Cowichan This Week – Happy Earth Week!

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Happy Earth Week!

Yesterday was Earth Day! As many have pointed out, it was a nice day for the Earth. Because of the pandemic, the air is clearer and fossil fuel emissions are down.

As North Cowichan resident Icel Dobell writes, for some this moment has been a chance to pause, to re-enter the forest and be with nature. I’ve seen it, too, in photos shared on social media of the little things we are noticing in our environments. My wish is that you are able to take a quiet moment this week to just be in nature. Maybe even stop to hug a tree.

News of the week

  • The COVID-19 Cowichan Task Force for Vulnerable Populations hopes to set up tenting sites for people without housing to help support them through the pandemic, according to a news release. The task force is waiting for approval and funding from BC Housing.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced a new benefit for post-secondary students who are financially struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, CBC News reports
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has been both a stressful time and a time of growth at the Cowichan District Hospital, says the hospital’s lead family doctor, who spoke with The Discourse Cowichan. 
  • The Municipality of North Cowichan council voted to proceed with an alternative approval process to move ahead with building a new $40 million RCMP detachment building, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports. That means that project approval is assumed, unless 10 per cent of residents register their opposition.
  • The Lake Cowichan District Chamber of Commerce is facilitating an electronic gift card program to support local businesses, the Lake Cowichan Gazette reports
  • Paper Excellence has suspended paper making at the Crofton mill due to a combination of negative impacts on the business, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports
  • The Cowichan Valley Regional District has hired Stantec Engineering Services to design a new weir at Cowichan Lake, according to a news release.
  • Ladysmith Fire Rescue has elected a new fire chief, the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle reports
  • Cowichan residents are organizing on Facebook to make and deliver cloth masks and scrub caps to essential workers, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports.

Community events

The community events section will now include scheduled events that take place online or by telephone. Planning something? Send me an email to let me know.

  • Thursday, Apr. 23 – Saturday Apr. 25: 🌎 Celebrate Earth Week online at EarthFest Live, with speakers and panels daily, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, April 23: 🕯️ Inner-Attainment offers a Tibetan singing bowl and gong meditation, online and by donation.
  • Thursdays, 7 p.m.: 🤝Join facilitator Lori Austein for a virtual council circle, a chance to gather and connect with community. Email Lori for details. 
  • Friday, Apr. 24 – Sunday, Apr. 26: 🌱 Learn the basics of permaculture in a three-day online course by OUR Ecovillage in Shawnigan Lake. 
  • Saturday, Apr. 25: 💃 Check out an online fashion show by Ay Lelum – The Good House of Design, featuring local talent and Coast Salish threads.
  • Most days: 🎵 Check out the calendar at the Duncan Showroom for live-streamed local music, several nights a week. All shows are streamed to YouTube.

Photo of the week

For Earth Day, we’re sharing this photo by Katia Bannister, a member of the Cowichan Valley Earth Guardians. The young climate activists have moved their strikes onto social media as a result of the pandemic. This photo was a runner up in our #COWvid19 photo contest last week. Go, Katia!

In your words

I want to give an extra big thank you to Dr. Graham Blackburn, who jumped through the hoops at Island Health to get permission to speak with me about the local healthcare response to COVID-19. 

I know, from the responses I’ve seen to that article, that this community appreciates the honest communication of the local situation. 

Here’s an outtake from our conversation, about how our healthcare system is getting better as a result of this crisis:

“We also appreciate our administrators a lot more. Because we rely on a really strong system of communication, from our medical directors and public health officers all the way down through a couple layers of administration, to physicians and nurses. I think we’ve gotten to know each other better, which makes a really big difference, … and just come to understand that listening to each other is really important.”

Thanks again, Dr. Blackburn. As a journalist, I couldn’t agree more that careful listening is key.

That’s it for this week. This information is for you. Help us make it better by sending your feedback to And, please help us spread the word by sharing this story. [end]

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