More Government | News

Petition put to BC Legislature: restore North Island pathology

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Area B residents want voice on regional Sewage Commission

Area B residents want voice on regional Sewage Commission

Area B residents want voice on regional Sewage Commission

By George Le Masurier

The problems inherent when several distinct government jurisdictions nearly overlap each other reared its ugly head again at last week’s regional Sewage Commission meeting.

And it’s no coincidence that these issues rise because two larger jurisdictions (Courtenay and Comox) have dumped their effluent problems on a smaller third jurisdiction (Area B), without allowing the latter any formal representation.

Big governments have historically pushed their problems out of town, into less populated rural areas, where they are presumably less noticeable.

But for the residents of Curtis Road, who are downwind from the nearby sewage treatment plant, noxious odour problems are more than just noticeable. The smell of human waste has plagued them for 35 years, forcing some them out of their homes.

And the residents of Croteau Beach, just outside the boundaries of the Town of Comox, took special notice when a previous Sewage Commission planned to build a new pump station in their Area B neighborhood. The plan was fraught with flaws, not the least of which was a threat to residents drinking water wells.

Grant: “A lot of the things (Nichol) said were just not factual”

Croteau Beach residents lobbied for Area B representation on the Sewage Commission at the time. They argued that the principles of democracy demanded it.

No jurisdiction should be allowed to locate infrastructure necessary for a function or service in a separate jurisdiction that derives no benefit from the service and has no effective voice at the decision-making table, they said.

Now, Curtis Road residents are joining in that debate. They, too, want Area B representation on the Sewage Commission. And they have backed that argument up with a detailed history of alleged flagrant disregard for their concerns by three decades of commission members.

And now, new Area B representative Arzeena Hamir has asked the commission to add her as a voting member.

That’s a proposal that didn’t sit well with Comox Councillor Ken Grant.

Grant questioned whether it was legal under the BC Local Government Act to appoint a voting member to a commission from which that proposed members’ constituents do not participate. By that Grant meant that Area B residents don’t pay for the cost of operating the regional Sewage System, nor do they get to use it.

But Grant did not question whether it was ethical for the commission to build a “stinking plant” — as Curtis Road resident Jenny Steel said — next to residents who have no say in the matter.

Still, Grant went further. He said when the Sewage Commission experimented with a non-voting Area B representation to appease Croteau Beach concerns, it was a failure.

“It didn’t matter what we did, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t good enough for the area (Croteau Beach),” he said.

And then Grant called out former Area B representative Rod Nichol.

“A lot of the things (Nichol) said were just not factual,” Grant said. “It made it difficult to come up with a proper decision.”

Decafnation emailed Grant after the meeting to clarify his statements. Was he calling Nichol a liar, who purposely stated untruths? Or did he mean that Nichol was uninformed, that he just didn’t know what he was talking about?

Grant refused to clarify his statements.

Nichol, however, said he stands by any statements he made at the Sewage Commission.

“I did not attend the meeting … so I am not aware of what was said and by whom,” Nichol wrote via email. “If Ken Grant indeed said what you claim, then here are my comments:

“It is easy to chuck sh*t when the other party is not present to defend himself. If “a lot of things the previous director said were simply not factual” why has it taken this long for the allegation to be made? Everyone has an opportunity to speak and be heard at those meetings — if I said things that were not factual, why didn’t someone challenge me at the time? I do not know what Ken Grant is allegedly referring to, but I stand by what I said.”

Comox Valley Regional District Chief Administrative Officer Russell Dyson said a governance review is underway that may help the Sewage Commission decide whether they can, or want to add the Area B representative in either a voting or non-voting capacity, or at all.

A motion to include the question of Area B representation on the commission in the governance review was passed by a 4-3 vote split along jurisdictional lines.

All three Courtenay representatives voted in favor of the motion, as did the representative from CFB Comox.

All three Comox representatives — Grant, Maureen Swift and Russ Arnott — voted against it.

 

 

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More Government | sewage

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Public panel will help guide new sewerage plan

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Regional District CAO responds to developer’s lawsuit

Regional District CAO responds to developer’s lawsuit

Photo Caption

Regional District CAO responds to developer’s lawsuit

By George Le Masurier

Comox Valley Regional District Chief Administrative Officers Russell Dyson issued a statement today, Dec. 27, in response to a petition by 3L Developments Inc. to Supreme Court of British Columbia

Earlier this year, the CVRD board rejected an application by 3L to amend the Regional Growth Strategy to allow a large subdivision in the Puntledge Triangle. The development company then challenged that decision in a court filing, just days before the Oct. 20 municipal elections.

Today, Dyson issued the following statement:

“On October 17, 2018, 3L Developments Inc. filed a petition with the Supreme Court of British Columbia seeking court orders to set aside the Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) denial of the 3L’s application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS).

“Our lawyer has advised us to limit our comments on this matter while it is before the court, but we do want to make it clear that the CVRD considered 3L’s application to amend the RGS in a fair, open and transparent process. We followed all requirements set out in Provincial legislation, CVRD bylaws and policies and met the Court’s expectations from previous decisions regarding 3L’s proposal.

“Amending the RGS is a serious undertaking.

“The RGS is a regional planning framework that guides growth and development and protects the environment, health and livability in the CVRD for all citizens.

“We fully consulted with the public and 3L during this process. We kept 3L informed and respected their interest, processing their application in a timely manner.

“The documents below are the same as those filed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on December 21, 2018 and be found on our website at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/3l

“· Response to Petition – filed

“· Affidavit #1 of James Andrew Warren – filed

“· Affidavit #2 of James Andrew Warren – filed

“· Affidavit of Russell Dyson – filed

“· Affidavit of Alana Mullaly – filed

“· Affidavit of Edwin Grieve – filed

“· Affidavit of Curtis Scoville – filed”

 

With much drama, CVRD denies 3L Developments

With tension thick in the boardroom, with accusations of lies and corruption, slander flying back and forth, and despite 3L Developments’ last-minute tactic through Mano Theos to salvage their Riverwood subdivision, the application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy failed on a 6-4 vote

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Common sense prevails at CVRD over amending the RGS

An overwhelming majority of directors defeated a motion to consider an amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy via the”minor process” to enable 3L Developments 740-house community near Stotan Falls. But this is still an early round in the 11-year saga

Expediency wins out over CVRD’s growth strategy

CVRD directors overlook their Regional Growth Strategy to expedite an application by 3L Developments to amend the RGS that would enable a 740-house project on the Browns and Puntlege rivers near Stotan Falls

CVRD will vote again on 3L with corrected info

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CVRD to consider growth strategy amendment

The CVRD Committee of the Whole voted to consider an application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy in a way that would permit the 3L Development on the Puntledge River near Stotan Falls, but the majority votes down a motion by Ken Grant and Larry Jangula to expedite the process

Cumberland leads Canada, uses existing purchasing to impact society

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City CAO David Allen focuses on sustainable asset management

City CAO David Allen focuses on sustainable asset management

Courtenay Chief Administration Officer David Allen at the city’s first ‘complete street’ project  |  Photo by George Le Masurier

City CAO David Allen focuses on sustainable asset management

By George Le Masurier

Wide-ranging urban expansion has left municipal taxpayers with growing unfunded long-term debt for the infrastructure required by water, sewer, stormwater and other services. But a relatively new framework for management of public assets hopes to change that.

Courtenay Chief Administration Officer David Allen was part of a small group in 2008 that developed this system for managing public assets that provides for service and financial sustainability. It is now used by almost every municipality in British Columbia.

“The goal is sustainable service delivery; to avoid service failures,” Allen told Decafnation. “By moving to a proactive rather than reactive approach to maintenance, we can keep the infrastructure in good shape based on what the community wants and can afford.”

The provincial and federal governments regulate water and sewer standards through statutory regulations. But other things that have value, like quality of life services and stormwater, have not been regulated and the standards are discretionary.

“Therefore, City Council and the public must agree on what services are provided and at what levels of service, compared to the price the public is willing to pay,” Allen said.

Green infrastructure, for example, reduces a municipalities’ dependence on hard engineering in the future, and it does not depreciate and requires less maintenance, he said.

“It also does not have to be replaced in the future,” Allen said. “So it also extends the life of existing infrastructure.”

The city has been working with the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI), which attempts to place a value on a municipalities’ natural assets. The Public Sector Accounting Board is working on a shift in official accounting methods to allow for this approach.

“We are using these methods to develop ways to use a combination of engineered assets and natural assets to replace our existing stormwater and flood management systems,” Allen said.

Infrastructure has no value by itself; its value is the service it provides, Allen says.

In 2009, the Public Sector Accounting Board required municipalities to record the value of their tangible assets, not including their natural assets, and only the original or historical costs. It did not consider replacement value in today’s dollars.

The whole Comox Valley has somewhere near $400 million in unfunded infrastructure liabilities, the backlog of foregone capital renewal and maintenance.

“Consequently, those numbers are not realistic and grossly undervalued,” Allen said.

It’s like owning a house or a car, according to Allen. Regular maintenance means no surprising big bills and inevitable down time later.

The Asset Management BC framework corrects this misunderstanding and allows for improved long-term financial planning by identifying what truly needs to be renewed, when that should happen and how much it will actually cost.

The infrastructure deficit is related to the municipal share of the property tax bill, which is about eight percent.

“It’s too low,” Allen said, “because the nature of the services that municipalities deliver are far more dependent on capital assets than other levels of government.”

“Those numbers are not realistic and grossly undervalued”

For example, in most western nations the national governments use capital assets to deliver their services that are valued at approximately the same amount as their total annual revenue. Provincial or state governments have capital assets worth approximately three times their total annual revenues.

But to deliver local government services, municipalities typically own capital assets worth 10 or more times their annual revenue.

Some communities — like Victoria and Richmond — have created new utility functions for stormwater to fund the maintenance and replacement of its infrastructure. In most communities, however, those bills are paid out of general taxation, and most years there hasn’t been enough.

But the Asset Management BC framework, which Courtenay has adopted, guides the city to undertake infrastructure conditions assessment, and to assess each asset’s risk of failure. This way, the city can prioritize its maintenance schedule and avoid a major service failure.

When city workers recently dug up a street in one of Courtenay’s oldest neighbourhoods, they found the stormwater pipe under the street they needed to repave was in good condition; it would last for another 30 years. Since pavement only lasts for 20 years, they left the pipe in the ground and plan to replace it the next time the street needs repaving.

Understanding the actual condition of stormwater pipes, Allen says, can prevent premature replacement, so available resources can be directed to those assets that need replacement or to reserves for future renewal when it’s necessary.

“We want to replace infrastructure only when necessary,” Allen said. “Otherwise, we’re wasting money.”

 

THE MUNICIPAL NATURAL ASSETS INITIATIVE

The Municipal Natural Assets Initiative (MNAI) provides scientific, economic and municipal expertise to support and guide local governments in identifying, valuing and accounting for natural assets in their financial planning and asset management programs, and in developing leading-edge, sustainable and climate resilient infrastructure.

Asset management—the process of inventorying a community’s existing assets, determining the current state of those assets, and preparing and implementing a plan to maintain or replace those assets—allows municipalities to make informed decisions regarding a community’s assets and finances.

Unfortunately, local governments lack policies to measure and manage one class of assets: natural assets. Natural assets are ecosystem features that provide, or could be restored to provide, services just like the other engineered assets, but historically have not been considered on equal footing or included in asset management plans.

Read more about MNAI

 

WHAT IS A NATURAL ASSET?

The term ‘Municipal Natural Assets’ refers to the stocks of natural resources or ecosystems that contribute to the provision of one or more services required for the health, well-being, and long-term sustainability of a community and its residents.

 

WHAT IS THE ECOLOGICAL ACCOUNTING PROCESS (EAP)?

Ecological Accounting Process — “The EAP approach begins by first recognizing the importance of a stream in a natural state and then asking: how can we maintain those ecological values while allowing the stream to be used for drainage,” says Jim Dumont, Engineering Applications Authority with the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC.

 

ASSET MANAGEMENT BC

Learn more about this organization here

With much drama, CVRD denies 3L Developments

With tension thick in the boardroom, with accusations of lies and corruption, slander flying back and forth, and despite 3L Developments’ last-minute tactic through Mano Theos to salvage their Riverwood subdivision, the application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy failed on a 6-4 vote

Courtenay mayor fails to assuage Airpark closure fears

Courtenay Airpark Association members say City Council members don’t fully appreciate the depth of their concerns and were disappointed Mayor Larry Jangula didn’t “clear the air” and give them unequivocal support

Common sense prevails at CVRD over amending the RGS

An overwhelming majority of directors defeated a motion to consider an amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy via the”minor process” to enable 3L Developments 740-house community near Stotan Falls. But this is still an early round in the 11-year saga

Expediency wins out over CVRD’s growth strategy

CVRD directors overlook their Regional Growth Strategy to expedite an application by 3L Developments to amend the RGS that would enable a 740-house project on the Browns and Puntlege rivers near Stotan Falls

CVRD will vote again on 3L with corrected info

CVRD directors will vote again — this time with corrected information on their Regional Growth Strategy minor amendment process — on whether to consider 3L Developments application to amend the RGS as a minor or standard matter. It’s not as confusing as it sounds

CVRD to consider growth strategy amendment

The CVRD Committee of the Whole voted to consider an application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy in a way that would permit the 3L Development on the Puntledge River near Stotan Falls, but the majority votes down a motion by Ken Grant and Larry Jangula to expedite the process

Cumberland leads Canada, uses existing purchasing to impact society

Around the world, the criteria for how to spend public money has shifted toward achieving a community’s social and economic values, in addition to getting the best value. The Village of Cumberland is leading the way for Canada, along with Comox resident Sandra Hamilton 

Cumberland UBCM resolution set the stage for a social hub

Vancouver Island mayors are working together and with the construction industry to ease the transition to a new local government procurement process that includes the achievement of a community’s social and economic goals with a community benefit hub

Regional District CAO responds to developer’s lawsuit

With much drama, CVRD denies 3L Developments

With tension thick in the boardroom, with accusations of lies and corruption, slander flying back and forth, and despite 3L Developments’ last-minute tactic through Mano Theos to salvage their Riverwood subdivision, the application to amend the Regional Growth Strategy failed on a 6-4 vote

 

Tomorrow: In moments of high drama, directors reveal themselves

It took a dramatic three-hour board meeting fraught with accusations of lies, corruption and slander, unruly citizens standing and shouting from the gallery, several points of order and a last-minute, desperate power play, but the Comox Valley Regional District finally denied, with a 6-4 vote, an application by 3L Developments to amend the Regional Growth Strategy in their favor.

The tension was already thick in the cramped CVRD boardroom when Kathleen Pitt stepped to the podium to speak in favor of the 3L application, and then her animosity toward the board took the atmosphere to a whole other level.

Pitt attacked the board for fumbling 3L’s bid to build about 1,000 houses in the Puntledge River triangle, near Stotan Falls, suggesting there were “back room deals” and said directors told “lies” and insinuated widespread “corruption” at the CVRD.

When Pitt referenced a human rights violation by a director not at the board table, Cumberland Director Gwyn Sproule called for a “point of order,” suggesting the comments crossed over into slander. Area A Director and Board Chair Bruce Joliffe paused the meeting and Pitt eventually apologized.

But the dramatics were just getting underway.

Speaking against the 3L application, Lisa Christensen accused 3L of bullying and other nefarious tactics to force the CVRD into approving their Riverwood subdivision. That caused a man in the gallery to stand, point at the speaker and shout, “This isn’t slander?”

Joliffe stopped the meeting again to tell everyone to “calm down.” The man grabbed his coat and left the room, and not long after that Pitt also left with other 3L supporters.

The board eventually got down to business and the gallery quieted down, temporarily.

On the table were reports from the CVRD Technical Advisory Committee and the 3L Steering Committee that both recommended the board deny the 3L application at first reading. You can read the reports here or here.

But 3L had also asked the board to postpone first reading and extend the timeframe for considering their application by around six months. Company spokesperson Mark Holland said the company had applied in 2014 when certain studies on traffic and environmental concerns weren’t required as they are in 2017. 3L has not completed these studies.

That’s when Alternate Area C Director Curtis Scoville brought a sharp focus to the board discussion.

Scoville said it sounded like the board was discussing two separate issues: one, the application by 3L to amend the RGS to create a new settlement node; and, two, a desire by some directors to review and update the RGS.

“Shouldn’t we treat these two separately?” he asked.

Alana Mullaly, the CVRD’s Manager of Planning Services, responded that the key difference between Scoville’s two issues was that an RGS document would be reviewed when the board felt key principles were no longer valid, that it’s goals weren’t current or that the community no longer shared a value expressed in the RGS.

But, she said, the CVRD’s Regional Growth Strategy is the only RGS in the province that allows applications for amendment from a private third party, such as 3L. In the other regional districts, only a member municipality — for example, Comox, Cumberland or Courtenay — could apply to amend an RGS.

Comox Director Barbara Price then made a motion to approve the staff recommendation to deny the 3L application.

But before the board finishing discussing the motion and called for a vote, Courtenay Director Mano Theos suddenly announced he had “new information from the applicant.”

That surprised everyone because it was the first indication from Theos that he had such information. He was seated directly in front of the 3L owner and representatives, about three feet away.

Theos asked the board to allow 3L spokesperson Mark Holland, a Vancouver urban planner hired by the company just days before the meeting, to speak.

Holland told the board that if it proceeded to a vote on first reading, as per Price’s motion, without first considering 3L’s request for a postponement and extension, then 3L would withdraw its application entirely. He said the company didn’t want to be judged on 2017 requirements when they had applied in 2014.

The gallery, which by that time comprised mostly 3L opponents, rose back to life with rumblings of delight: “Perfect, withdraw,” and “exactly what we want.”

After much more discussion, Erik Eriksson voted with Larry Jangula, Mano Theos and Ken Grant to oppose the motion, but the six other directors voted in favor.

3L Developments can still reapply to amend the RGS, but they have a narrow window to do so.

The CVRD is itself in the process of amending the Regional Growth Strategy to no longer allow private party applications to amend the document. That will bring the Valley’s RGS in line with the province’s other regional districts.

That amendment could pass as early as next month.

 

City abandons 21st Street bridge, airpark leases still contentious

City abandons 21st Street bridge, airpark leases still contentious

PHOTO: Andreas Ruttkiewicz and student pilot land an ultralight at the Courtenay Airpark. Ruttkiewicz runs the Air Speed High Ultralight flight school at the airpark.

Courtenay abandons 21st Street river crossing thanks to Mayor Jangula, but city staff and council temporarily ground his proposal to give long-term certainly to airpark business owners at Monday’s meeting 

 

This article was expanded Tuesday (Aug. 21) morning to add a response from the Airpark Association suggesting that Councillor Lennox made an erroneous statement regarding the airpark’s tax status.

Courtenay Mayor Larry Jangula took a conciliatory approach Monday night to concerns raised by members of the Airpark Association and successfully landed a unanimous agreement from council to abandon all discussions of a third river crossing at 21st Street.

But his attempt to address the larger issue of the airpark’s long-term viability crashed on takeoff.

A city proposal for a road through the airpark leading to a bridge through Hollyhock Marsh, and staff comments that all airpark leases would be converted to a month-to-month basis, has angered Courtenay Airpark Association members and aviation business owners.

FURTHER READING: Courtenay mayor fails to assuage airpark  closure fearsCourtenay airpark touts its economic, lifestyle benefits; Battle brewing over city’s transportation master plan; City bridge proposal would harm airpark, Kus-kus-sum

They see the two issues as an attempt by the city to shut down the airpark.

Jangula tried to calm the airpark association’s fears last week, but his comments fell short.

This week, Jangula stepped down from the mayor’s chair to clarify his position with a motion that City Council officially abandon all consideration of a bridge at 21st Street. It passed unanimously.

Then Jangula tackled the bigger issue and proposed that the city offer the Airpark Association and aviation businesses 25-40 year leases on the city-owned property.

That got applause from the standing-room only audience, but less support from city staff and several council members.

Chief Administrative Officer David Allen derailed Jangula’s intentions to give the airpark immediate long-term assurances by suggesting council wait for city staff to do a report on the viability of offering long-term leases.

Councillor Doug Hillian made a motion to direct staff to do such a report, preferably by the Sept. 4 meeting, which passed, but not without some hesitation by councillors David Frisch, Rebecca Lennox and Hillian.

Hillian said council has “a responsibility to consider the implications of long-term use of city-owned properties.”

Frisch and Lennox seemed more reluctant in their comments. At one point, Lennox even referenced the Airpark Associations “tax-free status,” which is an erroneous statement, according to association president Morris Perrey.

“She is totally wrong,” Perrey said. “The businesses pay land taxes and lease fees and all the fees that every business pays, all the city insurance costs, everything and the city still gets their fees.”

Perrey said because the Airpark Association is a society and not supposed to pay taxes, the city charges the association fees in lieu, which have increased about 15 percent in the last five years.

Earlier in the meeting, Frisch appeared opposed to taking a 21st Street bridge off the table, although he ultimately voted in favor.

“We still have to move people around,” he said, referring to growing traffic congestion around the 17th St. and Fifth St. bridges.

CAO Allen said one of city staff’s strategic priorities for 2016-2018 is to assess city-owned land, and they have already identified several properties to start the review. He said it would be a “long and rigorous” process, and that discussions have already taken place in-camera.

Besides Jangula, two other council members, Bob Wells and Hillian, apologized to Airpark Association members.

Hillian called the public document showing a bridge through the airpark a ”mistake.”

Wells apologized for “the angst, stress and uncertainty we’ve put people through.”

He said the city acted without full consideration of how the 21st Street crossing proposal impacted the aviation community.

CAO Allen said the bridge proposal was never expected to be a fait accompli, and a staff member said the idea arose from the public consultation process about the city’s transportation plan.

That staff member termed the consultation process a “success” because it got the strong reaction from the Airpark Association. That comment caused eye-rolling murmurs among the audience.

Finally, Jangula made a motion to break from the agenda and let Airpark Association spokesman Dave Mellin speak and respond to the council discussion so far. That required a two-thirds vote, which it received, with Lennox and Frisch opposing it.

Referring to the uncertainty of short-term leases, Mellin said jobs and job security were on the line. Up to 90 people are employed at the airpark, depending on the season.

He said several business expansion plans have been stalled by council’s lack of clarity, and that five-year leases are of no value to the aviation businesses seeking long-term security.

“People are hanging out on a limb here,” he said.