Cumberland council has directed village staff to formalize a final draft of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the community’s business association.
They passed the motion at the Oct. 12 meeting following a presentation by a delegation from the Cumberland Business Association (CBA) earlier in the meeting.
Council did have questions about issues to include in the MOU, such as any funding commitments.
“We have not really outlined what our roles and responsibilities are,” said Coun. Jesse Ketler said.
Earlier in the meeting, the delegation updated council on the CBA’s application for a THRIVE grant for a project proposed for downtown Cumberland. The organization had previously sent a letter to council.
At the meeting, the CBA’s Kathryn West provided more details about what they have planned if they get a THRIVE Beautification Grant through Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), which could provide 100 per cent of funding up to $50,000. Funding could cover capital costs, landscaping, construction, installation or other expenses such as printing for information on site.
The project includes components around a public amenity area and design concepts such as murals, which artists themselves would maintain or touch up. Another plan is to refurbish benches with historic plaques.
“It’s a celebration of Cumberland’s history and future,” she told council. “It provides a gateway to downtown.”
West described the area in question as a “parklet.” It would be centred at the intersection of Dunsmuir and 2nd Avenue, with bump-out or extended sidewalk sections on the corners.
While the project, if it gets funding, is to be “shovel-ready,” work including the mural would not likely start until next spring.
“It has to dry. We need the right weather conditions,” West said.
Council had questions about the effect on parking spots in the area, especially in light of plans for new building at the current site of the Cumberland Hotel. West responded that the space would amount to about four spots, though she noted the plan was to orient the sidewalk extensions on 2nd rather than Dunsmuir. One reason was to keep businesses from having to apply for patio permits every year.
At the end of the discussion, council approved a motion to direct staff to meet with the CBA on next steps for the project.
As part of the process, the CBA has been working with people in the community such as artists, the museum and archives, the community schools, K’ómoks First Nation, Rotarians and others, as well as the village. While the CBA had been working on projects for longer, the organization, which represents more than 100 small businesses, officially celebrated its first anniversary in July.
“I can’t state enough how important it is to have a thriving business community in our little village,” Coun. Vickey Brown said.