North Cowichan’s council wants the board at the Cowichan Valley Regional District to adopt a regional growth strategy to prevent further urban sprawl in the region.
But just how to ask the CVRD’s directors to adopt the strategy led to a discussion among council members at the meeting on June 5.
Coun. Rob Douglas made the motion for Mayor Al Siebring to write a letter to the CVRD on the issue on behalf of council.
He said urban sprawl began soon after the Second World War when living in the suburbs became popular with the increased use of cars in North America at the time.
But he said times have changed since then, and now we’re facing climate change and the loss of green space.
Douglas said, as a result, the trend these days is to keep rural areas rural and the density around urban cores.
“North Cowichan has a policy based on this and I think that the CVRD’s board, which has a lot of new faces that are likely conducive to this, should be asked to adopt a regional growth strategy as well,” Douglas said.
Coun. Kate Marsh, who is one of three North Cowichan council members who sits on the CVRD’s board, said Douglas makes some great points, but the CVRD will soon be holding strategy planning sessions and the idea of the district adopting a regional growth strategy could develop organically from those discussions.
Mayor Al Siebring, who also sits on the CVRD board, said a letter from North Cowichan requesting that a regional growth strategy be developed could be seen as the “big guys” from North Cowichan “trying to through their weight around”.
“A letter from the mayor may have the opposite effect than what we want,” Siebring said.
“It might be better if the issue was raised organically on its own but if it doesn’t come out of the strategy planning sessions, we can revive it.”
But Douglas suggested it would probably still be best to communicate the message from North Cowichan’s council directly to the CVRD’s board.
“It’s in the municipality’s official community plan and the staff here are behind this strategy,” he said.
“We need a regional growth strategy.”
Council finally decided to amend the motion to send a letter to the CVRD “urging the board to consider initiating a regional growth strategy”.