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Cumberland revisiting its official community plan

By SCOTT STANFIELD
February 7, 2013 · 5:09 PM
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A WORKING GROUP brainstorms at an Official Community Plan review meeting Wednesday at the Cumberland Seniors Centre. / Scott Stanfield

About 20 people attended a revision session of the 2004 Cumberland Official Community Plan — considered the overarching tool to guide municipal decision-making — Wednesday at the Seniors Centre.

An OCP is a provincially mandated document that defines a community's long-term vision in terms of land use, infrastructure, the environment and other topics. A review/revision session aims to maintain what worked from the previous OCP while considering 2013 and beyond.

"It has its challenges," Coun. Roger Kishi said of the process. "It's not perfect."

Key issues identified Wednesday include:

• Availability of locally grown food;

• Developing a healthy community;

• Maintenance and preservation of the Village's independent water source;

• Sustainable economic development;

• Municipal encouragement for alternative energy solutions through bylaws.

New development pressures along with increasing tourism and pressure for recreational development are among new challenges and opportunities for Cumberland.

The village is considerably young compared to the entire Comox Valley, which has fewer children and a greater number of people more than 50 years old than Cumberland does.

The median age in Cumberland is 38. In the Valley as a whole, it's nearly 54. The median age for B.C. is just under 42 years.

A quarter of Cumberland's population is 19 and younger. Sixty-two per cent of village residents over the age of 20 are married or living with a common-law partner.

Cumberland's population grew from 2,726 in 2006 to 3,398 in 2011. It is forecast to reach 3,692 by the end of the year.

Council has approved a steering committee to guide the final stages of the OCP. The committee consists of Village CAO Sundance Topham, senior planner Judith Walker, a technical staff person and a planner from the Comox Valley Regional District.

There is also an OCP Local Citizen Advisory Group, formed to advise Village staff and Stantec Consulting on the strengths and areas to improve upon the 2004 OCP.

The Village expects to have the document revised in October.

Another eight community engagements are scheduled before council adopts the OCP in November.

Residents can provide input via PlaceSpeak at www.placespeak.com/cumberlandocp. Registration is free.

For more information, visit cumberland.ca.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com