The wheels of bureaucracy turn very slowly in Lake Cowichan

Lake Cowichan – If you didn’t know, the bylaws in Lake Cowichan are enforced only when someone complains, or are they?

Complaint driven the town calls it. I put in a written complaint to the town office in regards to properties covered in broom, which we all know is a very intrusive and invasive weed and one of the species covered by bylaw 727-2001. Schedule A lists the weeds in the town of Lake Cowichan.

The complaint was last year 2014 early in the spring. I understand things take time but over one year? So I put in another written complaint in April of this year 2015 and specifically asked to be contacted by the bylaw officer, as some of the lots were not cleaned up by the owners.

Starting in April the town had plenty of time to contact the owners and remind them of the bylaw and their responsibility as land owners in the Town of Lake Cowichan to clean up the weeds that spread like wildfire. As it states in the bylaw, the owners will be given notice and if not acted upon the town (or its agents) will proceed to clean up the property and add it onto the taxes the following year.

I am not sure what the town bylaw officer does on his one day a week that he shows up at town office but I have contacted Mr. Joe Fernandez about a half dozen times after the first complaint and at least eight times since the last complaint, each time getting lip service and each time stating he will talk to the bylaw officer on Friday, and each Monday Mr. Fernandez would have another excuse or acted surprised that the bylaw officer had not got the offending lots cleaned.

As far as I am concerned the Town of Lake Cowichan, in their laziness to act on the bylaws they have written, is adding to the spread of a very noxious weed, by their own definition. As the seeds pop out of their pods they are washed into the lake and down the Cowichan River, spreading far and wide throughout the land.

I am well past the thought that the bylaws of the Town of Lake Cowichan are not worth the paper they are written on and the town relies on compliance and really has no idea how to act upon a bylaw infraction that the landowner bucks them on. Not to mention accountability, seems like there is a bit of buck passing at town hall when it comes down to who is actually responsible for acting on our bylaws.

Ken Karpick

Lake Cowichan