Cumberland council approves proposed regional sewer system

Cumberland Council gave unanimous approval Monday to the proposed South Regional Sewer System (SRSS) as the Village's preferred option for long-term sewage treatment and disposal.
The system, one of three options identified by the Liquid Waste Management Plan steering committee, would discharge effluent to a new plant proposed for the Union Bay area with outflow to the ocean.
The other options are year-round discharges to the Maple Lake Creek/Trent River system and a Rapid Infiltration Basin where effluent would be discharged into the ground.
Capital cost of the SRSS is $22 million. A 20-year borrowing term for 1,350 sewer connections is about $1,500 each, according to a report to council. 
A regional system would depend on government funding and the outcome of referendums in Royston and Union Bay.
Couns. Leslie Baird and Kate Greening expressed concern about costs. Greening is disappointed the committee did not look at Cumberland going it alone with respect to sewage treatment.
Mayor Fred Bates, referring to a recent Federation of Canadian Municipalities session, said communities with populations of fewer than 40,000 residents would not be able to afford sewer and water on their own.
Coun. Bronco Moncrief feels the Village has no choice but to support the staff recommendation, which suggests the SRSS is the "only viable financial option available." To go it alone would be reverting back to the "honeywagon" days, he claimed.
"All the bases have been touched," Moncrief said. "The numbers will be crunched as we go."
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The first-ever Car Free Sunday will be held Sept. 25 from 1 to 5 p.m. on designated routes in Cumberland. The event, also to be held in Comox and Courtenay, follows a recent visit from Gil Peñalosa, executive director of 8-80 Cities, who stressed the importance of designing people-friendly streets. As parks commissioner in Bogota, Colombia, Peñalosa initiated an event dubbed Ciclovia (cycle paths), which has been repeated worldwide.
Andrew Gower and the group Imagine Comox Valley has initiated the local event, which will promote cycling and "regain the streets for people," senior planner Judith Walker states in a report to council. Traffic control costs are estimated at about $1,500.
Council appointed Gwyn Sproule to be its representative for planning the event.
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Planner Joanne Rees was appointed chief election officer for the fall municipal election. Financial officer Michelle Mason will serve as deputy chief election officer. Council gave second reading to a bylaw to hold an advance vote Nov. 9 and a special voting opportunity Nov. 16 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Health Care Centre at Windermere Avenue.

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