This graphic shows an artist’s idea of the Lake Cowichan First Nation’s plans for its section of North Shore Road in Lake Cowichan, a plan that is ambitious in its economic aspirations. (submitted)

Lake Cowichan First Nation transforming North Shore Road

Extensive plans have been made: now the work on North Shore Road is beginning

Have you wondered what’s going on along North Shore Road in Lake Cowichan?

Lake Cowichan First Nation’s operations manager Aaron Hamilton has the answer.

“Over the course of the past three months, Lake Cowichan First Nation has been in the midst of installing water and sewer infrastructure from one side of our reserve lands to the other side where our future economic development opportunities will soon reside.

“In conjunction with this infrastructure upgrade, we will also be putting in a waterfront walkway that will allow pedestrians and cyclists a safe area to walk and ride,” he said last week.

Many new Lake Cowichan residents may be unaware that the area’s small First Nation has reserve land in that part of the community.

Now, after years of consideration, the band is moving forward with some of their ideas.

“The infrastructure improvements on North Shore Road are the start of the redevelopment of a brand new neighborhood that will become a mixed-use area that will see a proposed health and wellness centre, a First Nations-infused café, and proposed marina, along with various forms of residential buildings. It will definitely transform the area into a variety of economic generators not only for the First Nation, but also to the overall community,” Hamilton said.

“It is understood by the Lake Cowichan First Nation that the timing of this road work is not ideal due to the hot weather, dust, and heavy usage; however inclement weather at the beginning of the project delayed the project to its current situation. We have also mitigated to the best of our abilities over the months through digging and grading the whole length of our development to ensure a smoother ride, as well as laying down dust control solutions.

“In the end the health and safety benefits of this project far outweigh the minor delays that have been put on the Lake Cowichan First Nation and overall community residents,” he continued, adding, “Lake Cowichan First Nation is finally beginning to realize their economic potential in the area and we hope to become a major economic driver not only for our residents, but to all of the Cowichan Lake areas residents as well.”