Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Cumberland Matters aims to provide both factual information and opinion so that we, the citizens of Cumberland, can be better informed and feel ready to express our views at community forums, council hearings and the ballot box

Earlier this year, Cumberland Council rejected the CVRD’s South Sewer plan after residents and businesses made it clear that the costs were unaffordable. At the time, residents were projected to see property tax increases of over $1200 per year, or $2400 for those with secondary suites, to pay for the $60m+ project involving a sewer pipe under the Comox Estuary and fully treated waste discharged off Cape Lazo. 

There was always the potential for PPP (public private partnership) grant funding for this project, and that funding is now looking more likely after feedback from PPP Canada that provision of a formal Business Case will give the project a strong change of funding for 25% of the project.

If successful, this funding would halve the property tax increase, leaving homeowners with an estimated $630 annual increase per unit. Cumberland Council will consider whether this possibility is enough to bring the project back for public consultation with a view to rejoining the project, or if these costs, and the proposed solution, are still unacceptable in Cumberland. 

Residents asked questions and raised concerns, and council gave updates on issues and activities.

Cyclist safety - concern about space and sight lines on the road out of Cumberland. Wanting interim measure until the road is rebuilt.

Pesticide and Herbicide spraying - spraying this morning on wrong plants, complained before and expected it to change but did it again, on Allen.

Mural on Telus building next to the legion would be nice - Cumberland Culture and Arts Society is in discussions with Telus and artists. It's in a heritage permit area, so should be brought back to council when more developed.

Welcome Sign - great to see the engagement in the discussion about how to describe our village. Maybe instead of even choosing a single word, have slots to change it out - on Valentines it could be the 'frisky' Village of Cumberland. Then everyone would have a chance to like and dislike what it says on the sign. We'd be the 'dynamic' Village.

Sewer Project

Cost of South Sewer project and tax raises - Council have told CVRD that the cost is too high and the project will need to be revised.

Only ten months after the start of construction, both structures are well on their way to completion and move-in by late 2017. Later this summer, roughly a year after construction began, crews will finish concrete pouring for the two structures, an impressive 18,000 cubic metres of concrete – or 1,800 truckloads – for the new Comox Valley Hospital, and 15,000 cubic metres of concrete – or 1,500 truckloads – for the new Campbell River Hospital. All 33,000 cubic metres of concrete is coming from local companies. Cumberland Ready Mix is supplying the concrete and trucks for the Comox Valley Hospital while a local joint venture between Uplands Ready Mix and Island Ready Mix is supplying the concrete and trucks for the new Campbell River Hospital.

The North Island Hospitals Project is also providing many training opportunities. There were 81 apprentices working for the hospitals project in April, including plumbing, carpentry, iron workers and electrical. There were also just a shy of 400 workers working on the construction sites in the month of April.

At a Committee of the Whole meeting on May 28th, Council and the public met to discuss the options for the South Sewer System. 

At the end of the meeting, Council agreed a motion that Cumberland does not agree to participate in the current South Sewer option and returns to the Select Committee to propose amendments.

Village CAO Sundance Topham presented a report - available here - it's pretty clear and easy to read so this article won't go into much detail on the situation. 

It's important to know that the VIllage is out of compliance with liquid waste management, and discharges eventually into Baynes Sound, an important Shellfish habitat.

The Village has been engaged in the planning process for 16 years, partly because the original constructed wetland solution wasn't able to handle the expected growth of the community. In 2011, Council committed to the South Sewer Project together with CVRD and Komox First Nation, subject to some very important conditions around cost and governance. 

CVRD choose an option to connect eventually to a Cape Lazo outfall instead of Baynes Sound. Councillor Sproule noted that this is where it started to go wrong because the governance model didn't include the VIllage in the decision about the change of outfall. 

Solutions are expensive. 2011 cost estimates of Cumberland's cost share were around $22-27m. The total cost was estimated at $42m, that has now gone up to $57.5m with significant uncertainty, up to +/- 30%. After a UBCM Gas Tax grant, total Cumberland costs would be $15.5m.

Making some guestimates, and assuming a 20 year borrowing to fund the project, extra costs to residential ratepayers are estimated to be around $1,150 every year - and this is per unit, so those with suites would pay double. Businesses would pay more, and for example, the Hospital Laundry would see it's annual costs go from $28k to $142k. 

The streets will be alive with live music, art, crafts, local shopping features, plant sales, pub and restaurant specials, cool kids activities, community groups and much more on Saturday May 16th from 10 am till 4 pm at the much anticipated Village Market Day in beautiful downtown Cumberland. Over 70 vendors and exhibitors are scheduled to take part in what is shaping up to be the biggest Village Market Day ever!

Presented by the business community of Legendary Cumberland in partnership with Elevate the Arts, Village Market Day features an eclectic variety of vendors offering hand made, home made and fair trade goods and services. From art, candles, books and toys to wood carvings, fairy costumes, clothing, leather wear, jewelry, face painting and more - Village Market Day is a great mash up of community and commerce! Add to that delicious dining specials, locally brewed craft beer, yummy baking, gourmet deli sandwiches, fair trade coffee and chocolates and hand crafted pizza and you have a day filled with tasty treats to fuel the fun!
Local community organizations are also taking to streets! Support local festivals, conservation groups, schools, churches, museums and more by signing up as members or volunteers, buying raffle tickets or taking part in fundraising activities. Join in for 101 Sun Salutations at 10:45 at Purusa Mind + Movement and make a donation to the Cumberland Forest or pick up your Thunderball Tickets to support the Cumberland Community Schools Society.
Live musical performances include PK Tessmann, Keisa Cox, Egyptian Twists Belly Dancers, Annie Handley, Broke 'N Merry, Alanna Clarke, Blaine Dunaway and James Gordon. Visit the Cumberland Museum and check out their cool new exhibits and learn about the rich history of the Village. Saturday evening you can take in Stephen Harper the Musical at 7:30 at Cumberland United Church - tickets at tinshack.tickit.ca. If you're up for some dancing, Little Big Shot is playing at the Cumberland Hotel or you can check out a wicked Doors tribute show at the Waverley Hotel with The Unknown Soldiers. Check out www.cumberlandvillageworks.com for tickets.

There is truly no better place to be on the May Long Weekend!  Bring the whole family and discover the incredible character and charm of the small but mighty Village of Cumberland! 

More Articles...

Page 2 of 44