Town council discusses long term capital planning

Chief administrative officer wants town to come up with financial plans longer than five years in the future

Members of the Town of Lake Cowichan’s staff would like to see longer financial plans tabled in the future.

At last week’s Sustainable Planning and Development Committee meeting at the town hall, chief administrative officer Joe Fernandez posted the idea of having 10, 15 or 20 year financial plans for the town moving forward, rather than your typical five-year plans which we see today.

Last week’s meeting saw a detailed discussion on short and long-term planning of capital projects.

“I have looked at the five year financial plan and it is more in-depth this year,” said Fernandez at the meeting. “But I think we need to look past those five years and focus more on that as well going forward. That way, there’s less chance of us looking at debt moving forward and that’s fiscally responsible.

“We could maybe look at a 10 or 20 year financial plan. Capital projects are not carved in stone so they can change. It would be good to look ahead.”

Coun. Jayne Ingram, who chaired the meeting, said she’d like to see more input from other town departments on Fernandez’s views.

“I’d like to see the five-year plan brought to the table, maybe at the next sustainable planning meeting, and we can have a detailed discussion,” said Ingram.

Fernandez also reiterated that long term planning should not just be about capital projects alone.

“The planning should not just be about the capital projects, it should be about all areas, but we do have to look at how we are going to finance those capital projects.”

Coun. Bob Day seemed keen on Fernandez’s ideas.

“One thing that comes to my mind is the sidewalks and the roads,” said Day. “I’d like to see what our superintendent of public works (Nagi Rizk) has planned beyond those five years as he is going to be a key player in all of this. ”

Rizk already believes his department is ahead of the game.

“We are way ahead of the five-year plan in certain areas,” said Rizk at the meeting.