Cumberland council will soon discuss how to best spend an additional $300,000 per year, according to Mayor Leslie Baird.
The host community agreement, now signed off on by Cumberland and the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), was created to compensate Cumberland due to the Comox Valley waste management centre (formerly known as Pidgeon Lake Landfill) being within its municipal boundaries.
According to the agreement, Cumberland can expect $300,000 per year for the duration of the 20-year agreement, plus $3 million for a one-time upgrade to the Cumberland/Bevan road corridor leading to the landfill.
Baird says Cumberland council will likely hold a special meeting in August to discuss what the $300,000 per year could go toward.
“It’s going to be really interesting to listen to each member of council because I’m sure they have all their passion of what they believe the money should be spent on, so it’s going to be the five of us working together to come up with it,” says Baird, noting she’s looking forward to hearing Village staff ideas as well.
She notes Coun. Gwyn Sproule is away on vacation, but as soon as she’s back a meeting date will be set, and that meeting will be open to the public.
Coun. Roger Kishi, who represents Cumberland on the Comox-Strathcona Waste Management Board, says the $300,000 per year is designed to “compensate the Village for social, environmental and economic impact.
“So, we have some pretty broad areas that the Village can consider to put the funds towards,” he continues, pointing out council has not talked about how to spend the money at all yet.
However, Baird and Kishi both note the Village is working on a number of important projects, like the new fire hall project and the Village Park renewal project.
Kishi also points out council has talked, a few times over the past year, about the need to increase its reserve funds.
Both say they look forward to council’s upcoming discussion on the matter, and are happy with the amount of compensation Cumberland will receive thanks to the agreement.
“For a long time the Village has felt that there should be some kind of compensation to the Village for the effect of having the waste management centre within our boundaries,” says Kishi, noting he believes the agreement is fair to both parties. “It’s not everything that we asked for and it’s not everything that Regional District wanted either, and it truly was a negotiated agreement that had been going on for several months.”
Baird is delighted about the $3 million coming to fix the Cumberland/Bevan road corridor.
“I’m really excited about the roadway being done, the $3 million, because we would not have been able to do that with the present way our funding is,” she says, noting the road is certainly in need of upgrades.
“Especially around where the wetlands are, and that (wetland) stopped us from having bike lanes there because of it — and with this work we should be able to look at the possibility of bike lanes.
“If we can get that (bike lanes), it would be really nice.”
According to the agreement, geotechnical and subsurface surveys are expected this year, design is expected in 2014, and construction is expected in 2015 and 2016.
Kishi notes the planned waste management centre expansion is set to start in 2017.
Though the waste management centre will expand, Kishi notes the waste management board is still discussing long term options to deal with waste, such as waste to energy options. But the 20-year agreement would still be justified.
“Even with waste to energy, you know, the most common way of doing it is incineration, where you just burn it up, but even with incineration you’re still left with residual ash and that ash needs to go somewhere,” Kishi says as an example.