It was all smiles as Lakeview Park Campground manager Dalton Smith presented the opening of seven tenting camp sites, recently.
Located down an isolated-feeling walkway, inaccessible by vehicle, the campsites are well spaced from one another, and help fill out an otherwise unused piece of wilderness.
The sites were the brainchildren of five local out-of-work residents and one supervisor hired through a $100,000 job creation grant the campground’s heads were able to procure.
“This is going to turn into their legacy to the town,” supervisor Shawn Carlow said.
“I’m very proud of the work they’ve done. They’re here to the bitter end every day.”
The employees are all from the Cowichan Lake area, he said, and are from all walks of life.
“It’s nice to have diversity. They all work well together. I’m very proud,” he said.
Smith reiterated Carlow’s sentiments, adding that this is one of a series of job creation grants the Lakeview Park Campground and Cowichan Lake Education Centre have been fortunate enough to get.
“We’ve been lucky with grants, and we’ll always be looking forward,” he said.
Because the Lakeview Park Campground is a town-owned facility, Smith had Town of Lake Cowichan’s elected officials tour the new sites, following their Tuesday, July 19, committee meetings.
Carlow had his family on-site to stage a campsite, making use of one of the propane fire places that will be available at all sites.
Although some people have stated that they prefer real camp fires, Carlow said that the propane fire places will prove useful during fire bans that seem to take place every year.
Council viewed the sites a month ago.
“Just a month ago, there was really nothing here,” Smith said, noting how quickly the job creation employees have been working.
The employees are only a couple of months into their 16 weeks’ worth of employment.
Additional work in the coming months will include things related to maintenance, trail clearing, and construction work, mainly focused in the Lakeview Park Campground area.
Budgets on target
During his July 19 committee meeting with council, Cowichan Lake Education Centre and Lakeview Park manager Dalton Smith informed council as to the goings on of both facilities.
Both are owned by the Town of Lake Cowichan, therefore necessitating monthly updates to council.
“We should be on target,” Smith said, of both facilities’ combined $47,240 budgeted deficit.
Although the financial report thus far doesn’t speak to the facilities meeting this target, Smith pointed out that the busy tourists season is only now opening up, thanks to the late onset of warm summer weather.
When asked whether the poor weather has affected business, Smith responded, “Absolutely.”
“Weather has affected us, but our reservation system has saved us,” he said.
Thousands of dollars worth of reservations were maintained, thanks to their brand new online reservation system. The system has resulted in people braving the weather, rather than losing their down payment.