Lake Cowichan celebrated completion of a series of upgrades at Saywell Park recently by unveiling a plaque overlooking the Cowichan River.
Mayor Ross Forrest told the crowd the Town of Lake Cowichan actually purchased the water lot where a new swimming wharf is located.
“As far as I know, we’re probably the only really legal wharf on the Cowichan River or Cowichan Lake as we own the foreshore,” he said. “It was important that we do it correctly here and set an example. We’ve tried to do that every step of the way.
“Our initial goal was to put a beach here because people wanted a place to swim in town but obviously with the habitat we have here it wouldn’t fit. This was the next best thing and, to tell you the truth, I think this is better in the long run for the community.”
But the project didn’t just arise from a Town of Lake Cowichan initiative.
“Council is extremely proud of the new amenities at the park here but we’re even prouder of the people who have stepped forward to help out,” he said. “A lot of this stuff started from Catalyst [who own the weir on the Cowichan River]. When they had a drowning there they closed off the beach over there but they were willing to contribute with something to get us started over here.”
He thanked all the groups involved in helping out, from the federal and provincial governments to the Cowichan River Steward Society, TimberWest/Couverdon, the LCSS grad class of 2013, the Youbou Lands group and many others.
“I also want to acknowledge the lead played by the Ministry of Social Services and Housing through its job creation program. Without that down here and the employees who were hired through it, a lot of work, including the box car, the washrooms, the wharf, all this stuff. But, as happy as we are with the result, it is the community that has really made this happen,” Forrest said.
“This will be a legacy that will help educate people and show them how to do things right.”