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Project Lead
Michael Zbarsky
Manager of Transit and Sustainability

Rationale & Location
Why is a new office needed?

The delivery of efficient service to the residents of the Comox Valley is of utmost importance to the board. The CVRD moved offices three times since 2001. In December 2014 after years of analysis, the CVRD board determined that based on the current flood prone location at 600 Comox Road, limited space, and expensive lease costs, a new regional office building was a strategic priority. Since that time the CVRD began putting money into reserves specifically for construction of a regional office building.

The building on Comox Road was leased, which is expensive and doesn’t provide for certainty of future costs. The regional district was paying approximately $330,000 per year in lease costs.  

During the development of the financing strategy an independent financial consultant, MNP LLP, confirmed that purchasing land and constructing a new office is more advantageous and less costly when compared to leasing space. This allowed the CVRD to have full equity in the course of approximately 30 years, providing an asset to the taxpayers.

Other factors the CVRD board considered when making this a strategic priority included the current building location. In seasons of heavy rainfall and resultant flooding the building has to be evacuated. Being unable to deliver services to residents during this time and the potential cost of damage to corporate records, information technology infrastructure, and fleet vehicles is very expensive. As well, the current facility has a lack of space for staff to deliver CVRD services, a lack of space for meetings with residents, and a lack of functionality within the boardroom.

Where is the new office located?

The new office is located in downtown Courtenay at 770 Harmston Avenue between 6th Street and Cumberland Road beside the current School District 71 (SD71) administration building.

Why this site?

This particular site was determined as the desired location due to the proximity to the downtown Courtenay core, location not in the floodplain, zoning for government offices,  and ability to redevelop under-utilized land. 

What was involved in the purchase agreement and land swap?

In the first phase of this agreement, the CVRD purchased a vacant piece of land from SD71 upon which a new regional office has been constructed. As part of the agreement, there was also a land exchange between the City and SD71 to secure Harmston Park as City owned land. The City had been leasing Harmston Park from SD71 since 2001 in exchange for general maintenance and mowing.

In a second phase that would  happen in 2021, the CVRD would purchase the adjacent property currently occupied by the SD71 administration offices. The school district would have the option to remain at this location with a 99 year lease from the CVRD, or move to a new office at a different location. By securing these two properties, the CVRD would  be able to construct a new office and ensure the adjacent property is available for future local government uses.

Why is the CVRD purchasing the school district administration office and land?

The CVRD is purchasing the adjacent property to secure local government interests and infrastructure within the community.

How much did the land cost the CVRD?

The total monetary cost to the CVRD for the acquisition of the land within both phases is $1,200,000 with non-monetary value of $365,000 assigned to a long-term lease arrangement for the SD71 to remain on the land.

Why is the office not located in the Regional District?

The CVRD services three municipalities (Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland) and three electoral areas (A, B and C). Given that is impossible for the CVRD services/office to be located in all of these jurisdictions the location was based on best fit. Courtenay is the most central location, had applicable zoning for property, and removed the office from the floodplain.

Construction & Design
What is the building going to look like?

The CVRD retained KMBR Architects Planners to undertake the design of the building and property. After a comprehensive engagement process with the public in 2017, the detailed design (final design) of the building takes into account feedback provided throughout the process. 

How are you addressing parking within the area?

The City of Courtenay requires a certain number of parking spaces onsite based on the type and size of the development. The CVRD  achieved this requirement and will have 72 onsite parking spaces. As well, the CVRD encourages other modes of transportation including biking, taking the bus, and car-pooling.

Will there be any impact on traffic in the neighbourhood?

While some increase in traffic is expected, the impact on the neighbourhood is expected to be minimal. This is partially due to the CVRD’s office hours which are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm (Monday to Friday). 

What are the plans for the future RCMP site/community garden on the City of Courtenay land?

For all inquiries regarding the future RCMP site or community garden please contact John Ward, Director of Legislative Services/Deputy CAO, at the City of Courtenay at 250-334-4441.

Costs & Financing
How is the project being funded?

At a construction price tag of $10,352,514, the borrowing requirement of $8.2 million from the adopted financial strategy remains unchanged. The remainder of the project will be funded by reserves and grants.