CRA vehemently opposes Echo Heights development

Copy of a letter to North Cowichan mayor and council: At its regular meeting of Nov. 20, 2013, against the advice of Mayor Jon Lefebure and Councillor Kate Marsh, both Chemainus residents, council voted to develop 20 per cent of the lands in Chemainus known as Echo Heights. This was done despite the continued objection of hundreds of residents of Chemainus who are represented by the Chemainus Residents Association as well as many more in Chemainus and elsewhere in North Cowichan and beyond who have expressed their opposition to this proposal in writing and in other forums over the past eight years.

This letter is to inform you that the Chemainus Residents Association does not accept any part of this decision. The suggestion that developing only a portion of the whole of Echo Heights forest should be deemed an acceptable compromise is to ignore the many arguments presented by many interested parties over the years as to the importance of preserving the forest in its entirety.

We cannot understand how council can continue to ignore the wishes of such a large part of the community regarding this important issue. In recent weeks we have been told that, if these lands are not developed at a profit to the municipality, then promised improvements to Chemainus might not be forthcoming. The current plans have been under discussion for more than two years and yet it is only in the past month or two that the suggestion has been made that there might be a direct link between the two.

If this is indeed the case we cannot help wondering why these plans and proposals, both here in Chemainus and elsewhere in North Cowichan, were made in the first place if financing for them depended on such tenuous and unacceptable terms.

We have also been told there are those in the community who support development in Echo Heights forest. Who are these supporters? Where have they been for the past eight years? We have been told "a couple of dozen letters" indicate support for the proposal. We have seen the several hundred letters and emails the municipality has received over the years and keep on file and have determined that 92 per cent of these support preservation of Echo Heights forest.

We note the historic presence at the Nov. 4 meeting of the Chemainus Advisory Committee of Chief Earl Jack of the Penelakut First Nation together with his delegation who requested a consultation process with respect to Echo Heights. Also present was lawyer Renee Racette, legal counsel for the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group. Ms. Racette repeated this request at council’s regular meeting on Nov. 20.

At the time of its founding seven years ago the CRA drew the support of more than 500 residents who signed on and paid their dues when the only issue on the agenda was the preservation of the whole of Echo Heights forest. Each year since then at meetings of the association members have confirmed their support for that position. Since 2007, more than 1,600 people (to date) have signed a petition asking for the whole of the area to be designated a park in perpetuity. Of those, more than 1,000 are residents of North Cowichan, the majority of these being residents of the town of Chemainus.

This not just a matter of land use policy or even simple finance. Rather it is a matter of council keeping faith with residents of our community.

Bernie Jones

chair Chemainus Residents Association

Just Posted

A new laundromat is opening in the Peters Centre in Lake Cowichan. (file photo)
Peters Centre getting all cleaned up

Laundromat being developed at the Neva Road site

Robert's column
Robert Barron column: Skyrocketing house prices a tragedy

North Cowichan councillor Rosalie Sawrie brought an interesting perspective to a discussion… Continue reading

Soaker hoses laid down over corn seedlings, soon to be covered with mulch, will see to the watering needs of the bed through any summer drought. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Investing in soaker hoses is money well-spent

No-till gardening has a distinct advantage during drought

Karl McPherson, left, and Mary Morrice are the new head coach and general manager, respectively, at the Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Manager charts a new course for Duncan Dynamics

More recreational programs to join competitive teams

Cute but fierce! Timber moonlights as an attack kitty. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sarah Simpson Column: Beware of Mr. Bite, the midnight attacker

Last week, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by… Continue reading

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

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 million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read