Lake Cowichan’s town council has applied for a government grant that, if successful, would cover the entire cost of the upgrade project at town hall.
At the council meeting on Jan. 25, council voted unanimously to apply for almost $1.9 million for the project under the COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure component of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
Ottawa would cover 80 per cent of the costs, while the province would pay for the remaining 20 per cent.
“The timing of this grant couldn’t have come at a better time,” said CAO Joe Fernandez.
“The deadline for the application is tomorrow [Jan. 26] and a lot of work has gone into the application already.”
Coun. Tim McGonigle asked that if the grant application is successful, would it cover the entire cost of the project.
Fernandez said it would be fully funded if the total cost of the upgrades and renovations is less than the amount that would be granted.
“If it goes over, the town would have to cover the costs,” he said.
“The fund for the project the town already has in place should cover any cost over runs.”
The town has been setting aside funding for the project annually for many years, and currently has just under $1 million in the fund.
Fernandez said if the town receives the grant, much of the fund will still have to be used for related projects to the town hall upgrade.
“The grant would cover the upgrades and renovations themselves, but the town will still have to cover the costs of landscaping, the removal of other existing structures, and other projects on the property,” he said.
Lake Cowichan’s town hall on South Shore Road is more than 60 years old and it was determined many years ago that it would need a major renovation project to continue to meet the needs of the community.
The town hall’s expansion of 269 square metres will provide for an entrance hall, reception area, washrooms and new council chambers.
The existing space, once renovated, will provide room for more offices and more spacious work stations.
Staff will have more room to work, and the building inspector and bylaw officer will be able to have offices there rather than off-site.
Fernandez some roof work has been completed, but the rest of the upgrade project is still in the engineering and design phases.
“We hope to have the construction work begun by the end of March,” he said.
“We want to have it completed by the end of the year because, if we get the grant, its terms call for the job to be done by then.”