Cumberland Q&As

Village of Cumberland: Council candidates - answers

  • Nov. 3, 2014 3:00 p.m.

2014 Municipal Election

VILLAGE OF CUMBERLAND CANDIDATES

Each candidate was emailed a slate of questions and asked to respond with a yes or no answer. They were also offered the option of expanding on their answers, which they were informed would be posted unedited here.

Candidates were given sufficient time to respond.

We asked the public to submit questions to us that they wanted us to ask the candidates. In no way do the ones that were selected represent all the issues and may not necessarily be the most important to the reader.

Voting is important and this year we are electing candidates to a 4-year term. It’s vital that you use all resources to help you make the right voting decision whether that’s reading our publications, contacting candidates directly, attending debates or using social media.

We would like to thank the public for your input and appreciate the candidates’ candid response to this format.

 

Is the improvement of roadway infrastructure a priority?

 

 

Colin Failler

Yes. I believe the priority is to improve the infrastructure beneath the roadway. Resurfacing the roadway is just covering the problem. Recently several leaks in the water delivery system have needed repair. The current solution is to dig, repair the specific problem and fill and patch. This just causes the leak to move along the line to the next weak point. We need to push forward with portions of the OCP to improve the entire system and begin looking at a solution to greater problem.

Roger Kishi

These questions deserve more than a yes or no answer, as they are complex issues. Asking for a yes or no answer limits discussion and is a poor process for engaging voters.

Yes. I support the plans that have been put in place in regards to our roads, water and storm drainage system. The Village now has a Roads Infrastructure Strategy that takes into consideration what is under the paved road surface, because it makes better sense to address all the infrastructure issues at once in a section, than to have to go back and dig again. The process is underway to upgrade Cumberland & Bevan Roads, as part of the Host Community Agreement for the Waste Management Centre (dump).

Steven Royer

Yes. According to the OCP, Official Community Plan, the work is on schedule for one block a year. The 100 year old drain pipes and sewer pipes

are being removed and disposed and new ones installed. This takes time and extra money. We need to increase more than one block per year!

Gwyn Sproule

Yes. The Village of Cumberland has a plan to repair one block of infrastructure per year, which includes the pipes under the road and road surface. This has been happening for a few years already. The cost to resurface all the roads at once is prohibitive. There are no grants from upper levels of government for this.

 

 

 

Would you be in favour of tax incentives in order to attract more industrial/commercial business to the village?

 

 

Colin Failler

Yes. Big business is welcome in Cumberland. Employ the local population and everyone prospers. Each Company that is interested in bringing their business to the area would be evaluated as to their individual merits and what they can bring to the area and how the Village and its residents will benefit and if there is any detrimental effect to the local environment.

Roger Kishi

These questions deserve more than a yes or no answer, as they are complex issues. Asking for a yes or no answer limits discussion and is a poor process for engaging voters.

Yes. There are several options that local government have as a result of zoning and development costs. I would be supportive of looking at these if there is benefit to Cumberland. I would not be supportive of the waiving of future property taxes.

Steven Royer

Yes. If we keep the industrial/commercial section over the by pass of Cumberland, (example is Slegg Lumber yard) and leave the retail and small businesses to remain in the core of the Dunsmuir Ave, the Villagers would benefit. We need the historical and small village theme downtown, but increase development for commercial and industrial businesses on the other side of the bypass. Location, location, location! With an increase in growth of industrial commercial businesses, the Village of Cumberland’s revenue would increase allowing tax incentives to enable growth of large commercial business as well as giving support to the retail core.

Gwyn Sproule

Yes. The Village gave a DCC exemption to Commercial lands for two years in order to encourage commercial development but there were no takers. It may be worth doing this again when the markets pick up.

 

 

 

Should residents be allowed to “opt out” of the current garbage collection policies if the service is not used (saving $300 per year)?

 

Colin Failler

No. This would set a dangerous precedence of “opting out” of other policies. Water, liquid waste management, public schools among others.

Roger Kishi

These questions deserve more than a yes or no answer, as they are complex issues. Asking for a yes or no answer limits discussion and is a poor process for engaging voters.

No. I would not support “opting out”. Cumberland’s solid waste utility fee is $93.60/ year, which works out to $0.26/ day. These rates have held steady the past few years. I consider this public service to be a “public good” that provides service to all households at a reasonable cost. Allowing “opting out” will increase the cost because of lower revenue, and not be financially or physically accessible to lesser advantaged Cumberland residents.

Steven Royer

No. This would be bad news for all Villagers. It would attract more wild animals like bears, racoons, and cougars. My neighbour gets a visitor (bear) every other day and our garbage gets picked up every two weeks. If this came into effect, the Villagers would keep their garbage longer and delay trips to the dump because they get charged a $10.00 fee per visit. It’s not going to work! Illegal dumping would also increase!

Gwyn Sproule

No. A munipality is a place where services are shared in order to achieve economies. It would not be feasible, in fact impossible, for people to opt out of water, sewage or garbage. In the rural areas, outside municipal areas people can choose what services to partake in.

 

 

 

Would you support tax deferrals or other incentive to encourage densification via secondary suites?

 

Colin Failler

No. Current population density in certain areas (ie, Kendall and Rydal Ave) cause problems with parking, pedestrian safety and traffic flow. Increasing the density in other areas of Cumberland would not be appropriate for similar reasons.

Roger Kishi

These questions deserve more than a yes or no answer, as they are complex issues. Asking for a yes or no answer limits discussion and is a poor process for engaging voters.

Yes. We need to encourage measures to enhance the stock of affordable housing, and I believe that Cumberland could work on our own ideas/ solutions. Councils have the ability through zoning and development cost charges to encourage affordable housing if the benefit to the community is clearly demonstrated. I am not in favour of the deferral of future property taxes.

Steven Royer

No. In the specific areas, where there are secondary suites, I have observed that roughly 3 cars are parked on the road side per house. This increases congestion.

If the landlords are getting extra revenue for the rental suites, why should they get tax deferrals, when increase in population causes more maintenance expenses for the tax payers. These tax payers would include individual owners with no tenants. However, we must keep in mind, if a landlord does not live in the house with the suite he receives no grant deduction.

Gwyn Sproule

N/A here. Although Cumberland already permits secondary suites. People who want more densification will do so in order to make money so do not need incentives.

 

 

 

Are you in favour of tax incentives for businesses to address vitalization of the downtown core?

 

Colin Failler

Yes. Local businesses are vital to the Village. I would encourage discussion about a viable incentive acceptable to businesses and residents alike.

Roger Kishi

These questions deserve more than a yes or no answer, as they are complex issues. Asking for a yes or no answer limits discussion and is a poor process for engaging voters.

Yes. There are several options that local government have as a result of zoning and development costs. I would be supportive of looking at these if there is benefit to Cumberland. I would not be supportive of the waiving of future property taxes.

Steven Royer

Yes. Due to small population in Cumberland, its hard enough for the business to survive. They heavily rely on events and tourism. A solution would be to support a downtown business incentive group that could take care of the downtown core.

Gwyn Sproule

Yes. It depends on what you mean by revitalisation. What would the businesses use the tax incentive for?

 

 

 

Do you support amalgamation of Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland?

 

Colin Failler

No. The FOUR areas involved, my Comox Valley includes the CVRD, are too different at this time. I believe amalgamation would leave many residents out of important decisions.

Roger Kishi

These questions deserve more than a yes or no answer, as they are complex issues. Asking for a yes or no answer limits discussion and is a poor process for engaging voters.

No. I believe that there are little benefits for Cumberland. We would be “swallowed up” by the Big Council/ Board. That is already quite common at the CVRD. Saying that though, I am in favour of discussions in regards to shared services.

Steven Royer

No. At present, Cumberland’s population is divided into two majority age groups, one being under 30 years of age and one being over 60 years of age(this is from the information provided by the Cumberland Cemetery master plan of August 7, 2014).  As the elders move on, the new generation may consider expanding to join with the other two communities. As I am writing this, Comox and Courtenay just got a notice that they have to boil their water, but up here in the 400ft above sea level elevation, we do not! Need I say more? When the Villagers are ready they will let their representative know.

Gwyn Sproule

No. Absolutely not. Cumberland is independent in all its systems, water, sewage, planning. We would get nothing if we were part of a larger municipality. Also it would likely cost a lot more.

 

 

 

Should the board for the publicly-funded Comox Valley Economic Development Society be elected by the public?

 

Colin Failler

No. The current system of elected and appointed members offers a broad range of view points and experiences. I would be open to examining the potential of solely elected or appointed board if there is suitable interest.

Roger Kishi

These questions deserve more than a yes or no answer, as they are complex issues. Asking for a yes or no answer limits discussion and is a poor process for engaging voters.

Yes. In a way, it already partially is through the local government representation on the Board. There needs to be more transparency and accountability for the public funds that are directed to CVEDS. I am not satisfied with economic development in the Comox Valley, there needs to be more diversity and innovation. I am frustrated that advocacy for this by Cumberland is often put to the bottom of the priority list. Cumberland’s developable land on Bevan Road is a huge opportunity for new jobs in the Comox Valley. I am in favour of either changing the way that CVEDS operates, or replacing it.

Steven Royer

Yes. Of Course! Any time your using the tax payers money, which I consider trust money, we should present it to the public for voting.

Gwyn Sproule

No. CVEDs is funded through a contract with the Comox Valley Regional District. In a way, it is the public that chooses to fund EDS. It is the elected representatives at the RD Board who make the decision to renew the contract or not. Some areas, such as Denman and Hornby Island,  have chosen to opt out of the Function and do their own Economic Development. It is ultimately the public who chooses.

 

 

 

Would you support an increase in property taxes in order to assist in the homelessness situation in the Comox Valley?

 

Colin Failler

No. Homelessness is a problem that cannot be solved just by increased funding. Marginalized individuals have problems that go beyond financial issues such as mental and physical health problems, drug and alcohol addiction issues and complex care issues. Further research into what the homeless needs are in the Valley and what their desires are, is required before funding is allocated to such a complex range of problems.

Roger Kishi

These questions deserve more than a yes or no answer, as they are complex issues. Asking for a yes or no answer limits discussion and is a poor process for engaging voters.

Yes. The non- binding referendum question will indicate the willingness of residents to deal with the affordable housing/ homeless issue(s) in the Comox Valley. There is a spectrum of housing that will bring solutions to this issue, emergency shelters, supportive housing, transitional housing, subsidized housing, rental housing, and home ownership. The costs of doing nothing are upon us everyday, and prevention is an investment in a healthy and sustainable community.

Steven Royer

Yes. According to a recent council meeting, Cumberland does not have a homeless problem. But during this local election, the voters will be asked as a survey only: option 1. 0$ /$300,000.00 option 2. $5.00/$300,000  or option 3. $10.00/$300,000.00. I would pick option 2. An example is, if Cumberland has an earthquake or a devastating incident, we could have numerous residents that become homeless, and Courtenay and Comox would, hopefully come to our aid. If we decline to any increase, we may not get assistance from our neighbouring communities that have paid their increase? Therefore this is why I would not pick option 1. Bottom line, each community needs to work with each other in times of need. I hope our village will assist the Courtenay and Comox residents if they are in need as well.

Gwyn Sproule

I would only support a levy if it was directly involved in resolving some of the problems of homelessness. I do not support more money for studies on the topic.

 

 

 

Are housing solutions solely a municipal responsibility?

 

Colin Failler

No. Housing solutions are shared at all levels, Individual, Municipal, Provincial and Federal. All citizens have the right to housing appropriate to their needs and wants.

Roger Kishi

These questions deserve more than a yes or no answer, as they are complex issues. Asking for a yes or no answer limits discussion and is a poor process for engaging voters.

No. Local government can have an influence through zoning and development costs, but there needs to be coordinated efforts for the provision of affordable housing by federal, provincial & local governments (multiple ministries/ departments), developers and for & non profit agencies.

A worsening current issue is the expiry of operating agreements that affordable housing provider’s are facing. These are the agreements that housing providers have with federal and provincial governments that provide the housing subsidy for low income tenants. The loss of these subsidies means that the housing provider must cover all of their costs through the rent collected, resulting in increased rents to those who can not afford that. For more info:  HYPERLINK “http://bit.ly/1wN7xRr”bit.ly/1wN7xRr

Steven Royer

No. We never know what the provincial government or federal government will impose on us. If we require to aid housing projects for people that come from out of our village by higher sources, our local resident’s taxes will increase in order to provide housing. We are already struggling to cover costs for infrastructure in our village and if we have an increase in low income housing expense, do our tax payers need to be responsible for covering the cost of these expenses for housing solutions? No!

Gwyn Sproule

No.  There should be assistance from upper levels of government.

 

 

 

 

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