The Foggy Mountain Fair on Dunsmuir Avenue in 2021. Cumberland is now looking at an overall plan for recreation, arts and culture in the community. Record file photo

The Foggy Mountain Fair on Dunsmuir Avenue in 2021. Cumberland is now looking at an overall plan for recreation, arts and culture in the community. Record file photo

Cumberland’s rec, arts and culture plan taking input soon

Staff expect recommendations and final report to be ready in summer

The Village of Cumberland will be going to the public soon for its vision of a master plan for recreation, arts and culture.

As the staff report says, the aim is to create an implementation plan to guide the village’s delivery of recreation, arts and cultural services for the next 10 years.

Manager of parks and recreation Kevin McPhedran updated council at a recent committee of the whole meeting about how the work will happen through much of 2022, adding the project was slightly behind due to COVID-related delays.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland looks at master plan for arts, culture

To start the process, council allocated $75,000 of COVID-19 Restart Grant funding. The work to put together a plan will be a four-stage process that started in late 2021 and will likely wind up in August.

“We’ve embarked on stage one … the data collection review,” McPhedran said.

The first phase has included awarding a contract to a consulting firm named hcma to lead the process. The firm partnered with GDH Solutions on the bid, following the village’s request for proposal period in the fall.

“We’re super-excited about the consultants that we’ve retained,” he said.

The early work involves taking an inventory of sites, documenting events and activities and looking at trends, demographics and best practices.

The second phase will involve engagement with the public though measures such as online surveys and open houses, as well as through workshops and interviews with the many stakeholders. These are to take place in February and March.

The third phase, planned for March through May, will include plan development and analysis of service delivery and infrastructure. The final phase, from May through August, will be coming up with recommendations and reviews toward delivering a final report in August.

Mayor Leslie Baird anticipates a lot of input from the public about its priorities.

“We have so many cultural events on in this community, and they’re all important for the development of this community,” she said.

The staff report notes the master plan will help support the advancement of the village’s economic development strategy in terms of using recreation, arts and culture as economic drivers.

“The arts community has an interest in the services that we provide,” McPhedran said.

Economic development officer Kaelin Chambers described the master plan as “important foundational piece that we need” in terms of meeting the village’s economic development strategy such as providing infrastructure and supports for local artists — for example, through a project like a bandshell. The process will help clarify what the community needs.

“From there, we can start to build on the economic development,” he said.

Council members were excited about the project, while Coun. Vickey Brown asked that the farmers’ market be included in the group of stakeholders.

Coun. Jesse Ketler asked about United Riders of Cumberland’s (UROC) role and whether their work will be integrated into the plan.

While the organization is a stakeholder in the village’s planning process, McPhedran said trail-planning will be left to UROC.

“It’s a rather large initiative unto itself,” he said. “It can distract from other really core pieces…. We didn’t want to be a trails master plan.”



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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