Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society member Gerald Thom unveils early plans for river signage along the Cowichan River. The signs are directed at tubers

Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society member Gerald Thom unveils early plans for river signage along the Cowichan River. The signs are directed at tubers

River signs unveiled to mayor and council

A report on the Town of Lake Cowichan's Tuesday, May 3, committee meetings

  • May. 9, 2011 3:00 p.m.

After sifting through around 150 submissions, the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society has finally unveiled their proposed river signs to mayor and council.

“I think it was worth the wait,” steward Gerald Thom said, of the submissions. “There was even a poem written.”

The signage will consist of one main sign, with different phrases stemming out of the word “Respect.”

An additional seven smaller signs will be installed down the river, with each one highlighting a phrases, such as “Relax, enjoy, return your empties; cans can’t swim.”

The seven smaller signs don artwork by local artist Beth Davies, and features a cartoon otter.

“They’re a playful animal, and they really relay the need for having fun,” Thom said. “I think they’ll appeal to the young demographic.”

But, the signs, and their phrases, have yet to be solidified.

“These are just ideas we’re putting forward,” Thom said.

During the Town of Lake Cowichan meeting, Tuesday, May 3, mayor and council approved of paying Davies up to $500 for her work on the signs’ art.

The next step is getting price estimates for the signs.

The signs are a joint project between the Town of Lake Cowichan and the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society. They will continue to be brought up during future Town of Lake Cowichan meetings.

Centennial Park camping

A delegation of Pat Foster and Thor Repstock visited mayor and council, to discuss the issue of allowing camping at Centennial Park’s lower area.

“It worked really well last year,” Foster said, of visitors who camped at Centennial Park for the summer bonspiel, and for a motorcycle event. “They really enjoyed it, and they made sure it was neat and tidy,” she said.

Although the issues for and against camping at Centennial Park have been talked to death during council meetings this past year, Foster brought forth a new idea.

Foster encouraged mayor and council to look into hiring a Vancouver Island University student for a three month work term.

During their work term, the student would research on the financial impact on campers at Centennial Park, as well as the impact of tourists in various other areas.

“Cost would be negligible, as these students have to work for one term as part of their degree program,” Foster encouraged, in a letter to council.

For Repstock, president of the Cowichan Rocks Curling Club, allowing camping at Centennial Park is a means of keeping the club alive.

“Cowichan Rocks has an aging membership, and we need to bring more members in,” he said.

The campers are willing to pay to camp at Centennial Park, he said, and want to do so simply because of its close proximity to the curling rinks.

After listening to the two delegates’ presentations, mayor and council opted to push the item forward to a Tuesday, May 10, committee meeting.

“I don’t think I would like to make a decision tonight,” councillor Tim McGongile said.

During the May 10 meeting, mayor and council have agreed that they will make their decision on the matter.

In preparation for the meeting, the town’s elected officials hope to look over any complaints the RCMP may have received about campers.

Other items discussed

• One hiccup in the April 17 cleanup of Beaver Creek and the town’s BMX park has been the cost to the town.

The town spent about $1,000 to have Public Works haul away refuse.

“So, with other future work, we won’t ask that,” councillor Bob Day said.

It was a volunteer-driven project, so should not cost anything, he reasoned.

• The spray park has hit a speed bump, as the ground at Duck Pond is not level.

“So, there will be additional work,” the town’s superintendent of Public Works Nagi Rizk said.

This will result in the project costing more money.

A supplier will visit the site some time in the near future to supply further input.

Rizk has yet to look into the viability of Central Park, but cites a few foreseeable problems with the location, such as a lack of parking.

Rizk will look into the site’s viability before the item is discussed, again.

• Canada Day will be celebrated at Central Park again, this year, with the town receiving a $1,000 grant to put on festivities. Local music teacher Mary Egan is scheduled to organize the day’s entertainment.

• With little interest coming from the public, the Town Beautification Contest is being cancelled for this year, and will be looked into again next year.

• A second application for a grant for the sewage treatment plant upgrades has been made, with $1,310,000 applied for under the General Strategic Priorities Fund that is delivering Federal Gas Tax funds through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).

The CVRD Board had previously approved $350,000, which is funded by Gas Tax funds also administered by UBCM through a fund known as Regionally Significant Priorities Fund.

If the town is successful in receiving both of these grants, their contribution to phase one of the treatment plant upgrades will only be $29,000.

• The recent patching of South Shore Road has been greeted with some complaints from the public.

Although some people suggested that the patching should have been done at night, to avoid traffic problems, the town’s superintendent of Public Works Nagi Rizk said, “Its a catch-22.”

If done at night, people would likely complain more about the noise.

Rizk also questions the quality of the work, which was only done two inches down.

“It will pop up again,” he said. “The work has been done to the standards of the ministry, but I have expressed my concerns.”

The town will aim to have next year’s re-paving of South Shore Road done as late in the season as possible, to avoid traffic problems related to summer tourists.

• Vancouver Island Regional Library representatives visited Lake Cowichan recently to look at the site of the upcoming library, off of South Shore Road, which will open to the public by 2013.

They hope to tie it in with the nearby Ohtaki Park and the Forest Workers Memorial Park.

“We told them wood first,” mayor Ross Forrest said, adding that the library representatives were also given a tour of the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, to see what can be done with wood.

Parking is an issue that needs to be worked out.

“Why don’t we encourage walking only?” councillor Franklin Hornbrook suggested.

With parking readily available near the Lake Cowichan Seniors’ Centre, Hornbrook reasoned that it would only be a short stroll to the library.

• The town’s elected officials have encouraged the bylaw enforcement officer to crack down on unsightly premises, this spring.

“We have buildings that are quite a mess,” mayor Ross Forrest said.

One concern is the JH Boyd site, which tends to grow out long grass that dries out during the summer.

“It burnt up twice in the past two years,” councillor Tim McGonigle said.

Nearby residents are concerned of this safety hazard.

“Spring time would be a good time to look at unsightly premises,” he said.

“The bylaw officer reacts to complaints,” the town’s chief administrative officer Joseph Fernandez said. “These complaints don’t get ignored. They are followed up on.”

“Just the mention of ‘cleanup at your cost’ gets quite a reaction,” the town’s superintendent of Public Works Nagi Rizk said.

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