Katia Bannister, left, from the Cowichan chapter of the Earth Guardians, and Jane Kilthei from One Cowichan role up a petition with more than 1,800 names asking the CVRD to declare a climate emergency at the district’s regional services committee on Oct. 23. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Katia Bannister, left, from the Cowichan chapter of the Earth Guardians, and Jane Kilthei from One Cowichan role up a petition with more than 1,800 names asking the CVRD to declare a climate emergency at the district’s regional services committee on Oct. 23. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

CVRD to consider declaring a climate emergency

Community groups make presentation to regional services committee

The Cowichan Valley Regional District is one step closer to declaring or acknowledging that there is a climate emergency.

The CVRD’s regional services committee decided at its meeting on Oct. 23 to recommend to the board to recognize that there is a climate emergency after a delegation, led by the local citizen’s group One Cowichan, presented a petition with more than 1,800 signatures asking that the district acknowledge it and direct staff to identify options for accelerated climate action.

Both the City of Duncan and the Municipality of North Cowichan have either declared or acknowledged there is a climate emergency after One Cowichan, along with 48 other local organizations, sent letters to all local governments earlier this year asking them to step up and declare a climate emergency.

RELATED STORY: 49 COWICHAN GROUPS URGE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO DECLARE CLIMATE EMERGENCY

The regional services committee also asked staff to write a report outlining what the CVRD has already done in its ongoing efforts to deal with climate change and determine what more can be done.

One Cowichan released a 10-point checklist in August to measure the progress of local governments towards climate emergency action.

RELATED STORY: ONE COWICHAN TO MEASURE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS’ PROGRESS WITH CLIMATE CHANGE

The 10-point list covers issues from land use and urban sprawl to transportation and energy efficiency, and staff were directed to consider the list when writing the report.

One Cowichan Jane Kilthei said hundreds of local governments have already declared climate emergencies and the community is asking the CVRD to be climate leaders as well.

“As a local government, you can decide if we should have more urban sprawl or more environmentally friendly compact communities,” she said to the committee.

“You also make decisions regarding public transportation, emissions and how droughts and fires are dealt with so we’re urging you to follow other municipalities and recognize the emergency and determine what steps should be taken to deal with it.”

Katia Bannister, from the Cowichan chapter of the youth-group Earth Guardians, told the committee that the decisions the members make will be their legacy, and her inheritance.

“We need people like you with the power to be models in climate justice to stand with us,” she said.

Director Michelle Staples, who is also the mayor of Duncan, said the CVRD has already been a leader in actions to deal with climate change.

RELATED STORY: CVRD RECOGNIZED FOR CLIMATE-CHANGE EFFORTS

“But it’s still not enough,” she said. “I’d like for us to focus the rest of our term (in office) ensuring that what we’re doing is enough. We may meet a lot of opposition, but this is important to the future and to the present.”

Klaus Kuhn, the director for Youbou/Meade Creek, said the CVRD has done an excellent job dealing with climate change issues so far.

“I don’t like outside groups coming here and pressuring us to support what they want,” he said.

“If you want to get involved in politics, then stand for election. I don’t mind taking advice, but I don’t like this pressure.”

Director Debra Toporowski, representing the Municipality of North Cowichan, said climate change is not only a One Cowichan or a First Nations’ issue.

RELATED STORY: NORTH COWICHAN ACKNOWLEDGES CLIMATE EMERGENCY

“This is a community issue that affects us where we all live,” she said.

“Don’t shoot the messenger.”

Ian Morrison, director for Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls and the chairman of the CVRD, had expressed disappointment in the past that One Cowichan is not recognizing the work the CVRD has already done to deal with climate change.

But he said at Wednesday’s meeting that he’ll support the motion to have staff write a report.

“We need as much information as we can to make good decisions,” he said.“That’s good governance.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dog owners, from left, Marlyn Briggs with Nayla, Marjory Sutherland with Effie and Mick, and Christina Godbolt with Conon walk their pets frequently at the Chemainus Ball Park but are growing increasingly concerned about drugs being found discarded in the area. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Puppy requires emergency treatment 3 times after ingesting drugs from Chemainus parks

Dog owners walking in Chemainus parks urged to take caution

The Cowichan Valley School District is holding an online session to discuss the future of Koksilah Elementary School, closed since 2013. (File photo)
What’s the future of the old Koksilah Elementary School?

The district is hoping to collect feedback on options for the future of the school.

Jim Neiser of Neiser Sales, Service & Rentals Ltd. died suddenly on Jan. 4. after suffering an apparent cardiac event at work. (Submitted photo)
Prominent Lake Cowichan businessman Jim Neiser dead at 63

Lake Cowichan Mayor Bob Day said the long-time laker will be missed.

The Judy Hill Gallery took home top prize for its window display during the Christmas season from the Downtown Duncan BIA. (Submitted photo)
Business notes: Judy Hill Gallery wins festive window display contest

A look at what’s going on in the Cowichan business community

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
Up to 15 cm of snow forecast for Duncan area this weekend

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

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

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Emergency crews were called to a semi-truck crash along the Trans-Canada Highway at Oyster Sto’Lo Road on Friday, Jan. 22. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Semi truck crashes off the side of the highway in Ladysmith

Driver taken to hospital as precaution after single-vehicle crash Friday

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Most Read