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Help plan the town's future with mayor and council on Monday

Monday, May 30, is your chance to bring questions and concerns to the Town of Lake Cowichan's elected officials.

Monday, May 30, is your chance to bring questions and concerns to the Town of Lake Cowichan's elected officials.

Although they're always open to public feedback, and all committee and regular council meetings are open to the public and include a public question period at the end, the town's twice-per-year public meetings provide a broader public forum for feedback.

For those uncomfortable with public speaking, sheets of paper will line the walls for people to write their feedback on various issues.

With these other meetings beginning at either 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., Monday's 7 p.m. public meeting may also be more accessible to residents that work during the day.

In preparation for the upcoming public meeting, mayor and council have spent the past few weeks preparing a list of potential discussion points.

"We don't want to run it," councillor Franklin Hornbrook said, during a Tuesday, May 17, committee meeting, to council's agreement. "They can bring up whatever they want to."

The repaving of South Shore Road through the Town of Lake Cowichan will be one of the key public consultation items discussed during the meeting.

The re-paving of South Shore Road will take place some time in 2012, and will include a 2.4 kilometre stretch, from Berar Road to the Highway 18 intersection.

Rather than leave things as-is upon the re-paving of South Shore Road, mayor and council seem to be in agreement that additional improvements along the 2.4 kilometre stretch should take place.

"Do you want South Shore Road to look the same as it does now? If we want some changes, that part will have a cost... This is our opportunity to make these changes now," Mayor Ross Forrest said, during a February budget discussion.

The Ministry of Transportation is paying for the road work, while anything else, including things like sidewalks and trees, are up to the Town of Lake Cowichan.

A traffic control device at the South Shore Road/North Shore Road intersection – possibly a roundabout – is another such item to be discussed, in relation to South Shore Road upgrades.

The Pacific Marine Circle Route, and the many tourism opportunities connected to it, will be discussed. Mayor and council have been meeting with stakeholders from around the circle route in order to get moving on some ideas.

The recycling issue at the Lake Cowichan Post Office will be discussed.

Canada Post has recently decided to remove recycling receptacles from its post offices. In response, the Town of Lake Cowichan's elected officials have removed the garbage can from outside the Post Office, so as to prevent people from throwing out recyclables.

Recycling is a public educational component of the meeting.

Mayor and council will update the public as to what's going on with the Neighbourhood of Learning project. Consultant Susan Plester has finished her months-long project of talking to Cowichan Lake area residents as to what they'd like involved with a new elementary school in Lake Cowichan, and the results are currently being looked over.

The school is tentatively to be located at the old AB Greenwell Elementary School site in Lake Cowichan.

The other half of a $24,000 Neighbourhood of Learning grant the town received last year is currently being used toward Lake Cowichan Secondary School greenhouse upgrades, and the creation of a community garden area.

The idea of revitalization tax exemptions will be explained by mayor and council.

Revitalization tax exemptions are, in a nutshell, freezing property taxes for a period of time in order to kill financial penalties levied against people for making improvements to their buildings.

Mayor and council's ongoing efforts to educate the public as to the importance of composting will continue, during the public meeting. With the town's garbage collection budget running at a budgeted deficit every year, people composting, and therefore lowering the costs associated with tipping fees, would help balance things.

CVRD manager of Public Safety Sybille Sanderson will speak to emergency preparedness, during the public meeting.

Having made 100 presentations so far this year, including ones at a Youbou public meeting and a Town of Lake Cowichan's Tuesday, May 18 committee meeting, she's striving to make sure people prepare themselves for an emergency situation, such as an earthquake, forest fire, or anything else that may befall the area.

The public meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Upper Centennial Hall, Monday, May 30.