The September 19th Council meeting produced a harvest too. After a year and a half process it became very clear that the conditions to plant the new library in Waterwheel park were not there. The result? A unanimous vote of Mayor and Council to site the library where it is supported by hundreds of residents -- the old firehall -- and to redevelop part of Waterwheel parking lot (sans library) as a Festival Square.
The new library is just one part of North Cowichan's Chemainus Town Centre Revitalization Plan. Designing a Festival Square that supports community events as well as day to day activities is another critical piece of that plan.
The idea is to create beautiful street scapes and public spaces that are vibrant and safe, and invite all-day, all week, all year activity. Spaces all over town that will keep our residents shopping here while attracting tourists, new residents and businesses. A downtown can only thrive when it provides safe, comfortable and attractive environments for locals as well as visitors.
The Municipality will be seeking input this fall on what this space will look like. The goal is to have it ready to welcome next year's tourists. (we're also working hard on getting the skateboard park planted)
Governing is a bit like gardening. We make plans, prepare the soil and plant -- yet our work is shaped by conditions around us that we don't control. If we collaborate well with those conditions, what we plant will sprout, grow roots and eventually bear fruit. That's democracy. Sometimes slow, sometimes messy. If we accept that and we all keep communicating and working together, the harvest can be bountiful and rewarding.
If you live in Chemainus I hope you can come out to the planning meetings for the Festival Square and help to create the conditions for Chemainus to continue to be a vibrant cultural garden that supports residents and visitors for decades to come.