Christopher Justice

Christopher Justice

Business notes: Proposed moratorium on development in North Cowichan a poor idea

It’s not yet clear how extensive the limit on development would be

Businesses are keeping a careful watch on an ominous movement being led by North Cowichan Coun. Christopher Justice, who is proposing what amounts to a moratorium on development in the municipality.

It’s not yet clear how extensive the limit on development would be or for how long it would be in place if North Cowichan councillors go along with Justice’s proposal.

The rookie councillor introduced his motion in mid-December and while his focus seems to have been on the Quamichan watershed and his desire to see staff refuse to consider developments until the process of reviewing the Official Community Plan is complete, there are legitimate fears that a moratorium could be far-reaching.

Business people are concerned but the broader community should also get involved.

This issue is about residential and commercial development, but it’s also very much about jobs, housing and quality of life.

Coun. Tek Manhas, who has emerged as the only voice of business on this council, sounded the alarms when Justice’s notice of motion was presented.

“The word is already out there that North Cowichan is closed for business,” Manhas warned. “Do we want to deal with the legal challenges to this motion if we were to pass it?”

Manhas added it doesn’t make sense to deny anyone from applying for a development permit.

Also a newcomer to council, Manhas is right to worry about how long any shutdown of development would last. The process of reviewing an official community plan can be tedious and time consuming, as North Cowichan learned the last time this work was done.

Coun. Debra Toporowski’s assertion that Justice’s motion would be an interim measure is optimistic but dangerous.

Uncertainty is perilous. Investors need to know their project will be completed on time and on budget. Trades people in the Valley need to know they’ll have work for the foreseeable future; if not they’re looking for greener pastures, taking young families with them.

Veteran councillor Kate Marsh has decided development is “a privilege, not a right” but she does make a good point in suggesting full public discussions on the issue needs to take place throughout the OCP review process.

And that’s where it behooves business people to step up and help council and the community understand the importance of sensible and appropriate development and the benefits that follow.

The motion will be discussed at the next regular meeting of council on Jan. 15.

Mayor Al Siebring says municipal staff are expected to have a report on the issue ready for that important meeting, adding placing a moratorium on development in the Quamichan watershed area without public input might not be a good idea.

“That area includes all kinds of lands,” he said.

“These kind of decisions might have unintended consequences, so we need a report from staff before we can decide on this motion.”

In a letter to the Citizen, K. Tennert stressed the importance of public input.

“The families and businesses that live in and support the Cowichan Valley need to know that their voices are heard and that decisions made by council are not done without proper consultation and have the best interests of all parties affected in mind.

“The prospect of seeing more businesses closed, more people out of work and unable to support their families and companies being forced to take their business elsewhere is not something I care to see in the future.”

• • •

Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce mixers are always a lot of fun. The hosts at the various venues go out of their way to ensure everyone is treated royally.

But here’s one that could be very exciting.

“Just when you were lamenting the end of the holiday celebrations and the return to the doldrums of the late winter, Chances Cowichan is here to save the day with our first Chamber Mixer of 2020,” Chamber events and membership manager Alec Wheeler says.

“There will be complimentary appetizers and one complimentary beverage per guest, with a cash bar for those who are feeling a little thirstier. Chances Cowichan will also be doing a business card draw for a huge swag bag, which will include: dinner for two, $50 slot play, tool kit, mag lite, blanket, two water bottles, notebook, cooler bag/picnic basket.

“You’ll also hear from our hosts about what Chances Cowichan has been up to and there might even be a game or two, with proceeds going to charity,” Wheeler adds.

Mixers are free for members and their guests to attend. Advance registration is required no less than two business days prior to the event. You must be 19+ to attend.

That’s me. Sign me up!

 

Tek Manhas

Tek Manhas

Just Posted

Cowichan District Hospital. (File photo)
Guest column: The story of a surgery in Cowichan

In homage to the Cowichan District Hospital and its surgical team

Motorcyclists in the hundreds depart from Duncan on a South Island ride in honour of the Kamloops 215. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Ride for the Kamloops 215 takes over Trans-Canada Highway

“My family was in residential schools for three generations. On the day… Continue reading

(The winning Lady of the Lake candidates demonstrate their talents during the annual Opportunity Night, Wednesday, June 8. Mary Batyi, left, does a Highland Dance routine, accompanied by a bagpiper; Jorden Matson, centre, shows people her artwork while telling the crowd what her inspirations are; Amber Bell tells people about competitive swimming, before providing a virtual demonstration.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette, June 15, 2011)
Flashback: Water meters, ‘Porky’, and Lady of the Lake

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Not securing your load could cost you big

An object of any sort falling off of the vehicle in front of you is definitely a surprise

Jared Popma recently streamed a live concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. (Ashley Daniel Foot photo)
21-year-old jazz artist talks favourite tunes and joys of music theory

Jared Popma recently streamed a concert from the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read