Snoop Dogg was the big, big draw on Sunday night as thousands thronged Laketown Ranch for Laketown Shakedown 2019. (Kelsey McLean/Black Press)

2019 in Review: Top 10 Cowichan Citizen Facebook stories of 2019

Weather stories were the ones that captured the most attention

They weren’t necessarily our biggest stories, but they were the ones that captured the most attention on our Facebook page. Facebook reach is the number of unique people who saw the stories. Here are the Top 10 stories on our Facebook page with the farthest reach in 2019:

10. Local leaders gather with Chief Chip Seymour to stand united against racism (7,659 people reached)

The story: Cowichan Valley leaders stand united against racism

On March 13 Citizen reporter Sarah Simpson attended a meeting where the MP, MLA, three mayors, the CVRD and School District 79 chairs and other local leaders stood united with Cowichan Tribes Chief William (Chip) Seymour to denounce the brewing racism that emerged as a result of the Teddy the dog trial. The meeting was live-streamed to Facebook.

9. Group achieves pause on all logging in North Cowichan municipal forest reserve (7.8 k people reached)

The story: North Cowichan to pause all logging in forest reserve for 2019

The Citizen’s Robert Barron reported that North Cowichan anticipated a budget shortfall of around $150,000 in 2019 due to council’s decision on Feb. 15 not to allow new logging contracts in its forest reserve last year. At a special meeting, council considered options for forestry operations within the municipal forest reserve in 2019, and endorsed just the completion of existing 2018 forestry contracts and harvesting of blow down from the windstorm in December.

8. Is rail finally going to get back on track on Vancouver Island? (8.5 k people reached)

The story: Province commits to rail track, bridge survey

The seemingly never-ending saga of the Island Corridor seemed to inch forward early in 2019 when North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring said the province organized the meeting and almost every mayor, regional district chairman and First Nation from all along the 220-kilometre E&N rail line that stretches from Victoria to Courtenay attended, as well as representatives from the Island Corridor Foundation which owns the rail line. It was the first time all the major stakeholders in the rail line met as a group with Premier John Horgan and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena.

7. New documentary shines spotlight on opioid crisis in Cowichan (9.7 k people reached)

One of the top stories of the year in Cowichan, and beyond, the opioid crisis has been a hot topic and many clicked on this Facebook post to learn about filmmaker Nick Versteeg’s documentary entitled A Just Society. The film, shown on March 25 at the Cowichan Theatre, arose from the realization that there is a crisis in our community: one of homelessness, poverty, drug abuse, discarded needles, crime, overdoses and death.

6. Cowichan Bay Polar Bear swim! (9.8 k people reached)

The 2:14 Facebook live stream was well received as many people seemed to abhor the idea of the icy plunge themselves but take great pleasure in watching other people run into the chilly drink on the first of the new year.

5. Lots of snow and more on the way for Cowichan (10.1 k people reached)

The story: Island can expect ‘one-two punch’ of snowstorms

Weather stories always stand up in popularity competitions and this one was no different. Residents learned to expect not one but two bouts of winter weather in quick succession. The weather forecasters were not wrong this time around.

4. Three buses caught fire in the Mid Island bus lot on Tzouhalem Road (10.2 k people reached)

The story:

The new year didn’t start well for the Mid Island Bus family. On Jan. 11 company officials learned that a fire had been set at their bus depot on Tzouhalem Road, destroying not three but five buses in the processes.

3. Snowy morning in Duncan (10.2 k people reached)

The story: All SD79 schools, several others, closed on Wednesday

On Feb. 13 as residents of the Cowichan Valley woke up to more snow, they popped on Facebook to look at the current conditions. A video of downtown Duncan compiled by Citizen reporter Sarah Simpson got quite a bit of interest — as most weather stories tend to get, we’ve learned.

2. Snoop Dogg, Incubus, Smash Mouth and more headed to Laketown Ranch… (10.3 k people reached)

The story: Snoop Dogg, Incubus, Sublime with Rome, Smash Mouth: Laketown Shakedown will be amazing

It was a blast from the past on March 27 when Citizen reporter Lexi Bainas reported Snoop Dogg had been announced as the headliner for Laketown Ranch’s Laketown Shakedown on Canada Day weekend. People were excited to see the icon and fellow performers like Incubus, Smash Mouth and more at the festival.

1. Crazy weather right now in Crofton! Thunder and lightning and hail (10.3 k people reached)

The story: Freak hailstorm batters the Cowichan Valley on Friday

Citizen reporter Sarah Simpson was in Crofton on Sept. 27 to cover the announcement that the old Crofton school would be demolished when the massive black storm cloud looming overhead burst. The cloud made its way the length of the valley, covering most of the region in torrential rain and hail.

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Snoop Dogg was the big, big draw on Sunday night as thousands thronged Laketown Ranch for Laketown Shakedown 2019. (Kelsey McLean/Black Press)

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