Turnouts low for North Cowichan 2018 Budget meetings

Turnouts low for North Cowichan 2018 Budget meetings

Lack of hot topics keep people away

Preliminary Budget 2018 public meetings by the Municipality of North Cowichan did not generate a whole lot of interest from Crofton or Chemainus residents.

About 15 people attended the town hall style meeting at the Crofton Community Centre last Wednesday and only a few more than that came out for a similar meeting in Chemainus the next night at the Chemainus 55+ Activity Centre.

Mayor Jon Lefebure attributed part of the limited response to the lack of any hot topics in either community at the moment.

“We would normally get 40+ in Crofton and 60+ in Chemainus for any kind of an issue,” he pointed out.

“The numbers were relatively low and it’s absolutely true, we’re not moving ahead on an RCMP detachment building this year and we’re really planning at being at a three per cent or below (tax rate hike).”

The RCMP building has been put on hold by the province while it conducts a review of how policing is delivered in the Cowichan Valley as a whole.

There was still some productive discussion on a variety of topics at both meetings.

“It was really good to see the people who really contribute to our community and are the first ones to come out,” said Lefebure.

“We do treat it as a full town hall so people can ask or talk about things they really want to talk about.”

Climate change issues and how the municipality is addressing it in different ways was one of the discussion topics. The municipality did a review of water issues and noted it’s still awaiting an environmental assessment for utilizing the Chemainus River wells water system year-round.

“That’s a big one,” said Lefebure. “It’s not something we can speed up.”

He hopes a definite answer from the environmental assessment office will come by next spring.

The old Chemainus Elementary School site project was also mentioned, with eight or nine lots being included along with a larger multi-family site.

There will be other opportunities for input to be made into the budget process.