Survey identifies water as top issue

Water, conservation and accountability are key issues for Cowichan Valley residents heading into November’s municipal elections a survey by citizen’s group One Cowichan has found.

“The message came through loud and clear that people care about conserving our beautiful valley, and in particular about solving our water challenges,” said Gail Calderwood, One Cowichan Chemainus team member. The survey, which was not scientific and makes no claims about statistical validity, was answered by 697 people, mostly online.

Highlights included the desire to secure the local water supply and take over control of local watersheds; stop urban sprawl; take action on climate change; better consultation between government and citizens; tax balance between residential and industry and spending inefficiencies; protecting farmland and promoting local food consumption; and affordable housing. One Cowichan organizer Rosalie Sawrie said they were surprised at the response of those who took the survey to the question about whether taxes were too high – a majority of people thought taxes were “about right.”

Sawrie said what people are concerned about seems to be spending priorities.

“As candidates put together their platforms, these survey results provide some good information about where citizens of the valley are at,” said Sawrie, pointing out that with water and conservation so high on the list of people’s priorities, “I think it’s important to have candidates who are up-to-date on those kinds of issues.”

One Cowichan will now be asking all local candidates to respond to a series of questions based on the survey results. Answers from candidates will be posted on the One Cowichan website.

One Cowichan will not endorse any particular candidates, but neighbourhood teams will be going door-to-door and encouraging people to vote on Nov. 15. There is also a kickoff on Tuesday, Oct. 14 at the Craig Street Brew Pub in Duncan.

Full survey results can be found at OneCowichan.ca