Survey aims to evaluate economy

This survey, called an Economic Readiness Assessment, is to gain feedback from the community on the economic climate

Lake Cowichan businesses, asked to have their say about what kind of economic development they want in the community, could soon see what the result of a survey will show.

Using funds from the BC Rural Dividend Fund, the Town of Lake Cowichan hired Urbanics Consultants Ltd. to evaluate the economic conditions of the Cowichan Lake area.

This survey, called an Economic Readiness Assessment, is to gain feedback from the community on the economic climate of the Cowichan Lake area regarding its strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for growth.

It is hoped this feedback will provide valuable insights.

Questions included rating the level of support by the Town of Lake Cowichan, the business community, the chamber of commerce, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and Community Futures.

The survey asked participants to rate the quality of schools, infrastructure, services like police and fire, the quality of amenities, affordable housing, local streets and recreational facilities. Other questions included rating the area as a place to do business in view of a variety of factors, including labour availability, labour costs, transportation costs, property taxes, business occupancy codes, cost of utilities, availability of suitable industrial/commercial space, and business support services.

Of particular importance in Lake Cowichan is how business views several subjects, including enhancing the tourist profile of Cowichan Lake, support for trail networks and adventure sports, flexible land use regulations, and local government involvement.

Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest said there’s quite a group involved.

“Amy Melmock [CVRD economic development] is in it, and Cathy Robertson [Community Futures]. [Directors] Ian Morrison and Klaus Kuhn from Areas F and I have been sitting in on it as well. Urbanics should have something for us by the end of this week.

“From this grant, there’s a chance to get a $500,000 grant, depending if we can find the right project for the Cowichan Lake area. The idea is to boost economic readiness. We’re starting to attract people here but we’re trying to make it as attractive as possible to new businesses. We know tourism is a big part of it but that’s not all. And our First Nation will be involved as well,” he said.