The Ts’uu-baa-asatx First Nation’s Melanie Livingstone and her husband Aaron Hamilton have received the honour of Lake Cowichan’s 2019 Citizens of the Year.
The Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce handed the award out during its socially distanced Fall Fling event on Oct. 17.
“We want to thank them for the amazing work they’ve been doing with the Kaatza Adventures and the development up there and all the help they’ve done with the community and with the chamber, there’s just so many things, so thank you so much, guys,” said emcee Brent Clancy, chamber president.
“I just wanted to thank the chamber and the Lake Cowichan community,” Hamilton said to the group, in his speech. He said the award is a testament to all the hard work, determination, pride and leadership qualities that his wife has shown over the years.
“We’ve progressed, we’ve been working on this over the last decade. Melanie has been in the background. Most people that know us know she’s always in the background making sure everything is happening,” he said. “The re-development that we’ve been doing that has taken years and years is really her brainchild and we’re really trying to make sure it captures what the Nation wants to see and for future generations; we’re trying to provide for the next generation. We’re super proud to call this place home. We’re just starting and we have many, many, many things to keep going and we live and breathe this area and we want to see investment and we put our money where our mouth is and our support and our dedication.”
Hamilton later wondered if a husband and wife team had ever won the accolade before. Still, he insists this win is hers.
“We’re all super proud of her,” he said. “I know it said both our names on it… but I’ve won before. This is hers.”
He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on the gala festivities “but we’ll definitely celebrate with her once this is all over.”
The award is voted on by members of the Cowichan Lake community at large, as well as the local business community.
Also receiving recognition during the Fall Fling were the following:
(The winners are in bold.)
• Youth of the Year: Simone Hinojosa and Aidan Sidhu
• Nichole Stock Community Service Award: Ginny Saboe, Jim Spice and Parm Birk
• Customer Service Award: Erin Butler of Butler Locksmithing, Michelle McCoy of Country Grocer, Joseph Pearson of Canada Post and Jodi McKenzie of Lake Cowichan Chiropractic
• Citizen of the Year: Melanie Livingstone-Hamilton and Aaron Hamilton, Carolyn Graham, and Cathy Craft
• Island Savings’ Business of the Year: notary public Patricia Thompson, Mesachie Lake Automotive Repairs, and Cassy’s Coffee House
• Above and Beyond winner: Dr. David Froese
• Lifetime Achievement Award winner: Dick Orman