The top concerns residents of the Cowichan Valley Regional District have come as no surprise.
The CVRD just released results from a community satisfaction survey conducted last fall, and we don’t think anyone will be shocked to find out that homelessness and affordability topped the list of concerns people have about the Valley.
It’s also no surprise to find out that most people really love living here. Ninety-four per cent of people said their quality of life is either good or very good.
But community leaders, who this week have called on the province to step up on issues of homelessness and drug addiction in Cowichan, are not the only ones worried about these problems.
A walk or drive through Duncan shows homelessness as an increasingly visible problem.
And everyone, it seems, knows somebody who is having affordability issues, whether this shows up as trouble finding an affordable place to live, or being able to purchase their necessary food, medications, and utilities like power and telephone. Decently priced rentals that are in good condition are scarce as hen’s teeth still, and that’s with some new rentals coming into the market. This affects people not just in Cowichan’s urban core, but throughout our communities, from Mill Bay and Shawnigan Lake, to Youbou, Lake Cowichan and Chemainus.
The survey also showed that climate change is increasingly an item of concern for people. This also comes as no surprise, as years of summer droughts have had serious impacts on the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers. Last year residents saw water pumped over the weir at Cowichan Lake into the Cowichan River to keep flows at a minimum safe level for the first time. And those in the Koksilah watershed were first asked by the provincial government to voluntarily cut down on their water use, then use for some types of irrigation was cut off entirely.
The plan is for the CVRD to use these results to shape their priorities and policies in the years to come. We think this survey will indeed point them in the right direction.