I hope you had a great Easter long weekend. For many residents of Cowichan Valley’s Sahtlam neighbourhood, the holiday was punctuated by the now-familiar hum of cars racing around the Vancouver Island Motorsports Circuit. Some took to Facebook to share audio recordings and encourage others to let the municipality of North Cowichan know what they heard, and from where.
The weekend also marked the final day of my poll to determine how my next months of reporting as one of The Discourse’s local news fellows will proceed. The results are in: You want me to look into the proposed expansion of the motorsports track. It was a close race, with the gap narrowing as more votes came in. In the end, nearly 200 people voted.
I’m looking forward to digging into this issue. I’ve heard from supporters and detractors of the track and they both feel silenced and ignored. I hope that my reporting will give a voice to those affected and be a space for productive dialogue.
As an environmental reporter, I will be looking at the land and water impacts of the proposed expansion of the motorsports circuit. But the investigation ultimately will have to get into thornier political questions: Who gets to decide which development projects proceed, and who benefits? To what extent do communities get a say as to what happens in their neighbourhood? How will we balance economic prosperity and environmental health in the communities where we live?
If you know of people who should be part of this conversation, please share this newsletter and ask them to subscribe. I want to connect with as many people in the community as possible. If you want to be in touch you can reach me via email, or through my Facebook page. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.