Work has been stop and start but it will be completed by the end of this month at Centennial Park in Lake Cowichan. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Councillors challenged by another twist in the tale of the Lake Cowichan Centennial Park upgrades

The ball fields need backstops and fences, but they were not part of this contract.

The upgrades to Centennial Park field are nearing their conclusion, but there is a twist in this long-running tale.

Lake Cowichan councillors discovered last week that though the work should be completed by the end of the month, they still have to ante up more money for backstops, fencing, and a parking lot for the facility. That work was apparently not part of the original contract for the rebuilding of the field.

Coun. Tim McGonigle jumped on that, when he heard it at the Oct. 3 parks committee meeting.

“We have to find some way to make it playable for next year. Otherwise we’ll be maintaining a large lawn. We have to be able to use that field,” he said.

Mayor Ross Forrest agreed.

“I echo that. I thought fencing and backstops were included, and we have no parking lot either. I don’t know where that happened. I don’t remember when it was pulled out. That field? I expect it to be playable,” he told Lake Cowichan CAO Joe Fernandez and Works Superintendent Nagi Rizk.

Fernandez replied that the jobs would take extra money.

“We need to up-front that at the beginning of 2018 to get the work done in time,” he said.

Coun. Bob Day called on Fernandez to produce figures for fencing, backstops, and parking for the finance committee meeting.

Forrest was concerned.

“Are we going to have parking there? I thought we were going to have parking lots that were usable. And fencing? Some of it will be seasonal. We need to have stuff that can be taken down fairly easily. We have to consider other methods of fencing. The sooner we start finding this information the better,” he said.

But Forrest added he was pleased with what’s been done so far.

“The first phase is awesome. It’s going to be an awesome facility, and not just for ball. I’m confident we’ll have soccer here too before too long.”

He also pointed out that council also has to consider naming the fields, and choosing names for the pickleball court, and the columbarium site.

“We need to engage the community to find out what people think about naming,” he said.

McGonigle also added, “My comments about the field were not meant to be negative. We’re just passionate about that field.”

Forrest again agreed.

“It’s taken a long time to get this. It’s something we care about. It will benefit the community,” he said.