Cowichan Valley: Your dedicated community reporter is back

Jacqueline Ronson is here to answer your questions about the upcoming regional elections.

This is from our Cowichan Valley newsletter. Make sure to share it and subscribe here.

For those of you who haven’t yet met me, I’m a journalist who lives in Youbou and is committed to building a strong community based on good information and thoughtful discourse.

Earlier this year I participated in an experiment. The Discourse hired me to do in-depth reporting in the Cowichan Valley, where newspaper closures over the last three years have left residents hungry for news and information. I asked the community what I should investigate, and you told me that you wanted to know more about the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit.

My reporting revealed strong evidence that the Cowichan Valley Citizen was failing to report fairly on the controversy for fear of upsetting advertisers in the automotive industry. Since my stories were published, the Citizen has started again to report on neighbours’ complaints against the motorsport track.

After a short hiatus, I’m back, and I’m doing something a little different. Next week I’m launching a new, weekly newsletter. I’ll recap and explain news events of the week, answer your questions, highlight upcoming events and spotlight people who are making a difference in out community. You can share this link with your friends so that they’re signed up too. 

I’ve also just launched a Facebook group where people can come together to share and discuss how we will shape the future of Cowichan, together. I’m calling it Cowichan: The Next Generation because it’s geared towards young people like me (though anyone committed to respectful dialogue is welcome). I hope this will be a place to talk about issues that affect all of us and strengthen the connection between us.

People are talking about

Matthew Kercher spoke in favour of funding affordable housing at a public meeting hosted by the Cowichan Valley Regional District at the Lake Cowichan curling rink-Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Matthew Kercher, 21, stood up at a public meeting in Lake Cowichan last week to advocate for more funding for affordable housing in the Cowichan Valley. He says he and his peers could be pushed out of his community if more rental housing isn’t built.

Next month, residents of the Cowichan Valley Regional District will vote in a referendum to tax property owners (about $20 a year for a $500,000 home) for a new fund, intended to promote affordable housing development.

The conversations happening on Facebook right now about this referendum question are heated and divisive. Critics are questioning the wisdom of funnelling the money through a non-profit organization, the Cowichan Housing Association, and wondering if the fund will make any difference at all.

I have a bunch of questions and I know you probably do, too. Every week, I’ll answer a question brought forward by you. Tell me what you want to know next week, here.

I need your help

I want next week’s newsletter to reach as many people as possible. The bigger our community, the more useful information we have to share. Would you please help me by forwarding this email to five people and asking them to subscribe?

I’d love especially if you could think of people you know in the 20 to 40 (or so) age range living in the Cowichan region. People my age seem to be less likely to show up to public meetings and are less likely to vote, so I’d love your help reaching them.

If you have any feedback on what I’m up to, please send me an email. I’d be very glad to hear from you. [end]

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We won SEVEN Canadian Online Publishing Awards!

These stories wouldn’t have happened without your trust and ongoing support. THANK YOU! Will you help us produce more award-winning local journalism?

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