Echo Heights a case of listening to the people

We’re almost afraid to jinx it before the final approval goes through. But the imminent settling of the Echo Heights development controversy once and for all deserves some comment.

The fight over Echo Heights has been going on for eight years.

In a nutshell, it all began when the Municipality of North Cowichan decided to develop 40 acres of land they owned in Chemainus to bring in some cash.

This property was not pristine wilderness. It had been acquired by North Cowichan as a clear cut, but over the years nature did what nature does and a forest had grown back.

We admit, at first we thought the fight to save this piece from development was yet another NIMBY exercise by some property owners who, now that their houses were built, didn’t want to be disturbed by more building.

But just because you get used to walking your dog on a vacant lot doesn’t mean that the owner of said lot doesn’t have every right to come along and build.

However, it became clear when the Chemainus Residents Association formed that there was more to it than that.

As the years dragged on, the enthusiasm for the cause could well have waned. Time tends to erode passion in these things.

But it didn’t in this case.

We have always been able to see the point and sympathize to a degree with the desire to develop this piece of property.

There would most likely have been no outcry if building had begun when the municipality first got the land and there was little there but scrub and stumps. Development would likely have been viewed as an improvement.

The municipality is under a lot of pressure from residents to keep taxes down. This requires bringing in revenue. Development can be part of the equation. But the intervening years that turned the clear cut into a forest cannot be ignored, nor can the numbers in opposition.

After all, the opposition is an expression of the will of the community of Chemainus. In the end, the government must listen to what its constituents are telling them – and continue to tell them for eight years. So 91-9 it is. We just hope council has learned and next time it won’t take eight years for such a divide to be bridged.

Submit your letter to the editor online We want to hear from you! Submitting a letter to the editor is now easier than ever – you can do it online by going to the Cowichan Valley Citizen website,, and clicking on the Opinion tab. Then click Send us a letter.

Write 300 words or less on the topic of your choice, include your full name (first and last), and a town you hail from.

Include a phone number (which is not printed) so that we can verify your authorship.

Just Posted

Vetch cover crop beginning to flower. (Mary Lowther photo)
Mary Lowther column: Vetch and crimson clover to the rescue of soil fertility

I add dry organic fertilizer as plants use up what is in the soil.

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: A shift in perspective can sometimes change everything

Have you even been forced to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

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

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The B.C. woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

Most Read