Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest was present to answer questions posed by local residents.

Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest was present to answer questions posed by local residents.

Town hosts public meeting

Question Period: Residents get chance to query new town council for the first time since elections.

The Town of Lake Cowichan held a public meeting last Wednesday (Feb. 18), in which residents were invited to voice their concerns to Mayor Ross Forrest and town council. Much of the discussion centred around attracting businesses, the recent boil water advisories and the need for a senior care facility.

After a surprise presentation by the Cowichan Valley Hospice Society on end-of-life care, the floor was open to residents to ask questions.

Helen Lajeneusse recounted that a number of people had died in town the past year, and expressed on behalf of the town’s aging population the urgency of establishing a senior care facility. Mayor Forrest responded with an update on the situation, saying that the Town had applied for a $19,850 age-friendly grant, which would be used to fund a study on the needs of the population and the steps needed to go forward.

Bert Lievre queried the sudden emergence of boil water advisories in Lake Cowichan. Councillor Tim McGonigle explained that Island Health had recently changed drinking water regulations, which he said the Town wasn’t informed of, and that they are currently looking for the most cost-effective way to implement a now-mandatory secondary water treatment system.

Several residents asked questions and made comments regarding business within the town, many complaining of the high cost of renting commercial space or unsightly buildings downtown. Mayor Forrest said that incentives offered last year to building owners to repaint or renovate their buildings had been unsuccessful, and that the Town is currently looking at alternative ways to beautify downtown Lake Cowichan and attract more businesses.

Approximately 28 people were in attendance. Town council meetings are also held each Tuesday evening and are open to the public.