Cowichan This Week: Keep afloat

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 and more. Thanks for checking it out, and please consider signing up to get this information in your inbox every Thursday.

A note from your Cowichan reporter

Thanks to all for the thoughtful responses to last week’s newsletter, where I asked for your questions on Fairy Creek and old growth logging. 

I heard questions about First Nations governance and authority, about the role of technology in forestry’s future and about what it will take to shift the conversation from division to productive disagreement. 

Your Cowichan Valley newsletter

When you subscribe to this newsletter you’ll get Cowichan This Week, your quick update on recent local news that matters and upcoming events you’ll want to know about. Straight to your inbox every Thursday.

Some of the answers you’ll find below, in Julie Chadwick’s article on the impacts of deferrals at Fairy Creek, Indigenous title, governance and more. And there’s more to come. 

While this regional issue has captured a lot of attention in recent weeks, I want you to know that I’m thinking deeply about more local forestry issues, too. Later this year, The Discourse is committed to telling deeply reported, solutions-focused stories about local forestry. Want to be part of it? Let me know what you think I should dig into by filling out our survey. Your feedback will help guide the work.

Be well,


Highlights from The Discourse

Visitors to the Fairy Creek Blockades stand among the "giants," large trees over 250 years old.

Q&A: What do the old-growth logging deferrals mean for Fairy Creek?

Distinguished Indigenous lawyer Doug White (Kwulasultun) weighs in on the complex questions of First Nations sovereignty and law at Fairy Creek.

Cowichan man says he was almost hit by a trailer hitch on Vancouver Island highway

Adrian Sylvester was on his bike, delivering food for people on the streets when a trailer hitch flew across his path. The incident occurred just days after the sentencing of Thunder Bay man Brayden Bushby, who killed Barbara Kentner, of the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation, by throwing a trailer hitch at her from a moving vehicle.

New online map braids together Indigenous land, language, arts and culture

A new virtual resource brings together information about Indigenous languages, art and culture across the territories of British Columbia.

News and announcements

  • Lake Cowichan Community Services Society is urging community support for a project to expand its building, located at Saywell Park. The society has received a $150,000 grant from United Way for a 500-square-foot addition where people can shower, do laundry and connect with supports. In a call with The Discourse this week, executive director Melaina Patenaude said that the community is experiencing deeping poverty, and the current supports available are not meeting the need. The Town of Lake Cowichan will host a virtual public hearing at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22 to consider a bylaw amendment to allow the expansion. The town will accept feedback ahead of the hearing at [email protected] or by calling 250-749-6681 during the meeting, which will livestream to YouTube
  • Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society has leased Cowichan Tribes reserve land with the intention to build an Indigenous healing centre, First Nations Drum reports. The centre will relocate from its current location on Snaw-Naw-As First Nation land. Its focus is on healing from ongoing impacts of residential schools. The group is asking for donations via GoFundMe or e-transfer to [email protected] to support the construction.
  • Community members have launched 215 HEARTS, an effort to donate 215 pairs of new kids shoes to Hiiye’yu Lelum (House of Friendship) in Duncan, in honour of the 215 children found in Kamloops. The group is accepting donations of new shoes, for drop-off at the Community Farm Store, and cash to purchase shoes, by e-transfer to [email protected] or at any Island Savings branch.
  • A forestry company owner has apologized to Huu-ay-aht, Pacheedaht and Ditidaht leaders for an incident in May where forestry workers shouted racial slurs and physically confronted protesters in the Nitinat area, Ha-Shilth-Sa reports. First Nations leaders emphasized the importance of the apology to repair relations. Full video of the apology and responses is online.

COVID updates

  • A new COVID-19 vaccination clinic will open at the Cowichan Lake Sports Area for several days next week, the Lake Cowichan Gazette reports. Vaccination rates in the Cowichan Lake area have lagged slightly behind the rest of Vancouver Island. Appointments are available to anyone age 12 and older who hasn’t received a first dose. Register with the provincial system to receive a booking invitation.
  • B.C. has entered Step 2 of its Restart Plan, which allows outdoor personal gathering of up to 50 people, recreational travel within B.C. and more

Community events

  • Thursday, June 17: 🌲 Mosaic Forest Management is hosting a virtual community meeting to update Youbou residents on its 2021-2023 timber harvesting plans for the area. Register here.
  • Friday, June 18: 💪 Saltair man Rick Ruppenthal is hosting a 12-hour talk-a-thon to fundraise for men’s mental health. He spoke with the Chemainus Valley Courier about the motivation behind the event.
  • Friday, June 18: 🎶 Catch Cowichan musicians Cabin Fever in a recorded performance from the Cowichan Arts Centre. 
  • Sunday, June 20: 🐦 Get wild on the Wild About Woodpeckers self-guided, family-friendly adventure at the Wildwood ecoforest near Ladysmith.
  • Monday, June 21: 🌎 Curious about territorial acknowledgements? On National Indigenous Peoples Day, Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee will lead a virtual workshop to help you craft one, wherever you are. 
  • Tuesday, June 22 through Saturday, June 27: 🐝 It’s pollinator week! Check out bee-friendly workshops all week with the Cowichan Green Community. 
  • Saturdays: ☠️ Join a grassroots treasure hunt for kids in Lake Cowichan, with real gold to be found! Read more about the venture on CHEK News.

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

In your words

A big thanks to Debbie for lifting my spirits last week with this note:

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your commitment to investigative journalism. I cherish the fifth estate, and sometimes despair at the misinformation and biased stories put out as ‘news.’ You rock.”

This community of support keeps me going! [end]

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