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Cowichan Conversations: North Cowichan Candidates Pitch Voters at Maple Bay All Candidates Meeting

Don Maroc-Political Blogger

by Don Maroc

A couple of hundred people jammed the Maple Bay Firehall for the election season’s first all-candidates meeting Wednesday evening, getting their first look at all 23 candidates competing for North Cowichan’s six municipal council seats and the mayor’s chair.

The issue on top of most candidates’ list was taxes, principally municipal property taxes. The voice that rang out the loudest and clearest was big Al Siebring, one of only two sitting North Cowichan councillors standing for re-election.

NC Councillor Al Siebring

The weight of Siebring’s pitch came in two promises to be kept within (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Lori Iannidinardo Has Been An Active, Committed Director for Cowichan Bay

Cowichan Bay’s Lori Iannidinardo

For six years, Lori Iannidinardo has been an active, committed Director of Area D – Cowichan Bay. She serves on the Cowichan Watershed Board and the Parks Board, where she was Area D Chair for 11 years. For 18 years Lori has been a coordinator for Cowichan Community Kitchens and is a founder of the Vancouver Island Logger Safety Support Group.

Ms. Iannidinardo wants to continue her work and be a strong voice on issues that people tell her matter: water, a sustainable economy, fiscal responsibility and respectful relationships. For that reason, she is standing (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Shawnigan Forestry Rezoning Flies in the Face of The Community Plan — It Should Be Tabled Until After the Election

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Shawnigan’s Advisory Planning Committee unanimously rejected the plan to rezone F-1 Forest Land to Residential allowing the developer to develop 28 lots in exchange for protecting some wetlands that are already protected by the Ministry of Environment.

Outgoing Director Bruce Fraser plans to advance this rezoning at the ‘Special Board Meeting’ this Wednesday.

If the scheduled order of meetings had been maintained then the new board would be dealing with this controversial issue. It will be special alright. Strategically planned to allow time to jam this through and who knows what other surprises await us on (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Amy Matamba Is Running For A Position On the Cowichan School District Board

Cowichan Conversations: Janice Macalister – Running for CVRD Director Area E

Janice Macalister

Running for CVRD Director Area E Vote November 15th at the Eagles Hall


I have lived in the Cowichan Valley for 22 years, the last five in Sahtlam (Area E). I work part time at Volume One books in Duncan. My previous political experience was as a Trustee, Vice-chair and Chairperson on the Cowichan Valley School Board from 1999-2005. During this time I sat on many committees including the joint committee with the CVRD that explored, and recommended, the changes to the original Fairgrounds and the relocation of VIU. I have been on a variety of Boards (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Balme/Ayr Gravel Pit Proposal Panned-Public Meeting

Davis Indge

By David Indge

After attending Thursday nights meeting on the Balme/Ayr pit proposal, it is clear they have a plan, they just do not know how they are going to execute it and what to do if things go wrong. That bodes ill for the entire community.

Mr. Brian French stated in his PowerPoint there has been a lot of miss-information spread about the Balme/Ayr proposal. As things progressed, we quickly learnt where some of the miss-information was coming from.

Mr. French stated they were derailed by a “legal technicality” which is at best, obfuscation of the facts. (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Editorial-Cowichan News Leader Sizes Up Local Elections


Our take: intriguing matches should make for interesting campaigns

The civic election nomination deadline passed Friday, leaving Cowichan political watchers with some very interesting races to handicap.

• It’s unclear how far the tax revolt goes in North Cowichan. It has a high-profile champion in John Koury, but he will need to demonstrate there are enough other reasons to vote for him if he hopes to unseat Jon Lefebure as mayor. The fact only two councillors are seeking re-election assures us of a very different council.

• Peter Lockhart Gordon would not seem to have the support base to (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Lois Morrow is in the Thick of Shawnigan Campaign to Represent the Community at the CVRD Table

Lois Morrow- A Contender

Cowichan Conversations

On August 15, in an exchange of comments with Councillor Sharon Jackson regarding the optimal term length for local elected officials, the proprietor of this blog establishment wrote: “We really need people who can find the washroom on their first day.”

Well, I think I can meet and exceed that criteria. I’m Lois Morrow, a candidate for Area Director in Shawnigan Lake, and I have been following the affairs of the Cowichan Valley Regional District for the past three years. In that time I have learned the issues, the procedures and (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Loren Duncan Seeks Re-Election In Glenora-Sahtlam-Cowichan Station




Loren Duncan

Incumbent Candidate – Glenora-Sahtlam-Cowichan Station


About myself: It has been a pleasure and honour to serve the constituents these past 15 years as Director.

I reside in Sahtlam on a riverside property owned since the mid 1980′s with my spouse Maureen.

I pay property tax’s in both Electoral Area “E” & “F”.


Politically I am more Green than anything else…belonging to the party both Provincially and Federally, but I recognize that party politics is not the appropriate flag to fly at the local government Board table.

When I wander in the political wilderness (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Dara Quast is Running to be Cobble Hill’s New CVRD Director

Dara Quast has lived in Cobble Hill for 25 years. She built her home and raised her family here.

Like the local family farms and agricultural areas she has long protected, her roots are deep in this community.

Dara’s educational background is in business and network technologies. This gives her a strong knowledge base to draw upon and the capacity required to do effective community outreach in order to achieve balanced decision-making, respectful of the whole community .

As a homeowner in Cobble Hill, Dara understands the full realm of services needed for a healthy and vibrant community and has proven (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: I’m Damir Wallener, and I am Running for Mayor of North Cowichan.

Damir Wallener

A thriving municipality is built on three pillars – accountability, community, and healthy economic development. Accountability ultimately comes from voters, so they must be given tools to make the job easy. Open door access to the Mayor and to Councillors as well as citizen oversight of budgeting, procurement and contracting are part of that. So are consistent and transparent enforcement of bylaws. Ensuring there is opportunity and safety for all residents, especially our kids and elders, is the basis of community. And healthy economic development recognizes the importance of looking at the jobs of the future, as well (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Balme Ayr Gravel Pit Proposal– Public Meeting Thursday Night 6PM-Cobble Hill Farmers Institute Hall

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The Balme Ayr Gravel Pit application is turning into an ‘Never Ending Story’ –

Length of proposed operations sent to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) was for 15 years and was approved, but wait a minute, now they tell Energy & Mines that it is for 30 years.

I am sure that the ALC will be interested in learning that.

The names of the applicants have also been changed and one wonders what Energy & Mines is doing processing such a flawed application and why they are slated to appear at the proponents ‘Public Meeting’ this Thursday (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Expect Crazy High Fruit and Vegetable Prices Soon in B.C.

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The drought in California has become a serious threat to their ability to continue to grow the food demanded by their export market.

At the same time fruit and agriculture production has dropped in BC. Many of us grew bumper crops in our own gardens this last summer and it is a good thing for those able to dry, can and freeze their bounty.

Looking at the bigger picture our provincial governments have shunned investment and assistance to farmers and we lack processing facilities that could encourage large, small and even backyard growers lessening our dependence on (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Shawnigan Lake Residents — Idle No More

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Shawnigan is located at the south end of the Cowichan Valley Regional District and for a number of reasons seemed somewhat detached from the local government headquarters in Duncan.

A great many of the residents are Victoria commuters, others were mainly summer time residents and so the blend even with the full time residents results is a somewhat unique duality with ties to both Duncan and Victoria.

A couple of years back a ‘Garbage Transfer & Recycling Drop Off’ aka the ‘Eco Depot’ was thrust upon the buccolic rural Cameron-Taggart neighbourhood and the residents wanted no part (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Elect Rob Douglas To North Cowichan Council

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley Apologies To Duncan Chamber of Commerce

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger


On Thursday Cowichan MLA Bill Routley made some disparaging and unfortunate remarks in the Legislature that were offensive to the Duncan Chamber of Commerce. Those of us who know Mr.Routley know that he can get pumped up and this time he went overboard.

He was wrong and he has apologized. Isn’t that refreshing!

NC Councillor Al Siebring

I was directed to Al Siebring’s Facebook page where he engaged in a little jiggery-pokery linking to Times-Colonist political columnist Les Leyne Leyne’s piece that gently harpooned ‘Brother Bill’ for his intemperate remarks.

‘Big Al’ is in campaign (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Times Colonist-Family Doctors’ Role Important

Our medical system has developed major structural obstacles to the health care that we are paying for and deserve. This thoughtful Times-Colonist editorial speaks of a broken system. Now how do we fix it? Editorial: Family doctors’ role important


Is there any doubt left that the model of family medicine in our province is broken? The signs are everywhere. Older GPs can’t find replacements when they retire. Patients frequently spend months, even years, trying to locate a family physician who will see them.

Hospital emergency wards are inundated with minor complaints, because family (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Jon Lefebure Faces John Khoury and Damir Wallener For the Top Prize in North Cowichan

Jon Lefebure

The North Cowichan political scene has certainly been sparked up as candidates vie for positions at the council table and the mayor’s chair.

Incumbent Mayor Jon Lefebure is seeking re-election but first he will have to garner more votes that the two hard charging challengers Damir Wallener and veteran councillor John Khoury.

John Khoury

Wallener ran for the BC Conservative Party in the 2013 Provincial Election and now is eyeing North Cowichan’s top prize.

Damir Wallener now seems to be offering a green-red tory approach and has made a deliberate shift away from the hard right posture held (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Interest in Public Education Soars in the Cowichan Valley School District Elections

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Say goodbye to apathy regarding our public school system in the Cowichan Valley School District. Last election 10 vyed for 9 School Trustee positions but that was then and this now.

This election will see 17 candidates competing for seven positions at the table.

The past school board had challenged the anti-public education stance of the Christy Clark government over inadequate funding for students. The District had already absorbed previous cutbacks that particularly affected class size, composition and makeup.

Superintendent Joe Rhodes and Trustee Mike McKay had a free rein.

They were fired for their stand and (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Brent Beach is Running To Become Shawnigan’s CVRD Director

Brent for Area B OCP – Community Vision Incorporation Study Citizen Involvement Open Government Brent at the Focus News Updates Taxes Who Am I?

My name is Brent Beach.

I first visited Shawnigan Lake in 1978. Having lived in Manitoba and Ontario, Shawnigan Lake was a dream world.

I moved to Victoria in 1983.

My wife and I bought the property at Shawnigan next to her father’s place in 2004.

My civic involvement was triggered by a small incident at Government House. My wife was in the department that arranged the BC Awards ceremonies and I attended as her guest. (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Brent Beach is Running To Become Shawnigan’s CVRD Director

Cowichan Conversations: First West Credit Union Takeover of Island Savings Must Be Stopped. Vote No!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The rapidly growing and expanding First West Credit Union has been gobbling up smaller Credit Unions over the last few years. Now they are poised to take over our Island Savings Credit Union and the members are only hearing the positive side of the story.

Bigger is not always better!

Slick and glossy promotional brochures and videos do not tell the real story. We are paying for the demise of our locally owned and controlled Island Savings unless this takeover can be stopped.

Informed members voting to deny permission for this hijacking is essential, or we will (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Politics, Hockey, Fall Sitting at the BC Legislature and Local Elections-Game on!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

We are moving into autumn, our glorious climate change driven summer is wrapping up even though our confused tomato plants refuse to stop providing even more ripe tomatoes.

Last night our beloved Vancouver Canucks warmed our hockey deprived souls with a win in the season opener against the Calgary Flames at the Saddledome.

BC NDP Leader John Horgan is determined even as he is smiling.

Our BC Legislature has been a scene of activity featuring accusations and highly partisan posturing in a rare fall legislative session is in gear. NDP’s new leader John Horgan finally has the (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: North Cowichan Councillor Kate Marsh Is Running Again!


My Vision An aware, involved and resilient community, sharing ideas openly and working collaboratively to make our future strong.

Taxes I’d like to briefly address the inaccurate statement that North Cowichan has the highest taxes on Vancouver Island.

In truth North Cowichan has the 8th lowest taxes out of 23 municipalities on Vancouver Island. (Civic Info)

My Commitment

Continue to initiate better, earlier and more thorough communication and collaboration with residents, community groups, First Nations, the CVRD, City of Duncan, Ladysmith and senior levels of government.

Continue to work to create real economic health and a more local, resilient and (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Island Savings Credit Union Merger is Unsupportable-Bigger is Not Better!

Craig Meridith

By Craig Meridith

After reading Island Savings CEO Rod Dewar’s September 28 letter to editor, I am fearful of the Island Savings Credit Union merger with mainland based First West.

I joined Island Savings Credit Union more than 30 years ago because the banks’ policies did not meet local lending needs and I wonder what the future now holds for our “local” credit union.

The business case for this merger is that “bigger is better”. It didn’t work for Island communities in the past or in the more recent US financial meltdown. Island Savings has been successfully serving its members for more (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan Taxbusters have been getting a good deal of attention recently

John Scull

By John Scull

A group calling themselves the Cowichan Taxbusters have been getting a good deal of attention recently. I looked at their website. Paraphrasing Oscal Wilde, they seem to see the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

I live in a very comfortable but modest home in a nice neighbourhood in North Cowichan with enough land to grow food and flowers and hold a garden party. My municipal taxes, after the homeowner grant, work out to about $120 per month. For this modest payment I am provided with water, sewer, roads, garbage (Read more…)