Town has another grant turned down

Final grant left on the table to be put towards Centennial Park revitalization is turned down

The Town of Lake Cowichan has suffered another setback in its plans for the revitalization of Centennial Park.

Chief administrator Joe Fernandez confirmed that the final grant left on the table to be put towards Centennial Park, a $20,000 from BC Healthy Communities, had been turned down.

Fernandez confirmed the news to council at last Tuesday’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee meeting at the town hall.

Coun. Bob Day, who instigated the application of that grant, was particularly disappointed but as ever, chose to view the glass as half full rather than half empty.

“If another round of grants comes up I would love us to apply again,” said Day, who chaired the meeting. “The answer for the world these days seems to be ‘oversubscribed’. If we didn’t hit the mark, they should let us know.”

A few months ago, Day planted the seed for an urban food forest for Lake Cowichan, to be based at Centennial Park and recently he said that he’d be prepared to go into that without any grants.

“I have reconnected with Tree Canada and they said they’d be happy to look at our presentation. They gave us a lot of hope that they’d be able to have some influence [if we were to apply again]. They have come into some more money and the grants program will be happening again.”

Mayor Ross Forrest backed Day up and is keen to seek the advice of the experts at Tree Canada prior to applying for further grants down the line.

“They (Tree Canada) are very interested in what we have to say. Hopefully that (help) pays off for us,” said the mayor at the meeting.

Day said that he would like to see town staff produce documents on where a new dog park as well as a forest would be best positioned.

“I’d like us to be ready before certain applications go forward.”

At the same meeting, Day presented a letter from local biologist Bob Crandall regarding the potential of a pond at Centennial Park.

“Ted Burns and I have scouted the land and water flow in the area you have suggested for the project. We see no problem with building a pond for reasons of erosion and sediment control via retention and detention,” wrote Crandall to Day. “There is a natural scour below a culvert where this has begun to happen naturally. Expanding this area for the gathering of run off sheet flow and conveyance would be reasonable and beneficial to the ecosystem. Many invasive plants need removal and I have seen you and other volunteers work on this in recent years.”

Day was encouraged by Crandall’s findings and now hopes a proper review of the area will go ahead.

“It’s encouraging to hear that the area is a very good candidate for revitalization,” said Day.

Coun. Tim McGonigle welcomes the prospect of continued expert opinion and input going forward.

“Regardless of what the upgrades are in that area, we’ll need some expert opinion,” said McGonigle at the meeting. “Be it a food forest, water, a dog park, whatever does go in there, we’ll need expert opinion.”