Warren Goulding column: Murder and mayhem shadowed 2019 in Cowichan

The three homicides recorded were certainly an anomaly in what is generally a peaceful place to live

Sadly, 2019 will not go down as the greatest year in the history of the Cowichan Valley.

It was one of conflict, divided communities and extreme violence.

The three homicides recorded were certainly an anomaly in what is generally a peaceful place to live, but the spike in crimes of that nature serve to remind us that we’re no longer living in Mayberry, Barney.

Big city social problems and crime have arrived and the evidence is everywhere.

It’s futile to expect government at any level to effectively deal with these problems. Indeed, many of the symptoms that we see are a direct result of government policies and decisions that were made years ago and are continuing to cause hardship amongst society’s most vulnerable people.

That leaves it up to citizens at the grassroots level to step up and deal with the societal problems personally and directly. In Duncan, we see it every day as a small group of conscientious folks, originally inspired by business owner Will Arnold, have taken it upon themselves to clean up a troubled area around the Trans-Canada Highway. It’s risky work, frustratingly repetitious simply because the problem doesn’t go away and the volunteers return day after day to deal with the same issues, picking up discarded syringes, human waste and all manner of garbage.

Mostly, local government is absent, although there were some encouraging signs late in the year that North Cowichan was interested in dealing with a worsening social condition that threatened to turn beleaguered Lewis Street into something resembling the notorious Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.

Too much of the year and too much negative energy was devoted to the controversial Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit issue. The problem of noise that drew the ire of Sahtlam neighbours became almost a sidebar in the debate over whether the Circuit would be allowed to expand its operations.

In the great Canadian tradition of compromise, there existed a path to a reasonable agreement that would have gone a long way to mitigating the very real sound issues, satisfying First Nations concerns, protecting the precious environment while permitting a business to continue to operate legally and even expand if it chose to do so.

Unfortunately, leadership was lacking and as the rhetoric heated up, rational positions were nowhere to be found.

As the year drew to a close, it was becoming increasingly evident that North Cowichan council is contemplating action that will stymie investment in the Valley. It’s a concern for business and for folks who are hoping to secure or hang on to well-paying jobs.

Let’s hope we can do better in 2020 on several fronts.

Warren Goulding is the publisher of the Cowichan Valley Citizen

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

Just Posted

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

No one hurt in Maple Bay Road fire

Fire under investigation

North Cowichan to police popular trails to ensure physical distancing

“You can expect delays accessing Mount Tzouhalem, or even to be turned away.”

Duncan’s Pat Kay copes with Olympic roller-coaster

‘Confusing time’ as Canada pulls out due to COVID-19, followed by IOC postponement

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

Most Read