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Cumberland residents meet with council in the great outdoors

Issues raised including Coal Valley development, parking, wastewater treatment
Mayor Leslie Baird takes a question during the recent Village Hall meeting, held outside. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Plans for wastewater treatment, Coal Valley Estates, parking and other issues were foremost on people’s minds during an outdoor meeting with Cumberland’s council, held the evening of July 20.

Council had cancelled one of its open-agenda Village Hall meetings in June due to coronavirus restrictions but decided to hold one this month outside.

Staff took registrations for attendance up to the morning of July 20, and based on the number of people, the Village ended up holding the meeting at the No. 6 Mine Memorial Park site. The Village wanted to adhere to meeting guidelines due to the pandemic restrictions.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland moves Village Hall meeting to July 20

Members of council, staff and the public sat in chairs on a warm night to talk about some of people’s top priorities. About 25 in all showed up for the discussion.

Former councillor and member of the Village’s advisory planning commission Roger Kishi wanted an update on plans for the wastewater treatment plant and what it could mean to nearby residents. He had been part of a delegation that spoke to council about the issue early in the year.

“We haven’t heard anything,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland residents hope to avoid Curtis Road-type wastewater dispute

Kishi also wanted to know whether the Village could again get watering bags to reduce stress on trees during dry periods in the summer.

Steve Morgan of the Cumberland Wetlands Working Group brought up the matter of wetlands and how they could be affected the next phase of Coal Valley Estates.

“The hydrology of that area is very complicated,” he said. “We want to express our concerns as homeowners.”

There were expectations Coal Valley Estates might have an update on development plans for a future phase at the next regular council meeting.

Mayor Leslie Baird agreed that wetlands in the area have long been a concern.

“It’s something that’s very near and dear to us,” she said.

There were a number of other issues raised during the course of the meeting:

  • A number of people asked about parking congestion in locations around town and whether the Village could stop the practice of allowing developers to pay in-lieu fees to reduce the number of spots they need to provide.
  • Some called for more signs around COVID-19 protocols, especially with visitors still coming to the community.
  • One person called for portable toilets for local parks through the busier months during the tourist season, and also raised concerns about policies around smoking in public places.
  • A long-time resident expressed frustration with too many bike-riders riding through stop signs, saying he saw one almost run into a truck recently. He also wanted to know about water use by bikes at sani-stations and why visitors are not charged.
  • One concern raised was the number of visitors staying in the area at Airbnbs during the pandemic and whether the Village had any bylaws governing short-term rentals.
  • Other questions raised included the progress on the industrial lands at Bevan Road, road construction surfacing problems, access to council documents through the Village website, more stations for people to dispose of dog feces and the amount of available commercial land the Village has.

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People sat spaced apart at the No. 6 Mine Memorial Park. Photo by Mike Chouinard