With the Village of Cumberland undergoing a surge in popularity, keeping housing costs down and diversity up is a big concern for mayoral candidate Vickey Brown.
Brown is on Cumberland council and has been living in the village since 1999. She has family roots with her dad being a former owner of the Waverly Hotel.
Over that time, Brown has worked in the non-profit sector including Cumberland Community School Society, the Comox Valley Farmers Market and was on the SD 71 Board of Trustees.
Brown was elected to council in 2018. Over the years, she says she has noticed big changes in the village that are causing concern.
She says Cumberland’s population has grown by 70 per cent in the last 20 years, and it has become an international tourist destination.
“That’s created a lot of pressure in the village, both with people and with village services,” said Brown. “We need to pay attention to how that’s impacting us and how we can mitigate the impacts of that.”
Brown says housing has become very expensive, and Cumberland used to be one of the more affordable communities in the Comox Valley.
Referencing two different developments, Brown says the village needs to work to keep communities together rather than having different sections develop.
She also says to combat affordable housing, the village should partner with affordable housing projects and look for below-market solutions.
“As well as diversifying our existing housing stock. So we have a lot of single-family dwellings, we have very little multi-family,” said Brown. “There are lots of people who are looking to downsize in Cumberland and we just don’t have the type of dwelling they’re looking for.
“I think we need to do more duplex, fourplex, sixplexs. Smaller, higher density in neighbourhoods so we can start to provide that diversity of housing.”
Brown is looking forward to having a mayor race in the village for the first time in two decades.
Brown is running against incumbent mayor Leslie Baird.
MyComoxValleyNow is reaching out to all mayoral candidates for their comments.