A number of capital projects in Lake Cowichan slated for 2020 have been postponed as a cost-saving measure as the town council, like many other municipalities, works toward providing some financial relief to its citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the town’s tax increase for 2020 was proposed to be approximately five per cent before the health crisis, council and staff worked to reduce that to three per cent when Lake Cowichan finally set its tax increase for the year earlier this month.
Lake Cowichan’s CAO Joe Fernandez said two of the capital projects that have been postponed are approximately $225,000 in upgrades at Centennial Hall, and extensive work on the parking lot at Centennial Park, at a projected cost of approximately $100,000.
He said a $65,000 upgrade of the public washrooms at Duck Pond Park has also been postponed, as well as approximately $20,000 in regular maintenance work, including a roof project and painting, at the Cowichan Lake Education Centre, and a $15,000 review of the town’s development cost charges has also been cancelled for the time being.
“We will move forward this year with a number of planned paving and sidewalk projects that we consider integral to the town’s infrastructure,” Fernandez said.
Mayor Rod Peters said before he took a leave of absence for personal reasons two weeks ago that the town had also decided, in an effort to reduce the financial pressure on citizens during the health crisis, not to charge people for going over their allotted water amount this year as more people are gardening to grow their own produce to save money.
“We’re trying to lessen the financial impact on the citizens of Lake Cowichan during this difficult time,” said acting Mayor Tim McGonigle.
“The capital projects that have been postponed will be completed in future years.”