The Village of Cumberland was left out of a regional parks plan in the 1970s, and council is still a little wary of calls for a renewed regional system.
At the Feb. 8 meeting, council members were not rejecting the idea of the plan, but they wanted more details about what it would mean for the village. They went so far as to permit staff to help prepare a regional report, though they did not want to go beyond this level of commitment for now.
The current system for the Comox Valley Regional District, in fact, only covers the incorporated electoral areas, not the municipal members. However, the CVRD board is looking into revitalizing a broader regional system for the whole area, one that might incorporate features to link different areas.
One of the concerns among Cumberland council members is that the community already puts resources into its local green spaces, ones often used by other residents of the Comox Valley.
“I feel personally that we already have our hands full,” said Coun. Gwyn Sproule. “I don’t feel that there’s a big hurry to get on with this.”
Kevin McPhedran, the village’s manager of parks and recreation, presented the issues for council to consider, specifically whether to support a background study as well as looking at expediting the process — which would mean the service would be established while the region works through the study, which would set out the broad intentions of what the regional service would be.
The CVRD informed the village last month of plans to consider a broad regional parks service after its board had voted in December to fund a study.
While council did not commit to expediting the process now, members supported a motion for village staff to participate in the study to get more information about what the service means and make sure village interests are considered in the process.
“I have no problem looking at the background,” Mayor Leslie Baird said. “I think that it’s worth investigating.”
At present, rural areas of the Comox Valley Regional District have 61 parks, along with more than 25 marked beach access areas, according to the CVRD website.