Just 2 days until Cowichan Valley votes on water and affordable housing

Who should bear the costs of protecting Cowichan’s water?

This is from our Cowichan Valley newsletter. Make sure to share it and subscribe here.

On Saturday, we’ll learn if Cowichan Valley residents will agree to higher taxes to pay for affordable housing and watershed protection. It’s such a big decision, and I’ve tried to do my part to offer good information to guide the conversation.

This week, the team at The Discourse is putting out articles and short videos explaining what my research has led me to believe are the need-to-know basics for residents to consider as they make their decisions. Click the links below to see what we’ve done so far. And join us on the Cowichan Discourse Facebook group for insightful dialogue as we count the days until Oct. 20.

On housing:

Read this article for the need-to-know essentials on the housing referendum.

On water:

Your question, answered

I’ve been getting great questions about the referendums on Facebook over the past couple of weeks. Here’s one from Steve Jones—though I’ve seen variations of this question in several places. 

As I replied to Steve on Facebook, the water referendum isn’t a “bail out” for parts of the region that haven’t invested as heavily in water infrastructure. If the bylaw were to pass, people would remain responsible for the costs of water delivery associated with their own drinking water system, including the costs of emergencies that might have been prevented with better planning.

The money has been promised for projects that look at the health of water ecosystems—our lakes, rivers, and aquifers—before they get to drinking water infrastructure. These ecosystems are interconnected and shared between us.

It’s true that these ecosystems are under more stress in some parts of the region than others, and that people who get their water from those places might see a more direct pay-back on this investment, if the referendum passes. The fairness of this is more of a philosophical point, and ultimately voters will get to have their say on it on Saturday.

Thank you, Steve, for a great question!  I’m so glad to have you be part of the conversation. 

News of the week

  • Last Thursday a group of about 20 Cowichan Valley residents cleaned up the banks of the Cowichan River in Duncan where some homeless people had set up camp, Global News reports. The volunteers picked up more than 1,000 needles, among other garbage. A second clean up is planned on Saturday.
  • The Municipality of North Cowichan turned down a proposed housing development in Croftonthe Cowichan Valley Citizen reports. Several councillors expressed concern that the proposal seemed to have been rushed through the approval process ahead of the election. If approved, the developer had promised $500 per lot to support affordable housing development in the municipality.
  • Western Forest Products’ sawmill in Ladysmith has been shut down since Sept. 21 because of a log shortage, CHEK News reports. The summer’s long dry season caused an extended shutdown of active logging, which caused a gap in supply to the mill.

Let’s gather

  • Oct. 21: The Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society will host a volunteer trail crew day to repair and maintain the hiking and biking trails on Mount Tzouhalem. Meet at the municipal parking lot off Kaspa Road by 9:45 a.m.
  • Oct. 23: The Vancouver Island Regional Library hosts Drag Queen Story Hour at the Cowichan branch in Duncan. The all-ages event will include songs, stories, and photos with Queen Love.
  • Love Cowichan’s rivers? Learn whitewater canoeing skills with certified instruction at no charge. Contact Rick Bryan at [email protected] to join a group.

Know of an event that should be featured here? Send me an email. [end]

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