“Any modern concept of a town involves a town square,” North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure told a gathering just before the ribbon cutting ceremony officially dedicating Chemainus’ Waterwheel Square Thursday, Sept. 3.
He went on to say that the new and improved amenities that have been built into what has already become a hub of activity for the town are generating positive reviews.
“Personally I’m incredibly pleased that we’ve accomplished this, and there are a lot of people to thank,” Lefebure remarked.
Joining him in cutting the ribbon was Duncan Mayor Phil Kent, who is also chair of the Island Coastal Economic Trust.
ICET provided $200,000 toward the $900,000 project, a contribution that helped ensure North Cowichan got ‘just about everything it wanted’ into a project, which has been a year in the making, and is a central element of a revitalization plan for Chemainus adopted in 2011.
Other as yet uncompleted elements of the plan include: improvements and modernization of Chemainus Road, Willow Street and the waterfront; removal of the old fire hall in preparation for a new library.
Lefebure said reports are already coming in that the completion of the Waterwheel Square portion of the revitalization plan is bearing fruit, citing reports from various sources.
Like the Chamber of Commerce. “They’ve noticed an increase in the number of local people sitting and walking in the area,” Lefebure said.
Market vendors, who set up in the square’s parking lot on Wednesdays from June through September are noticing “a better ambiance” Lefebure said.
The Chemainus Valley Historical Society has also noted “increased attendance at their museum,” Lefebure said.
“They like the way that the benches and other amenities are laid out, so people will sit and eat their lunch and so on.”