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

Bhagwan Mayer. (Photo submitted)
Organizer of transporting the World’s Largest Hockey Stick to Cowichan remembered

Bhagwan Mayer a “hard-working fellow who cared about his community.”

Paula Foot narrates a collection of stories to appeal to the imaginations of the young and young at heart with a new album​ ‘Moments with Miss Paula: Stories for Fall and Winter’. (Submitted)
New album of stories from Cowichan storyteller offers children a world of magic

The stories will appeal to six-, seven-, and eight-year-olds

The VIJHL's Kerry Park Islanders' games have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
Isles victorious before league shutdown

The Kerry Park Islanders were able to sneak in one last game… Continue reading

Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Lake community comes together to help family get vital pool

Oliver Finlayson, 9, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and hydrotherapy is a big help

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

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

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Most Read