Most of Cumberland council approves move toward regional water strategy

With the exception of Kate Greening, Cumberland council voted to work with the regional district towards adopting a regional water strategy that would include the Village as a stakeholder.

With the exception of Kate Greening, Cumberland council voted to work with the regional district towards adopting a regional water strategy that would include the Village as a stakeholder. The 4-1 vote called for the development of a governance model “to our satisfaction,” as moved by Coun. Leslie Baird. “I think that’s really important,” said Baird, who has issues with the present system but recognizes the lack of viable long-term options. “I think it has to be on our terms to some degree.”Cumberland faces two issues with the community water supply.A new Vancouver Island Health Authority treatment policy dubbed 4,3,2,1 mandates that filtration and dual disinfection, or chlorination, be added to the treatment system. Costs of the added treatment will have a “significant financial impact on the residences and businesses of Cumberland,” engineer Bob Hoffstrom states in a report to council. The other issue is water demand, which Hoffstrom said is close to or at storage capacity provided by dams. He outlines three options for resolving these issues, the cheapest of which involves connecting to a regional supply such as the R1 option outlined in the draft Comox Valley Regional Water Supply Strategy report. Another option (R5) with a deep-water intake at the Cumberland side of Comox Lake “could prove to be more economically attractive,” Hoffstrom states. “Either regional option could be suitable as a long-range water supply strategy for Cumberland.”Greening is concerned about costs of the 4,3,2,1 policy, and takes issue with the April 5 date of the draft report. • • •Council unanimously agreed to accept an invitation from the CVRD to participate in a joint funding application for a proposed south regional sewage treatment and disposal system. Participation is conditional upon a Liquid Waste Management Plan Stage 2 report. The grant application deadline is April 29.Hoffstrom notes Cumberland’s borrowing capacity is less than $7 million, which limits the Village’s ability to finance the project by itself. A joint application increases the likelihood of obtaining the grant.Cumberland’s sewage lagoon system discharges treated effluent to Maple Lake Creek, a tributary of Trent River. Effluent fails to meet provincial conditions. Hoffstrom outlined three options based on primary discharge locations, two local and one regional. The latter proposes to discharge raw sewage to treatment and disposal facilities to serve Cumberland, Royston and Union Bay. This option would also include the proposed Kensington and Sage Hills developments.   Coun. Bronco Moncrief considers the regional option a “win-win situation.”Coun. Gwyn Sproule, concerned about Cumberland bearing a significant share of the system, suggests looking at alternatives such as membrane and recoverable systems. • • •The Friends of Village Square Initiative — a name recognition program to celebrate a person or occasion — will be launched Tuesday at noon. Participants are invited to gift $500 to enhance the square by affixing a name to a marble paver in the park.  reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Comox Valley Record