Opinion

EDITORIAL: Compensation fair for dumping on Cumberland

For some time it has been apparent that Cumberland is tired of being dumped on by the rest of the Comox Valley.

Literally.

Garbage from the rest of the Valley has been deposited at the Pidgeon Lake Landfill in the village for years.

Now that Campbell River’s landfill is nearly full and, with its Comox Valley counterpart not far behind, regional officials had to act.

After considering several options, the choice was made to build a new facility — in Cumberland — with the capacity to handle trash from the Valley and Campbell River for at least 20 years.

Except it would leave Cumberland holding the bag — and whatever other unwanted items would be sent its way.

Wisely stealing a good idea, the Comox Strathcona waste management service (CSWM) and the Village of Cumberland have struck a host community agreement that has worked well in other jurisdictions.

Pending the outcome of an alternative approval process, the CSWM will compensate the Village $300,000 per year for 20 years. The money would come from tipping fees at the landfill, although that sounds like a lot of tipping fees.

In addition, a maximum $3 million will be available to upgrade the Cumberland/Bevan Road corridor to accommodate vehicles accessing the dump for the length of the agreement.

That’s fair because, as Mayor Leslie Baird notes, traffic to and from the landfill has helped to deteriorate Cumberland’s roadways.

The money for the capital expense will come from taxes, about $3.50 on a home assessed at $350,000 in 2013. The amount would go up in each subsequent year until the full amount is borrowed.

The deal fairly compensates Cumberland and establishes a home for the region’s waste for 20 years, but the CSWM needs approval for it from beleaguered taxpayers.

With this and skyrocketing sewer charges looming, development-happy politicians and municipal staff should pause before adding to an already-heavy infrastructure burden for Comox Valley taxpayers.

editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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