We have entered 2013 with much optimism, as new projects are starting and others being completed. The Downtown Revitalization and Streetscape Projects were identified and studied as far back as 2005. Dialogue for a new library began in earnest with the present council back in 2009. Once decisions to proceed were endorsed, there was an enormous amount of time and energy involved getting to the stage we are at today. The excitement continues to grow as we anticipate what the finished projects will look like and what they will bring to the community.
The new Cowichan Lake branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library is anticipated to open in the fall of 2013. The town square component of our Downtown Revitalization Project will start immediately after the completion of the library. This will link the library and the Forest Worker’s Memorial Park with access from South Shore Road and Renfrew Avenue.
Our Streetscape Project will be re-tendered within a matter of days. If everything goes as planned, construction on the North Shore and South Shore Roads roundabout should commence at the beginning of March.
Once weather is suitable, paving will commence on South Shore Road and the raised medians and line painting will follow with a completion date around June, 2013. Much more defined crosswalks and major safety safeguards are highlights of the project.
Another project we are pleased to report on is the latest Job Creation Programme that has been awarded to the town through a grant program administered by the Cowichan Lake Education Centre. With the assistance of the grant, washrooms and change rooms are being constructed at Saywell Park, in addition to a viewing wharf and the restoration of the Kaatza Museum’s railroad boxcar. The town will benefit greatly by improvements to this location.
On Tuesday, Jan. 15, Doctor Paul Hasselback, medical officer for Central Vancouver Island attended our Finance and Administration Committee meeting to speak to us about our community’s health profile.
Every community has areas of concern and profiles are useful in addressing these concerns. Anyone wishing to familiarize themselves with the town’s profile can access it through the Town of Lake Cowichan’s website or through Health Link B.C., which is easy to follow on either website.
A new committee has been formed to assist in the recruitment of doctors to our community. With the concern of a potential doctor shortage, participation from our citizens has been awesome. The actual recruitment will come through the Family Physicians Recruitment Office and the Cowichan Division of Family Practice with their newly formed physicians’ recruitment working group.
The main objective of our local committee will be educating possible candidates on the positive aspects of our community. Members of the committee are quickly putting together a Cowichan Lake promotional webpage to let potential doctors know what our area has to offer so they may choose a practice and hopefully live here. It would be most appreciated if anyone has any photos we can share, showing the beauty of the area, by forwarding them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, difficult decisions for the council have begun for the year. These decisions revolve around taxes. We have yet to begin our budget talks. However, we have decided on how to prepare for mandated decisions of government.
Although we will be forced to borrow money when we are mandated for the secondary water treatment, we are implementing a $100 parcel tax to reduce the amount we borrow. We are also increasing our sanitary sewer parcel tax from $50 to $100 to prepare for future requirements.
Money set aside for these projects now will reduce borrowing costs in the future. Unfortunately, future infrastructure costs eventually arise and we have the responsibility of being prepared. Dismissing tough decisions previously has compounded costs as we go forward.
It is a great privilege for me to acknowledge Fire Chief Doug Knott as the most recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. The purpose of this medal is to honour significant achievements by Canadians.
Doug has protected our community for well over thirty years as a fireman and most of those in leadership positions. He also has served minor sports in many different capacities for many years. Doug joins Sam Beldessi as local citizens receiving this prestigious award. Both of these individuals should be very proud of their medals and we are proud to have had them represent our community for many years.