NewsCumberland candidates talk taxation, policing SHARE ON: James Wood, contributor, Friday, Oct. 19th, 2018We asked the Cumberland candidates nine questions, focused on the issues that have been coming up in the election in recent weeks.Mayoral Candidate Eduardo Uranga1) What is your stance on taxation in Cumberland – do you see the need or plan on bringing in any changes as an elected official?Taxation exists to provide residents with the necessary services to maintain a high standard of living. It is necessary to establish which are the services that need to be provided and the cost; taxes need to be in direct relation to who is getting the service. Once this is established, taxes should be charged to the individuals receiving the service, on a cost recovery basis, never for profit. For example, sewer should be priced according to the portion of water that flows into the house and is turned into wastewater in the sewer. Taxes should be in direct correlation to the number of people in the house using the services, not on the value of the house.2) Cumberland has done a great job of fixing up local roads recently, but what more can be done – do you have any long-term plans to improve the village’s infrastructure?This is absolutely not true, the majority of the streets in Cumberland are in dear need of repair, if I am elected, more money will be budgeted to repair streets, replace the old clay sewer pipes and resolve the sewer system issue in a sustainable and affordable way at the end of 2019.3) The village is becoming more and more of a hot spot for young families moving to the Valley – do you have any specific ideas to boost the “welcome factor” for those young families and to attract more to the village?Affordable housing opportunities, Clean Air, affordable daycare, better recreation facilities, full service zero waste food store, bicycle friendly atmosphere and controlling the speed of the traffic.4) In relation to the continued growth in residency in Cumberland, how do you plan to accommodate that (more housing, apartment buildings, etc.)?High-density housing with affordable or no utilities at the truly affordable cost.5) Looking at crime, do you think the RCMP needs to focus more on Cumberland, perhaps have an officer stationed directly out of the village as the Comox Valley Parkway separates it from Comox & Cumberland?No, RCMP presence is not the answer; one cop could not provide more security. We need to concentrate on crime prevention programs and video surveillance in critical areas of Cumberland.6) If you had to choose one major issue in the Village of Cumberland, what would that be and why?Sewer treatment, but not the proposed lagoon upgrade; we need something more sustainable and economical, off the shelf.7) Is there anything you would change about the council’s operations?Ethical decision making must be implemented, decisions should not be recommended by the staff, science, technology, engineering, and math (S.T.E.M) must be part of the process of any decision made by the council, and the public input must be accepted during a council meeting as part of the decision to be made.8) What is your stance on borrowing money to fix the village’s wastewater problems?Borrowing money is not the problem, the current situation is that the borrowing is excessive and unnecessary.9) Overall, why should you lead this community?Because what is there is not working; she is not a leader, she is a shepherd and the decisions are being made by the Staff.I am running because the current Mayor has failed for 8 years as a Mayor to be a leader and an effective Chief Executive Officer for the municipality, as it is described in the Communities Charter, part 5, where the job description of the Mayor is provided. Her administration has failed to provide the quality services the residents of Cumberland require, like sewer, drinking water, clean air, affordable housing, food security, sustainability, financial stability, street maintenance, etc. just to name a few.I asked the current Mayor: Why do you think I am running for Mayor against you? The answer was: quote: “I have no Idea”; I totally agree with her, that is exactly why. The list of issues in the strategic planning has remained almost intact year after year since 2011, when she was acclaimed as Mayor of the Village of Cumberland. According to the public information available from the municipality, the taxes collected in 2017 barely cover the payroll, $2.75 Million in tax revenue against $2.5 Million for payroll, does this make sense? As of October 9, there are 34 paid staff and 5 members of the Council for a town of about 4,000 people,“To expect bad politicians not to do wrong is madness, to expect ignorant politicians to do the right thing is madness”“To expect bad politicians not to do wrong is madness, to expect ignorant politicians to do the right thing is madness”.Council Candidate Roger Kishi 1) What is your stance on taxation in Cumberland – do you see the need or plan on bringing in any changes as an elected official?Local governments major source of generating revenue is through property taxes. Council does a lot of work to balance the fiscal needs of the Village with the amount of taxes levied. I believe that our taxes are duly considered and fair.2) Cumberland has done a great job of fixing up local roads recently, but what more can be done – do you have any long-term plans to improve the village’s infrastructure?There are already many major capital projects “on the books” for the Village. I would consider the construction of a new fire hall as the top priority. This project is a health & safety project for the Village. It has become increasingly urgent, as the Village has become more aware of the current condition of our existing hall. Not only is the safety of residents at risk, but potentially the increased cost of homeowners insurance if there is a change in insurance underwriter’s classification.Another health & safety project is stabilization work on our water supply dams. And then we have our continuing plans to upgrade our storm and waste water underground pipes and roads.That doesn’t really leave much room for other projects, but we still have work in our Village Park Master Plan, Recreation Facilities Master Plan and Lake Park Master Plan.3) The village is becoming more and more of a hot spot for young families moving to the Valley – do you have any specific ideas to boost the “welcome factor” for those young families and to attract more to the village?I think that we actually need to look at how we can protect the things that are already attracting young families to Cumberland.Speaking with new residents, it is life style amenities that are bringing them to Cumberland. So how do we maintain these, at the same time address our growth. It’s a good challenge to have, but it will take a lot of thought and work to make sure that it happens. A large part of that will be having an actively engaged citizenry.4) In relation to the continued growth in residency in Cumberland, how do you plan to accommodate that (more housing, apartment buildings, etc.)?I support growth and development that does not foster sprawl, that uses “smart growth” principles. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has many resources: https://fcm.ca/home/programs/green-municipal-fund/resources-and-programs/planning-resources.htm5) Looking at crime, do you think the RCMP needs to focus more on Cumberland, perhaps have an officer stationed directly out of the village as the Comox Valley Parkway separates it from Comox and Cumberland? I think that there needs to be a review of the policing in Cumberland. If re- elected, I would propose to engage with the new RCMP Inspector on the issues in Cumberland and how to address them. Provincially there is a review on the funding model of the RCMP, and this could have an effect on policing costs for Cumberland.6) If you had to choose one major issue in the Village of Cumberland, what would that be and why?It would be housing affordability. As Director- Homeless & Housing Programs at the Wachiay Friendship Centre, I am involved in housing issue(s) daily, including the 34 unit Braidwood Affordable Housing Project set for completion early 2019. This is a complex issue, it affects many different individuals and housing forms. Everything from shelters, transitional housing, supportive housing, secondary suites/ accessory units, apartments, co- ops, multi- family units and single family houses. I believe that my experience, knowledge and commitment can serve the Village in to the future.7) Is there anything you would change about council’s operations?During my 2 terms on Council I have worked to establish public advisory committees. Currently we have: Accessibility Committee, Advisory Planning Commission, Economic Development Steering Committee, Heritage Commission, and Homelessness & Affordable Housing Committee. I support a review of these bodies to enhance their work.Other committee’s that Council has struck to deal with specific issues for specific terms are: Coal Creek Historic Park Advisory Committee, Economic Development Strategy Committee and Wastewater Advisory Committee.I also advocated to have civic engagement in the Village’s Strategic Priorities. There is still more to be done here, things like enhance presence on social media and streaming of meetings.8) What is your stance on borrowing money to fix the village’s wastewater problems?The Village of Cumberland is working with the planning part of MoE on the development of our wastewater treatment process. It was a bit surprising when the enforcement part of MoE sent a compliance letter threatening penalties to the Village. Council has committed to implementing a solution to our wastewater treatment, not because the MoE says we have to, but because it is the right thing to do.At the recent UBCM convention, Council met with Minister of Environment & Climate Change- George Heyman, and explained our conundrum in our dealings with MoE. Council explained that if we were successful in receiving grant funding we could complete our project and be in compliance.I have been involved with this issue even before I was elected to Council in 2011. I was Chair of the Public Advisory Committee of the Liquid Waste Management Plan process at that time. I was also a Council rep. to the South Sewer Project. Both of those processes didn’t progress because there were limited funding programs at those times.We have an opportunity now with a new wastewater treatment process, and significant funding grant opportunities from the federal & provincial governments. Applications for that grant funding has been submitted. The Village already has $1.2 mil in wastewater reserves, and if we are successful in the grants, then the Village will still need to borrow $1.4 mil to complete our project, $4.4 mil if we don’t get grant funding.Full details of our Wastewater treatment process is at: https://cumberland.ca/villageupgrades/ 9) Overall, why should you lead this community?I am seeking support for re-election because there are issues that I strongly believe in that are still to be resolved. Council still has more work to be done on the issue of housing. I would support the establishment of a land trust to promote affordable housing, and the enhancement of an affordable housing fund where developments would provide affordable housing or contribute to the fund.I would work to strengthen civic engagement and openness of the Village and Council through expanding presence on social media. (web casting meetings, FB…)I am proud of my contributions to Council in my 2 terms of service. I believe that my experience, knowledge and commitment can serve the Village in to the future. I look forward to continuing to serve the residents of Cumberland.Other candidates have not yet responded to the survey questions.