The area includes Stotan Falls, a beloved swimming hole for generations of Valleyites. As the land owner, we had an agreement in principle to gift a public park with 260 acres of our land that surround the Browns and Puntledge Rivers, including Bull Island. This would create a unique recreational corridor between the City of Courtenay and Nymph Falls for people and wildlife.

The first thing we want to address is the toll booth at the Stotan Falls entrance. We have taken a lot of criticism for this, to put it mildly. 

This is the last thing we want to do. In fact, we had an agreement in principle to donate the Falls, included in 260 acres of donated parkland, to the people. This goes back to to 2007 when the CVRD suggested to us that instead of developing the land in 5 acre parcels as per existing land use that we consider 1/2 acre lot density in exchange for designating 50% of the site for a public park. 

10 Years Later —  and Still Nothing 

 We bought the property in 2006 from Timber West and Comox Timber. After four years of productive talks, where again, it was the suggestion of the CVRD representative to offer higher building density in exchange for at least half the area donated as a park, events took a sudden turn. 

In February 2010 CVRD directors Jim Gillis and Edwin Grieve toured the property and again expressed support for the project. Which is why we were stunned when shortly after we learned Mr. Grieve now opposed the project and the land was removed from the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). In addition, without consultation or public process, the RGS changed the zoning of the property from 5 acre parcels to 50 acre parcels.   

Therefore, in May of 2013 we applied to amend the RGS only to discover there was no process in place to allow amendments. At that meeting, Mr. Grieve —  in an unusual and surprising break in protocol — steps down as Chair of the committee to speak out against the application. 

The 3L application to amend the RGS was finally considered by the CVRD on June 20, 2014. After refusing to allow us to speak on the amendment, it voted to refuse the initiation of an RGS application. In doing so, the CVRD did not follow it’s own proper procedure. 

 

What the Courts Ruled  

Our first legal interaction was in 2013 when our representative, Kabel Atwall, launched a Human Rights Tribunal Claim against Grieve, the CVRD and Deb Oakman, the Chief Administration Officer. The claim was brought about by comments Grieve was making in the community about Mr. Atwall. A settlement, including cash, was reached to Mr. Atwall’s satisfaction. 

Our application to have the Supreme Court of B.C. to rule on the Board’s decision was heard on January 15 and 16, 2015. On May 30, the Honourable Madam Justice Burke wrote: “I am of the view that the CVRD acted unreasonably with regard to its consideration of 3L’s application… they must consider 3L’s application in a manner consistent with the mandatory process set out in Part 5.2 of the RGS.” 

The CVRD went to the BC Court of Appeal and on April 6, 2016 the appeal court rejected the appeal and ruled in favour of 3L. 

All these court cases are a matter of public record. The CVRD has fought these cases on taxpayer money, including the $13,522 in 3L’s legal fees the Court ordered the CVRD to pay. 

 

The proposed Riverwood community site is bordered by Piercy Rd. to the north, the Inland Island Hwy. to the west and the BC Hydro Penstock to the south. The vision is for 700+/- residential units, including Seniors Housing and patio homes, plus a small commercial and retail component to serve residents. With density similar to Valley View in Old Courtenay, it will inject over 700 million dollars into the local economy over a decade, creating high paying jobs and generating $2-3 million in annual revenues to local governments when fully built. It will also help alleviate the local housing and rental shortage.

Drastic Measures  

In the last seven years (we have owned the property since 2006) we have been through every avenue to seek answers and reasons for the change in zoning. 

In that time, no one at the CVRD has given us answers. The media have not seen fit in that time 

to cover our side of the story, either. 

Our decision to put the toll on the gates was our attempt to get attention to our concerns. In the 11 years we have owned the property we allowed people on the property and paid the insurance on the land. 

There are other costs, too. We have a full-time caretaker to look after the area. And on a regular basis, at our expense, we remove multitudes of trash dumped on the property. 

We have spent millions of dollars on environmental and water and sewage studies. We plan to create a self-sufficient residential community with its own water system and state of the art Class 4 wastewater treatment plant. This is the highest level of certification in Canada. This will be at no cost to the Comox Valley regional district or the City of Courtenay. 

We will work with fisheries to enhance the spawning channels and waterways. We will establish walking and hiking trails to protect the unique ecosystem of this area. 

We will innovate to promote green building practices. Reclaimed water from our treatment plant will be distributed back though the community for irrigation, laundry, toilets, vehicle washing and similar uses. 

 

Benefits for the Residents of the Comox Valley 

This project will: 

  • Inject over 700 million dollars into the local economy over several years, creating high paying jobs
  • When completed, provide $2-3 million a year in additional taxes
  • Help alleviate the severe housing shortage  blanketing the valley

We are dedicated to preserving one of the highest utilized parcels of recreational land in the Valley for future generations to enjoy. This park would become our own Stanley Park, to be used and loved by future generations. 

Yet, in the last seven years we have tried repeatedly to find out the reasons why the project has been stopped. But no answers from your government have been forthcoming. We’d like to know why. 

Our purpose in putting together this information page is to provide the public with our side of the story and give facts regarding how the CVRD has been spending taxpayer money, all the while denying the public the opportunity to have the recreationally and culturally significant lands along the Puntledge and Browns Rivers put into the hands of the public. 

Any questions or comments, please contact us at info@3LDevelopments.com 

 

Leave a Comment: