Cowichan This Week – Safer protesting advice, plus all the latest

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Tomorrow at 5 p.m. in Charles Hoey Park in Duncan there will be a rally in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and ongoing worldwide protests sparked after a Minneapolis cop killed George Floyd. I plan to be there, to take photos and cover the event. 

Although Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new COVID-19 case in more than a month, there is still a risk of spreading the virus at large gatherings here. Last week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry thanked those who wore masks and kept distance at a rally in Vancouver. More recently, she said she is “disappointed” that protestors haven’t found ways to demonstrate in smaller groups, and that B.C.’s approach will be support and education, not enforcement, when it comes to protests that exceed the province’s order against gatherings of more than 50 people. That order applies to organizers and people with control over event spaces, and not to event attendees. 

Racism, including anti-Black racism and anti-Indigenous racism, is a public health issue. There are still homes on reserve land in Cowichan that don’t have clean drinking water

With all of that in mind, here are some precautions I hope all who attend the rally, including myself, will consider. I’m not an expert, but there are lots of resource guides online, so I’m basing these suggestions off what I’ve read and how I understand the risks of spreading the coronavirus. 

  • Don’t go if you’ve been off Vancouver Island in the last 10 days. Don’t go if you plan to be in close contact with a lot of people, or anyone who is elderly or otherwise vulnerable, in the 10 days after the event. Absolutely do not go if you feel even a little bit unwell, or if someone in your household is sick.
  • At the event, wear a face covering and, if you want to be extra careful, eye protection. Keep your distance from others as much as possible.
  • After the event, limit contact with others and monitor yourself for symptoms for at least 10 days. Wear a mask in places where you cannot easily maintain distance. Have a plan to stay home, self-isolate and get tested if you begin to feel sick.


  • Monday, June 15 is the final day to fill out surveys from Social Planning Cowichan on how COVID-19 has affected your household. The organization would especially like to hear from more renters, more people under the age of 40 and more men. Spread the word!
  • Need help figuring out what COVID-19 supports you qualify for? Reach out to Cowichan Navigators, a new service offered by Literacy Now Cowichan and Cowichan Independent Living. 
  • The Cowichan Valley School District is surveying parents on a possible change to the timing of spring break
  • Passengers on BC Ferries sailings of 30 minutes or longer will be required to have face coverings and wear them if physical distancing cannot be maintained, as of June 15. 
  • BC Ferries service between Mill Bay and Brentwood Bay will resume on June 24.

News of the week

  • Chris Macdonald, 43, died in the tenting site set up in Chemainus to support people without housing through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chemainus Valley Courier reports. Those who knew him remember a man committed to helping and advocating for people who are struggling.
  • The Municipality of North Cowichan has launched an alternative approval process to ask for elector consent to borrow $48 million to build a new RCMP detachment building, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports. Residents who oppose the borrowing may fill out a form and return it by July 14. The form is available online and will be mailed to residents as well. 
  • The Town of Ladysmith has launched new websites to promote tourism and investment, as well as a Ladysmith Heritage Walk tour app, the Ladysmith Chemainus Chronicle reports
  • Independent research suggests that the B.C. government is vastly overestimating the remaining old growth forestsCBC News reports.
  • Stolen paintings were returned to a Honeymoon Bay artist studio after the theft received media attention, the Lake Cowichan Gazette reports
  • Cowichan municipalities have raised rainbow flags in celebration of Pride Month, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports

Community events

  • Thursdays in June and July: 💃 Get moving at 5Rhythms dance sessions at Providence Farm, where you are invited to simply move, free-form, according to however you feel and whatever you notice.
  • Friday, June 12: 📣 The provincial government is holding a virtual town hall on anti-racism in B.C
  • Friday, June 12: ✊🏿 Supporters of Black Lives Matter will rally in Charles Hoey Park in Duncan. 
  • Friday, June 12: 🎸 Rick Scott and Nico Rhodes will perform roots and grooves at the Duncan Showroom, streamed live to YouTube.
  • Tuesday, June 16: 🌊 Join a virtual information call at 7 p.m. about low flows on the Koksilah River. Email for details.
  • Wednesday, June 17: 💪🏽 Join Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre executive director Chris Beaton and Mid-Island Metis Nation board president Joy Bremner for a virtual conversation on Indigenous resilience and response.

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

Photo of the week

Thanks to Bob Burgess for sharing this great view over Ladysmith harbour. What amazing light!

Cowichan this week photo of the week by Bob Burgess.

Do you have a great photo of life in Cowichan? Send me an email, I’d love to see what this place looks like through your lens.

Thanks for reading,

Jacqueline [end]

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