Saturday, December 16, 2017
Opinion Editorial

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

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

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

Junction construction at the Peace Park

Like so many of us, I've had concerns about the 3rd Street / Cumberland Road junction, usually every time I go to pull out from 3rd after looking way back over my shoulder then hoping to have correctly judged the incoming, and often speeding, traffic.  I'm hoping that the investment in changes to the junction will make it easier and safer, but we walked past today and now I'm not so sure.

Opinion - Editorial

The New Year is always a chance to look back at the year past and forward to the next one. Cumberland Matters is not even six months old, our first article was published on July 4th, and we've been surprised and delighted at the reaction so far.  Thank you to everyone, we hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a Very Happy New Year.

So here's some facts and figures since that first item:

  • 109 articles published
  • 203 followers on our facebook page
  • 1,880 unique visitors made 4,650 visits and viewed 15,100 pages
  • 11 council meetings reported upon

Opinion - Editorial

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