Brent Beach has his eye on incorporation of Shawnigan Lake as a municipality as he campaigns to become director of the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s Area B. "The way that we get what we need is to incorporate,"
Beach explained, citing such issues as water concerns and development goals.
The biggest hurdle to incorporation, he said, is resistance from the provincial ministry in charge, who have favoured incorporation of areas A, B and C into a single municipal unit.
Beach said such a unit will not work well, as he saw during his time sitting on the steering committee for the most recent official community plan for South Cowichan that the issues facing the three areas are distinctly different. "Shawnigan Lake has a very natural incorporation boundary," he said, with a line that can be drawn around the watershed.
Beach’s plan is to go around the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and have the people at Shawnigan Lake hire their own consultant and write their own incorporation study and individual official community plan.
Then, in the next election cycle, the question of incorporation could be put to referendum.
If the answer is "yes", and the work has already been done, "the ministry’s going to have a lot of trouble saying ‘no’."
"It’s a big ask," Beach acknowledges, as it will require the people of the community to put a lot of time, effort and participation into shaping their future. Beach has owned property on Shawnigan Lake since 2004, and is the editor of the Shawnigan Focus community newspaper.