Shame on the CVRD board for voting for Cowichan Bay rezoning

Shame on the CVRD board for voting for Cowichan Bay rezoning

Municipal directors were not allowed to vote while the decision was put to area directors only.

Shame on the CVRD board for voting for Cowichan Bay rezoning

Dear CVRD board chairman and directors:

I am disgusted and ashamed at what passed for due process during today’s Oct. 23 board meeting where directors basically rubber stamped third reading and adoption of zoning amendment bylaw 4264.

Despite many folks who wanted to speak to this landmark motion, Chairman Ian Morrison simply told everyone no further public input would be allowed before the controversial vote that will now allow further marine manufacturing in our eco-sensitive bay.

The seaside site owned by Tidal Harmony Holdings and Western Stevedoring shifted today to Transportation-Industrial zoning from Water-Industrial use.

The CVRD rightly requested no divisive tactics, such as donning bright safety vests by bay workers and others favouring the rezoning to keep operations running at Pacific Industrial & Marine and elsewhere.

The CVRD also asked folks opposed to the amendment not to brandish signs during the packed meeting.

Still, the brusk, close-minded manner in which our board — with the exception of Glenora (Area E) Director Alison Nicholson, and Mill Bay/Malahat (Area A) Director Blaise Salmon — mishandled this controversial issue still divides our community after today’s shameful affront to democracy.

Municipal directors were not allowed to vote while the decision was put to area directors only.

Sadly, the amendment affects the north half of the bay sitting in the North Cowichan municipality. Coun. Rob Douglas wisely requested the CVRD do an environmental impact assessment concerning the sensitive estuary before today’s vote.

His timely request was sadly ignored by our board that is seemingly bent on moving ahead with economy over ecology in a threatened bay ecosystem where shellfish is expected to be harvested next year.

Indeed, our board could have had both economy and ecology in our bay: jobs, with caveats preventing noise, odour, light, and certainly air, water and land pollution.

But even given those conditions, there’s no clear picture about what continued marine manufacturing — and Western Forest Products’ nearby sawmill — will have on birds, wildlife, marine critters, eelgrass and the whole bay ecosystem.

Those impacts might have been revealed in Douglas’s requested environmental impact assessment.

In hindsight, those industries should never have been allowed in the bay circa-1950s.

Our board had a golden chance today to correct that eco-mistake, but foolishly failed to put ecology, tourism (in our globally acclaimed Cittaslow bay), and green jobs first.

I sure applaud Nicholson and Salmon for wisely voting against the bylaw amendment, while requesting more information about industrial impacts, and more, on our bay.

However, I can’t help but wonder what (Area D) bay director Lori Iannidinardo, in particular, was thinking when voting in favour of this information-poor amendment.

That vote came from a director who has done so much to bravely resurrect the bay’s ecology.

Shame on our board for a seemingly reckless, short-sighted decision that will impact Cowichan Bay and North Cowichan for generations.

Peter W. Rusland

North Cowichan

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

Just Posted

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

Victoria police are asking for help locating high-risk missing man Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria April 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Police searching for Derek Whittaker, last seen in Victoria

Whittaker believed to be driving 1994 red Volkswagen Golf

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

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

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Most Read