It was great news last week that the Town of Lake Cowichan is getting $5 million to upgrade their water treatment plant.
The town has been plagued by numerous boil water advisories over the last several years.
Water quality has not been up to snuff for significant portions of the year.
But town officials have not wanted to burden residents with millions in borrowing to upgrade water treatment, so infrastructure grants were essential to getting the project off the ground.
It’s a $6.3 million project in total, so there’s still some money outstanding, most of which will likely be acquired through short-term borrowing, according to town officials.
There’s a big difference between having to pay off $1.3 million and $6 million for a town the size of Lake Cowichan.
The grant covers such a large part of the cost that residents should be positively skipping down the street in celebration.
Good, clean water is one of the most important things in a community.
It is vital to the health of residents, and also to encouraging new people to move to the area.
Attracting new residents to an area that has seen a lot of population erosion over the years, as jobs in the forest industry have dried up, plays an important role in economic development and community prosperity.
There are a few common things that people want when they move to a community.
The want to know that there’s not a lot of crime. They want to know that there’s protection in case of fire. They want to know if there’s a good school for their kids, or kids they may be planning to have. They want to know there’s a job for them. And they want to know that there’s water they can drink, bathe in and cook with, without getting sick from it.
Consistent boil water orders are not attractive.
Lake Cowichan has undergone some hard years.
Area schools and businesses have closed, the province-wide doctor shortage has hit home and the town has had to begin to reimagine itself.
The once-booming forest industry will never again be what it once was, providing thousands of jobs both in the forests and in the now-closed mills.
But things are looking up of late. There’s an air of optimism. Laketown Ranch is bringing in festivals, which brings in tourists. Real estate is moving. People are recognizing what a beautiful, and still affordable place the Lake is. Good, clean, water can only help.