Yesterday I attended the All Candidates Forum focused on the Social Determinants of Health, hosted by Lush Valley Food Action Society, the Comox Valley Community Health Network, and Comox Valley Social Planning Society. At the forum, I was asked what my solutions are to some of the most intractable problems we face as a society - child poverty, homelessness, food security, climate change and addiction. I hope that what came across in my answers, above all else, is my compassion for anyone who is experiencing any of these issues.
These are not just Courtenay issues, either. Here in Cumberland, the Cumberland Community Schools Society through its food share program delivers about 60 boxes of healthy food to families and individuals going through tough times. I met “Steve” (not his real name) yesterday while I was dropping off some boxes. He thanked me for his box and told me, “Now, maybe I can get some gas. It’s gone up again, you know?”
It’s clear that this program is much needed in Cumberland. Ingrid tells me they can barely keep the little food shed on Penrith stocked - that’s how huge the demand is.
As a community, it’s important that we look after and help our neighbours if they are struggling. That’s why I’m asking everyone to come down today and support the CCSS by eating chilli. Beth and I will be defending our title as we serve up some delicious chilli as part of a fundraiser to benefit the Cumberland Community School Society and help restore the building that is home to Weird Church Cumberland, Adventure Daycare, and the Cumberland Food Share. Please come down and support this worthy cause, enjoy some live music and vote for your favourites.
I’ve been knocking on doors this week, and a comment I’ve gotten multiple times is “I watched the all candidates meeting and you all had similar answers, so what do YOU want to do?”
To be fair, many of the councillor positions are in broad agreement. We all want what is best for our community - and that means keeping it liveable, affordable, and safe. We probably have different ways of achieving that - and that will be the key difference. For my part, I promise to do my homework and bring some critical thinking to each decision. With the finite resources of a small village, sometimes the decision isn’t a straightforward “yes” or “no”, but decisions around if we say yes, then what do we say no to? Each decision has a trade off - what is it? And is it worth it?
Here’s where priorities matter. As I grow into this role as a councillor, I will do my best to evaluate decisions through these priorities: Climate action, cost of living and community. This came up at the all candidates meeting - how a “greener” step code would be more expensive. I disagree. Energy efficient homes may cost more - but these result in cost savings to the consumer/owner in the long run. Lower energy bills? Sign me up! Should we support affordable housing or support denser in-fill development that reduces sprawl? Yes - here’s to accessible, walkable neighbourhoods and a greater supply of much needed housing units. Should we build a proper bike path from Cumberland to Courtenay? Yes, yes, yes! Let’s make it happen.
I hope this gives an indication of the priorities I will approach my time on council with. There will be many other matters that will come before us as council and I will approach all my decisions in the same way: Is this a smart thing to do? Is this the sensible thing to do at this time? Will this decision be sustainable and in the community’s best interests over the long term?
Together, we can do this. We can find a better way to grow.
Advance voting this Wednesday October 5. Time: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day Location: Buchanan Hall (first floor) of the Cumberland Cultural Centre at 2674 Dunsmuir Avenue with parking entrance from First Street.
Visit https://cumberland.ca/elections for details.
Spot on. This is why I am getting involved and this is why you should as well. Cumberland's OCP is up for review in 2023 and together, we can reimagine a future for everyone.
Cleo Corbett writes: As people move to the Comox Valley and wish the door could close behind them, communities need to decide how they want to grow, and, more importantly, what and who they want to protect. Communities have the power to control their own destiny, but it takes effort. The next generation deserves the right to grow and prosper in the communities they love.
Read more at https://cvcollective.ca/saving-place
YOU'RE NOT FROM HERE
I was out talking with people the other day and I was told ”you're not from here”, and he was right. I was born in Williams Lake, another small BC town. I’ve lived in Vancouver, Nanaimo, Honduras, Malaysia, London, Whistler, and Singapore. So, ya, I’ve seen a lot of the world, but Cumberland is home now.
When Beth and I found out we were going to have a child we decided to return to BC, we wanted out of the city, and somewhere more natural. We chose Cumberland: It was near the ski hill and not too far from my family in Nanaimo. The kids play area in the Moose cafe might have been what clinched the deal. Or maybe it was the feral kids bike gang we met on the trails. Or the fun night we had at the Waverley.
Long story short, we made some friends, we joined a childcare co-op, we found a community. We planted some roots (and planted some trees, too). And what an amazing community this is, full of music and laughter, and so many good and caring people. Together we’ve bought a forest! What an unbelievable place.
We all have to be from somewhere, some of us are just fortunate enough to have been here longer than others. What matters is that we all want the same thing - a Cumberland our kids, and our kids’ kids, can call home.