Vision 2013: Cowichan building for now and the future

The planned replacement of Cowichan District Hospital is the biggest public works project on the Cowichan horizon. - Peter W. Rusland
The planned replacement of Cowichan District Hospital is the biggest public works project on the Cowichan horizon.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland

CDH replacement remains Cowichan’s biggest project


The future of Cowichan District Hopsital is still fuzzy, but one thing’s certain: the aging facility is due for some TLC or possibly a new look and location.

Vancouver Island Healthy Authority officials and local leaders are mulling over whether or not to renovate or look for a new home for Cowichan’s health headquarters.

“Cowichan District Hospital is functionally obsolete, has aging infrastructure and does not meet the community’s needs as well as it should,” said VIHA’s Valerie Wilson.

CDH’s master site plan poses ideas of rebuilding or renovating on the Gibbins site or erecting a new CDH elsewhere, but makes no recommendations as it projects the hospital’s growing needs. It does, however, provide figures spanning administrative, and in-patient support, to future logistics such as security, dietary and biomedical engineering.

The plan notes CDH’s emergency ward is crowded, and undersized for storage and staff needs, patient privacy, and more.

It’s a similar story in the operating rooms, where 2007 saw 5,000 surgeries; 12,000 were projected by 2020.


North Cowichan residents spend $99 a year on roadwork

Most of us probably don’t often think about how we chip in annually on road upgrades, but we are quick to notice when pavement crews are out in full force.

For folks living in North Cowichan, the district has a revolving Five Year Road Improvement Program with an annual budget of approximately $2.7 million per year.

“We receive a $791,000 gas tax grant for our road upgrades and also use development cost charge funds of about $170,000 per year, which reduces the district’s annual cost to about $1.77 million a year,” explained North Cowichan’s director of engineering and operations John Mackay. “This represents payments of approximately $99 per year for the average home in North Cowichan assessed at $325,271.”

ICBC also provides funds for road improvements which improve safety.

“The district’s road program paving replacement cycle is presently about 45 years,” Mackay said. “Generally collector and arterial roads should be paved every 20 years while a local road’s life is longer due to less traffic. One of council’s goals has been to reduce the pavement replacement cycle over time.”


Trestle the parks crown jewel but it’ s hardly alone

Recent milestones in building Cowichan’s parks and rec infrastructure:

• $6.6 million in funding required to rehabilitate and reopen the historic Kinsol Trestle.

• $1 million in grants in completing a $7.6 million capital renovation to the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, including eco-friendly parking lot improvements.

• Completion of key northern portions of the Cowichan Valley Trail, after securing $400,000 from Trans Canada Trail in 2011 for the project.

• Acquisition of parks and trail lands, including the 128-acre Sansum Point property in partnership with the Land Conservancy of B.C. and Cowichan Land Trust, as a key piece to the larger Stoney Hill Regional Park initiative.

Coming soon:

• Trail design work for the Trans Canada Trail connection between the Cowichan Valley Trail and Galloping Goose Trail.

• A South Island Mountain Biking Society partnership for Cobble Hill Cleasby Bike Park.

• The Honeymoon Bay Hall Society to re-establish a lawn bowling green in Central Park.

• Developing a three-phase approach for the redevelopment of the Kerry Park Rec Centre.

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