The Square supports retention and attraction of local businesses and provided a host site for the development of a new farmers market.
The Town of Lake Cowichan was historically a resourced-based community, heavily reliant on the forestry sector. Challenging economic times and the closure of Lake Cowichan’s economic-mainstay lumber mills have highlighted the need to diversify the economy. Situated where Cowichan Lake flows into the Cowichan River and the western terminus to the TransCanada Trail, its natural setting is one of the Town’s main assets. It also makes Lake Cowichan well positioned to optimize from Vancouver Island’s tourism growth.
As part of its economic diversification strategy, the Town decided to rejuvenate its downtown core, making it appealing to both locals and visitors. The plan entailed the creation of a strong focal point in the downtown core, which included revitalizing historic buildings that were not well used.
The Renfrew Town Square, completed in 2015, serves as a focal point for social and cultural gatherings linking the existing Ohtaki and Forest Workers’ Memorial Parks and trail networks. The revitalization includes an outdoor gathering space and a staging area for festivals and events, located in the downtown core. The project features sustainable, low-maintenance materials, reflecting the town’s unique character with its logging and outdoor recreation theme.
By creating a more attractive and enticing gathering place in the Town, tourists and nature enthusiasts using the lake and area trails are encouraged to spend more time in the community. Investment spinoffs generate increased revenue for downtown businesses. The project has already demonstrated its value as a catalyst for new private sector investment with the addition of four new businesses in the downtown core. The project is also expected to have an impact on new resident attraction and future residential development.