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Cowichan Conversations: A Curious Situation Has Developed the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

Dara Quast

A curious situation has developed at our Regional District. Our staff is leaving, in droves.

In a large organization such as the CVRD there is bound to be staff turnover.

In 2014

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Cowichan Conversations: Opinion: Will future of food be an election plank?

This piece comes from the Edmonton Journal and applies to all of Western Canada, very much including our Cowichan Valley. We can look back and see significant increases in our food production and array of

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Cowichan Conversations: Goodbye To The Historic Voice Of Our Community: The Closing of the News Leader Pictorial

Staff of the Cowichan Leader, 1954 CVMA 

By Peter W. Rusland

Peter Rusland

If anyone had told me a year ago my beloved Cowichan News Leader Pictorial would be closed, dead and

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Cowichan Conversations: Roger’s Bid To Improve Reception and Access For Cobble Hill Will Be Decided At CVRD’s Wednesday Meeting

Richard Hughes

I am puzzled, as I am sure many readers will be, to learn that the CVRD Electoral Area Directors have by a 5-4 vote followed a staff recommendation rejecting support for a

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Cowichan Conversations: West Coast Environmental Law Supports Community Action Regarding Proposed Gravel Mine on Balme Ayre Farm

A petition to the Supreme Court of British Columbia has been filed on behalf of concerned Cowichan Valley residents by Ms. McKenzie requesting a judicial review of the Agricultural Land Commission’s approval to extract

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Cowichan Conversations: CVRD CAO Brian Carruthers Reveals The Details Of Court Action To Stop SIA Cold.

Richard Hughes

The CVRD has spent over 3 years and well in excess of 600,000 dollars of our money flip flopping about over the South Island Aggregates (SIA) plan to import 5 million tonnes

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Cowichan Conversations: Rob Douglas & Roger Hart’s Big Idea Series Focuses On Small Business in Cowichan—Local Ownership

Does local ownership of the economy matter?

Rob Douglas

Here is Big Idea No.5 Local Ownership from Rob Douglas and Roger Hart regarding economic development and the potential of expanding co-operatives in

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Cowichan Conversations: The CVRD Has Amended Their Petition Over Bylaws To Halt SIA’s Contaminated Site Facility

Here is the CVRD’s late Friday release. In communications circles late Fridays are the time to deliver unpleasant news, firings, and the like.

I spoke with CAO Brian Carruthers and he confirmed that the change

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Cowichan Conversations: Protesters Blockade Contaminated Soil Site in Shawnigan Lake

Protesting Shawnigan residents show no signs of giving up or backing down over the BC Liberal government’s approval allowing South Island Aggregates (SIA) to dump 5 million tonnes of contaminated soils on their Stebbings

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Cowichan Conversations: NC Councillor Rob Douglas-Roger Hart—Big Idea No. 3: Community Investment Funds

Here is the Big Idea No.3 from Rob Douglas and Roger Hart regarding economic development and the potential of expanding co-operatives in the Cowicham Region.

Big Idea No.3: Community Investment Funds

Rob Douglas-North Cowichan

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Cowichan Conversations: *Big Idea No.2: Anchor Institutions*–Rob Douglas-Roger Hart On Local Economic Development in the Cowichan Region.

Rob Douglas and Roger Hart have rolled up their sleeves and prepared economic development options for Cowichan that are a refreshing alternative that makes a good deal of sense. Well worth the read and your

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Cowichan Conversations: Judith Lavoie on the Shawnigan Contaminated Soil Battle

This article was originally carried in Victoria’s Focus Online. It covers the issue well but misses the crucial matter of the CVRD Shawnigan land use bylaws that prohibit treating and processing materials from off site.

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Cowichan Conversations: The gap between the 1 percent and the 99 percent is widening-Co-operatives could narrow that spread in Cowichan

Here is another instalment from Rob Douglas and Roger Hart regarding economic development and the potential of expanding co-operatives in the Cowicham Region.


Rob Douglas-North Cowichan Councillor

The gap between

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Cowichan Conversations: Shawnigan’s Challenges Demand Reform At The CVRD

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

Sonia Furstenau was elected as Shawnigan’s CVRD Director last November. She inherited a horror show left by the former Doctor Director Bruce Fraser.

When news of South Island Aggregates (SIA)

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Cowichan Conversations: Director Furstenau faces the threat of 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil being dumped in the Shawnigan Watershed

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Sonia Furstenau was elected as Director, November 2014 to represent the Shawnigan community at the CVRD Board Table. She was immediately immersed in the struggle to stop the importation of 5

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Cowichan Conversations: Economic development is an area of growing interest to local governments across Canada

This is the first of a five part series examining a different approach to beneficial economic development in the Cowichan Valley.

Rob Douglas-North Cowichan Councillor

Economic development is an area of growing interest to

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Cowichan Conversations: NDP MLA Bill Routley Presses Minister To Test Leachate To Determine Impacts To Shawnigan Residents Drinking Water

BC Government issued a ‘Stop Work’ order instructing SIA to supply full reports on their activities. This is to be reviewed this Friday by MOE.

Cowichan NDP MLA Bill Routley has been

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Cowichan Conversations: The One Percent Tax Resolution-Local Government Is Being Squeezed


NC Councillor Rob Douglas

Every year, elected officials from Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast, Powell River and the Central Coast meet for the general meeting and convention of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC). They debate and vote on a wide range of resolutions to send to the larger convention of the Union of BC Municipalities held later in the year.

In February 2015, the new Board for the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD)–which took a progressive turn after last fall’s civic elections–passed a bold resolution to address the continuous downloading from (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Screw the Law! — BC Liberal Government Rides Roughshod Over Cowichan Communities

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The BC Liberal government’s Mines ministry has fully embraced a new political tactic. Screw the law, it is all about rewarding businesses to plunder at will.

South Cowichan residents face two significant challenges that has the BC Liberal government riding roughshod over local government land use jurisdiction authority.

The first is the approval of the South Island Aggregates (SIA) to import 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil and God knows what else to be dumped into the Shawnigan Watershed. This of course puts the water supply for over 8000 citizens at certain risk.

Former Environment Minister Terry (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: CERCA-Tribes-Naturalist Groups, Politicians and Industry Reps Celebrate Opening Of Causeway Bridge

Cowichan Citizen’s Lexi Bainas covered the long awaited opening of the causeway bridge.

Onlookers watch as Tom Shandel steers his kayak under the new bridge Saturday, March 28 as part of the official opening ceremonies. Photograph By Lexi Bainas/Citizen


Members of the crowd at the official opening of the causeway bridge at the Cowichan Estuary were in a celebratory mood Saturday as they saw the ribbon cut on the long-awaited project.

They had many reasons for being there: some were members of the Cowichan Estuary Restoration and Conservation Association (CERCA), others from Valley naturalist groups. There were local politicians, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Rather Than Considering a “Communications Officer”, It Would Seem That Certain Regional Directors Would Derive More Benefit From a Hearing Aid.

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

Lavonne Huneck is one of my favourite political free thinkers in the Cowichan Valley. Here is her take on the CVRD and the confusion that lives there.

It appears that a number of our regional directors are unaware of the final outcome of the Eco-depot. This is disquieting. To be on record at a Regional District Board meeting opining that “had the public only known” appears either disingenuous or simply a failure to understand that a private citizen requested a legal judgement regarding a CVRD bylaw.

I doubt that the judge who made the decision really (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan Politicians Reject Staff Driven Bid For Hiring PR Spinners-Slash Budgets

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

It is too easy to poke at our politicians of all stripes and all stations but recently encouraging signs have emerged that show our elected folks are paying attention.

At the CVRD table perhaps it is an injection of newly elected Directors that is making the difference. They actually turned down the budget a couple of weeks back sending it back for further adjustment and trimming.

Last night they lopped off a chunk headed for the black hole known as the Economic Development function.

Too bad they did not just deep six the entire Economic Development operation. (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Shawnigan Community Fights Against Contaminated Soil Dump

More than 200 residents from Shawnigan Lake showed up to discuss last week’s decision by the provincial government to allow a company to dump contaminated soil near Shawnigan Lake

CHEK TV reports

Shawnigan area residents jammed into an overflow room at the Community Centre to get updates on their failed effort to reverse the permit to dump 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil in the Shawnigan Watershed.

The Environmental Appeal Board, controlled by the BC Environment Ministry rejected the communities efforts to protect their watershed, creek lake and drinking water.

Cowichan Conversations: CVRD Failed To Enforce Their Land Use Authority–Shawnigan Faces 5 Million Tonnes of Contaminated Waste

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Here is the CVRD response to the BC Liberal governments decision to allow 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil into the Shawnigan Watershed property on Stebbings Rd.

Truth is the CVRD blew it from the outset by refusing to enforce their land use authority.

The anaemic response by then Director Bruce Fraser, supported by the then mostly Liberal friendly CVRD Board proved to be a deadly combination.

When the finger pointing and blame game commences look first to the ‘do nothings’ at the CVRD. This should and must serve as an example of how the Board works, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: BC Libs OK SIA Permit, 5 Million Tonnes of Contaminated Soil Destined For Shawnigan Watershed

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

What a shame! Residents were duped into process with various government agencies, a mugs game at best. Polite, respectful and ineffective. Money talks.

The so called appeal hearing is a cruel and expensive joke.

The CVRD dragged their feet for months before they engaged in useless corroboration with the BC Liberal government.

Shawnigan Lake faces an uncertain future.

These fights are won or lost in the street, courts and appeals are for damage control.

Wake up and raise hell, engage in multi pronged civil disobedience to attract attention.

The entire CVRD Board of Directors dragged their feet when (Read more…)