The Village of Cumberland expects to have a draft plan for industrial land along Bevan Road early in the new year.
Kaelin Chambers, the economic development coordinator, updated council on the proposed development of the site at the Dec. 9 meeting, saying the next step is to put together a draft plan.
“In the new year, we will be inviting council back to have another look,” he said.
The Bevan Road area represents a large piece of the potential land available for industry not only in Cumberland but the Comox Valley.
“We’ve been waiting many, many years for this come forward,” Mayor Leslie Baird said.
Talk of developing the site has grown alongside a proposal from applicants at Acciano Development, doing business as Tree Island Yogurt, which plans to move operations from the Royston area to a large site in the Bevan Road area. They had applied for development and variance permits for Bevan Road. This is, however, only part of the plan, as they wish to develop a subdivision for industrial land.
“They’ve been getting a lot of interest and demand from local industries … looking for industrial land,” Chambers said. “They came to us and said to us, ‘We’d be interested in partnering.”
In October, the Village hosted a workshop to discus the future of the Bevan Road and how it could take shape.
“It’s an opportunity to open the door and share and hear the values of all the other stakeholders in our community,” Chambers said.
In all, 20 people attended the workshop, with representation from local government, business and industry, environmental organizations, community groups and others.
“For us, it’s an opportunity for the community both in our municipality and in our region to share some of our values and expectations of what we’d like to see on those lands, particularly parks and green spaces, and connectivity infrastructure,” Chambers said.
The process, however, is a planning exercise rather than a formal agreement and does not come with any requirements for the Village.
“This is simply a tool for us to explore the idea,” Chambers said.
Still, he underscored the importance of the site, as it represents the majority of potential industrial land available in the Comox Valley.
“We have 84 per cent of all the remaining industrial land in the Valley,” he said. “There is real substantial interest in growth.”
Market research, he says, estimates the area could need as little as four acres of industrial land growth per year to as much as nine. He added that the process has involved policy reviews as well as communication with partners like the regional district or the Comox Valley Economic Development. Chambers’ report to council examines the site from a number of perspectives, including market assessments, infrastructure and servicing, environmental attributes, the official community plan and zoning, along with examples of other communities’ industrial development areas.