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‘I’m always inspired’: Comox Valley mayors reflect on 2022, look forward to 2023

As 2022 comes to a close, Comox Valley mayors are reflecting on a busy 2022 and look forward to what 2023 will bring.

Comox mayor Nicole Minions highlights many of the actions taken by the previous mayor and council.

Minions mentions the Climate Actions Open House, Youth Recreation Report, various regional climate action initiatives and support for the Coalition to End Homelessness and Habitat for Humanity to name a few.

Minions says both the Climate Actions Open House and the Youth Recreation Report focused on public engagement and feedback to determine a path for the town to the future.

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The town contributed $40,000 in funding to Habitat for Humanity for local area housing initiatives and supported six affordable housing units on behalf of M’akola Housing Society.

2022 saw a loss for the community, with Minions commemorating former Comox mayor Russ Arnott passing away in November.

“We were saddened by the passing of our believed friend and mentor,” said Minions. “This was a significant loss for our community and the field of public service.”

Arnott was honoured with the Freedom of the Town before he passed away.

With the new council team for Minions’ four-year term, they are looking forward to 2023, the years to come and new challenges and opportunities.

“When I look around our great town, I see opportunity and citizens who embody the spirit of kindness, generosity, and ingenuity that will propel us to improve community living and
positively manage change,” said Minions.

Courtenay mayor Bob Wells was re-elected mayor in 2022, set to serve another four years as mayor with a similar council.

Wells says many of the big accomplishments in 2022 and the last four years include the 5th Street Bridge upgrade project and accomplishing the city’s Official Community Plan updates.

“To be able to do that, to be able to create an OCP with a lens for reconciliation, for climate change, for inclusiveness, all these kinds of things, community well-being, these are kind of the things I think a modern community is really focused on,” said Wells.

Wells adds the last year has highlighted non-profit organizations and people who knit the community together.

“For all those people that day in and day out are really just focused on how we can make our community better, I just really raise my hands to you and say thanks so much,” said Wells.

“I’m always inspired by all the non-profits that we have, the Rotary Clubs, the Salvation Army, the Comox Valley Transition Society, Dawn to Dawn, YANA, Child Development Association, we have all these absolutely amazing social organizations that are really creating a strong fabric for our community.”

Looking toward the next four years, Wells says they will be looking to create an advisory group for implementing more of the OCP and focusing on the strategy and plan over the next few years.

He adds there will be more focused things in the process, including getting more housing built including supportive and employee housing. The city is also looking forward to working with the province to get support for the community’s most vulnerable, and focusing on economic development.

Wells wants to thank the community for its support and those who came out and voted and take part in the community fabric.

Cumberland saw a lot of change during 2022 according to mayor Vickey Brown, who was elected the village’s new mayor in October.

Brown highlighted developments within the village including their wastewater capital upgrade now in consultation with the K’omoks First Nation and the renewal of the memorandum of understanding with the United Riders of Cumberland, Mosaic Forest Management and Manulife.

Safety improvements, like sidewalks in partnership with the community school PAC, were also done and the addition of two new apartment buildings add to the supply in the village.

Brown says along with the new apartments, a vacation rental bylaw was passed to allow both short and long-term vacation rentals to co-exist in the village.

Heading into 2023, reviewing the village’s Official Community Plan is on the table to help decide how they will proceed.

“Reviewing our downtown core zoning and then really just having a look at how climate mitigation and adaptation is working in our OCP and what bylaws need to be introduced to make sure that we are doing the best we can,” said Brown.

The mayor adds they just received funding to rebuild the No. 2 dam in their multi-lake water system and address erosion coming out of the spillways.

Cumberland is also celebrating a milestone in the town’s history as 2023 marks 125 years since the town’s incorporation.

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