On Friday, May 25, the Honourable Ida Chong, minister of community, sport and cultural development came to Lake Cowichan to participate in the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the town’s water metering program, funded by the Towns for Tomorrow Program.
The town is currently in its second stage of its water metering program and has received a total of $800,000 through Towns for Tomorrow, a provincial initiative providing smaller BC communities with up to 80 per cent of eligible project costs to a maximum of $400,000 for communities with fewer than 5,000 residents. These funds go towards improving local water systems, rehabilitating sewers, upgrading recreation centres, and developing neighbourhood parks.
Chong announced on Friday that the Towns for Tomorrow program has been closed and that the selection process which would determine which communities would receive funding was tough. Selectors had to try and assess what form projects would take among other criteria.
“This project is important at a time when we all need to conserve water,” she says.
The town signed on to the BC Climate Action Charter on September 26, 2007 and Chong states that there are 10 municipalities that have not signed on. “I look at Lake Cowichan as a model,” she says.
“We put concerted effort towards those programs that work,” she says, “These decisions are difficult for governments to make on their own.” Public input helps governments in this process.
The town says its committed to bettering the health of the community and the planet and that the water metering program will be a step in that direction. Through the reduction of fresh water pumping, treatment, chlorination, distribution, and sanitary pumping and treatment they are predicting a 15-20 per cent reduction in water use which should lead to a 15-20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas production.
“We are pleased to do our part in ensuring that the metering of water results in a wise use of this resource. Additionally, this will allow us to determine weaknesses in our water distribution system,” says Mayor Ross Forrest.