As a Mayor of the Village of Cumberland, I will provide leadership to the council by recommending bylaws, resolutions and other measures that may assist the peace, order and good government, I will communicate information to the council to facilitate sound decisions, I will provide general direction to municipal officers respecting implementation of municipal policies, programs and other directions of the council, always reflecting the will of council.
I will promote the required changes to evolve into a municipal administration that consolidates the needs of a diverse population, considering all demographic profiles, including the very young and the very old, guided by the “general will” of the people. This approach emphasizes the networked aspects of society and highlights respect and compassion for others, especially those who are vulnerable. The secret of change is to focus not on fighting the old, but on building the new, clearly defining what is needed and then figuring out how to accomplish it. All decisions must be sustainable, our solutions will not prevent future generations to take care of their needs, and will be based on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M. philosophy). I pledge to always follow the ethical decision-making process, we will always do the right thing.
I am committed to working on behalf of all residents of Cumberland, not just the people who voted for me. I will take the directions indicated by the majority after the priorities are established by the community in a referendum for major decisions and surveys when opinions are appropriate. We are a small community, we can work together to create a great present for a sustainable future.
These are the issues that, in my opinion, require prompt results from the Municipal Government, please give me your feedback:
- Comply with the Ministry of Environment’s Sewer discharge regulations
- Stormwater separation and old clay sewer pipes replacement
- Drinking water quality assurance
- Air quality remediation
- Affordable housing
- Food Security
- Zero-Waste full service Co-op Food Store
- Affordable Day Care
- Manage growth to provide and maintain a high standard of living for current residents
- Assisted living for the elderly
- Science, technology, engineering and math-based project management and implementation
- Sustainability strategy implementation
- OCP bylaw implementation
- Net Zero Energy buildings implementation
- Perseverance Creek stewardship
- Prioritization based on urgency and/or consensus, not on the time it takes to do it
- Taxation reduction by optimizing the management of municipal funds, reduced spending, balance the budget and minimize borrowing.
- Effective planning-to-completion of all the municipal programs
- Progress reporting and completion promise date on unfinished strategic projects
- Municipal Carbon-Neutrality from locally generated carbon credits
- Business development focusing on outdoor activities tourism and increase tourist accommodation in the Village
- Youth Training programs to promote permanence in Cumberland by providing employment
- Urban Agriculture
- Zero Waste strategy implementation to achieve 80% diversion from landfill
- Park & Ride with a camp ground at the entrance to the village and parking enhancement in downtown
- Bike lane completion
- Street repair
- Wastewater Recovery
- District heating for downtown core and municipal buildings
My education, experience, personal qualities, and capabilities will become an asset, I will continue to challenge myself and motivate municipal staff for professional evolution and personal growth, based on the principle of sustainability and social responsibility while maintaining a high level of service to the residents.
- Chemical Engineering degree with a strong background in Quality Control and Computer Science; good understanding of financial and technical aspects of business administration
- Above average computer literacy in the use of information technology and hardware.
- Have worked on ideas and concepts with people in many fields and have successfully completed numerous projects from concept to implementation.
- Initiative and a quick mind, short learning curve; can identify needs, initiate an action plan and produce results.
- Adapt to any circumstance and environment and willing to take on additional responsibility.
- Welcome change and growth and move beyond my comfort zone.
- Self-confidence in my ability to produce desired results.
- Leadership skills, compatibility with people at all intellectual levels and varied interests.
- Integrity; total trustworthy approach to all relationships, professional and personal.
- Strong work ethic: always perform to a high standard and deliver on my word.
Please, feel free to call me or send an email to communicate your needs, or make an appointment to meet over coffee to discuss your concerns. Share this with your friends and family, Cumberland deserves a better Mayor.
1973-1977 Universidad Iberoamericana, México City, México
- B.Sc., Chemical Engineering
- 2007 SWEGE Comox Valley, BC (Sustainable Ways to Establish a Green Economy) Projects in energy conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, Passive Haus construction, Net Zero Energy housing development, sustainable farming, biomass utilization, biofuels research.
- 2016 Comox Valley, BC Community Created Agriculture Co-op Founding member and project manager to establish an agricultural cooperative that will create the necessary infrastructure to facilitate production, processing, preservation, storage and delivery of food and other agricultural products in the Comox Valley, including the purchase of a farm where food can be produced or collected to be delivered to the 300 individuals or families that participate in the CCAC food supply program. The cooperative will own, house and maintain farm equipment, cold storage, processing equipment, etc. for the use of the co-op members
- 2010 Comox Valley, BC River Meadow Farms Ltd. Irrigation, fertigation, water management; Network Administrator; Web Master and IT Support.
- 2007-2011 Burus Consulting Ltd. Mexico and Canada Development of management and efficiency strategies for energy conservation; consultant on Anaerobic Digestion for production of biogas; integration of renewable energy systems, such as solar thermal, heat pump systems, etc.; consulting on electrical cogeneration (combined cooling, heating and power) and Wind Energy Generation projects.
- 2004-2007 SWEGE International, Solar Water Heating Specialist, Canada and México: Purchasing, logistics, Design and implementation of solar water heating systems for industrial, domestic and hospitality industry applications.
- 2003-2004 Burus Consulting Ltd. Whistler and Squamish, BC, Canada: Performing energy surveys to analyze electrical energy consumption; recommending energy conservation equipment to reduce utilization and strategies for energy management.
- 2002-2003 Pristine Glacier Bottling Company Ltd., Canada Owner: Production, logistics and market development of bottled glacier water for export to Germany and USA.
- 1997-2002 Burus Consulting Ltd., Whistler, BC, Computer Consultant: Database design and management, network design and implementation, IT support and hardware maintenance, web design and implementation.
- 1993-1997 The Faz Group, Houston, TX, USA Computer Consultant, and Industrial Refrigeration Specialist: Application design and implementation, data mining and report design, electronic media design and publishing. Purchasing and logistics of industrial refrigeration equipment to be exported to Mexico for use in large-scale food storage facilities.
- 1992-1993 University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, Research Assistant: Collaborated in designing test methods and procedures in a microbiology laboratory, design of microscope/computer imaging applications and statistical algorithms. OB/GYN Patient database design, implementation, and maintenance, establishing test methods to collect patient information and data entry procedures. Production electronic brochures and media design, and mass duplication. Production of medical microbiology book in digital form.
- 1986-1992 R&E Specialties Inc., Vancouver, BC, Houston, TX, Mexico City, MX, International Trading: In charge of purchasing, shipping, storage, customs clearance, banking, accounting and quality assurance for fresh fruits, refrigeration equipment, packaging, computers, and industrial equipment.
- 1984-1986 Pacific Rim Mushrooms, Denman Island, BC Mushroom Grower: Development and implementation of technology to grow oyster mushrooms on cellulose residue from pulp mill sludge.
- 1977-1979 Ford Motor Company, Mexico City, Mexico, Paint Quality Control Laboratory Supervisor: Quality assurance of car paints and consultant to production, manufacturing and plant quality control in car paint issues.
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”
Things that I learned in life:
- Honesty is the first chapter in the book of Wisdom
- Excuses are the easiest things to manufacture, and the hardest things to sell.
- I dream for a living
- I am neither an optimist nor a pessimist. I am a probabilistic.
- Be the change you want to see in the world
- It is amazing what I can accomplish if I don’t care who gets the credit
- One must be the first, the best or different
- If I Have concerns, I assess, plan, propose, and then, commit
Liquid Waste Management Project: (LWNP)
Given that the village’s wastewater treatment plant is out of compliance with the Ministry of Environment regulations and faces potentially large fines, we need to place this as priority number one ahead of everything else and get I done by 2019, but Cumberland residents must reject and vote “NO” in the referendum for the borrowing of $4.4 million dollars to upgrade the lagoon system currently in place because it cuts the borrowing power of the Village of Cumberland for up to 20 years unsustainably.
I believe the current Mayor feels that $9.7 million of our tax money is well spent on an upgrade to a lagoon system that is 90-year-old technology. There are other systems that are chosen everywhere else in the world, including the CVRD. The one that I am proposing is self-contained, not weather dependent, very small footprint, high energy efficiency (0.249 kWh/M3), scalable, low maintenance, fully automated, immediate disposal of the solids into an anaerobic digester that will produce 109 kWh/day (half the electricity that it requires to operate), plus 143 kWh/day of heat and a cost well bellow what is being proposed, but mostly, guaranteed to work.
My input in this issue has been rejected categorically by the Mayor and the LWMP’s committee because I am not a sewer treatment expert, like Paul Nash, the project coordinator that works for the Village, it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it, to him and the Mayor, my credentials as a Chemical Engineer are not good enough even listen what I have to say. When I asked her if she had checked his credentials and his company Alpine Water & Energy, that is not a corporations but only a DBA (he was paid $66,848 in 2017 and hired an outside consultant Troy David Vassos Inc. for another $31,926), she said that he heard about him at a workshop she attended in Ottawa, and that he had been given an award for a sewer plant he had designed, that was apparently good enough for her to believe that he was capable of doing the job. I have done the Google thing for Paul Nash in Canada and the rest of the world, and I got only three hits, one for a Reed Bed project in Sechelt, BC that he has been working on since 2014 with no evidence we can use to think that it will work for Cumberland, the job with the Village of Cumberland’s LWMP and just recently with the CVRD as a LWMP consultant. The biochar reed bed is an unproven concept that was accepted to give the LWMP the environmental angle that is required in the application for funding but has never been fully tested anywhere else. I am not questioning his knowledge or credentials, I am questioning his approach and design parameters that make our LWMP unaffordable and unsustainable.
One question that I have not heard, and have answer for is: What is the Village going to do with 900 M3/day of raw sewer while the lagoons are being upgraded? Are they going to be just released? For how long? Are we going to let the people in the valley know? How come this has not been addressed as a critical issue to validate the lagoon system?
The sewer treatment system that is proposed is not guaranteed that it will comply with the Ministry of the Environment regulations. To prove this point, test results of the lagoon discharge on June 27th, 2018 at 8:15 AM show that the fecal coliforms detected were 3,500,000 MPN/100ml when the limit is only 200 MPN/100ml. Why upgrade something that doesn’t work to this degree? This water went to the Trent River during the time people in the Comox Valley and visitors use the Trent River for recreation. This same water discharges into the ocean, where oyster leases have the danger of fecal coliform contaminated the oyster growing areas that export the shellfish to California and other parts of the world, with the subsequent health hazard for oyster consumers.
The borrowing of $4.4 million has been already disapproved in the AAP by the voters by 382 objections, it would only pay for phase 1, requiring additional funding to be completed. The village doesn’t have the necessary funds to complete the project as it is planned. The 4.4 million dollars are requested to be borrowed because no grant funding is expected according to the project manager and the Mayor; otherwise, why would they be asking us for this money?
I am not in favor of an upgrade to the lagoon system that has not worked and has been subject to several attempt of upgrade without positive results, that lagoon system has not complied for more than 19 years, an upgrade will not guarantee that it will work since lagoon systems are subject to Climate Change. We need to move the treatment of sewer to a mechanical treatment that has been proven many times and is off the shelf equipment and the cost is much lower. “we cannot expect different results if we keep doing something the same way”
My degree in Chemical Engineering gives me an educated opinion on this matter, we cannot be certain that the lagoon approach will work because it is weather dependent, and we must consider that the climate is changing. We need a self-contained modular system, easy to operate and maintain, and is scalable. All rainwater needs to be eliminated from the sewer system; the less water to treat, the smaller the system will be.
The LWMP that I propose is to convert the existing sewer system that is open to stormwater to a closed system that accepts only water that is used for sanitary purposes, that alone will bring the Average Dry Weather Flow (ADWF) to 884 M3/day on a consistent basis (235 liters per person per day) in range with the design parameter specified of 2x the ADWF; the steps to be taken are :
- Eliminate all storm water from the sewer system, including all the residential input from roofs connected to the sewer pipes, this can be achieved by investing in replacing all the old clay sewer pipes according to the Stormwater Drainage Master Plan of July 13, 2010 and enforcing Bylaw # 1025 section 4.
- Implementation of water conservation measures described in the OCP, the Sustainability Strategy and updating Bylaw # 807 dated 2005 to current standards and restrictions demanded by climate change.
- Set the goal of reaching the Canadian water consumption average of 250 liters per person per day of potable water, currently is 426 liters per person per day (40% reduction)
- A sequencing batch reactor process (SBR) with a processing capacity of 1,800 M3/day is proposed, at a cost of $3,000,000, possibly less.
- Considering that there is $1,200,000 available, the maximum amount to be borrowed is $1,800,000 for 5 years @3.25% interest; it is estimated that will cost $475 per parcel per year in capital costs and maintenance for 5 years, and $225 the years after.
- This scenario covers the sewer needs of 7,000 people at the current rate of 236 liters of sewer per person per day. If added capacity is needed for population growth, we should let the new comers take care of themselves. We don’t know what technology for sewer treatment will be available in 5 or 10 years from now, but chances are that the current technologies will be obsolete, why should we invest in such perspective?
- At least 2 quotations have been obtained that show that the project could be implemented at a cost below $3 million dollars, for which, $1.8 million dollars would be borrowed for only 5 years, not 20.
- The proposed biochar reed bed at a cost of $1 million dollars is totally irrelevant, we need to comply with the MOE regulations at the point of discharge, whatever the results are from the “biochar reed bed” mean nothing to the solution. Moreover, the term “biochar reed bed” doesn’t even exist, it was made it up, it has never been used commercially and it would be the only one of its kind in the world, why are we being used as Guinea pigs by the proponent?
- The village has a permit for 910 cubic meters per day (M3/day) of effluent to be discharged into Maple Lake Creek to later go into the Trent River. The Ministry of the Environment has made clear that it will not be increased this permit, unless water conservation measures are implemented, and maybe only to 1,100 M3/day.
Why are we building a 3,600 M3/day system? The regulations call for a system that is 2 times the ADWF (average dry weather flow) with capacity to provide extra treatment for future growth. The ADWF is 884 M3/day, so a processing capacity of 1,800 M3/day would be more than adequate.
I asked the Mayor about the following Bylaw:
BYLAW NO. 914
A BYLAW TO AUTHORIZE BORROWING FOR THE VILLAGE SEWER, WATER AND DRAINAGE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
WHEREAS it is deemed desirable and expedient to construct improvements to the water, storm and sanitary sewer systems of the Corporation of the Village of Cumberland by way of a sewer, water and drainage improvement project;
AND WHEREAS the provisions of the Community Charter allow a local government to incur a liability for any purpose of a capital nature;
AND WHEREAS the estimated cost of the Village Sewer, Water and Drainage Improvement Project, including expenses incidental thereto, is the sum of $5,300,000 million of which $3,642,000 is eligible for a Provincial Grant, a portion of which may need to be financed on a short-term basis;
NOW THEREFORE, the Council of the Corporation of the Village of Cumberland in open meeting assembled, enacts as follows:
- The Council is hereby empowered and authorized to undertake and carry out, or cause to be carried out, the Village Sewer, Water and Drainage Improvement Project generally in accordance with general plans on file in the municipal office and to do all things necessary in connection therewith and without limiting the generality of the foregoing:
- a) To borrow upon the credit of the Municipality a sum not exceeding $2,500,000; and
- b) To acquire all such real property, easements, rights-of-way, licenses, rights or authorities as may be requisite or desirable for, or in connection with, the Village Sewer, Water and Drainage Improvement Project.
- The maximum term for which debentures may be issued to secure the debt created by this bylaw is thirty (30) years.
- This bylaw may be cited as “The Corporation of the Village of Cumberland Sewer, Water and Drainage Improvement Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 914, 2009”.
She answered that the lagoon was upgraded with this money by dredging it, drying the solids and take them to the dump, claiming that it had been very expensive, but she could not tell me what happened to the rest of the money. I told her that I asked Rachel Parker for the file on the project and she could not find it, she said that that was very strange because she can find minutes from the 1800’s when she looks. It is very strange that the Village Sewer, Water and Drainage Improvement Project cannot be found in the village records.
What happened to that Money? Nobody at the municipality seems to know, but we are paying for it.
The 2017 financial report says: Sanitary Sewer Improvements Bylaw #914, due 2031 interest charged at 3.25% annual principal payment of $58,164 Balance:1,346,202
We already paid for an upgrade to the lagoon sewer system; where is it?
To improve air quality, given that we rate as the worst in British Columbia I will:
- Declare publicly, once and for all that Cumberland has an air quality problem caused by wood stoves and have the commitment to eliminate the problem
- Implement the already proposed bylaw that addresses wood smoke issues, with the necessary amendment to guarantee the compliance
- Enforce the requirement from the provincial government to replace all the stoves that are not EPA approved
- Establish, beyond any argument, that all residents of Cumberland have the right to breathe air free of PM2.5
- Assist non-compliant wood stove owners in replacing them with a heat pump to make them affordable to all stove owners on a case by case basis depending on the household’s income limitations
- Implement particle reader sensors in several points of the village to establish the severity of the problem
- Implement a warning system to immediately warn residents of unacceptable levels of PM2.5
- Demonstrate that it is less expensive to heat a home with a heat pump that with a wood stove or natural gas
- Work with TimberWest to minimize wood waste burning and utilize the resource
- Eliminate land-clearing fires
- Eliminate yard waste fires
- Implement single recreational fire permitting
The problem is evident every day of the winter heating season, the air quality in Cumberland is the worst air quality in the entire British Columbia; only Houston, BC challenges us a few days per year. This is hardly a good reason for people looking for a place to live to choose Cumberland.
The solution is also evident, the faulty heating appliances that cause the problem need to be replaced, not an easy to implement solution, but simple: clean renewable energy from a heat pump (yes, Natural Resources Canada recognizes a heat pump as a renewable source of energy). Here is where it gets tricky; there is a new world accord, the Kigali accord, that amends the Montreal protocol, and it mandates that all Ozone Depleting Substances and all other current refrigerants, Fluorocarbons and Hydrofluorocarbons refrigerants that have a global warming potential 2,000 times of CO2, will be phased out, to be replaced with CO2 and Ammonia. The benefit is that the new CO2 heat pumps are much more efficient (up to 450% efficiency) and can also heat the domestic hot water.
Implementation of wood appliance replacement can be achieved by borrowing the money from a bank that has an environmental loan program, like the local credit union, and then applied through the Local Improvement Charges through the municipal tax collection, so the debt is transferred to the next owner if the house is sold. Replacing a wood stove with an air to water heat pump that delivers space heating by water radiators and domestic hot water will cost $125/month on equal payment plan, that it could go as low as $99/per month if carbon credits are obtained since a heat pump will reduce the carbon footprint of the house by 6.18 tons of CO2/year. this loan will provide $8,500 for 10 years at 3.25% interest.
The greenest. most renewable, and least expensive energy available is the energy that is never used: Financing Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency:
Local Improvement Charges (LICs) have long been used by municipalities to help cover the costs of infrastructure improvements (roads, sidewalks, etc.) deemed to benefit a specific neighbourhood. The benefiting landowners are assessed the LIC on their property taxes until their share of the improvements have been paid for.
This describes an innovative new use for LICs in which they are used to finance improvements in residential and/or commercial building energy efficiency. it describes the benefits of such an LIC program to municipalities and building owners, ways an energy efficiency LIC program could operate, the costs associated with it and ways they would be recovered, and potential difficulties and solutions associated with the use of LICs in this way.
The main advantage of using an LIC program over alternative methods of financing energy efficiency improvements is that it associates the repayment of the cost of efficiency improvements with the building property rather than with the current building owner. This means that permanent improvements like high efficiency windows, wall upgrades, heating, ventilation (HRV) systems, control systems and other features that have long payback periods are more attractive to home and building owners because both their costs and benefits are passed on to new owners. In the case of new buildings, it allows the additional cost of building to the highest levels of efficiency.
The Government of British Columbia has now enacted the Community Charter, replacing the old Local Government Act. In general, the Community Charter allows a much greater scope for action by local governments within British Columbia than the previous Act. The Charter explicitly allows municipalities to borrow money to cover LICs and specifies that a municipality does not need additional approval to borrow money if the full costs of the LIC are going to be recovered. This would provide all the legal means for a municipality to undertake a major energy efficiency LIC program. As such, the Community Charter appears to provide British Columbia municipalities with the ability to use LICs for energy efficiency purposes.
Why should municipal governments consider encouraging and financing energy efficiency within the community using a tool like LICs? For many years municipalities have directed staff and financial resources towards improving the efficiency of their own facilities — sometimes using innovative financing approaches like performance contracting and the investment of contingency funds in energy management because it provides a high return. For several reasons, many municipalities have begun in recent years to look beyond their own facilities to the community.
The role of local government is changing in response to the new challenges facing communities in the twenty-first century. One of the most pressing, and perhaps the most fundamental, of these challenges is the need for effective local government action to promote sustainable energy practices within the community. Another powerful driver is the increasing cost of energy.
Property owners are more and more concerned about the cost and availability of conventional energy sources and are looking to their governments for solutions.
Using LICs to finance energy efficiency improvements makes sense to municipalities on both counts.
A major driver for local government concern regarding energy use is global climate change, as most greenhouse gas emissions accelerating climate change come from the combustion of fossil fuels. Although the effects of climate change on Canada’s municipalities are inherently long-term and incremental in nature, a great many local governments in Canada recognize that climate change will have pervasive and profound effects on their communities. For this reason, they have
formally acted to reduce the severity of this threat.
Steps we need to take to support and achieve greater transparency and open government at Cumberland Village Hall are:
- Disclose and justify in detail all expenses incurred by the municipality, like travel expenses, payroll, unnecessary work at the Peace Park, capital projects, etc.
- Implement a budget for staff expenses including the Mayor and councilors and stick to it.
- Establish priorities based on the opinion collected from the residents via surveys
- Publish an electronic municipal newsletter with the relevant information on current issues under consideration before a decision is made by council
- Upgrade the website and search interface to improve the current the system and provide residents with access to all public documents
- Provide workstation and assistance at the village hall for the no-so-computer savvy residents to access the information or the ones that don’t have a computer
- Publish the Council meeting agenda on the website one week before the meeting so residents and council members can have time to read, research and assess the information to have an educated opinion on the issues at hand
- Change the time of the Council meetings to a time different than dinner time when family time is more important, so more people attend the meetings and participate
- Allow the public to ask questions at the time the presentation and/or delegation is taking place and provide an answer to the question at the time of the meeting; if the answer is not available, determine if the question triggers a delay on the decision making pending a satisfactory answer.
- Allow people to ask questions that are not related to items on the agenda during the question period at the end of the meeting
- Implement the use of referendums for all important decisions, including policies and expenses
- Implement the use of surveys to gather the opinion of residents on the items to be discussed at council meeting or when a major project is being considered
- Maintain a Village Mayor and council members open door policy, so the residents can communicate their opinion directly to the elected official of their choice
- Inform well in advance of information events and open houses so residents can plan their attendance in advance
Money that I don’t spend is money that I don’t have to earn
I believe the current Mayor has no concern about how we feel about the way she spends our tax money. As an example, the expense of going to the Vancouver’s Union of BC Municipalities convention in 2017.
When I asked the Mayor about her personal expenses, she claims that she spends a lot of money learning, just like the rest of the council. She claims that she went to school to learn how to be a Mayor, when I asked her where that school is, she didn’t answer. she said that spending that kind of money is what she needs to do to create the relationships that the village needs; is this true? She asked me: Do you want me to stay at a dive? Hardly, but you can look for a less expensive option than the best room in the house.
Cumberland is a Village of 3,753 residents as of 2016. Do you think it is fair for the Mayor to spend $315/night at the Fairmont Pacific Rim on a Signature Harbour Mountain View room ($1,866 in total) during the 2017 Union of BC Municipalities Convention? $ 3,347.82 on a five-day event?
She could have stayed at St. Regis Hotel Standard Room $209/night (Rate includes breakfast and WIFI),
I spoke to the UBCM administration staff and they inform me that by doing an early bird registration it would have cost $475 instead of $1,058, there is no reason not to have taken this opportunity except that she chose to register at the last minute.
Just applying this two options, the grand total would have been $1,927, $1,420 cheaper, just with a little effort.
I don’t know if other members of the council attended this convention, but if they did, I imagine the expenses were just as high, how can we ask them to be frugal if the Mayor is not?
The attachment is a detail list of her expenses for 2017, $13,539.78 grand total, this is the highest expense account of all the elected officials in the Comox Valley. Of course, this is documented in the attachments. Courtenay’s Mayor was $5,070 for 2017.
Another disproportionate amount is the total expenses of the Village of Cumberland’s employees: $131,523 with 3,753 residents, to compare to Courtenay’s: $ 186,568, with 45,000 residents to share that.
2017 UBCM conference expenses
- BC Ferried & taxies UBCM $69.95
- Correct cab fare to UBCM $(20.00)
- Fairmont Hotel Vancouver UBCM $1339.52
- Fairmont Pacific Rim – UBCM hotel deposit $334.88
- Hotel deposit UBCM 2017 $191.68
- Travel BC Ferries $14.08
- UBCM Hotel difference $56.51
- UBCM registration $1058.00
- UBCM Travel Ferries $44.85
- UBCM travel Vancouver $258.35
UBCM conference expenses Total $ 3,347.82
I don’t know if other members of the council attended this convention, but if they did, I imagine the expenses were just as high, how can we ask them to be frugal if the Mayor is not?
The Mayor’s expenses for 2017, $13,539.78 grand total, is the highest expense account of all the elected officials in the Comox Valley, of course, this is documented. Courtenay’s Mayor was $5,070 for 2017.
Another disproportionate amount is the total expenses of the Village of Cumberland’s employees: $131,523 with 3,753 residents, to compare to Courtenay’s: $ 186,568, with 45,000 residents to share that.
Effective planning-to-completion of all the municipal programs:
The strategic planning for the last 8 years was reviewed against the annual reports, the current administration has not been very effective, the lists have been virtually the same, here is the table, it speaks for itself, the completed items have very low relevance to what the real priorities should have been, in many cases they had to be listed again due to the lack of completeness. It is evident that there is a lot of talk and very little walk, not much has been accomplished on her watch:
Banning of Plastic bags that can be used for garbage instead of buying new ones at the grocery store is not exactly a big event as it is being looked at. In Cumberland, those bags end up in the dump, not the ocean, and they are the perfect size for people like me that almost don’t produce any garbage. I may have one of those little bags full once a month.
The Mayor wants to ban single use plastic bags?
I am not in favor of banning single-use plastic shopping bags without a replacement, it is just not practical, I will offer an alternative with BioBag® that offers compostable produce bags and shopping bags for grocery stores, supermarkets, restaurants, and farmers markets. These bags are available in Canada.
A bylaw that business in Cumberland will have to provide biodegradable bags, reusable bags or no bags at all can be proposed and implemented without much resistance.
Biodegradable straws and edible cutlery are readily available; they can easily be included
We also need to address that many people use the single-use plastic bags as garbage bags, like myself. What is the point of banning single-use plastic bags if I am going to buy brand new plastic bags at the store to line my garbage can and dispose of it. The ideal scenario is to eliminate the organic waste from the garbage so there is no need to have a bag for the garbage because the garbage will be clean. This scenario will automatically increase the number of materials that can be recycled, therefore the diversion to landfill will be increased. A little more work, but the rewards are immense.
The major capital projects the village will undertake if I am elected:
- Stormwater separation and old clay sewer pipes replacement because it is the most important step in reducing the size of the treatment plant, improve its performance and avoid having to bypass the treatment plant when it rains.
- Replace the current LWMP project because it will be much less expensive and will be guaranteed to comply with the Ministry of Environment’s Sewer discharge regulations
- Balance the budget and reduce spending without reducing the quality or quantity of the services that will be provided, with the goal to reduce the tax burden to the current residents and businesses
- Drinking water quality assurance and optimization of the current system
- Air quality remediation because residents have the right to breath clean air
- Affordable housing participation with developers because it is necessary and doesn’t exist
- Full OCP bylaw implementation because a bylaw is the law
- Provide a fire hall for the fire and rescue needs of the Village of Cumberland
- Implement the Perseverance Creek remediation project because it is the responsibility of the Village of Cumberland to eliminate the problem of turbidity in the Comox Lake caused by the lack of water flow management when big rain events occur. The CVRD is having to spend $112 million dollars to eliminate the turbidity problem caused by the lack of effective action from the Village of Cumberland.
- Zero Waste strategy implementation to achieve 80% diversion from landfill because it is necessary to achieve a sustainable future for municipal waste, there is a limit to landfilling
- Organics collection with garburators through the sewer system, because it will eliminate the Bear problem, curb collection, flies, and odors in the house
- Park & Ride with a campground at the entrance to the village and parking enhancement in downtown because it will eliminate the parking problem in downtown, will allow visitors to stay overnight at a very reasonable price, increasing the economic activity of the Village after the day activities, and will provide some income to the Village of Cumberland that will help to pay for the services that we provide to visitors.
- Bike lane completion because it is very unsafe to bicycle on Cumberland Rd. after the Gas and Go before reaching the bike lane on Dunsmuir, it will also promote the desire of local residents to leave their car at home and bicycle into downtown
- Street repair because many streets in the downtown core are in a deplorable state, this is badly needed
- Wastewater Recovery because we need to utilize the resource that this water represents. Why are we dumping 900 M3 of treated and disinfected water if we can use it for toilet flushing, lawn watering, driveway, and car washing, etc.?
- District heating for downtown core and municipal buildings because it will reduce the cost of heating and will make Municipal Carbon Neutrality possible.
- Retrofit of the Rec Center for energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, replacing the roof with a photovoltaic and thermal solar roof, to offset the cost of the roof with this dual purpose, reducing the cost of operating the center
Alternative Transportation, Environmentally, what other people do, affects us. What we don’t do affects everybody:
- The first thing I will do is to complete the bike lane on Cumberland Road that ends abruptly at the Gas and Go gas station, to join the other bike lane at Dunsmuir St.
- I will contract an in-depth study on how to separate pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the trails so there is no conflict on who has the right of way and will prevent the unfortunate incident of a collision between a bicycle and a pedestrian.
- I will propose to place a Park-and-ride parking lot at the entrance of the Village of Cumberland, so people visiting can leave their vehicle there and proceed to the trails or just cycle around the Village without having to worry about where to park and causing congestion. It will make riding a bicycle in Cumberland much safer and less congested. This area will also provide the option for RVing and camping facilities at a very reasonable price.
- Create a pedestrian/bicycle lane from the Park&Ride to the Village avoiding all the main roads, especially Cumberland Rd. so riding into town is done safely and without the concern of having a car next to the rider.
- I will work very hard to turn the Village of Cumberland into a World Class Mountain Biking destination and promote tourism to the Comox Valley, including international promotion campaigns, and work with the residents to create a pool of accommodation options for people interested in staying more than one day
- To promote alternative transportation into Courtenay, I will propose an electric bicycle share station at the Park&Ride, so people can use them instead of their cars to go into Courtenay without having to face the 7 km uphill pedaling, it should be on a cost recovery basis, sponsored by the Village of Cumberland.
- I will establish a network of people that commute into Courtenay in their car every day for a Ride-Share program, so several people can go and come back from work, taking turns for driving, with the meeting place at the Park&Ride.
- The big one is to propose the closing of Dunsmuir St. from First St. to Fourth St. on weekends to cars, so pedestrians and bicycles move around safely and freely.
- Cumberland will be a bicycle minded town.
- Eliminate the use of big buses and replace them with the smaller version of maybe 10 passengers and increase the frequency to every 15 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes off peak hours.
- Implementation of a fleet of at least 10 all electric cars to be shared by the residents of Cumberland for short term use, a maximum of two days to allow short trips, to Victoria or even to Vancouver for an overnight trip. To put this in perspective, running an electric car for a year (20,000 km), will cost $500, about 2.5 cents/km, compared to 13 cents/km for compact gasoline car, plus, no oil changes are required for an electric car.
- Carriage homes, tiny homes, air B&B are part of my vision to cope with the demand for tourist accommodation and low-income housing that is truly affordable
- Together with affordable housing, we should implement the concept of affordable utilities, so the people that obtain the housing will have the means to support the utilities.
- Affordability of rental housing should include not only the cost of the rent, also the cost of transportation to and from work, and the cost of the utilities. I propose to take a hard look at all these issues and come up with what affordable rental housing should cost in Cumberland.
How to do it:
Construction of a low-rise, 3-4 storey, mixed-use commercial and residential building with commercial space on the ground floor and 165 units of rental housing above, with the inclusion of a 20-vehicle electric car sharing pool for the residents and the surrounding community.
The project will be designed to be Net Zero Energy (NZE), incorporating all aspects of the Next Generation Clean Energy Infrastructure Program. The technologies that are used are applicable in most regions in Canada and will eliminate most of the technical and non-technical barriers to achieve NZE input for High-Density Housing and Commercial space from all the energy conservation and energy efficiency measures that are necessary to minimize the amount of renewable energy needed, with incremental costs well below 15%.
It will also serve as a model to establish the parameters to measure the performance of all components that are needed to establish an NZE Building code that can be replicated by the construction industry, not only in BC but throughout Canada. At the end, all technologies implemented will be at TRL 9.
Our approach will demonstrate that NZE Building utilizes the current skill-level of the workforce, and it can be achieved using off the shelf and mature technologies, with no need for experimentation and without disrupting the current logistics; our approach closes the ingenuity gap between what is available and the NZE Building challenge.
We will also make evident that a Nega-kWh (a kWh that is not used) is much more cost efficient than a watt that is produced by any other means, renewable and non-renewable.
The land for the project is provided by one of the funding partners and the Village of Cumberland has granted Village Core Multi-Use (VCMU-1) zoning, for commercial and residential use, this fits the scope of the project perfectly.
Net Zero Energy Buildings, Net Zero Emissions, affordability, and sustainability are top priorities in the project; exceptional care will be given to optimization of the construction methods to reduce their carbon footprint. A relationship has been established with the BC Housing Division, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and BC Codes and Standards.
- The project will achieve NZE Building for High-Density Housing, with all technologies at TRL 9 at the end date of the project
- The project will showcase energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, tools and solutions, and how to use and integrate technologies to achieve affordable NZE buildings, targeting low-rise Multi-Unit Residential and Commercial Buildings
- Project includes the integration of key technologies, such as Passive Haus Design, Hempcrete, solar thermal assisted CO2 heat pump for space heating and domestic hot water, In’Flector window inserts, Wi-Fi climate controls and hot water radiators for space heating
- Will share all technical and techno-economic data to inform local authorities.
- Will provide a model that is replicable in BC climate zone and all of Canada
- Will provide a comparative analysis of buildings meeting or exceeding the current code requirements in BC
- Will provide a solution that demonstrates that NZE for new construction can be achieved for less than 15% incremental costs and 10-year payback or less.
- For existing buildings, will provide an example of a solution that can be implemented so NZE can be achieved for less than 25% incremental costs or 20-year payback or less.
- Showcase significant differences over existing local high-performance buildings;
- Will improve construction techniques
- Will include post-project monitoring and reporting
- Will include a strong knowledge dissemination plan
- Will Reduce cost of technology
- Will improve equipment efficiency in cold Canadian climate
- Will provide a business case for the proposed NZE ready building step codes, or codes for existing buildings.
The main cause of climate change is Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The biggest barrier the Nega-kWh faces is the misconception that cheap energy from natural gas or renewable energy production from hydro and solar photovoltaic are the best options. All the proposed technologies face, to some degree, non-technical barriers because of their novel nature and the lack of understanding of the much greater benefits that energy conservation and energy efficiency have on the NZE challenge. This project will prove that a dollar invested in a Nega-kWh has a much better cost-benefit ration than any other form of energy production, including renewables. Carbon capture in the building walls will also be introduced.
Although all technologies have been individually proven to be effective in the reduction of energy required to heat a residence, as well as substantially increasing the level of comfort and affordability of a dueling, they have never been assembled in the same context. In the case of a commercial building, energy costs represent a substantial portion of the operating expenses. The NZE strategies that we propose will eliminate most, if not all, barriers to adopt them by demonstrating their superior performance compared to current code-compliant practices.
NZE Buildings are the obvious and absolute solution to the threat of inflated cost of energy and the effects of extreme weather conditions predicted for the coming years due to climate change.
This project will also address the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to which Canada committed to legally binding targets which mandate gradual reductions in HFC consumption and production starting in 2019; by using heat pumps that use CO2 as a refrigerant. We will demonstrate that these heat pumps are more than 400% efficient, higher than the ones that use F-gases. Geothermal energy will be used as heat source.
Conceptual and detailed design stages will be combined and conducted through a series of collaborative workshops attended by the full design team, the Contractor along with their critical trades. An NZE Building champion will be assigned from the design team and from the construction team to make sure that the project maintains its focus on the NZE Building goals. In this manner, the building design, from initial basic concepts of massing, siting, and orientation, through the final construction detailing will benefit from a wide variety of expertise, resulting in a high value, functionally sound, aesthetically pleasing and eminently constructible project. A new program funded technologies will be discussed, evaluated, assessed and incorporated into the project at a very high level, with the confidence of knowing that they will not be eliminated from the project due to cost-cutting measures. Excavation will be limited and construction materials will be sourced from the nearest option. A rendered conceptual design is attached to this application.
All historical data will be collected in a database designed specifically for this project; demand-side energy management information will be mined and reported in any format requested by NRCan for analysis.
- Passive House New Construction standard
- Hempcrete Walls
- In’Flector Window Insulator
- Radiant Barrier Insulation in the attic and exterior walls
- Thermal management software and hardware
- Hot water use optimization
- No bathtubs
- Heat Recovery Ventilation
- Occupancy Sensors
- Water to Water CO2 Heat Pump
- Hot Water Radiant Heat
- Centralized distribution of space heating and domestic hot water
- Drain Water Heat Recovery
- Induction Cooking
- Ultra-Low Flow Showerhead (2.4 L/minute)
- LED lighting
- Heat Pump Clothes Drier
- Solar Water Heater
- Solar Photovoltaic
- Solar Wall
The current approach to NZE building utilizes very complex construction practices and materials, our project is innovative and novel by utilizing Hempcrete for the building envelope. Hemp is natural, abundant, inexpensive, sustainable, captures CO2 for the life of the building, reduces the carbon footprint of materials used to construct the walls, and has excellent insulating properties. Another innovative aspect of approach to the construction of an NZE building is based on the concept of Nega-kWh. The greenest, cheapest and most renewable kind of energy is the energy that is not used. The cost of a Nega-kWh is intrinsically much lower than the installed production cost of a kWh from any other form of energy production, including solar thermal, wind, photovoltaic, hydro, nuclear, coal, natural gas, etc. our goal is to achieve less than $1 per Nega-Watt, implementing energy conservation and energy efficiency strategies first, will render a much more achievable renewable energy target, which will be produced by solar photovoltaic panels. To align the project with what Natural Resources Canada has already done, we will replicate the Energy Centre developed for the Drake Landing Solar Community as the heart of the building heating system, it will optimize the storage and distribution of hot water for space heating and domestic hot water. For this purpose, evacuated tube solar water heaters will be used to harvest energy during sunny days, and a single large CO2 water to water heat pump will produce the balance of the thermal load of the building. Geothermal energy will be used as heat source, we are under the assumption there are copious quantities of groundwater available at the site from flooded coal mines. District heating principles will be used to heat the entire building, surplus heat will be used for cooling and refrigeration using absorption chillers.
The biggest accomplishment of this project is that it will demonstrate that NZE building is affordable using technologies that are available in the market place, NZE building is a must if we want to arrest climate change, Canada can show that to the world. Our approach will make evident that fossil fuels are obsolete and too expensive.
- The project will be fully documented and reported to NRCan and BC Government, so the statistics can be generated and used to compare it to traditional building techniques.
- A cluster of modern technologies for energy conservation and energy efficiency will be validated for use in mainstream construction with the target of being 0% incremental cost.
- The measured performance will help establish the baseline for the Step Code and standards, not necessarily in line with previous practices; i.e. measure the amount and temperature of hot water supplied to each unit to determine consumer profile to predict energy use.
- Generate statistics to inform the research community and key stakeholders how energy is used in an NZE environment to optimize the intensity of each technology to achieve energy neutrality in both commercial and residential environments.
- An integrated system such as solar thermal assisted CO2 heat pump together with In’Flector Window Inserts and Hempcrete will increase competitiveness of Canada’s cleantech industry and utility operations;
- All technologies that are implemented avoid the use of fossil fuels, this will increase the awareness and understanding of technologies and processes associated with absolutely no CO2 emissions
- Advancement of technologies that contribute to Net Zero Emissions Building
- This project aims to reduce 750 tons of CO2 per year.
I am an executive member of the Community Created Agriculture Co-op, Our Mission is to establish an agricultural Co-operative that will create the necessary infrastructure to facilitate production, processing, preservation, storage and delivery of food in the Comox Valley. This includes the purchase of a farm in Courtenay where food can be produced or collected to be delivered to the three hundred individuals and families that participate in the CCAC food supply program. The co-operative will own, house and maintain farm equipment, cold storage, processing equipment, etc. for the use of the co-op members on a cost recovery basis (10-year equipment amortization + utilities + fuel + maintenance + operator + overhead). If you want to be one of the three hundred families or individuals who want to eat Roundup (glyphosate) free food and know where their food comes from, this is your opportunity.
The principles the co-op members agree to operate under are:
- Non-GMO and Roundup Free Agriculture
- Access to Farm Equipment
- Organic and Sustainable Farming practices
- Food Security
- Preserve and enhance the agricultural and ecological capacity of the land;
- Sustain a source of local, fresh, healthy food;
- Subscribers have first option to purchase their food from the CCAC;
- Provide educational opportunities for a diverse audience to learn about the interdependence of sustainable agriculture and conservation;
- Demonstrate a community farming and land stewardship model for others to adopt.
- Living Wage Compliant
- 15 Km diet
The way we grow our food affects so much of the world around us: our health, the health of the land and water, birds and wildlife, our atmosphere, the ability of people to make a living wage and of communities to thrive. Two of the most defining challenges of our time are how we choose to feed ourselves and how we choose to deal with climate change. And the two are related.
The choices we make now can lead to an extraordinary future. If we invest in farming that is adaptable and regenerative, that respects the limits of season, that builds soil and economies—we can grow a vibrant way of farming that delivers fresh, healthy, affordable food while being resilient in the face of a highly variable climate.
The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of how the Community Created Agriculture Co-op (CCAC) is planning to provide safe food and food security for three hundred families and individuals that reside in the Comox Valley, who are willing to consider CCAC their favoured food source. It is a conversation starter to spark shared dialogue on a proposed solution to a long-term problem in our community. We invite your collaboration as we co-create our food secure future.
Transforming energy supply is perhaps the most direct path to low-carbon world, but reconstructing food systems follows closely in terms of importance. Industrial methods of food production and distribution, and wasteful or high-impact consumption practices, make food a focal point for any transition to a low-carbon world. Current practices are dominated by the use of carbon-intensive pesticides, fertilizers, oil-powered machinery, and plastic packaging, and the globalised food chain can mean that food often travels tens of thousands of kilometres to arrive on our plates. To make matters worse, it is estimated that One third of the food produced for human consumption is wasted globally (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, 2013). 31 Billion CAD (40% of all the food produced in Canada) is wasted.
It follows that any transition to a sustainable society is going to require huge changes in our methods of food production and distribution, and our cultures of food consumption. Not only is food a critically important key to such a transition, it is often said that the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, suggesting that food may be an important way to engage people about broader issues of social and ecological concern. In the absence of progressive government action, however, it again seems likely that the driver for change may have to come from the socio-cultural sphere.
The Community Created Agriculture Co-op is one example of where citizens are getting active in local food production. One must acknowledge, however, that CCAC will produce only a tiny, often insignificant, percentage of the Comox Valley food requirements. This is not to downplay the potential importance of agriculture cooperatives as a mechanism for social change; they are arguably an important means of creating a social conversation about food, as well as creating social hubs and networks that promote community interaction and knowledge sharing. But CCAC is not really threatening to disrupt conventional, industrial food production.
Innovations with disruptive potential like CCAC involve new ways of connecting local people with local farmers. Food co-ops, local farmers market, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA), and farmer-direct veggie box schemes, increasingly providing urban and suburban people with access to locally grown food.
‘Localising’ food production, however, is only a relatively small part of the transformation needed. ‘Food miles’ is a concept that gets a significant amount of attention, but analyses suggest that the embedded carbon in the ‘transporting’ of food is only somewhere around 5-10% of the total emissions flowing from food. This is still a significant percentage, of course, and it suggests that localising food production can indeed reduce carbon emissions by reducing food miles (as well as build food resilience and security). But what it really shows is that the way food is produced (e.g. industrial vs. organic) and the type of foods produced and consumed (e.g. high meat vs. low meat diets), are more relevant to the carbon footprint of food than where food is produced (distant vs. local). Furthermore, ‘food miles’ can mislead insofar as different modes of transport change the carbon footprint. For example, transporting food by a truck can be 10 times more carbon intensive than using a train, so again, it is not simply about where food is produced, but how it is produced, what is produced, and how it is transported.
What, then, could provoke a radical change away from carbon-intensive methods of food production, distribution, and consumption? Rising energy costs – due to the peaking of oil production or by internalising the full costs of carbon (e.g. a carbon tax) – could be a significant means of changing the economics of the current system. Expensive energy would make organic and local production more economically competitive, and high meat consumption less affordable. In much the same way that we can expect a rapid transition to renewable energy the moment it is cheaper than fossil energy, so too could we expect a rapid transition to organic food production if high energy costs made industrial methods uneconomic. A third mode of transformation could be a culture shift away from high-impact diets, through which people choose to buy local and organic, and reduce meat consumption, due to ethical considerations more than economic ones. Ethical enlightenment, however, may not be a pathway to rely upon.
Whether a low-carbon system of food production is forced upon us or voluntarily chosen, the case of Cuba provides an inspiring example of what such a system might look like. With the collapse of the USSR, Cuba’s oil imports were reduced significantly, forcing the nation, over a short time frame, to move away from oil-intensive, industrial methods of production to more local and organic systems of food production. In the early ‘90s, the urban landscape changed drastically, with all available growing spaces cultivated for organic production. Although the Cuban government played a role in this transition, the primary driving force came from people themselves, who just did what they needed to do to survive.
Could more urban centres adopt urban agriculture to the extent Cuba did during its oil crisis? Throughout the developed world and beyond, small but growing subcultures of food activists are experimenting with exciting methods of urban agriculture – food swaps, guerrilla gardening, home aquaponics, vertical gardens, green roofs, ‘slow food’ practices, community gardens, urban farms, etc. – but yet, it must be admitted, these practices have been unable to ‘scale up’ sufficiently to threaten the existing system. But the case of Cuba presents one vision of urban agriculture’s potential. It also demonstrates the speed at which food systems can change when ignited by some disruptive force.
Why Farmers? Why the Comox Valley? Why now?
With the CCAC, we will have a fair chance to close the ingenuity gap between the food we consume and how it is produced, highlighting the need for natural food to maintain health and, at the same time, preserve the environment and the soil.
We all know that our food systems, as they currently exist, are broken. Industrial market domination of our food systems has led to unacceptable waste. Modern commercial agriculture, with its mono-crops and reliance on chemical pesticides, herbicides like Roundup, and synthetic fertilizers, is rendering once fertile land dead, and damaging nearby ecosystems. The associated carbon footprint is shameful. Energy and resources are wasted at every step of the production, processing and distribution chain.
The reckless and unethical pursuit of profit from “cheap” food, by large, faceless corporations, takes no account of the actual costs. These market systems heavily subsidized by governments and entrenched by vested interests, force all our farmers to compete on price. How often do we hear our small local farmers comment on how difficult it is to make a living these days? The necessity of competing, from a position of disadvantage, with “Big Food,” means that small farmers face pressure to conform to standards of practice that are not in keeping with their own values or those of their community.
There is no resilience in these systems. The food supply on Vancouver Island is especially fragile. In the case of a natural disaster or an economic crisis disrupting the ferries or the supply chain from other countries; even for a few days’ disruption, it would be a total disaster.
Recent political changes in the United States of America could also turn out to be a threat to our fragile food supply; a substantial proportion of our food comes from the USA or through the US from Mexico. Any disruption in the food distribution system in the US will disrupt food supply to Vancouver Island and the Comox Valley, making our situation very difficult. To minimize this risk becomes a priority.
6.4% of Farmers in BC are under 40 years old and 62% are over 55 years old. As farmers age, good farmland on Vancouver Island is falling into misuse, especially into disuse, as it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone who wants to farm to pay the price of admission. Young people keen to farm, are prohibited by the cost of access to land, equipment, and training. We have an abundance of once-productive farmland here in the Comox Valley that has been turned into pasture or left to go to idle, yet remains inaccessible to those who wish to enter farming. The Comox Valley Regional District reports that 11,000 acres out of 23,000 in the inventory of ALR land are not in food production; mostly are in hay production for horses and cows. The Comox Valley produces 198% of the dairy needs of the residents of the valley; but the vast majority of it goes out south to be processed, and needs to be imported back for consumption. 11,000 chickens are produced in the Comox Valley every 8 to 12 weeks, but none of them stays in the valley for local consumption, the market for chicken in the Comox Valley is 50,000 chickens per month, according to statistics Canada.
We are gathering a group of people who want to solve these issues, and are prepared to get their hands into it, maybe physically, maybe financially, maybe intellectually, or all the above.
The Project’s Vision
The project will necessarily involve the participation of many, many who have creative ideas and capacities to contribute to the resilient future we so enthusiastically want to live. CCAC aims to remain flexible enough to respond to the changing needs of its members, and the world around us, while remaining rooted enough to achieve its purpose. As such, a general vision statement has been established, including several supporting Vision Elements that will help to guide the evolving work.
- Our Vision is to establish a community of people who are dedicated to establishing a self-sufficient local economy and personal life, as much as is biophysically possible given the opportunities and constraints of the land upon which it is based.
- Our Mission is to provide a supportive environment in which people can learn and practice farming skills at their own pace with their friends and family.
CCAC will be an enterprise:
- …that aims to not overextend This means that the project will grow as the membership, capacity and interest grow. The work of the project must, therefore, remain adaptable to these realities and practice at a scale that is sustainable.
- …that is not afraid to fail. This means that experimentation and learning from practice will be promoted and shared so that others may benefit from the experiences of others.
- … that practices holistic systems. This means that the multi-dimensional nature of self-sufficiency will be explored including many different food and textile resources, local fundraising, education and group dynamics.
- …that is not motivated to make money. This means that Community Created Agriculture Co-operative will not pursue a profit in the strictly financial sense, but will measure its success based on the capacity it delivers to the participants. It is recognized that raising farmers is of higher value than growing crops.
- …that is open to all community members who share the Vision. This means that CCAC will focus its energies in its initial stages at working with people that are already interested in the Vision as described, to promote a positive and productive working relationship that sets a solid foundation for on-going actions. All ages, abilities, skills and economic situations are welcome.
- …that uses principles and the science of sustainability, resilience, and permaculture in all aspects of its work. CCAC will aim to challenge the status quo in its practices by demonstrating through hands-on examples how to live well with the web of life.
An invitation for you to join us
Each of us involved in CCAC is passionate about living a respectful and happy life with other communities, including their ecologies. Community Created Agriculture Co-op is a vision in self-sufficiency, as best as we can on the land that we work with.
The vision is bold and multi-dimensional and will take years for it to fully come to fruition, a static goal is not the aim, rather, CCAC endeavors to be a farmer-generating enterprise that adapts and prepares as our world changes all around us by establishing a community around its production, because each of us knows that it takes a community to do anything worthwhile.
This long-term vision for CCAC includes plans for the cultivation of a wide range of food and fiber sources, woodlot management, energy generation and establishing housing arrangements. In short, CCAC aims to become a sustainable intentional community over time.
The lack of vegetable fats and protein is one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the goal of pesticide, GMO-free, and a 15-km diet. Cultivation of hemp will overcome this deficiency.
Dependency on fossil fuels will be overcome by production of biodiesel from used vegetable oil. Solar thermal and photovoltaic energy will be a very important part of the equation to achieve energy independence together with biogas produced in anaerobic digestion and wood gasification processes. It is recognized that all GHG producing processes should be used to a minimum if not eliminated. Zero emissions is another important goal, carbon neutrality will be the next best option.
Implementation of the Negawatt concept (a watt that is not used) is a clear objective, energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy production are the steps on the quest for a Net Zero Energy Input operation; superinsulated buildings will be the norm, hot water heat recovery, LED lighting, heat recovery ventilation systems, reflective insulation on walls and ceilings, window radiant barrier inserts, tight doors, etc. alternative construction materials will be used, such as hempcrete (for insulation and carbon capture for the life of the building) and recycled polystyrene. Standing dead timber will be used as construction material.
A holistic approach to physical health and mental wellness of the participants in this project is one of the vital aspects of the cooperative, and it will be addressed by having an inhouse health practicioner as one of the primary benefits of the membership to the Co-op.
The village must start adapting to climate change The Era of Procrastination, of Half Measures, of Soothing and Baffling Expedients, of Delays, is coming to its close. In its Place we are Entering a Period of Consequences:
- Commit to reducing the carbon footprint of the municipality and residents by at least 25%
- Energy efficient retrofits in all remodeling of homes with the goal of reaching Net Zero Ready
- Net Zero Ready standard in all new construction
- Urban agriculture in Cumberland to reduce the amount of food that comes from countries under drought, like USA and Mexico
- Buy food from local producers in the Comox Valley, like the Community Created Agriculture Co-op
- Do what is necessary to reduce PM2.5 particles in the air to acceptable levels using the heating months average to measure the problem
- Demonstrate that natural gas as a heat source is more expensive than a heat pump, both, the cost of the furnace and ducting over the life of the appliance and the cost of natural gas which doesn’t include the environmental cost of burning a fossil fuel
- Insulate, insulate, insulate
- Use renewable energy to supply the energy used (heat pumps are recognized by Natural Resources Canada as a renewable energy source with efficiency up to 450% when CO2 is used as the refrigerant)
- Install solar water heaters that are recognized to reduce up to 69% of the yearly requirements of hot water for the house
- Utilize alternative forms of transportation like bicycles and public transit
- Make an electric car fleet available to residents in the village to be shared by all residents on a cost recovery basis as a source of public transportation and to resolve in a big way the parking problem in downtown Cumberland; it costs less than $500/year to run an electric car for 20,000 km with almost no maintenance costs for at least 20 years, as opposed to about $2,500/year for a compact regular gas automobile that requires regular maintenance like oil change etc.
- Reduce the amount of water consumed in the household, by replacing toilets, shower heads, faucets, greywater, rainwater, efficient clothes washer, dishwasher, no lawn watering, drip irrigation for vegetable gardens with automated controls, etc.
- Implement a rainwater collection bylaw
- Implement the bylaw that mandates the replacement of all toilets, shower heads, and faucets that don’t conserve water
- Implement gray water collection
- Implement financial incentives to promote the measures proposed to slow down climate change, like lower the cost of water for a household that reaches the national average of 250 liters per person per day; currently, the average in Cumberland is 426 liters per person per day.
- I am not in favor of a salary freeze for council and mayor for the duration of my term, The Mayor and Council members, in proportion to the rest of the Valley, are at disadvantage. They need to be remunerated better so they can spend more time working on the issues at hand, not only in their free time or because they are retired.
- I am in favor of a staff hiring freeze, but not only in a staff hiring freeze but also salaries. I am also in favor of a review of the duties of each one of the members of the staff against the job description to avoid overlapping and lack of purpose, so people do what they are hired to do and to make sure that the residents of Cumberland receive the level of service they are paying for. it is also necessary to investigate expense reduction at the Village of Cumberland in general and particularly at the expense accounts of each member of the staff, including the Mayor and Council, to avoid excess spending and maintain the frugality that is expected of the staff members of such a small community. It is hard to imagine that the taxes collected hardly meet the payroll demands.
- I believe that the trafficking, distribution and consumption of illicit drugs (cannabis notwithstanding) is an issue in Cumberland, it is a problem and needs to be investigated to see if there are measures to prevent harm to the residents that are subject to addictions and help them cope with their situation.
- I would support tax incentives for developers to increase the number of multi-unit residential rental properties in Cumberland, but only if the units that are built are under a contract to be maintained as affordable rent in perpetuity. Affordability should be determined using the low-income average, not the regular income average, also the units need to be under the premise that discrimination of any kind will not be allowed.
- I am not in favor of increasing the number of settlement nodes within the Regional Growth Strategy, to facilitate future development in the Comox Valley, we need to leave the Regional Growth Strategy alone and implement the changes that allow only the municipalities to apply for changes to it.
- I am not in support of the proposed amendment to the Regional Growth Strategy to facilitate the residential development, it goes totally against what was agreed in the Regional Growth Strategy as a basic principle.
- I am not in favor of the Comox Valley Agriplex project, the Agriplex project has nothing to do with agriculture, should not be on ALR land, and has no signs of being financially viable for users of other activities different to agriculture. Agriculture in the Comox Valley doesn’t need such a center.