Cowenberg wants to bring natural gas, internet to Warwick


John Cowenberg thinks being mayor of Warwick is the next logical step in his political service.
The 50 year-old area manager for Agris grew up in Warwick Township and has served on council for the last 12 years. When current Mayor Todd Case decided to step down, Cowenberg felt he had something to offer voters. “I have good solid business sense. I’m open and fair and I listen and ask the right questions.”
Cowenberg has been part of council as it tries to figure out what should be done with Centennial Hall. The municipality is waiting to see drawings and costs from the consultants. But Cowenberg admits he’s not sure how the issue will turn out. “I struggle with how many dollars a new hall is going to cost the municipality. People are willing to pay $5,000 a night for a wedding in a barn; how do we maintain a hall competing with that. I know we need a community hall to provide for community events…it’s a balancing act. What do we need? Do we need a full service multi-use facility? I struggle with that.”
While the Centennial Hall issue is difficult, Cowenberg is happy council has made a start on trying to bring new business to Watford’s downtown by changing its Community Incentive Program to provide more funds to people to invest in the current buildings.“We probably will have to do more to get more done,” Cowenberg adds but he’s not sure what.
And while some of the municipality has high speed internet and natural gas, there is work to do.
“I would love for the whole municipality to have access to natural gas and high speed internet. I think this could be a drawing card for a municipality.
“The downtown core already has it, we have to promote it….where someone could use that internet to their advantage for business.”
And he says the provincial government has to provide financial incentives, particularly for natural gas, where it can cost $35,000 to have the service come to a rural home.
Cowenberg is happy the township’s fiscal house is coming into order, mainly because of the revenue coming from the landfill.
Cowenberg says council has to continue increasing taxes a little to make sure there is revenue when the landfill stops contributing to Warwick’s bottom line.
“We’re lucky with the landfill in one regard. There has to be a balance.”