Trevor Auger, new works superintendent for the Town of Lake Cowichan, answers questions from council at the monthly public works committee meeting. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Briefs from around the Lake Cowichan council table

Public works committee chair Lorna Vomacka congratulated town works superintendent Trevor Auger, Lake Cowichan’s new public works and engineering services superintendent Feb. 19, saying, “You’ve had flooding, a power outage, the storm — just about everything — so pass on that the crew has done a great job. Especially to Cory; it was nice to see him out shoveling the bridge walkway which always gets a few comments. It’s a tempestuous issue during the snow.

“I’m sure our residents appreciated that because we didn’t see anything on Facebook, not much compared to some years. With the limitations we placed on you financially, Trevor, it was a job well done, please pass it on.”

***

The watermain upgrade at the Greendale trestle is going to start “any day”.

The one at the Ohtaki Park trestle has been cancelled for now due to cost, according to Town of Lake Cowichan works superintendent Trevor Auger.

***

Signage is being prepared and will go up on Town of Lake Cowichan’s public washrooms in the spring but not everyone will be happy with that.

Auger said that the “summer hours” would be posted on the signs.

Coun. Lorna Vomacka, chair of the public works committee asked, “We’ve decided that we’ll have summer hours and still maintain closure of those washrooms for the winter?”

Town CAO Joe Fernandez said, “Yes.”

Letters have come to council over the last year or so, asking that the washrooms be left open in winter, but a variety of problems, including trying to decide on off-season hours, scheduling staff to open and close them in winter, and even staff safety have muddied the waters around an ongoing problem.

***

The new water treatment plant, having been given the green light by Island Health, is currently operational, though still on an interim basis.

Mayor Rod Peters asked, “There were some deficiencies on the plant itself. Are they being dealt with?”

Town of Lake Cowichan works superintendent Trevor Auger replied, “The deficiency walk-through is this week.”

Coun. Tim McGonigle said, “And with the deficiencies, there is a hold back, so anything that isn’t up to the contractual agreement will be mitigated through that?”

“Yes,” Auger told him.

McGonigle then learned that the hold-back was 10 per cent, or approximately $600,000.

Vomacka then asked, “we were talking about who was going to run the water licence for testing, we were talking about having Stantec or maybe contracting it out to somebody else.

Fernandez said that, “It’s something we’re still working out. Stantec will be working with us.”

Peters asked, “Do we have a costing on that? I think we should get two quotes.”

Town staff will look into that.

***

The CLEC water system upgrade will need another look because the “design estimate” came in too high, the works superintendent told council.

Coun. Lorna Vomacka asked, after determining that Point Ideal and Lakeview Park campsite are supplied with town water “why can’t it go any farther to the CLEC?’

Town of Lake Cowichan works superintendent Trevor Auger said, “The CLEC water has its own supply. And the disinfecting process is different.”

Town CAO Joe Fernandez added, “And the distance.”

Mayor Rod Peters asked, “The pricing for the water system for the CLEC is off the charts? If it’s going to be $3 million or $4 million, it would probably be just as cheap to run a line from Lakeview Park to the CLEC. That’s something that has to be investigated, I would think.”

Auger agreed.

“We’re keeping all our options open on that one,” he said.

***

An unusual occurrence happened at the Feb. 19 public works meeting.

The town got a letter of thanks.

The residents of one of the stratas at Brookside Village on Grosskleg Way had complained that they were having trouble with garbage pickup. Strata president Terri Kalar came to a council meeting and had the opportunity to chat with works superintendent Trevor Auger and CAO Joe Fernandez right after the session.

They were apparently able to find a solution and Kalar wrote to the town, saying, “to be able to have our residents simply place their totes in front of their respective homes, rather than roll them down to a pre-determined location has made a huge difference, especially for those who have mobility issues. It was your team that made this possible and we want you to know that we are most grateful.”

It also came out later in the Feb. 19 meeting that Auger had, after discussion with the Palsson Elementary School principal, arranged to close off parking on one side of Grosskleg Way when the school held its Christmas concerts. With the huge number of cars trying to park on both sides of the road, it was almost impossible to get through, particularly for an emergency vehicle. The change was a success, and will be followed again as the school holds its spring show, the works superintendent said.

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