Our take: Officials should have prepared us for this
It may come as an enormous slap in the face to the public.
The Island Savings Centre, ranking behind only Cowichan District Hospital as the valley’s biggest, most-used and best-known public facility is lurching toward a makeover.
It could mean a renovation. It could mean a replacement. And the cost will be dependent on what taxpayers wish to spend.
But just be aware the facility is insured for a $61 million replacement value, so we aren’t talking cheap.
That such an extensive, expensive upgrade lurks in the weeds should come as no surprise to residents, not with the recent replacement of the old Aquannis Centre, the major renovation of the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena and the delayed upgrade of the Kerry Park Recreation Centre — all buildings of similar use and vintage.
But a surprise it will be nonetheless to a taxpaying public already reeling from the burden of the new pool, the shift of the tax load away from the Crofton mill, the pending unwelcome expansion of North Cowichan’s municipal hall, and the planned replacement of Cowichan District Hospital.
Officials will say we are talking 15 years in the future here; we are giving the public lots of notice.
We say this is a looming expense that should have been taken into account as local government pushed ahead on other expensive initiatives.
Make no mistake about it, the centre is a crucial part of this community; investments into keeping it safe, current and operating in the manner we expect are not negotiable.
It is the other expenses we have trouble accepting.
It’s like they went ahead with a new wardrobe and a new car without mentioning the termites chewing through our foundation.