(A letter to CVRD directors)
I am in full support of the re-zoning application at Western Stevedoring, Cowichan Bay.
I have been working for Western Stevedoring in Cowichan Bay for 10 years. I have lived in Chemainus for 40+ years. My husband of 30 years has worked in the forest industry in Chemainus for 30+ years and I have worked in the Chemainus/Cowichan Valley for 35 years. We have two grown boys, one of whom is an ILWU 508 longshoreman.
When I am not at my full time job in Cowichan Bay as an Administrative/Operations Assistant, I volunteer as a Cowichan Search and Rescue member. I have been a ground searcher and a member of the swift water specialty team (operations) for 5 years. In 2016, I responded to 16 call outs and spend 276 volunteer hours on tasks and training. We are on call 24/7/365 and could be deployed anywhere between Victoria and the Comox Valley, if mutual aid is needed. My son, who is a 508 member, is also part of Search and Rescue in Port Alberni.
I am always mindful of the environment whether I am at home, work or out searching in the thick forest. Our saying when we are out searching is ‘Leave it cleaner than it was when we got here’. At work, I respect the environment and beauty of the estuary. I walk our road at lunchtime quite often. A couple times a year, I take a garbage bag with me and spend a couple of hours picking up what others have left behind (food wrappers, used needles, pop bottles, etc.). The larger items that show up mysteriously (washers, dryers, freezers full of rotten food, wood boats, paint cans, car oil containers), our Terminal Manager picks up with his truck and disposes of properly at Bings Creek.
Western Stevedoring and Pacific Industrial and Marine are important stewards of the Cowichan Bay estuary. Some benefits are listed below:
-Worked with CERCA and helped with funds for the breach. (Pacific Industrial & Marine built the structure!)
-Had piles of branches, etc. from the trail chipped and trucked out
-Regular cleanup along the roadway/shoreline
-Place rip rap along the road where the river has started eroding the roadway
-Saved a dog who started swimming and wouldn’t stop
-Spent many hours one day assisting DFO with deceased whale
-Numerous (20 since 1990) vessels saved from sinking in the bay, most with fuel onboard
-Refurbished the old rail bridge for the safety of pedestrians
￼Industry and the environment have co-existed in the Cowichan Bay estuary for many years. I feel Western Stevedoring and Pacific Industrial and Marine are dedicated to continuing this partnership with the community stakeholders going forward. We are all committed to doing everything we can to preserve the estuary, along with saving the many jobs that are currently at risk.