Robert’s column

Robert’s column

Robert Barron column: Cowichan’s infrastructure gets a boost with new buildings

Robert’s column

The full auditorium at Cowichan Secondary School broke into applause and cheers on Dec. 18 when B.C.’s Education Minister Rob Fleming announced that the province is finally moving forward with a new high school for the Valley.

It was the culmination of more than a decade of tireless efforts by school, municipal and provincial officials, as well as many others, to replace the aging and seismically unsafe CSS, and Fleming’s announcement that Victoria is kicking in $80 million for the new facility was one of the worst kept secrets in the Valley that morning.

Mike Russell, the Cowichan Valley school district’s communications director, did his best to keep mum on the reason for the press conference and large gathering that was being planned at CCS.

But the fact that the minister himself was coming to make the announcement, and almost every local leader from the Valley was attending, left little doubt to us in the newsroom as to what was going on.

The new school, which will be constructed on the Cowichan Place property next to Vancouver Island University’s Cowichan campus, should be open for classes by September, 2023.

It’s just one of a number of construction projects that the Valley can expect to see come to fruition in the coming years as the area grows and modernizes.

Premier John Horgan showed up at the Cowichan District Hospital in the summer of 2018 to announce the Valley will have a brand new hospital by 2024.

That announcement was also very well received by those who attended the press conference because the construction of a new hospital for the Valley to replace the aging CDH has been considered to be Island Health’s No. 1 capital priority for years.

The new state-of-the-art hospital, which is expected to be much larger than the CDH with more beds and health services to meet the region’s growing population and needs, will be built on Bell McKinnon Road.

Since the current CDH was opened in 1967, the Valley’s population has more than doubled, and is expected to grow by another 20 per cent during the next few decades.

The final cost of the new hospital has yet to be determined, but it was estimated that it would cost approximately $350 million when the idea was first raised a number of years ago.

Plans are also progressing that will see a new approximately $40-million facility for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment to call home built on a five-acre property owned by the Municipality of North Cowichan bordering Ford Road and Drinkwater Road.

The detachment building was originally scheduled to be replaced in 2012, at a cost at the time of approximately $23 million, but the project has faced multiple delays.

The new facility will replace the detachment’s current facility on Canada Avenue, which is too old and small to meet current demands, and will bring together the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment, Forensic Identification Services, South Island Traffic Services, and First Nations Policing under one roof for the first time.

Mix in those projects with the large housing developments that are planned for the Valley in the coming years, and I expect the area’s builders and contractors will be kept busy for some time.

These are exciting times for the Cowichan Valley.

I wonder what it will look like in another 20 years?



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pnina Benyamini loved to be around people and people loved her. (Photo submitted)
Many facets to energetic Chemainus woman’s legacy

Benyamini taught yoga, belly dancing and more to an adoring public

Windy conditions in Nanaimo’s Lost Lake area. (News Bulletin file photo)
Wind warning issued for the east coast of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada says people ‘should be on the lookout’ for adverse weather conditions

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone has been re-elected as chairman of the board at the CVRD. (File photo)
Aaron Stone re-elected as chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District

Salmon Blaise, director for Mill Bay/Malahat, elected as new vice-chairman

North Cowichan strengthens some COVID-19 safety protocols, and introduces new ones, as the pandemic enters ts second phase. (File photo)
North Cowichan and CVRD implementing new COVID rules

Municipality reacting to new public health orders

Search and rescue crews from all over Vancouver Island responded to calls to assist with the search for a 19 year-old man with medical issues who got lost on trails in the south end of Duncan on Nov. 21. The man was found Sunday morning and taken to hospital for assessment. (Submitted photo)
Duncan man rescued after getting lost on local trails

19-year-old taken to hospital for assessment

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu turns 105

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Most Read