Our Community: What Do We Value?
Places to Gather
Our parks, community centres, and firehalls are key places to come together and connect with friends and neighbours. We are incredibly fortunate to have a talented community looking after these places, and they need our continued support.
In what is now a familiar story, volunteers spent hundreds of hours this summer rescuing baby salmon stranded in drying side channels of the Cowichan River. The Koksilah River, which runs through the heart of Cowichan Station, was only knee deep, and residents were asked to significantly reduce their water use. To reverse this situation, we need to consider the watershed as a whole system and understand how the parts function together to store and filter water, purify the air, sequester carbon, and moderate the climate. Only then we can understand how to design land use practices that protect water quality and water supply.
Paths that Connect Us
We need safer, more enjoyable transportation options. Well maintained roads that allow for safe driving, walking, and cycling contribute to our quality of life, and connect our neighbourhoods. Paths and hiking trails that accommodate a variety of users encourage physical wellness and preservation of our wild places.
Green spaces are beautiful and essential to our health and standard of living. Smart growth preserves farm and forest lands by containing development to urban areas, where services are most efficiently provided. The Agricultural Land Reserve has helped protect our farmland from sprawl. However, forest lands are not offered the same protection: we must plan carefully, or we will lose our rural character.
Places to Live and Work
The Cowichan Valley is a great place to live, but it is becoming increasingly unaffordable. One in four households do not have adequate, suitable, or affordable housing. Homelessness is on the rise as evidenced by the growing number of tents popping up in the Koksilah Business Park area. In addition to the severe social impact of homelessness, the economy suffers when workers can’t find homes.
Our smoke-filled skies this summer were an ominous sign of the growing risk of wildfires. With the changing climate, water will be in increasingly short supply in the summer, and winter flooding in many areas will be more common. We can manage these risks by being prepared: smart home planning for fire and flood protection, discussing risks with neighbours, supporting the local fire department, and having emergency supplies and a family plan in place. Lets be ready!
First Nations Reconciliation
'I tst sq'uqip 'u tun'a kweyul 'i 'u tun'a S-Quwutsun'a'lh stl'ulnup.
"We are gathered on the territory belonging to the Cowichan people"
This year I had the pleasure of participating in a Hul'q'umi'num' language program. It was a wonderful introduction to the culture of the Cowichan people and a privilege to be taught by elders who are so committed to keeping their language alive. Reconciliation is about building trust and a new relationship - a journey that will take the time and commitment of us all.