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Cowichan's dike project coming in on time and under budget
Cowichan taxpayers have plugged dike-upgrade bills after provincial grants fell short of expectations, local leaders explain.
Still, the new dikes nearly completion — on time and under budget — got an estimated $9.6 million worth of work done for about $9 million, a regional engineering boss noted.
Residents of North Cowichan, Duncan, Cowichan Tribes and the Cowichan Valley Regional District tossed an additional $950,000 of their provincial gas-tax money into the dike project after local and provincial funds about tallied some $7.75 million.
That local top-up followed Victoria granting just $5.16 million of $18 million in dike-fix dough requested by valley governments from B.C.'s infrastructure-renovation program.
Cowichan's four local governments' one-third of the costs totalled about $2.6 million. That sum was coupled with Victoria's two-thirds, totalling $5.16 million — then Cowichan's additional $950,000 was added.
North Cowichan's installing a $750,000 pumping station on York Road, using municipal money and regional gas-tax dollars as part of the $9-million budget.
"Right from the beginning, we knew we had to do a pump station — we just didn't get all the money we wanted to," Mayor Jon Lefebure said of bucks building the dikes to protect to the 200-year flood mark.
Local government staffers tightened belts and sharpened pencils.
"We had about $8.5 million and were hoping, through efficiencies and competitive tendering, to try and get $9.5 million worth of work done for around $8.5 million," CVRD head engineer Brian Dennison said.
CVRD staffer Norm Olive's number crunching shows the project could reach about $9 million — still under budget expectations.
"The pumping station should be done in a couple of months. There's also some work on the south side being done that's about one month away. We're pleased," Dennison said.
The new dikes would have handled Cowichan River flooding that doused areas around Duncan in 2010, he noted.
Meanwhile, Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society members are worried about how the dike work, and potential future development, will affect the sensitive marsh and its surrounding areas.
Those concerns will be aired at Friday's 7 p.m. meeting in the Cowichan Theatre, featuring a panel of stakeholders to discuss issues and answer questions.