Warm welcome? Town aims to help newcomers

Mayor Ross Forrest said he thought it would be worthwhile to know more about who exactly is relocating to the Lake.

While Lake Cowichan town council was stymied in its first attempt to get more information about property sales and buyers, the mayor and aldermen still want to look at ways to connect with newcomers to the community.

At their economic and sustainable development committee meeting Nov. 17, they tossed around the idea of preparing some material to hand out to anyone buying property in the community.

CAO Joe Fernandez said he thought it would be very tough if not impossible to poll realtors for the information and even knowing who was buying wouldn’t help with determining who was moving in and who were absentee landlords.

Mayor Ross Forrest said he thought it would be worthwhile to know more about who exactly is relocating to the Lake.

“They could have great skills to share. It would be nice to know who they are,” he said, suggesting that if the town could prepare some written material it might be possible to distribute it through the notary public’s office since the paperwork for most land deals is handled there.

Coun. Bob Day and Coun. Carolyne Austin also suggested Welcome Wagon as another way to help welcome newcomers while finding out what they need and even what they could be bringing to the community.

Town works superintendent Nagy Rizk said he fielded a lot of calls from newcomers asking about opportunities to volunteer.

Fernandez said he had recently been part of a joint tour of town with counterparts from the school district and suggested that cooperation might be another way to find out more about who’s coming to Cowichan Lake.

Forrest also pointed out that given Lake Cowichan’s reputation for affordable housing, many folks were also moving to the town to rent, not buy, and there were other challenges in finding out about them, their needs and what they might add to the town.