Cowichan Bay has faced its share of problems over the last few years.
It’s a favourite parking spot for derelict vessels, several of which have gone to the bottom.
It’s faced pollution from sewage from waterside homes, houseboats and float homes.
On the whole, our Vancouver Island coastal communities have been slow to recognize the potential of their geographic locations. Historically, many of the prime spots on our coastline have been monopolized by industry, from forestry and mills, to fisheries and mining export points.
Instead of boardwalks and seaside shops, until very recently most communities’ waterfront areas were more likely to be securely fenced off and decidedly not very pretty.
That has been slowly changing over the last few decades as the value of waterfront accessible to both those who live in the area and those visiting has been reevaluated. Cowichan Bay is a good example of this.
It is continuing to grow into one of Cowichan’s most charming villages. As such, more and more people are attracted to both live there and visit.
This has meant a lot of traffic on water, as well as on land and tensions have been created between recreation and preservation of the re-planted eelgrass beds that are part of a revitalization effort for the bay’s waters, beaches and feeder rivers.
That’s why it’s great to see progress being made in terms of bringing in regulations that will help to keep the environment on the mend while actually helping to keep boaters happy too.
The Vessel Operated Restriction Regulation only makes sense in light of the tremendous efforts that have been made to re-plant the eelgrass beds in the area. It makes no sense to go to all the trouble only to allow motor boats to undo it all in a matter of moments.
And a safe navigational channel just makes sense, too, so that boaters aren’t navigating a maze every time they enter the bay.
These kinds of things aren’t showy like a new restaurant or boutique or viewing station but they are every bit as important to the continued smart growth of the village.
Laying the framework will ensure smooth sailing later.