Cowichan This Week: The spring melt

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

News and announcements

  • The B.C. government announced a three-week “circuit breaker” of new COVID-19 restrictions, through at least April 19. The restrictions include prohibiting indoor restaurant service and indoor adult fitness classes, among others. B.C. is currently seeing exponential growth in case numbers. Newer variants of concern are causing more severe illness, including among young people. In the Island Health region, daily case numbers have hit record highs over the past week. 
  • Island Health is now booking COVID-19 immunization appointments for seniors who turn 73 or older this year, and all Indigenous adults. Information on appointments for seniors ages 70 to 72 will be posted when it is available. Visit the website for details on eligibility and how to book an appointment.
  • Island Good, a branding program that promotes products from Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, has boosted local food companies during the pandemic, The Discourse reports. This article is part of the Food For Thought solutions series. 
  • Island Health has notified schools and parents that it expects to see significant school exposures to COVID-19 in the coming weeks. The health authority asks students to stay home if sick, wear masks indoors as much as possible and follow all public health guidelines. In the Cowichan Valley School District, masks are now mandatory for those in Grade 4 and older, and strongly encouraged for Kindergarten through Grade 3. 
  • A mysterious pirate is hiding treasure for young adventurers to find along a Crofton beach, the Chemainus Valley Courier reports
  • B.C. Premier John Horgan came under fire this week after telling young people not to “blow this for the rest of us” by ignoring COVID-19 rules, the Vancouver Sun reports. In a Twitter thread, Cowichan Valley MLA and Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau asked the government to support young people to reduce systemic barriers rather than blaming them. According to new research, younger people in Canada are less likely to have access to paid sick leave and more likely to say they would be expected to work even if they were sick, The Tyee reports
  • The City of Duncan has reacted to the new “circuit breaker” COVID-19 restrictions by making it easier for restaurants and other businesses to take up outdoor space on sidewalks and parking spaces. A news release has the details. 
  • The Town of Ladysmith will hold a virtual public hearing on April 6 to consider development of a five-storey condo building, the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle reports
  • The Municipality of North Cowichan is reviewing a complaint over a sexist Facebook post shared by Coun. Tek Manhas last year, reports. Manhas has since removed the post and apologized.
  • The Cowichan Valley Regional District’s head office will be closed for about two weeks for restoration after a significant water leak flooded the building. According to an emailed update, the main reception and building permit administration services have now relocated to the Cowichan Community Centre. Residents and businesses are encouraged to engage with the CVRD by phone or online if possible. 
  • The B.C. Supreme Court expects to issue a decision today on logging company Teal Jones’s application for an injunction to remove protesters blocking access to old-growth trees it plans to cut down, the Times Colonist reports. The Tyee recently published an in-depth report on the blockades. 
  • Cowichan Tribes’ vaccination clinics have immunized more than 2,200 people against COVID-19, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports. This week, the First Nation opened its clinic to all Indigenous people living in the region. Non-Indigenous staff and others working closely with Cowichan Tribes members, and their households, have also received vaccines through the clinics.
  • B.C.’s parliamentary secretary for anti-racism initiatives is calling on British Columbians to speak out against anti-Asian racism. The statement from Rachna Singh came in response to recent shootings in the United States and rallies happening across Canada. According to the statement, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by over 700 per cent compared to last year in Vancouver.
  • The B.C. government will fund $1.4 million in upgrades to parks and public facilities in North Cowichan and Ladysmith, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports
  • The loss of a busing contract with BC Transit will hurt Cowichan Lake Community Services, the Lake Cowichan Gazette reports. The community group has operated local transit for more than 25 years and relies on the income to pay for staffing.

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Community events

  • Thursday, April 1: 💜 The University of Victoria’s Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives and law faculty are co-hosting Anti-Asian Racism in BC and Beyond: A Panel Discussion.
  • Fridays: 💰 Socially Responsible Investing Cowichan is organizing weekly protests in downtown Duncan to call on banks to divest from fossil fuels. 
  • Sunday, April 4: 🐰 The HUB at Cowichan Station is holding its Easter Community Fundraiser. Families can book a 15-minute slot for a forest scavenger hunt. 
  • Tuesday, April 6: 🚢 Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor is hosting a virtual information session on his proposal to ban freighter anchorages off Vancouver Island’s coast. 
  • Through Wednesday, April 7: 🖼️ Catch artwork by a collective of Maple Bay painters at the Cowichan Valley Arts Council gallery. 
  • Through Monday, April 19: 🎺 Catch the best independent music and arts that Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland have to offer at the Woodstove Film Festival 2021. The program of on-demand videos recreates the magic of wandering the streets of Cumberland, B.C. from the comfort of your home.
  • Friday, April 23 through Sunday, April 25: 🏺The Cowichan Artisans’ spring tour will go ahead this year, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. Visit the website for more information.
  • Available now: 🤓 Get nerdy with I Never Would Have Guessed That!, a video trivia series by the Mill Bay Malahat Historical Society. 

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

In your words

We’ve heard some great feedback on our recent article on the Island Good branding program. 

“Just writing to let you know this article is excellent,” wrote Karen. “I am a strong buy local advocate, however I had no idea we have as many choices as were shared in this article. Thank you Discourse!!!”

You are welcome! We learned a lot, too. [end]

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