Lake Council OK with more spending to buy regional parks

Subject to CVRD approval: If adopted, move would cost taxpayers an additional $1.20 a year

The Town of Lake Cowichan has given the Cowichan Valley Regional District its support to go ahead and increase its Parkland Acquisition Fund.

The CVRD wants to increase the fund from $766,000 where it is currently, to the maximum amount within the relative bylaw to a total of $958,000.

“The Parkland Acquisition Fund is utilized through various properties throughout the regional district, including in the Town of Lake Cowichan,” said Councillor Tim McGonigle, Lake Cowichan’s CVRD representative.

The town joins each area within the regional district in paying a percentage into the fund every year.

The CVRD requires written consent from service area participants to increase the fund and council passed a motion at its regular meeting on Jan. 29 to allow this to happen.

Councillor Bob Day asked McGonigle what the “tone of the thought process” was at the CVRD table to increase the fund.

“It’s been a contentious issue at the CVRD,” said McGonigle. “Some directors wouldn’t endorse it, some said they would endorse it fully but to a lesser amount.”

The lowest amount the fund can be priced at according to CVRD Bylaw 3772 is $715,000.

If the new inflated fund passes this CVRD budget year, the effect on taxpayers in Lake Cowichan will be an annual increase of $1.20. The fund — and the parameters governing it — was created a few years ago after being approved in a referendum.

“As I’m sitting here as a representative of the Town of Lake Cowichan, are there any planned purchases in this area?” Day asked.

“There’s been discussion but I can’t bring any properties forward by name,” said McGonigle. “Shaw Creek might become available.”