Lake Cowichan’s boat launch is in need of repair before next summer, and time is running out as the water rises. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Lake Cowichan’s boat launch is in need of repair before next summer, and time is running out as the water rises. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Boat launch needs $27,000 repair

"The work must be done while it is still above water."

“This is an urgent matter. We can’t wait till next September,” Coun. Bob Day told his Lake Cowichan town council colleagues recently.

He was talking about the problem of fixing up the Lake Cowichan boat launch on North Shore Road.

Works superintendent Nagi Rizk agreed, explaining that the window for the work was limited.

“The work must be done while it is still above water,” he said.

A situation arose fairly recently when heavy equipment installed pieces of concrete to solve a previously noted problem. Its weight shifted the ground higher up the launch slope.

“You’re looking at two phases for the work,” said Town CAO Joe Fernandez. “We can do the entire repairs for $27,000 or do a portion of it to keep it from slipping which would be $13,500. I think council should look at doing something if you want an asset that’s protected.”

However, the money to do it is not in this year’s budget, so council would have to discuss it and be ready to approve money early in the new year, ahead of the regular budget talks, he said.

Coun. Tim McGonigle floated the idea of setting up a donation box with a suggestion that $5 be donated for launching a boat, to help cover the costs of maintaining the launch.

“If it’s half as successful as the box at the sani-dump, that would be a good start,” said Mayor Ross Forrest.

Rizk disagreed, saying it would likely not work since it is mostly locals who use the launch and “they don’t want to pay at the sani-dump already.”

Forrest said that the town needed to move ahead some way.

“We might have a gate that would only open with a payment. We owe it to our taxpayers that they don’t bear the brunt of it,” he said. “People should be given the chance to pay.”

McGonigle suggested running it on an honour system for a year and see what happens.

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