The Cowichan Duncan Chamber of Commerce is working to come up with a new funding formula for the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre on Drinkwater Road. (File photo)

The Cowichan Duncan Chamber of Commerce is working to come up with a new funding formula for the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre on Drinkwater Road. (File photo)

City of Duncan commits $20K for visitor centre, but fight over funding formula continues

But council wants new funding formula in the future

The City of Duncan will contribute $22,000 towards the funding for the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre in 2021, but city council wants to see another funding formula in place for the centre in future years.

At the council meeting on Nov. 2, council directed staff to send a letter to the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, which operates the centre on Drinkwater Road, requesting that the chamber propose a fair and consistent formula within six months for the three local governments in the Valley — including Duncan, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, and the Municipality of North Cowichan — for funding the centre in future years.

Council also wants Cowichan Tribes to be asked if they would want to contribute to the funding of the centre as well.

“We need to resolve this once and for all,” said Coun. Tom Duncan.

“We want to pay our fair share, but we don’t want to be overburdened either. Maybe we should look at funding the centre per capita [of Duncan’s population] next year.”

The city has been in discussions with the chamber of commerce about the issue of funding for the visitor centre since 2017, with the discussions revolving mainly around the significant difference in size of North Cowichan and the city and what Duncan sees as the need for a more equitable funding formula.

The visitor centre had been relying on $60,000 in funding annually from the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan, with $30,000 from each, for many years to help the centre deliver year-round visitor services to the region.

The chamber itself contributes between $25,000 to $30,000 each year to the centre, depending on the contributions it gets from the other funding partners.

But the City of Duncan decreased the amount it funds the centre to $26,000 in 2019, and dropped its contribution to $22,000 in 2020.

Considering the fact that the population of Duncan is approximately 5,000 people, while North Cowichan has almost 30,000, some Duncan council members feel the city is being treated unfairly in the funding for the centre.

In 2020, the chamber received $34,000 for the centre from North Cowichan, and $2,000 from the Cowichan Valley Regional District by way of the electoral area directors’ individual grant-in-aid budgets.

Contributions from the CVRD are limited to $1,000 per electoral area, and to exceed that amount would mean the issue would have to go to referendum.

In a letter to the city, chamber president Julie Scurr said the chamber supports creating a clear model for funding for the centre, as the current approach leaves the chamber at risk each year, never knowing what the funding allocations will be from each jurisdiction.

But Scurr said the difficulty comes from developing the base for that formula, given the different perspectives of the three jurisdictions and the chamber being caught in the middle.

Regardless, she said the chamber is supportive of the suggestion from the city that it base funding from the city on the number of business licences each jurisdiction has.

“We are open to revisiting funding models, such as business licenses or fee-for-service or percentage of chamber members within each jurisdiction,” she said.

“We appreciate having you [the city] as a funding partner in this service, ensuring that the city’s economy benefits from our visitors. The visitor centre refers approximately 50 per cent of our visitors to downtown businesses and attractions, such as the farmers market, totem tours, museum, restaurants and more.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

municipal politics

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

Just Posted

Cowichan Valley writer Jennifer Manuel will headlining YakFest on March 1. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Cowichan Valley writer to headline next YakFest on March 1

YakFest is a B.C.-based monthly women’s event held online via Zoom

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour early on Saturday, Feb. 27. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

Tim Schewe
DriveSmart: Police Powers

By Tim Schewe If you are stopped by the police, just what… Continue reading

A COVID-19 exposure has been reported at Drinkwater Elementary School dating to Feb. 25. (Google Street View image)
COVID-19 exposure reported at Drinkwater Elementary

Possible exposures occurred on Thursday, Feb. 25

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Most Read