magnolia in bloom duncan bc
A big thanks to Cindy DuTemple for sharing this shot of a magnolia tree in bloom in Duncan. Send your photos to jacqueline@thediscourse.ca
Cowichan Valley

Cowichan This Week: Love the Earth

Jacqueline Ronson April 22, 2021

bounce back

Hi, I’m Jacqueline Ronson, The Discourse’s lead reporter for the Cowichan region. Welcome to Cowichan This Week! In this edition, you’ll find essential COVID-19 info, the latest local news and events, highlights from The Discourse’s in-depth reporting, an Earth Day message from me and more. Thanks for checking it out, and please consider signing up to get this information in your inbox every Thursday.


Highlights from The Discourse

Red dress ladysmith

Community hangs red dresses back up after two people are filmed taking them down in Ladysmith, B.C.

 A Snuneymuxw Elder sees an opportunity to re-educate people on the “love and meaning” behind the dresses, IndigiNews reports.

How Nanaimo’s new rent bank helps families stay housed

 With 40 applications in one weekend, the pilot program sees a “huge need” as rental costs skyrocket, The Discourse reports. The Cowichan Housing Association is working towards a similar rent bank program for the Cowichan region.

Indigenous law on the ground at Ye’yumnuts

 A visit to a Cowichan ancestral burial site gives students knowledge about protecting sacred areas, IndigiNews reports.

Goats at the Haltwhistle Cheese farm in Glenora.
Goats at the Haltwhistle Cheese farm in Glenora. Photo by Henhouse Photo

Cowichan couple cultivates a passion for cheesemaking

The owners of Haltwhistle Cheese Company upended comfortable urban professional lives to pursue a dream of raising goats and making cheese. A decade later, they have no regrets, The Discourse reports. This article is part of the Food For Thought solutions series.

Essential COVID-19 updates

  • The B.C. government will bring in new travel restrictions tomorrow, Friday April 23, limiting non-essential travel between health authorities. BC Ferries will no longer book reservations for recreational vehicles and campers and will connect with booked travellers to ensure the travel is essential. Campground and tourism businesses have agreed not to accept bookings outside the local health authority. This CBC News article does a good job breaking down what we know so far. While the enforceable measures only apply to movement between health authorities, the government asks that everyone stay close to home and limit travel to essential trips, even within the health authority. The Cowichan region’s health authority is Island Health, which includes Vancouver Island and many of the Gulf Islands, as well as islands and some remote coastal areas adjacent to the North Island. More details will be available on Friday. The restrictions will be in place through May 24, after the Victoria Day long weekend. 
  • As of tomorrow, Friday, April 22, all B.C. adults are encouraged to register for a COVID vaccination. The health authority will reach out to those who are registered when it is their turn to book an appointment.

More news and announcements

  • Jared Qwustenuxun Williams, Cowichan chef and contributor to The Discourse, recently appeared on The Capital’s podcast to talk about respectful foraging on Vancouver Island. Listen to the podcast or read the article here
  • The City of Duncan will help commercial property owners cover the costs of safety and security measures, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports
  • Island Health is seeking an injunction against Chakalaka Bar and Grill, located near the Nanaimo airport, for operating in violation of COVID-19 safety rules and an order to remain closed until granted permission to reopen by the health authority, the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle reports
  • The Municipality of North Cowichan will extend the timeline and increase the budget to update its official community plan, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports
  • Volunteers have set up the Ladysmith Community Fund to support local charities, the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle reports
  • The City of Duncan welcomes community input as it works to update its tree protection bylaw
  • Paper Excellence is planning major capital investments in its Catalyst Paper mill in Crofton, the Chemainus Valley Courier reports
  • A community group wants to transform the former school property in Youbou into tourist accommodations and seniors’ housing, according to an article submitted to the Lake Cowichan Gazette.

Community events

  • Thursday, April 22 to Saturday, April 24: 🗑️ Celebrate Earth Day and Clean Where You Are. This collaborative effort invites you to pick up garbage in your community and connect virtually to join the movement. 
  • Thursday, April 22: 💃 The BC Assembly of First Nations will host Nourishing Hope and Belonging, a virtual discussion, as part of its annual Women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People’s dialogue sessions.
  • Friday, April 23: 📚 Renowned author Eden Robinson will read from and discuss Return of the Trickster in an online event hosted by the Vancouver Island Regional Library. Space is limited. 
  • From Friday, April 23: 🍿 Drive-in Movies in the Park are back at the Cowichan Exhibition this summer. Catch Godzilla vs. Kong or Tom and Jerry (2021), with multiple showings in April and May.
  • 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.
  • Through Saturday, April 24: 🎨 Catch Awake: Youth Arts Showcase 2021 online or in person at the Cowichan Valley Arts Council gallery in the Cowichan Community Centre. In The Annex, see a show by the Warmland Calligraphers through April 26. 
  • Sunday, April 25: 🍜 Youth 20/20 Can Cowichan is hosting a meet & greet + Q&A with Sonny Sonbuchner from YouTube’s “Best Ever Food Review Show!” at 7 p.m. It’s an opportunity to learn how he built his travel food show and earned nearly seven million subscribers. Register and submit questions for the Zoom event here.
  • 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


Celebrate Earth Day with me?

Happy Earth Day! I’m almost afraid to say it, but today I’m feeling truly hopeful. COVID-19 case numbers are going down in B.C. and on Vancouver Island, immunization rates are going up and yesterday I registered for my vaccine. 

I’m hopeful for the planet for a lot of the same reasons I’m hopeful about the pandemic. COVID-19 has shown that a collective, global response to a big, complicated problem is possible. Change is possible, if we can imagine it. (I’ve just added this book to my reading list: Hope Matters: Why Changing the Way We Think Is Critical to Solving the Environmental Crisis.)

Today I’ll celebrate by spending an hour cleaning up some of my favourite spots around Youbou, as part of the Clean Where You Are Cowichan initiative. I love the forests of my backyard and hate when others treat them like a trash can. I’m going to commit to helping, not just today but a little bit at a time on my daily walks. I carry bags for dog waste — I can use them to collect other garbage, too. 

If you head out cleaning today, consider posting a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #CleanCowichan2021. The Discourse will share some of our favourites!

Be well,

Jacqueline

P.S. I’m feeling good today, but maybe you’re not. That’s OK! I’ve had a lot of not-OK-days during this pandemic. What has helped me the most? Talking to people about it, including a counsellor. The free, online materials in the Bounce Back program. Walking my dog in the forest. Committing to a morning yoga routine. Baths. This book. Remembering to be kind and gentle with myself. Asking for help. All this stuff is not easy, and I feel like I’m learning how to take care of myself from scratch. But If I can learn new skills and make little bits of progress, you can, too. I promise.


In your words

Nicole Brown had this to say about The Discourse’s deep-dive into the opportunities and pain-points of rapid development of Langford and the West Shore:

“Journalism that looks at all perspectives of development has been a long-time coming in the Westshore.” 

Thanks so much! 

The Discourse is looking to reach more people living on the West Shore. If you have friends or family there, would you let them know why you follow The Discourse and ask them to subscribe to our West Shore newsletters? We hope to hit 2,500 subscribers this month, and could use your help!

Thanks so much for helping us out. With your support, we can continue to provide in-depth news and information that matters to Vancouver Island communities.