Pumping over the weir in Cowichan Lake has been required when summer droughts threatened to run the Cowichan River dry. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Editorial: Funding for watershed projects, including weir, welcome

Any and all grants from senior levels of government to help with this vital project are welcome.

A federal cash infusion of $24.2 million for drought and flood mitigation in the Cowichan watershed was really good news this month.

Further, while exact details of where the money will be going were thin in the funding announcement, the Cowichan Watershed Board has said that at least a portion of that money will go towards a new weir at Cowichan Lake.

We don’t yet know how much the new weir will cost, but it’s going to be a lot. Design and engineering work is being done now, and we will have a better idea of the price tag once that is finished, but this is a big project, and it’s not going to come cheap. We’re talking millions of dollars here.

So any and all grants from senior levels of government to help with this vital project are welcome.

A new, higher weir, which will hold more water in Cowichan Lake over the summer months, has been bandied about for many years. It’s been a tough sell for some Cowichan Lake residents, particularly those worried about losing waterfront on the lake border of their properties. There are some who remain resolutely opposed to the project.

We cannot continue on as we have been. This summer was a rare respite where we got through without a drought threatening to run the mighty Cowichan dry.

Such a thing would be a disaster. From drinking water to sewage dilution, salmon and other fish habitat to First Nations cultural icon, the waters of the Cowichan River are the lifeblood of our communities from the top of the watershed to the bottom.

Climate change and other factors have meant there is now less snowpack and less water feeding the Cowichan River during the increasingly dry summer months.

We’ve had warnings to boaters about hazards on Cowichan Lake normally covered by feet of water suddenly posing a danger because the lake levels got so low.

The status quo is no longer something we can rest on.

There are things we as individuals can and must do to ourselves conserve water. Even with a new weir, all of our drought problems will not magically disappear. And yes, industry in the form of Catalyst Paper, and logging operations that are affecting snowpack and Cowichan Lake tributaries must be encouraged to take this matter seriously and make changes as well.

But using Cowichan Lake as a natural storage tank makes sense, and we must proceed with a new weir.

Editorials

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kendra Thomas from Warmland Women’s Support Services invites Cowichan residents to find out more about youth sex trafficking with an online event Nov. 16, 2020. (File photo)
Learn more about youth sex trafficking with ‘Love Bombing 101’

Nov. 22-28 is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week

Pnina Benyamini loved to be around people and people loved her. (Photo submitted)
Many facets to energetic Chemainus woman’s legacy

Benyamini taught yoga, belly dancing and more to an adoring public

Windy conditions in Nanaimo’s Lost Lake area. (News Bulletin file photo)
Wind warning issued for the east coast of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada says people ‘should be on the lookout’ for adverse weather conditions

Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone has been re-elected as chairman of the board at the CVRD. (File photo)
Aaron Stone re-elected as chairman of the Cowichan Valley Regional District

Blaise Salmon, director for Mill Bay/Malahat, elected as new vice-chairman

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

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

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Most Read