Tuesday, February 19, 2019

CVRD Director Edwin Grieve wrote a letter to the Comox Valley Record about Cumberland's decision to withdraw from the South Sewer Project. In case you missed it, that letter is visible here. Our response was not published by the Record. 

To The Editor, Comox Valley Record

Edwin Grieve's letter criticising our Council over the South Sewer project is inappropriate, patronising and concerning to residents of Cumberland.

It is inappropriate for our elected officials to conduct communication through the letter column. It shows that they have been unable to fully listen to each other during the many meetings and consultations that have marked this lengthy process.

The facts that Mr Grieve lays out are well known to Cumberland Council and have been openly and clearly communicated to residents, demonstrating an example of community consultation that the CVRD would be well advised to follow.

Cumberland's decision was made in full knowledge and careful consideration of all these factors. To use the public press to rebuke the Council for the result of a democratic process suggests that our Councillors' concerns about project governance are perfectly valid. Cumberland is not the naughty child refusing to obey a parent's instruction; we would be the majority of connections and funding for this system.

Opinion - Editorial

I would like to express my disappointment in the actions of the current owners of the Carlisle Lane / Jaro Nursery development in clearing the property and in the Villages' approval of the development. I regret that we, as a Village, have not honored the principles of the past and soon to be new OCP to preserve and promote agriculture within the Village. The Jaro property presented a real opportunity to have an ECO village type of development that would contribute to our community economically and as a model of sustainable living.

The property in question had some incredible resources that with some attention and minimal cost could have been utilized - Hundreds of trees like Gary oaks and Sequoias could have been rescued and transplanted - perhaps within the Village. The existing border of of large second growth trees could be left standing with sufficient buffer zones to ensure safety. High density lower cost housing could be concentrated in the center of the property, providing a much needed alternative in housing styles. Land that is very suited for agriculture could have been preserved and utilized to provide an income and/or food supply for Cumberland residents.

I attended many of the meetings hosted by the current owners and developers and expressed these thoughts both verbally and in writing. As with many of us, I have a very busy life and am often not in Cumberland. My partner and I have both had to travel outside of Cumberland to work at certain times of the year so we did not actively pursue a campaign to oppose this development.

I do regret not doing so, seeing the results and the disruption of our neighborhood over the past 18 months. Although the Carlisle Lane owners have taken "appropriate steps" and due process to develop this property, there are still deficiencies and inefficiencies. My partner is very knowledgeable in regards to construction practices and we have watched in dismay as resources have been wasted and mismanaged as this property is cleared.

Opinion - Letters

backyard-chickensThere are many chickens in the backyards of Cumberland, and have been for many years.  Whilst not strictly legal, a blind eye has been turned whilst towns and cities all over the world have caught up to what Cumberland has known for so long - backyard chickens have many benefits and few issues. 

But the blind eye is being opened, and enforcement of Cumberland's animal bylaw is now beginning to happen. If you are one of Cumberland's quiet chicken keepers, you need to come speak at the Village Hall meeting on May 6th, otherwise there is the ever increasing chance that death may come a-knocking for those chickens. 

Council has a petition with over 400 signatures supporting chickens on village lots.  However, the other side of the argument is embodied in a staff report that firmly recommends against chickens.  This website feels strongly that chickens are a welcome addition to backyards and that the Village's report needs to be looked at carefully and challenged on the basis of the available evidence. 

The Village report can be read here and concludes: 

"Though there are a few notable benefits to allowing backyard chickens, the risk of conflict from dangerous animals, health issues, enforcement issues and nuisance complaints seem to outweigh these advantages. Cities that allow for chickens do not allow them on smaller lots."

There are now many examples of cities worldwide that allow chickens.  A survey of these is useful for understanding how they have dealt with the issues raised, but what really needs to be considered is an example of a small village with nearby predator habitat, as arguments about bears and cougars are less relevant in large downtowns.  The best example is probably Rossland, BC, a city in the Kootenay Region with about 3,500 residents, which allowed chickens in 2011 and now has an active backyard chicken community sharing knowledge and understanding (and doubtless sharing eggs too).  Our nearby neighbour Gibsons, BC, allows chickens and has no bylaws relating to them. It is a non-issue. Nanaimo has allowed them since 2010.

Opinion - Editorial

Richard Drake writes...I have been a resident in the village of Cumberland for approximately 10 years. One of the reasons I came here was because of the inclusive nature of the last OCP, which was just wrapping up when I arrived.

The word got out around the province that Cumberland was not only an interesting place to live, but unlike many other places, cared about its heritage enough to be one of the few remaining intact historical towns/villages in BC. This was partly a function of what was contained in the OCP. In fact, out of the many young families who have been moving here, a number of them chose to come here, not because we had fantastic employment opportunities, but because we have a very good quality of life. For instance although many of us to drive, maybe too much, I can walk downtown, and get just about any thing I want from municipal services, businesses, entertainment, medical care, library, and just about anything else I might want.

I am very glad you included "Quality of Life" in one of the measurements of our new draft OCP. A livable community attracts people who want to contribute to where they live. A good quality of life goes hand-in-hand with a vibrant economic climate. There are minimal drains on social services, police etc. You could do well to draw on a significant work done through the Livable Communities organizations that came into being all over BC in the early 1990s. Mayor Ashley of Campbell River made a substantial contribution to this. Although this movement is long gone, we could study their conclusions, objectives, and those things that were implemented, without reinventing the wheel.

Opinion - Letters

Cumberland's tentative agreement with Comox-Strathcona Waste Management - see this local news article - shows that the change in the wind that blew through Cumberland Council at last year's election is bringing a fresh approach to amenity negotiations. If approved, the agreement means up to $3m for Bevan Road repairs and $300,000 annually for 20 years.  That's a total of $9m, which, coincidentally, is the exactly double the amount previous councils and staff negotiated for the entire Trilogy Development, a much larger and more profitable enterprise.  The Trilogy agreement was arranged by a professional negotiation consultant, at considerable expense; it appears that this landfill agreement is the result of the hard work of a capable staff backed up by a strong but flexible position from Council.

Opinion - Editorial

More Articles...

Page 1 of 4