The two Cowichan Valley Regional District directors from the Cowichan Lake area came out with both barrels firing as they addressed the annual general meeting of the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce.
Area F director and CVRD vice chair Ian Morrison told the Chamber members he was an “environmentalist and watershed warrior” but there has to be a balance when it comes to development and protecting the environment.
“Without the kind of work you folks do we wouldn’t have the type of lifestyle we do,” Morrison suggested.
“I believe in supporting and nurturing business folks.”
Morrison said there is an “enemy within” in the form of semi-secret, quasi-political organizations that are very involved in politics at the municipal and provincial levels.
“They’re promoting an agenda that isn’t very friendly to the business community or friendly to the development community,” Morrison charged.
The end result is a climate of resistance to change that slows or even kills growth, utilizing what he termed “paralysis by analysis.”
“These quasi-political groups put red tape and regulations in place,” Morrison said.
The director for Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls pointed to the recent furor over an attempt by one North Cowichan councillor to put a halt on development as an example of the effort to thwart growth in the region.
“That was an attempt to put all development on hold. You can’t stop business just because you’re looking at your [Official Community Plan],” Morrison argued.
“It’s denial by delay or paralysis by analysis.”
Morrison said the groups that are lobbying in the name of protecting the environment are well organized and very vocal.
“They’re not talking to us, they’re talking at us and he who screams the loudest is heard.”
Morrison said it’s imperative for business owners to get involved so their voices are heard.
“Otherwise you’re going to get drowned out, if you don’t. If you do, you’ll have a friend in me.”
Klaus Kuhn, the director for Area I, Youbou/Meade Creek, echoed Morrison’s, joking that although the two directors have not always agreed, on this point they were united.
“There is so much nonsense going on,” Kuhn said. “People are trying to block [development] applications using climate change and the environment as a tool.
“Me, I like to construct but there’s a group of people who are opposed to every development. I’ve been so cheesed off for the last two years,” Kuhn said.
“They represent themselves as environmentalists. As far as I’m concerned they’re promoting their agenda and all they want is power.
“They’re not out to save the world, they’re out to kick business.”