mill bay cowichan photo of the week

Cowichan This Week – Go away, smoke!

September 17, 2020

Welcome to Cowichan This Week, your source for the latest local news and events. Sign up to get this in your inbox every Thursday.


I’ve got a case of the smoky sky blues. As of Wednesday afternoon, Environment Canada predicted 10+ “very high risk” conditions to continue at least through Thursday in the Cowichan region. What does it mean when we’ve maxed out the air quality scale? The Discourse’s Shalu Mehta asked a meteorologist.

I’m staying sane with support from the Down Dog yoga app, which I was introduced to when I signed up as a guinea pig in a UBC experiment on the impacts of home exercise on mental health during the pandemic. It’s helping, and I need it more now than I did during the height of COVID lockdowns, when I could still at least disappear with the dog in the forest for a while.

How are you coping? I really hope you’re doing alright. ❤️

News and announcements

  • The City of Duncan is considering design plans that aim to turn Whistler Street from a troubled back alley to a vibrant city square, The Discourse reports

  • The Cowichan Valley branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association has a new executive director. Lise Haddock has substantial experience in the Indigenous child welfare space, according to an emailed update from CMHA. 

  • Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has issued a public health order to allow registered nurses to prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to street drugs. The order responds to B.C.’s overdose crisis, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • The B.C. Green Party has elected Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau as its new leader

  • Ten years after the Salish Sea got its name, experts say they’re still waiting for improved collaboration on conservation initiatives, CBC News reports

  • As of Sept. 16 there were seven known active cases of COVID-19 on south Vancouver Island, four active cases on the central Island (including the Cowichan region) and none on the north Island, according to Island Health data.

  • Canada Post suspended mail delivery in the Duncan area Monday through Wednesday due to wildfire smoke. The latest delivery service alerts are posted to its website

  • Officials continue to monitor air and water quality in the Cassidy/North Oyster area after a major fire at the Schnitzer Steel scrapyard, near the Nanaimo airport, last week, according to a Cowichan Valley Regional District news release

  • Ross Forrest and Bob Day are vying for the mayor’s seat in a Town of Lake Cowichan by-election, the Lake Cowichan Gazette reports. Both ran against outgoing mayor Rod Peters in 2018. The by-election will take place on Oct. 24. Those who wish to vote by mail must deliver a request form to Town Hall, on paper or by email, by Oct. 2. 

  • Island Health has contracted Lookout Housing and Health Society to manage the planned wellness and recovery centre on York Street in Duncan, according to a news release. Some residents are planning a protest of the centre’s location on Saturday, Sept. 19. 

  • A Shawnigan Lake woman will face charges for tampering with a bear trap, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports

  • Filming of the television series Resident Alien will bring road closures to Ladysmith during the first week of October. The Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle has published the full list of closures

  • Allison McCarrick is the new Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Ladysmith, the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle reports

  • Cowichan sisters have attracted attention on the social media platform TikTok for spreading awareness of early onset dementia, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports

Community events

  • Thursday, Sept. 17: 💰 Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly is hosting an online town hall on Guaranteed Livable Basic Income in collaboration with Coalition Canada: Basic Income.
  • Saturday, Sept. 19: 🏘️ The Cowichan Station Area Association is hosting its annual general meeting at the HUB at Cowichan Station. 
  • Sunday, Sept. 20: 🏃 This year, you can participate in the Terry Fox Run from anywhere. Visit the website to register. 
  • Wednesday, Sept. 23: 🌲 The Cowichan Community Land Trust is hosting its annual general meeting online. There will be time set aside to remember John Scull, one of the founders of the land trust, who passed away in July. 
  • Thursday, Sept. 24: 🔬 Join Reconciling Ways of Knowing for Braiding Ways of Knowing, an online forum on braiding together Indigenous and scientific knowledge, featuring UVic ethnobotanist Nancy Turner, David Suzuki and others. 
  • October: 🌱 The Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society and partners Cowichan Tribes and the Cowichan Valley Naturalists present the 11th annual WildWings Festival. Due to the pandemic, this year’s festival is limited to three outdoor events, one small workshop and two art shows. Registration is required for some of the events.

What did I miss? Let me know what events are coming up near you by sending me an email

Photo of the week

A big thanks to Murray Sharratt Photography for sharing this snap of a smoky sunrise over Mill Bay. The beauty of photos like these is a balm against the awfulness of the smoke. 🙏

Do you have a photo that showcases life in Cowichan? Send me an email, I’d love to see what this place looks like through your lens. 

In your words

Intern Morgan Powell’s piece from earlier this week on mental health supports for youth has generated some great comments and discussion on Facebook. 

“I have worked [in] child and youth mental health here in the valley for many many years, and I agree, there are so many fabulous people working within the system, and working to make the system work for the kids and families that need support,” Dave writes. “One part of this has been a commitment to a ‘no wrong door’ system. If you or someone you know is needing support, call ANY of the services and they will help find the right service. Cowichan Valley Youth Services offers some things, Canadian Mental Health offers others. Cowichan Tribes has great people working to support youth there. The Ministry of Children and Family Development has a mental health team as well. Discovery Child and Youth Services provides Addictions services for youth. There are services in Lake Cowichan too! Best of all these are all free.”

Thanks, Dave, for sharing your wisdom! And thanks to all who send us feedback and contribute to the conversation.

Thanks for reading,

Jacqueline