Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan was in Lake Cowichan to announce

$500K grant to help fund Centennial Park project

Centennial Park project was chosen due to cultural significance, time constraints.

After sitting on the backburner for over a decade, the Town of Lake Cowichan, along with Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan, announced yesterday (July 28) that proposed improvements to Centennial Park will finally be implemented thanks to a $500,000 grant from the federal government.

Planned improvements to Centennial Park are extensive and include renovations to the baseball diamonds, dugouts and pathways, as well as the installation of field lighting. While councillor Tim McGonigle said that the town is still looking to use natural turf in the upgrades, they will also be looking into the possibility of using artificial turf, considering the recent prevalence of water restrictions and the “new normal” for water consumption being pushed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

The town has previously invested money into Centennial Park, in order to raise pitching mounds, update the infield and attempt to deal with drainage issues, though McGonigle stresses that a “major capital investment” is necessary in order to make an impact on the park.

“The town has contributed capital funds in the last three years, but that hasn’t helped with the major problems,” he said. “This project has been around since my first election 13 years ago; even before that, discussions were already taking place.”

The grant is part of a Canada-wide infrastructure improvement program being funded by the federal government to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. $150 million is being invested in projects around the country, including a total of $896,000 being put into eight projects on Vancouver Island. The Town of Lake Cowichan received the maximum amount of $500,000, making it by far the largest on the Island. The total cost of the project is expected to be $1.4 million, with the town contributing the rest.

The master plan for the Centennial Park project was originally drawn up in 2008, but was eventually shelved after the town failed to secure funding. Prior to applying for the Canada 150 grant, the plan was partially updated to include a rough estimate of the cost of the project, due to inflation. The next step, McGonigle said, will be to finalize the estimate of material costs and to have engineer drawings made.

The project is expected to take two years to complete, and is planned to be unveiled in 2017, to commemorate Canada’s “sesquicentennial.”

Vancouver Island North MP John Duncan was in Lake Cowichan to announce that the town would be receiving the grant on behalf of the federal government, as he is currently the only Conservative MP on Vancouver Island. Duncan said that the Centennial Park project was chosen due to the presence of the Cowichan Lake Sports arena and also for the symbolic value.

“Centennial Park was probably a product of 1967,” Duncan said. “There are other buildings here not requiring work, and that contributes to the activity in the area.”

McGonigle said that he hopes the upgrade will allow Lake Cowichan to host provincial baseball championships, as well as increase its local use.

“It might entice a lot of the older baseball players to stay in town and play on local teams,” he said.

The Town of Lake Cowichan originally submitted the grant application in June. Joe Fernandez, the town’s CAO, explained that the project was chosen in order to meet the tight deadline for grant applications, as they did not have adequate time to prepare a plan for a new project.

“The project was something that we had that was almost shovel-ready” he said.

He also noted its significance due to being located in Centennial Park.

Just Posted

Kerry Park’s new goalie is perfect in VIJHL debut

Charles-Olivier Lepage shuts out high-powered Storm

Longtime resident and business owner Garry Bruce running for Duncan city council

I have been a resident in the City of Duncan for more than 60 years

Double heartbreak for Cowichan Capitals at BCHL Showcase

Caps edged in OT one night, give up winner with 4.5 seconds left the next day

Alison Nicholson is ‘committed to community’ in bid for re-election to Area E

Mission is to work with you to build community where there is an opportunity for everyone to prosper

Penelakut Tribe threatens legal action on freighters

Lack of consultation cited by Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP MacGregor

VIDEO: Tour de Rock rider says event provides badly needed support

Cancer survivor and volunteer firefighter Nicole Emery speaks about importance of fundraising tour

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Island man calls 911 after being robbed of his drugs

Nineteen-year-old and 15-year-old suspects face multiple charges following robbery Monday in Nanaimo

B.C. woman donates $250,000 to ovarian cancer research for friends

Two of Patty Pitts’s friends passed away from the disease within a year

Most Read