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Gas tax funding for eco-friendly parking lot

Authorities in the Cowichan Lake area are confident a specially designed new parking lot at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena will reduce issues with toxic runoff into nearby waterways.  -
Authorities in the Cowichan Lake area are confident a specially designed new parking lot at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena will reduce issues with toxic runoff into nearby waterways.
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If Joni Mitchell had seen the parking lot proposed for the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, she may have changed her tune.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities has approved a $367,000 gas tax grant to help put in an eco-friendly parking lot at the arena.

“We’re trying to do a green renovation,” Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls Director Ian Morrison said of the project.

“Where does the storm drainage go? Into the river.”

“We will go weeks without rain. So, if we have cars dumping pollutants and get a mid-August rain, it’ll all go right into the water system.”

With state of the art oil catchments and a rain garden component, nothing of questionable content will flow out of the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena’s renovated parking lot, once it’s complete.

Morrison’s brain child, the proposed project went through some ups and downs earlier this year, after the project was not found on a list of approved funding items.

With the funding now set in stone, it’s hoped that the parking lot construction can begin as soon as possible.

“Hopefully, with the weather being what it is, we’ll get it done,” Cowichan Lake Recreation Commission chair Sheila McFarlane said.

“We have this new building, and the parking lot looks like hell. It’ll look so much nicer.”

“I think it’s in the best interests of the environment,” Cowichan Lake Recreation manger Linda Blatchford said.

“It’s going to add a lot to our town.”

During a Thursday, Aug. 11 meeting of the Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society, Morrison made the announcement of the parking lot’s approval.

With Morrison focusing on the environmental impact of the project, the watershed stewards were enthused with the plans.

“It’ll be a neat piece that will lead the way in an initiative that will be great for the river,” Morrison said. “It’ll be a showpiece... a great education piece.”

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