The renovated town hall will include an emergency operations centre when the project is complete.
The Town of Lake Cowichan is applying for a grant of $25,000 for the centre, which is expected to cost a total of $50,000.
Joe Fernandez, the town’s CAO, said council made the decision to add the centre to the renovation project so that the town will have its own area to deal with emergencies in the community, like the windstorm in December, 2018, that saw major and lengthy power disruptions in the region.
“It was determined that we needed our own centre to handle phone calls, emails and to set up emergency services in the community when it’s needed,” he said.
“The $50,000 for the emergency centre also includes the cost of a back-up generator to ensure we have power at the centre during a crisis. Currently, the Cowichan Valley Regional District uses facilities at the arena for an emergency operations centre when required, but we wanted a centre in which the town has more control. It was an issue that came up in community meetings that were held after the windstorm.”
As for the approximately $1.7-million long-anticipated renovation of the town hall on South Shore Road, Fernandez said the roof work is complete, but upgrades at the front office and other areas are not moving forward as expeditiously as the town would like.
“We expect the renovation project to be completed in the next few months, but we’re not moving forward very fast at this point,” he said.
“We have to depend on the architects and others who are involved in the project, and there always seem to be delays.”
The town hall 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 has been setting aside funding for the project annually, and Fernandez said the full costs of the renovations are expected to be covered by that fund.