Cumberland’s population could double in the next 15 years. Photo by Scott Strasser

Cumberland looks ahead to the future

What will the Village of Cumberland look like in 25 years?

That was the question on the minds of council members, staff, and gallery attendees at the Village’s Nov. 27 council meeting during a presentation on Cumberland’s future space and staffing requirements.

According to the Village’s Official Community Plan, Cumberland’s population could reach 8,500 people by 2030. With its number of residents expected to more than double in the next 15 years, existing infrastructure is going to be inadequate and demand for public services will grow.

Read More: Cumberland getting bigger and younger.

With these things in mind, the Village commissioned Stirling Rothesay Consulting Inc. to perform a “Facility Master Plan and Space Needs Assessment” of Cumberland’s public services and facilities. Stirling Rothesay director James Makaruk presented the findings to council on Nov. 27.

The assessment focused on the Village’s administrative offices, council chambers, recreation centre, fire hall and the Cumberland Museum and Archives. The assessment summarized the overall condition of each of the existing facilities and documented their deficiencies.

The report confirms that almost all of the Village’s facilities are too small for Cumberland’s long-term projected growth. Ultimately, Stirling Rothesay’s report suggests a multi-year phasing strategy from 2018–33 that would see upgrades and renovations to — or entire replacements of — existing facilities. The assessment also recommends the creation of a new public works yard, which would house the municipality’s vehicles and other equipment.

One thing that stoked councillors’ concerns was Stirling Rothesay’s recommendation that the Village spend $500,000 on a 20-acre lot for the eventual construction of a public works yard. This was put in “phase one” of the consultants’ report, meaning it is something they feel the Village should consider doing as early as 2018–19.

The public works yard itself would not need to be built until phase four, according to the consultants, which is set for 2023–24.

“With regards to public works, they clearly need a new facility and yard,” said Makaruk. “Their requirement for space is going to be five times what they currently have.”

But after the presentation, councillors deliberated where the funding for the land purchase would come from.

“It’s hard to be thinking so far ahead when our number one focus right now is the fire hall, and it seems like that alone is going to be quite a challenge to come up with the funding,” said councillor Gwyn Sproule.

Read More: Cumberland council approves conceptual design for new fire hall.

In phase three, (2021–22) the assessment recommends converting Cumberland’s existing fire hall — which is set to be replaced in the next few years — into a new space for council chambers. The facility that currently houses council chambers would be renovated and added to the administrative office to make room for more staff.

Later phases of the plan (scheduled for the mid-to-late-2020s) would include the construction of a new 23,000 square-foot civic centre to replace the existing council chambers, administrative offices, and Cumberland Museum and Archives.

The total order-of-magnitude, Class D estimates for the cost of all of the hypothetical projects and upgrades is estimated at $37,953,088 in current dollars, with a 25 per cent contingency.

After 10 minutes of discussion following the presentation, council members agreed to approve the assessment, as it does not mean committing to any expenditures.

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