The Valley’s Pioneer Cemetery was mowed and weeded last week shortly after the Municipality of North Cowichan received a complaint about the state of the grounds. (Submitted photo)

The Valley’s Pioneer Cemetery was mowed and weeded last week shortly after the Municipality of North Cowichan received a complaint about the state of the grounds. (Submitted photo)

Pandemic cutting into work on local green spaces in North Cowichan

Summer students not hired this year in North Cowichan

Parks and recreation staff in North Cowichan have had their work cut out for them this year as they try to maintain the municipality’s many parks and open spaces.

Don Stewart, North Cowichan’s director of parks and recreation, said eight full-time summer students who were to help staff with their many responsibilities in the community for four months this summer were not hired due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That means the regular maintenance and upkeep in parks, trails and other areas the municipality is responsible for have seen delays, including yard work in Pioneer Cemetery, which is among the oldest cemeteries in the Cowichan Valley and located off Herd Road.


“COVID-19 has caused us to have to take a look at how we maintain our parks and open spaces,” Stewart said.

“We’ve had to prioritize our work and catch up whenever possible this year. Pioneer Cemetery did get left behind and we apologize to the community for that. But the weeding and mowing there has now been completed and we’ll check back in two weeks to see the level of growth that has taken place in that time. The cemetery is not irrigated, however, so the grass and weeds usually start dying back at this time of the year.”

Last week, a long-time neighbour of Pioneer Cemetery, which is restricted to families who were living in the Cowichan Valley prior to 1900 and their direct blood descendants, complained the small cemetery was covered with grass and weeds three-feet high that was blanketing the grounds and the individual plots.


The next day, a work crew from North Cowichan was on scene weeding and cutting the grass.

Stewart said the municipality is doing its best to keep its busier parks and green spaces up to normal maintenance standards with the staff available, but other areas not considered as high a priority are not getting the amount of attention they would in a regular year.

“Some areas where we used to maintain once or twice a week are now getting maintained just once every couple of weeks,” he said.

“Some trail clearing and fencing projects, as well as some upgrading, that were planned for this year have had to be delayed as well. It’s been an unusual year for us because of the pandemic.”

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

Possible COVID-19 exposures were reported at Maple Bay Elementary between April 12 and 15. (Google Maps screenshot)
Possible COVID-19 exposure reported at Maple Bay Elementary

Exposures may have occurred between April 12 and 15

”It was an angry welcome for Cowichan-Ladysmith MLA Jan Pullinger when she arrived in Lake Cowichan Monday to open her constituency office. She was greeted with some of her long time supporters calling her a ‘liar’. Left to right, Jan Pullinger, Director of Area I, Lois Gage, school trustee Rolli Gunderson, school trustee Pat Weaver, Save our School Committee Chairperson, Tara Daly.” (Lake News/April 17,1996)
Flashback: Garbage, geography and tragedy

Remember these stories from Lake Cowichan?

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Parking permits for people with disabilities

These permits are issued to the person, not the vehicle owner or driver.

Dr. Bernhardt’s freshly planted strawberries. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Hoping for a bumper crop of strawberries

Because our new plot gets a lot of sun, maybe strawberries won’t become consumed by wood bugs

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

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 syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Most Read