Comox Valley Developers Dialogue: "The balance is one of ecology and economy," says Ian Whitehead

Note to Reader:

In December 2010, the CAVI – Comox Valley Regional Team hosted the ‘Developers Dialogue’. The purpose of this event was to initiate a conversation with the Comox Valley development community about collaboration, alignment and consistency in a local government setting.

To keep the conversation flowing, participants have been invited to contribute content to the Water Bucket. The commentary below was written by Ian Whitehead of McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd.

The Future is the Past

“From a quantative perspective, we’ve come a long way with stormwater management,” states Ian Whitehead. “From a qualitative perspective, on the other hand, perhaps there is more we can do, but always at a cost – for example, stripping chemical constituents from road runoff is going to be expensive indeed.”

Ian whitehead (120p)“The City of Courtenay’s new environmental planner spoke of a desire for development which is more respectful of the ecology of the area, generally.  Fair enough.  How to achieve this while maintaining affordability? I like Derek Richmond’s phrase, ‘less is more’..  Really this is where we need to go, so as to live more harmoniously within our environmental context, our biosphere.”

“In a sense, we need to go backwards, not forwards.  To build our communities with less hard surfaces and less reliance on vehicles.  Who will buy in these developments?  Who will ‘sell’ them?”

Strive for Balance

“The balance is one of ecology and economy.  Land is relatively still cheap here in the Comox Valley and most who come here are not yet looking for an urban experience.”

“Our challenge is to allow some growth without forcing the construction of housing that won’t sell (i.e. urban apartment highrise infill) while at the same time ensuring we don’t build out recklessly into what remain as yet relatively pristine watersheds around the edges of the community.”

“Balancing free market ‘regional’ forces with regulation intended to protect us from ourselves……..if we really could plan, design and sell housing affordably, which was also ecologically sound and was a product people want, we’d have this nut cracked…,” concludes Ian Whitehead.