The town may have to dip into its water reserves funding to complete the upgrades to the water distribution system affecting hundred houses and other locations in Lake Cowichan.
The budget for this water main project was approved originally for approximately $270,000, but according to Joseph Fernandez, the towns chief administrative officer, a revision of that estimate has shown that an extra $80,000 is needed, bringing the total to $356,889.
This increase is due to work that needs to be done to lines that pass under South Shore Road and that would need to be completed before Ministry of Highways begins paving as part of the initial phase of the town’s Revitalization Plan.
Doing so would almost wipe out any surplus within the water main upgrade budget, though Fernandez states that not all of these additional funds would be spent.
Council explained that the town’s budget is set at the beginning of the year and that when applications for grants and aid are approved and the budget is passed, there is not much room to manouvre or adjust. Where this varies is when there is a contingency or surplus allotted within the budget to specific areas such as with water works or sewer projects. The $80,000 that the council approved for the water main project, is part of a 30 per cent contingency fund.
Coun. McGonigle pointed out that this is a little high compared to past projects, most of which have been between 10 per cent and 20 per cent. Through his suggestion, council agreed that they look into seeing whether part of the funding could come out of Development Cost Charge (DCC) funds.
“These (DCCs) are collected by developers when they purchase properties, and are to be used specifically for work we do related to those specific areas. For instance, if we have collected DCC’s for hundred houses, and I don’t know if we have, that money collected could possibly be used to upgrade water lines for hundred house’s. I am just using hundred houses as an example,” explains Forrest.
When it comes to monies allocated to the fire department, those funds are not just provided through the town. Input is made from Cowichan Valley Regional Directors for Area I and Area F because these areas also pay into fire department funding. If council approves of funding for capital equipment without the approval of Areas I and F, the town may be on the hook for the entire amount, which would then come out of the pockets of Lake Cowichan tax payers.
Furthermore, the town only receives only eight per cent of the tax monies collected from local tax payers. The federal government keeps 50 per cent, and the provincial government keeps 42 per cent.
Other meeting highlights
Greg Adams and Mark Mitchell applied for a development variance permit to allow for the installation of a clock tower on top of the upcoming Tim Hortons restaurant.
Height requirements, under the provisions of zoning bylaw No. 479, Section 5.5.2(c), are 10.5 metres. However, the applicants wish to elevate the height of the clock tower to 11.22 metres.
After some questions about noise concerns from other businesses and acknowledging that letters had been sent to adjacent businesses owners but no responses had been given and that the fire chief had stated that he had no concerns, council approved the application.