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
- In 2020 the Cowichan Green Community’s food recovery project diverted about 180,000 pounds of produce from grocery stores that otherwise would go to waste, The Discourse reports. Much of that food was donated to social service programs, and some sold at low cost through the newly renovated ReFRESH Cowichan marketplace in downtown Duncan. This story is part of our Food for Thought series.
- B.C.’s Independent Investigations Office has closed its investigation into the 2018 shooting death of Chris Bloomfield by officers with Shawnigan Lake RCMP. The IIO did not find “reasonable grounds to believe that an officer may have committed an offence” and will not refer the case to Crown counsel for consideration of charges against police. The Discourse published an investigation into this incident in May, 2019. Here is that story.
- The team leading efforts to combat anti-Indigenous racism within Island Health say they were scapegoated and faced internal backlash during the recent investigation into anti-Indigenous racism in the B.C. health-care system, IndigiNews reports.
- The City of Nanaimo wants to follow Cowichan’s example on emergency housing sites. At a recent council meeting, the city asked staff to “prepare a report as quickly as possible” for two or three pilot locations. Cowichan Valley’s cabin shelter sites also received recent coverage in the Globe and Mail.
- The Town of Ladysmith, in partnership with Social Planning Cowichan and community partners, has launched CommUNITY Together to End Poverty – Hw-nuts’-ulwum (as one). The goal of the project is to engage residents and inform a poverty reduction strategy for Ladysmith and Stz’uminus. There are several ways to get involved, including by filling out a survey, agreeing to a one-on-one interview or signing up for one of three poverty challenges.
- An oil tank ruptured on Tuesday at a property near Lake Cowichan, spilling an estimated 300 to 500 litres of fuel into the Cowichan River, the Lake Cowichan Gazette reports. Staff from the Town of Lake Cowichan and the provincial Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy responded to the spill, and the homeowner is responsible for hiring contractors for the cleanup.
- B.C. environmental group Conservation North has published “Seeing Red,” an online map of logging and human disturbances to B.C. forests, the Narwhal reports. The maps shows little remaining old growth forests in the Cowichan region and across the province.
- British Columbia has extended COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings indefinitely, CBC News reports. Restrictions could possibly ease up in March if cases decline, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.
- The province will continue to provide youth set to age out of government care with housing and other supports beyond their 19th birthdays, until March 31, 2022, according to a news release. The government has offered these extended supports in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Management of the Municipal Forest Reserve for carbon sequestration will be key to meeting North Cowichan’s climate goals, according to a blog post on Where Do We Stand.
- The Cowichan Valley School District board has voted to create an ad-hoc committee on anti-racism, according to a Facebook post. The committee will create new policies and procedures to address and respond to racism.
- BC Housing has applied for a temporary use permit to shelter up to 15 people without housing inside Ladysmith’s Island Hotel, the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle reports.
- The chiefs of Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, Lyackson First Nation and Penelakut Tribe have joined with Cowichan-Malahat-Langford MP Alistair MacGregor to call for an end to freighter anchorages off the coast of Vancouver Island.
- Shawnigan Lake RCMP are investigating after a pick-up truck was deliberately set on fire in the Malahat area on Feb. 7, according to a news release. RCMP ask anyone with information to call the detachment or Crime Stoppers.
- Rogers Communication will consult the public on two new cell phone towers in North Cowichan, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports. The proposed towers would be located at Evans Park and Mount Tzouhalem.
- This week, three Black residents of Vancouver Island, including Ladysmith school principal Dionte Jelks, shared their experiences of racism with CBC News. Read the story or listen to the radio interview.
- Thursday, Feb. 11: 🖨️ The SusTEENability crew will meet online this week to learn the basics of business planning. The workshop is for self-identified girls ages 13-18.
- From Monday, Feb. 15: 🌳 The Ladysmith Resources Centre Association is installing a Storybook Walk through Brown Drive Park. Residents can walk through the park and read a new story every week, through July 31.
- Tuesday, Feb. 16: 📚 The South Vancouver Island chapter of the BC Council for International Cooperation is hosting a book club discussion on The Skin We’re In by Desmod Cole.
- Tuesday, Feb. 16 and Wednesday, Feb. 17: 🏘️ The City of Duncan is hosting public dialogue sessions on a proposed supportive housing development. The city will also accept feedback via an online survey, open through Feb. 21.
- Thursday, Feb. 18: ☕ Join North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring for a virtual coffee date, hosted by the Chemainus & District Chamber of Commerce.
- Friday, Feb. 19: 🖤 Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network is hosting an online panel for Black History Month on “shaping the future of Black Canadians through lessons of past and anti-racism.”
What did I miss? Let me know what events are coming up near you by sending me an email.
Just for fun
This week a Texas lawyer showed up to a virtual court appearance with a Zoom filter that made him appear as a talking cat. The short video is all over the Internet. I laughed pretty hard, and I’m sharing in case you haven’t seen it and need a laugh, too. 😹
The lawyer later told the New York Times that he’s happy the world is getting some joy from the incident in these difficult times, even if he was mortified. I, for one, am deeply grateful.