Town memorials a tricky issue to address

A report on the Town of Lake Cowichan's Tuesday, September 6, committee meetings

  • Sep. 12, 2011 12:00 p.m.

It’s hard to say “no” to a grieving family, but pretty soon the town may have to.

Between benches and trees, there are now 37 memorials in the Town of Lake Cowichan.

The can of worms was opened with a letter council addressed during a meeting last week, which requested a memorial tree at Saywell Park for Tyler Neal, the man who drowned at the Cowichan Lake weir June 14 of this year.

Although council unanimously approved of the Japanese red maple tree being planted in Neal’s memory, the possibility of future memorials in town may not be as simple.

An emotional issue, the town’s superintendent of Public Works Nagi Rizk said that it’s going to become difficult to turn down families in the future, as space becomes less available for such memorials. As such, he encouraged a policy be drafted.

“We are running out of room,” he said.

“I do think there is a need to enhance Parkstone Park,” councillor Tim McGonigle said, of memorial trees in particular.

Another issue is related to some people simply not wanting to see memorials in public places.

“It’s a sensitive issue to them, and they don’t always want to be reminded,” Rizk said.

“Perhaps a memorial wall, for not only the memorial portion but for the heritage of the area,” McGonigle suggested, to agreement at the table.

Nothing was decided in stone at the meeting, though further consideration will take place during future meetings of council.

The Japanese red maple tree for Tyler Neal has already been planted in Saywell Park.

Sani-dump finances

The long-talked about sanitation dump behind Centennial Hall isn’t a financial issue, town superintendent of Public Works Nagi Rizk said.

“The cost is minimal. I did the math,” he said.

“The cost is $500 – if that – with the treatment and everything.”

When in use, the sani-dump, which campers use to dump their sewage into, makes up 1/600th of the town’s per-day sewage use.

An honesty box in place at the sani-dump brings in about $2,600 per year, resulting in a net profit of over $2,000.

With news of the sani-dump’s profits, council began considering the installation of an additional sani-dump in town.

“I think if you put it on North Shore Road the traffic will be unbelievable,” councillor Jayne Ingram said.

As for the existing sani-dump, the honesty box sign is not as visible as it could be, and the signage is not friendly enough, Ingram said.

Council would still like to encourage people to pay for sani-dump usage.

“They’re coming to use something maintained and built by local tax dollars,” councillor Tim McGonigle said, to agreement at the table. “It’s the moral factor.”

Discussions related to the sani-dump, and the possibility of an additional sani-dump, will be ongoing.

Spray park update

A spray park is clear to go in at Lake Cowichan’s Centennial Park some time this fall.

Although only a few spray park implements will be installed initially, the cement slab allows for the possibility of various other components to be installed in the future.

Council addressed the possibility of various groups and businesses in town sponsoring additional spray park components.

“It would fill it a lot quicker,” councillor Franklin Hornbrook said.

Coe-Jones sign

The Dawn Coe-Jones sign, carved by local artist Zak Stolk, is ready to be installed somewhere in town. The only question now, is where?

Mayor and council are toying with several different options, including near the entrance to town, and by the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena.

“Or, we can wait and see the upgrade of the road and go from there,” town superintendent of Public Works Nagi Rizk suggested.

The town’s Tuesday, October 4, Parks and Recreation Committee meeting will deal further with a location for the sign.

Dawn Coe-Jones is a retired Canadian LPGA golf pro.

She grew up in Lake Cowichan, and learned the game of golf at the March Meadows Golf Course near Honeymoon Bay.

Street banners

New banners at Saywell Park are being considered by mayor and council. A number of generic banners, as well as ones created by local artisans, are all being considered.

The inspiration for new banners came after seeing the worn-out banners currently hanging at Saywell Park.

“You can barely see them now. They’re all bleached out,” councillor Jayne Ingram said.

Councillor Bob Day made the suggestion of hanging the banners at a more visible location in town – perhaps even on the main stretch of town.

Nothing’s in stone yet, and council will consider these things.

The town has $2,000 in its banner budget for this year.

Youth Centre

Several options are still being looked into for a youth centre in the Town of Lake Cowichan.

“The idea was to get the ball rolling once school started,” councillor Bob Day said.

With school having recently started, and now rolling, communications will reconvene shortly with regard to a centre.

The main question at the moment is where the centre can be located.