According to the Lake Cowichan Gazette of Oct. 29, 2008, “The debate about the proposed arena renovation is definitely heating up.”
This was a huge election issue that year and gossip was washing through town like a tidal wave.
“One of the most common questions is why wasn’t a contingency fund established,” the story said.
Cowichan Lake residents, who will be voting in a Nov. 15 referendum on whether to support borrowing up to $7.5 million for the project, are grappling with the prospect of paying $107 a year more in residential property taxes to pay for the work, based on the average residential property value of $300,000. Based on the same $300,000 assessed value, business property owners would pay $262 a year, managed forest lands would pay $321 a year and industrial property owners would pay $364 a year.
“We’ve been contributing to a contingency fund all along, but it’s been used for repairs such as the condenser or improvements required to meet new standards,” said Brooke Hodson, Cowichan Valley Regional District director for Youbou/Meade Creek and a member of the Cowichan Lake Recreation Commission.
“The big thing is, how much money do you put aside and when. One concern is, what would people think about contributing to such a fund that they may not be here to benefit from?”
Hodson, who is not running for re-election, said about $250,000 has been put aside for a new roof, considered the top priority, and installing a concrete floor for the curling rink. The roof replaced alone would cost about $1.75 million, while the curling rink concrete floor will cost about $675,000.
“With a concrete floor, we could get more use out of the curling facility in the off season,” said Hodson. “We haven’t put a lot of money aside for the curling rink.”
“John Elzinga, manager of Cowichan Lake Recreation, suggested that a contingency fund for something like a $150,000 Zamboni, for which $10,000 a year is set aside for a replacement fund, is a lot more reasonable than for these arena renovations.
“No one wants to raise taxes for a rainy day fund for something people can’t see,” he said.
Another common question is whether the recreation commission will apply for a grant to help cover some of the costs.
Elzinga said the commission will apply for grants, but didn’t base its borrowing on that.
“Fletcher Challenge Canada announced last Tuesday that it plans to create a new venture: TimberWest Forest Limited” said the leading story in The Lake News of Nov. 3, 1993.
Its sawmill at Youbou and its South Island forest logging operation becomes a major part of this new venture. TimberWest is to include all Fletcher Challenge forestry, logging, and lumber operations in the coastal region and the Williams Lake area. Completion of the asset transfer and public share offering, expected in December, will make TimberWest one of the largest public companies operating exclusively in the logging and lumber segment of the Canadian forest industry.
Fletcher Challenge will keep sole ownership of its Vancouver Island pulp and paper operations at Crofton and Elk Falls as well as its pulp mill, two sawmills and related logging operations centred at Mackenzie, B.C., and a lightweight coated paper mill in Minnesota. TimberWest will continue to supply wood fibre to Fletcher Challenge Canada pulp mills.
There will be a public offering of 15,200,000 common shares representing a 49 per cent interest in the company. Proceeds of the share offering will be used in the purchase of assets from Fletcher Challenge Canada, which will hold a 51 per cent interest.
Cowichan Lake politics were obviously different in 1978, according to the Nov. 1 issue of The Lake News that year.
“Interest in local politics seems to be at an all-time low. At the close of nominations Monday noon an election was assured in only one of five local races. Not even one candidate filed nomimation papers for regional Area F.”
The election will be held for village school board representation. Three candidates, including incumbent board chairman Buck Hollingdrake, librarian Jean Brown and Ron Tapley of Teleglobe, will vie for two seats on the board.
Meanwhile, Ray Bennet was returned by acclamation to his rural school board seat and Olive Baird was unopposed in her bid to take the seat vacated by Dalton Smith.
Both village alderman Ernie Burns and Hazel Beech were returned by acclamation.
In the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Olive Baird claimed the Area I seat vacated by Ken Douglas but there were no takers for the Area F seat which will become vacant when Dave Berry steps down in December.
The failure to find a candidate to fill the seat means Minister of Municipal Affairs Hugh Curtis will appoint a representative for the Mesachie Lake region.