Work will soon begin on Chemainus Road to replace and change many of the underground utilities between Henry Road and Victoria Street.
North Cowichan’s council approved awarding the contract for the work to Copcan Civil Ltd. for $1,164,000 at its meeting on Oct. 16.
The project, which is scheduled to start later this month and completed in the spring of 2020, consists of the replacement or upgrading of sewer, storm, and water mains in that stretch of the road, and some partial sidewalk improvements.
It’s the first stage of a two-stage project, and the second stage will consist of a number of surface improvements from Henry Road to Victoria Road, which includes a traffic circle at River Road and new bike lanes, and is expected to start in the late winter of 2020 for completion in the fall of 2020.
The project has been in the works for a considerable period of time as part of the Municipality’s Chemainus Town Centre Revitalization Plan dating back to 2011.
Chris Istace, president of the Chemainus Business Improvement Association, thanked North Cowichan’s council for the past road upgrades in the community, but urged council to mitigate the impacts of the work on the business community along Chemainus Road during the upcoming project.
“Some of the businesses are gun shy after last year’s windstorm that left many of them without power for five days during the busy Christmas season,” he said at the meeting on Oct. 16.
“Chemainus Road is a lifeline to the community and the Chemainus Theatre alone is expecting about 14,000 people to attend its shows at Christmas time. We know council has our best interests at heart and we’re hoping you will do all you can do for us while this project is underway.”
Mayor Al Siebring said there is no “good time” to do the work for the businesses that will be impacted and asked David Conway, North Cowichan’s director of engineering, for input on how to best deal with the concerns.
Conway agreed there will be some disruptions during the road work and suggested the community appoint a representative to attend the weekly construction meetings that will be held while the work is ongoing to add their input and suggestions.
“The road is four lanes for the most part, so we do have a fair amount of asphalt to work with while we’re doing the utility work,” he said.
“As for the sidewalk work, it has to be done at the same time as the utility replacements but that work is progressive in that we’ll be back filling behind us as we complete the work as the project progresses.”