Low turnout for town’s AGM

Town of Lake Cowichan releases 2013 Annual Report to the public

The Town of Lake Cowichan hosted its annual general meeting last Tuesday night at the town hall and, as usual, there was a low turnout from the public.

With just a mere seven people in attendance from the public, Mayor Ross Forrest gave out copies of the town’s 2013 Annual Report.

The document is 50 pages long and contains all of the town’s consolidated financial statements.

“I’d like to thank Ronnie Gill, our director of finance, and the rest of the town staff for all the hard work that has went into this document,” said Forrest at the meeting. “It looks very good and is an excellent summary of what we did last year.”

The town has come under some criticism recently for the lack of communication, or quality of, on its part and Coun. Bob Day says the report is something everybody should try and get their hands on to have a look at.

“We’ve taken quite a number of comments that we don’t communicate and we are not open to the public,” said Day. “This is the perfect document to know how the town has been doing, even if you haven’t attended one meeting. This meeting was advertised, as was our five-year financial plan and the budget talks.”

The town is planning to spend approximately $1 million on improvements to the town hall and one gentleman asked where the rest of the money is going to come from to cover that, with only just under $600,000 in the bank for that so far.

“We have a piece of property for sale right now which will take up a fair chunk of the rest of that, plus whatever we put in this year,” said Forrest, who also reiterated that the town always tries to communicate as well as possible. “We don’t try to make information difficult to get. Everything that goes on here is public knowledge.”

A common complaint recently has been the town’s ‘not-so-user-friendly’ website and the fact that it is difficult to navigate around and find information such as the monthly financial reports.

“We are always just a phone call away to help people navigate around the website,” said Gill. “All of our major expenses go on our financial reports which come out monthly. People can see them by coming to the meetings, but they always go on the website as well.”