The Town of Lake Cowichan will know by May 21 whether it has received the necessary grants to aid the construction of a food forest.
The food forest vision, instigated by Coun. Bob Day, is part of council’s Centennial Park Revitalization Plan that includes a community garden, new dog park and baseball field improvements.
“What are the opportunities of moving ahead regardless of receiving the grants or not in a way that costs the town no money?” asked Day at last Tuesday’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee meeting. “What if it was all volunteer-based? The design is not to interrupt anything and I don’t want to disturb anything but I also don’t want to spend another $20,000 on another study to say we can or can’t do something.”
The grants in question are a $15,000 edible tree grant as well as a $20,000 from BC Healthy Communities.
Superintendent Nagi Rizk wants a clearer picture painted by Day and others, and Mayor Ross Forrest believes that urgency is not the way forward with such a big project.
“I have concerns if we don’t get the grants,” said the mayor. “Sometimes urgency can cause problems. Hopefully we do get the grants but sometimes if you move forward too fast, problems can go with it.”
Day on the other hand wants to kick start proceedings with or without the grants and is convinced the community would be behind the plans for a food forest in particular.
“What if the biologists and permaculturists got involved? If we don’t get the grants but we do have the volunteers, lets do it,” said Day who chaired the meeting.
Forrest is an admirer of the project nonetheless.
“I love this project and I think it’s awesome but it’s important we have it 100 per cent right. If we move too fast, mistakes are made,” said the mayor.
For Day, seemingly there will be no turning back.
“If we can produce one per cent of food needs in our food forest, we’d go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emission in our town,” he said. “Permaculture is not agriculture. People need to remember that agriculture is also a huge polluter.”