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Cowichan Conversations: Maroc-Is the Cowichan Valley Ready For the High Tech Sector?

Don Maroc – Cowichan Conversations Blogger

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Board (CVRD) Damir Wallener delivered a very professional presentation extolling the financial virtues of a hi-tech industry cluster for the Cowichan Valley.

Wallener claims that some years ago he moved to California, probably the famed Silicon Valley, where he learned details of the establishment of a hi-tech sector.

Although Wallener said he has no desire to recreate Silicon Valley here. If that is what he wanted, he explained, he would move to Silicon Valley. He emphasized what he is promoting is on a much smaller (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: CVRD It’s Time to Write Into Stone Protections Against the Depredations of Developers

In spite of Cowichan Bay Estates developer’s disgracefully inept efforts to control the forces of nature after their single-minded rush for profits led them to clearcut and remove topsoil from a forested drainage into Cowichan Bay, the local government has been told it has no jurisdiction to take action.

CVRD Director-Lori Iannidinardo

The Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Senior Policy Advisor Jacob Ellis reported that after repeated efforts to find where authority lies for regulation of this looming disaster, it appears no one has the authority, neither the regional government nor the provincial government.

Just because the Christy Clark government has (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Will This Turn Out To Be An Environmental Horror Show In Upper Cowichan Bay-CVRD Officials Fail To Act!

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Cowichan Bay Estates, tucked away off Vee Road in upper Cowichan Bay gives the appearance of being at the verge of an environmental horror show that could threaten homes and properties downside of the development, and yet nobody seems to be acting to put an immediate halt to any further work.

Watercourses have been rerouted, heron habitat compromised, a soggy unstable moonscape that has had the topsoil and trees removed remains.

CVRD Director Lori Iannidinardo has reported to CVRD staff who are responsible for the drainage plan, but has been told nothing can be done! She has also (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Solar Panel Show and Tell at the CVRD’s Regional Services Committee-Jan 28th 6PM

Don Maroc

Cowichan’s premier cheerleader for climate change mitigation, Peter Nix takes the promotion of roof-top solar electric panels to the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) Regional Services Committee next Wednesday (Jan. 28), at 6 pm.

Shawnigan Lake’s Blaise Salmon will join Nix asking the CVRD directors to assess the best methods to provide financial help to home and business owners for installation of solar panels.

As an incentive to help pry the lid off the regional district’s treasure chest, they will suggest that the solar panel technology offers a way to achieve the CVRD’s stated Green House Gas (GHG) (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: California Was Fun But Nothing Beats The Cowichan Valley

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

We recently returned from our winter reprieve with friends in Sunny California. It was a great get away and we were treated to wonderful food, music, the occasional wee glass of wine and some day trips around the San Jose area, Monterrey and also squeezed in visits to see longtime friends in the San Francisco Bay area.

Kicked off our visit with a NHL game at the ‘Shark Tank’ where our Canucks came in and managed a 3-1 victory. I wore my Canuck jersey and I was not alone. Canuck Nation lives. It was fun high living (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Maroc-Black Days Ahead For Cowichan Newspapers

Don Maroc – Cowichan Conversations

Six weeks of trying to keep warm by a small propane fire. Six weeks of carrying picket signs, of waving at horn-blowing motorists, explaining to passers-by why they are outside the offices of the News-Leader-Pictorial, when their jobs are inside the building.

These selfless people, from advertising, newsroom, production and distribution, who have long brought the community a newspaper twice a week are on the outside looking in because David Black, millionaire owner of the News-Leader, has decided to change their pay scale. The employees are a Unifor union shop and they say no to (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Black Press Goes On A Buying Spree-Buys Cowichan Citizen While Cowichan News Leader Workers Strike Continues

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The Vancouver Island Community Newspaper Group has been sold to Black Press; this includes the Cowichan Valley Citizen.

Black Press and The Vancouver Island Community Newspaper Group have shuffled the deck that may well be a lump of coal in the Christmas stockings of striking workers picketing the Cowichan News Leader.

Will Black continue to run both papers in the same market? Will he drop the News Leader and shut it down in favour of entrenching the Cowichan Citizen with its lower wage operation.

Personally I think that it is time that we had the option of (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Breaking Story-Another Derelict Vessel Curses Cowichan Bay

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Another abandoned oil leaking derelict vessel has moved into Cowichan Bay.

Local concerned residents have tried to contact authorities to have it moved.

CVRD Director Lori Iannidinardo told Cowichan Conversations that Western Stevedoring’s Brian Thacker. frustrated with inaction from the Environment Ministry or DFO, has stepped in and had had his crew through a boom around the unwelcome intruder, in hopes of stemming the pollution threatening the bay and estuary.

Further information will be posted as it is known,


Cowichan Conversations: I See a GreenTidal Wave of Good News for Cowichan

Climate Change, Greenhouses Gases, Global Warming, Wind Power, Solar these subjects are being discussed or touched upon pretty much on a daily basis.

Peter Nix, Don Skerik and others are doing something positive about. They are installing solar panels throughout Cowichan and it is catching on big time. It makes sense especially with the option of local government participation.

Readers will be hearing from Don Maroc soon as he is in the process of having Solar Panels installed on his home. It is exciting stuff.

Here is an encouraging ‘Guest Post’ from Peter Nix who walks the walk.

Peter Nix

(Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: An Innovative and Creative New CVRD Board Has Been Born.

Don Maroc

December 3rd, 7 p.m., second floor of the Ingram Street Cowichan Valley Regional District offices, the Board of Directors meeting room, all seats for the public are filled, people standing along the walls and the hallway is filled with spectators. At the request of Corporate Secretary Joe Barry the 15 newly elected directors take their seats around the horseshoe shaped table. Barry begins to instruct the directors, eight of who were not on the Board last year, taking their oath of office.

Family, friends and reporters snap photos and videos as the directors and their alternates (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan Citizens Gained Ground in Local Elections

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger


Some big wins, some sad losses but all in all the calibre of our new crop of politicians is a considerable improvement. Sonia Furstenau, Rob Douglas, Alison Nicholson, Kerry Davis, Matteus Clement bring vigour and green energy to our local government tables. This is a good thing! Congratulations to all that stepped up and put their names forward. The Cowichan Valley is alive and humming.

Kate Marsh, Michelle Bell, Michelle Staples, Sharon Jackson, Lori Iannidinardo, will be much encouraged by the new green and youthful arrivals. Have you counted the number of women elected and serving! (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: The Winds of Change Have Altered the Cowichan Valley Political Landscape

Don Maroc

Maybe it is the product of the incredible crisp autumn air, the brilliant azure blue sky, and the warm rays of the November sun that brought clarity to the minds of Cowichan Valley voters when marking their ballots for the 2014 local government elections.

The Duncan and North Cowichan municipal councils are well balanced. The School District 79 Board of Trustees, with a majority of inexperienced members, looks like a group that can disagree but still work in harmony. Over at the Cowichan Valley Regional District there are enough new faces to pretty much change the tone of (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan Valley Regional District – Unofficial Election Results



Electoral Area Directors Elected and Acclaimed


Kerry Davis M Electoral Area A (Mill Bay/Malahat) 520

Sonia Furstenau F Electoral Area B (Shawnigan Lake) 774

Matteus Clement M Electoral Area C (Cobble Hill) 563

Lori Iannidinardo F Electoral Area D (Cowichan Bay) 615

Alison Nicholson F Electoral Area E (Cowichan Station/Sahtlam/Glenora) 300

Ian Morrison M Electoral Area F (Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls) Acclaimed

Mel Dorey M Electoral Area G (Saltair/Gulf Islands) 391

Mary Marcotte F Electoral Area H (North Oyster/Diamond) Acclaimed

Klaus Kuhn M Electoral Area I (Youbou/Meade Creek) Acclaimed

Michael Walker M Electoral Area A (Mill Bay/Malahat) (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan Sportsplex – Yes or No


Here are just a few points for taxpayers before they choose “Yes” or “No” on providing funding for the Cowichan Sportsplex (CS). This will apply to all voters in the Cowichan Valley except for those living in Duncan or North Cowichan. You will not get to choose, you simply pay – your portion of the funding through the CVRD as well as Municipal funding.

The red and white ads in the local papers urging you to “Vote Yes!” state “This is not new funding. It’s a new location in the budget.” The reality is, for the last (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Opinion-Dara Quast Has Established Herself as the Cobble Hill Candidate Worthy of Your Support-November 15th

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

It was a small crowd that arrived to hear the two candidates seeking to represent Cobble Hill at the CVRD Board Table. It was in many ways, deja vu all over again. This was a repeat of the last election three years ago when FOGG (Friends of Gerry Giles) lined up like obedient servants kicking out their prepared questions in attempts to belittle and undermine the challenging candidate Dara Quast.

Gerry Giles won that election, but Dara Quast was a strong second and has built on that support ever since.

Gerry has stepped away after nine years, (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: 400 Citizens Took in the 2014 North Cowichan Council Debate in Chemainus

Don Maroc – Cowichan Conversations

“This is democracy in action,” said Al Siebring, candidate for the North Cowichan council, looking out over some 400 citizens assembled in the Chemainus Secondary School gym for an all candidates meeting.

Eighteen of the 20 council hopefuls delivered short statements of their positions before the evening’s main event – a three-way debate for the mayoral candidates.

Siebring, North Cowichan council’s flamboyant, right-leaning incumbent councillor opened the evening by saying that he didn’t particularly like the idea, “this is turning into a one issue campaign.”

His response to that single issue was to (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Area ‘E’ Candidates Participated in a Novel Format of Debate and Discussion

Don Maroc

With about a hundred residents in attendance at the first of three all candidates meetings for CVRD Area E (Sathlam, Glenora, Cowichan Station), the organizers at the HUB (former Cowichan Station elementary school) tried a novel format. The crowded ballot, with five candidates for the Cowichan Valley Regional District board seat, would make it clumsy for the usual questions from the floor and answers from all the candidates. Instead The Hub organizers decided on an opening 10-minute statement by each of the five candidates, in alphabetical order. Then they set up five large round tables. After all candidates’ (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan Local Elections November 15th–Choose Wisely–Heaven sort Hell




Heavenly Election



While walking down the street one day a Corrupt Senator was tragically hit by a car and died.

His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

“Welcome to heaven,” says St. Peter. “Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high officials around these parts, you see, so we’re not sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in,” says the Senator. “Well, I’d like to, but I have orders from the higher ups. What we’ll do (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan News Leader Candidate Coverage for Election 2014

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger



The Cowichan News Leader is doing a good job with their Election 14 Coverage. I have posted their profile feature here. This is worth keeping around as we all try to sort out this amazing series of local elections.

ELECTION CANDIDATES Election News Election Candidates Candidate Q&As Election Information Electoral Region : —- All —- City of Duncan Municipality of North Cowichan Cowichan Valley Regional District Cowichan Valley School District 79

Click here to find your area

Mayor: Meet Phil Kent

City of Duncan: Kent, Phil — Mayor candidate (incumbent)

Meet John Koury

Municipality of (Read more…)

. . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: Cowichan News Leader Candidate Coverage for Election 2014

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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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…)