Accusations against CERCA irresponsible fear mongering
The rezoning application related to Crown leases in the Cowichan Estuary has taking an ugly turn. Somebody is deliberately spreading false rumors in the Valley, accusing CERCA of driving hundreds of jobs away from the estuary and the Cowichan Valley, deliberately amalgamating the rezoning issue with Western Forest Products sawmill operations in Cowichan Bay, two totally unrelated items.
This likely politically motivated fear-mongering about job loss is totally unfounded and utterly irresponsible. To make it clear: there is no relationship between the rezoning issue CERCA opposes, for good reasons, and Western Forest Products Sawmill operations in Cowichan Bay.
CERCA opposes the rezoning application for the following reasons: Until now the estuary appeared to be protected by the (a) Cowichan Estuary Environmental Management Plan and the Cowichan Estuary Environmental Management Committee overseeing the implementation of the plan; (b) several inter-governmental agreements signed in recognition of the estuary’s importance and ecological sensitivity to be managed in the future for conservation management; and (c) more recently by an award-winning OCP with estuary protection ranking highest amongst Area D constituents’ concerns.
Today, almost 30 years after the ratification of the management plan, better knowledge about the ecological importance and sensitivity of an estuary (nursing ground for a multi-million dollar fishing industry), increased level of environmental awareness and looming threats from expected impacts from climate change, the estuary is threatened again. If the rezoning application is approved past, present and future protection efforts will be weakened!
Pacific Industrial Marine Ltd.’s manufacturing activities are not in compliance with CVRD bylaws which specify that no manufacturing activities of any kind are permitted within Zone I-3 Marine (also not permitted by the Crown Lease at issue and the Estuary Management Plan).
Be it known that CERCA does not oppose storage of forest products and forest product related stevedoring from the so-called Westcan Terminal and dock facilities, since both are allocated uses specified by the leases currently subject to rezoning. There is no threat to longshoreman jobs/contracts working for Western Stevedoring as long as stevedoring is confined to forest products as specified by the lease agreements and their provisos.