Loretta Puckrin, co-chair with Paul Jordan of the 75th Anniversary committee, talks to Lake Cowichan council about the need for seed funding to get plans for the celebration underway. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Lake Cowichan group gets $2,000 to start on 75th anniversary

They asked for $5,000 but more money could be coming in the new year

Editor’s note: This item was voted on by Lake Cowichan’s previous council.

After an extended debate, Lake Cowichan council decided to give the 75th Anniversary group $2,000 to get their efforts started.

A big celebration is planned for next summer as the town’s 75th birthday comes in August 2019, and a large committee has been set up to organize it and other events during the year as well.

At the suggestion of Coun. Tim McGonigle, council decided to free up $2,000 from the last of the grants-in-aid account, once the group have formed themselves into a society and produced a budget for how they plan to spend the money.

All councillors wanted to assure the committee it was not from mistrust but simply from a desire to ensure everything was as transparent as possible.

The group had originally asked for $5,000 to get on with their work, and it was also decided that the next council can decide whether or not to include the anniversary celebration as a line item in next year’s budget.

Town CAO Joe Fernandez said he thought it would be best if the town retained responsibility for the celebration itself, while the committee “gave direction”.

Mayor Ross Forrest added, “I like the idea that we would be accountable to all our taxpayers,” but Coun. Bob Day thought giving the money to the committee instead “would be less costly in the long run.”

McGonigle said he thought putting a line item into the budget later would be a good idea.

“Then we would not be tying the hands of the committee,” he said.

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