2015 at the CVRD board table has been a very interesting year to look back on. With nine out of 15 directors being newly elected to the CVRD, it was an exercise in getting everyone up to speed on the important issues in the region during the first few months of 2015.
Water management, flood management, economic development and strategic planning were probably the top four topics. Another hot topic in 2015 was the dumping of contaminated soil in the Cowichan region. Many of you have probably seen the issue evolve on the evening news. I truly admire the Shawnigan community members who are bringing a heightened sense of awareness to this environmentally sensitive issue. In the end, it would be my hope that the regional government, not the provincial government, would have jurisdiction over the dumping and storage of contaminated soils. I am not so sure this kind of activity should ever be considered to be safe within a watershed.
Climate change and years of building development in the Cowichan Valley region have brought to the forefront the issues of water management and flood management. People, animals and our surrounding environment are being regularly exposed to extremes with respect to rainfall. It is very easy to understand how these extremes can add stresses to fish and wildlife, industry and just the plain everyday life of humans. The changes have been subtle over many years, but now we seem to be facing significant crisis, on a somewhat regular basis, when it comes to issues surrounding water.
Solutions to this issue have been planned, and in some cases built, with more infrastructure on the horizon to lesson the effects of the issue.
The board has also spent a fair amount of time on economic development education around the board table and what part local government plays in this regard. Quite simply there is no specific recipe for economic development and it can differ from one corner of the region to the next. What I have learned is most important is, know your facts, know your people, and most of all, be open to new ideas. As communities we seem to have to spend a lot of time trying to reinvent yesterday when we maybe should be looking forward to tomorrow.
Being involved in local government, I never cease to be amazed at the dedication of community members, elected officials and staff. When all the personalities work together for the common good, the future of humans on the planet benefits.
Happy New Year!
Bob K. Day
Town of Lake Cowichan
Vice chair CVRD