Cumberland councillor disgruntled about way new development introduced

Cumberland Coun. Leslie Baird is disappointed with John Evans' recent promotion of the CAYET development at the junction of the Inland Island Highway and Comox Valley Parkway.

Cumberland Coun. Leslie Baird is disappointed with John Evans’ recent promotion of the CAYET development at the junction of the Inland Island Highway and Comox Valley Parkway.

Baird, a proud Cumberlander, feels the Trilogy president/CEO should be promoting the entire Village — considering the project falls within Cumberland’s boundaries — not just one corner of the project, or a “whole new town.”

Council agreed Tuesday to forward a letter to Evans expressing its disappointment in the manner in which he promoted the project at his presentation at North Island College.

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Cumberland resident Grace Doherty is concerned about potable water at CAYET.

While other developers have been subject to a moratorium on new water connections, Doherty points out council granted an exemption for Lot 5. She also notes council delayed a million-dollar amenity payment and waived DCC’s for commercial development for two years.

“I can’t share your excitement about tax relief and fixing our aging infrastructure just yet, Mayor (Fred) Bates,” she states in an open letter to council.

Doherty also criticized council for passing a bylaw allowing drive-throughs on portions of CAYET, at a time when some communities are limiting or prohibiting them.

“The majority of you, Cumberland council, have worked hard over several years to push through every concession asked for by this realty company, rebutting any questioning or skepticism from councillors or members of the public as ‘anti-development’.”

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Council voted to have three test holes drilled south of the Village to explore an alternative groundwater well. The work — which will cost about $35,000 to perform over a week — will help determine the sufficiency of aquifer materials, and the quantity and quality of groundwater.

“We may do the work and come out with nothing,” said hydrogeologist Rick Guiton of Guiton Environmental Consulting.

The Village retained the company to review hydrogeological information provided by consultants for two wells proposed by Coal Valley Estates and Trilogy. Village engineer Bob Hoffstrom said it is difficult to suggest if either well is suitable as a supplementary water supply, based on available information.

Earlier in the year, council authorized Village staff to work with the regional district towards adopting a regional water supply strategy that includes Cumberland as a stakeholder. Groundwater is to be included as a supplementary source during the interim.

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The province has approved a $186,334 grant application for the second phase of the lagoon upgrading project, which includes a new pump at the lagoon lift station and a new aerator. Construction is scheduled for later in the year.

“Our government welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts in addressing important issues such as climate change and the overall health, sustainability and livability of the Village of Cumberland,” Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong states in a letter to council.

The money comes from the government’s Towns for Tomorrow program.

Last week, Bates and Comox Valley MLA Don McRae announced the $612,000 sewage lagoon project, which includes a concrete channel, screens and grinder assembly to the headworks of the sewage treatment system.

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Council approved borrowing $1.8 million over a 20-year term from the Municipal Finance Authority, as through a sewer, water and drainage improvement bylaw. The 20-year term requires an additional $54 per household.

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A committee of the whole meeting has been scheduled for Monday. The agenda will include discussion about long-term operations at Cumberland Lake Park.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com