Green Infrastructure: A Village of Cumberland Perspective


Village of cumberland - street scene (360p)

Comox Valley Learning Lunch Series

The 2009 Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series was a collaboration of the four local governments in the Comox Valley, including the Village of Cumberland. The following challenge statement provided context for a 'regional team approach' to achieving water sustainability through implementation of green infrastructure policies and practices:

Regional team approach - collaboration challenge

The historic Village of Cumberland (population 2762 as of the 2006 Census) has a rich and diverse coal mining history which is captured in its heritage buildings and main street. Cumberland has been described as being in a state of social, political, cultural and economic transformation.


Limited Resources

The Village has a relatively small work force and limited financial resources. The appeal of the regional team approach is that the sharing of experiences and tools can leverage the Village’s limited resources, and hence their effectiveness.

“We do not have the luxury of waiting. The growth pressures in the Comox Valley are Judith walker (120p) - village of cumberlandimmediate,” states Judith Walker, Municipal Planner. “The regional team approach offers a model for everything that we as local government do in the valley. Simply put, the four jurisdictions can easily work together on issues of common interest and/or concern, and there is no real reason why we cannot collaborate.”


Regional Alignment

The Comox Valley Regional Growth Strategy, Regional Sustainability Strategy, and Regional Water Strategy provided a backdrop for the 2009 Learning Lunch Series.

“Municipal planners are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of meetings associated with regional processes. So, anything we can do to help by giving them the tools to implement changes in development practices will make a difference.”

“It was helpful that the 2009 Learning Lunch Series drew attention to this basic question: What does integration of regional plans really mean, and how will we achieve it in the Comox Valley?”

“Because a Learning Lunch emphasis was on the practical aspects of regional strategies, the regional team approach will help everyone focus on what needs to come together in 2010.”


Reflections on the 2009 Series

“As I see it, the power of the 2009 Learning Lunch Series resulted from the fact that it was internally driven by staff. As a result, the process of organizing the series and developing the curriculum enabled people in all four local governments to work together.”

“Yes, the 2009 Series was time-intensive; and yes, there was more work for staff to do. But, in the big picture this was actually a positive because the learning outcomes will then last longer.”

“At the end of the series, a clear benefit is that we all have the same story….no matter where you go in the valley.”

“My final observation is that there is a disconnect between engineer-driven and planner-driven processes for infrastructure planning and land use planning, respectively. For that reason alone, the 2009 Series created a timely opportunity to inform each other, build relationships and integrate perspectives,” concludes Judith Walker.


To Learn More:

To learn more about the 2009 Series, click on The Comox Valley Learning Lunch Seminar Series is for Implementers — Reflecting the Perspectives of Those Tasked with Implementing Regional Outcomes.


Posted December 2009