Gas tax funding of $367,000 comes in for eco-friendly parking lot

Last week, it was announced that the Union of BC Municipalities has approved a $367,000 gas tax grant to help put in an eco-friendly parking lot at the arena.

  • Aug. 15, 2011 9:00 a.m.

If Joni Mitchell had seen the parking lot proposed for the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, she may have changed her tune.

Last week, it was announced that the Union of BC Municipalities has approved a $367,000 gas tax grant to help put in an eco-friendly parking lot at the arena.

“We’re trying to do a green renovation,” Cowichan Valley Regional District Area F (Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls) director Ian Morrison said, of the project.

“Where does the storm drainage go? Into the river.”

“We will go weeks without rain. So, if we have cars dumping pollutants and get a mid-August rain, it’ll all go right into the water system.”

With state of the art oil catchments and a rain garden component, nothing of questionable content will flow out of the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena’s renovated parking lot, once it’s complete.

Morrison’s brain child, the proposed project went through some ups and downs earlier this year, after the project was not found on a list of approved funding items.

With the funding now set in stone, it’s hoped that the parking lot construction can begin as soon as possible.

“Hopefully, with the weather  being what it is, we’ll get it done,” Cowichan Lake Recreation Commission chair Sheila McFarlane said.

“We have this new building, and the parking lot looks like hell. It’ll look so much nicer.”

“I think it’s in the best interests of the environment,” Cowichan Lake Recreation manger Linda Blatchford said.

“It’s going to add a lot to our town.”

During a Thursday, August 11 meeting of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society, Morrison made the announcement of the parking lot’s approval.

With Morrison focusing on the environmental impact of the project, the watershed stewards were enthused with the plans.

“It’ll be a neat piece that will lead the way in an initiative that will be great for the river,” Morrison said. “It’ll be a showpiece… a great education piece.”

The $367,000 project will cover about 60 per cent of the project, projected to cost $599,000.

With a $515,000 contract approved, the remaining costs are made up of engineering and a contingency fund.

The difference between the gas tax amount and the total amount will be covered by reserve dollars that have already been put aside, with an additional 10 per cent coming from funds dedicated to 2011 reserves.

“There will be no tax increase,” Morrison assured.

Another local gas tax item that’s going through the Union of BC Municipalities is $350,000 for the Town of Lake Cowichan’s wastewater plant upgrades.

As of press time, Monday, whether or not the town’s application has been accepted had yet to be announced.