And the Community Came Together as the People Stayed Apart
By Area B CVRD Director Sierra Acton
This is a challenging time globally as well as for our communities. In the midst of the escalating impacts of COVID-19 on our communities around the Valley we have all come together to help families, friends and neighbours. I am touched by the many acts of kindness and stories of community spirit being shared in South Cowichan.
In Shawnigan we have learned how to mobilize community quickly and efficiently even in the face of challenging new times like this. The Starfish Program and Nourish Cowichan have partnered with School District 79 to deliver food to families who depended on the lunch programs and food banks. This partnership is working to deliver much needed support with respect and dignity while keeping everyone safe through proper social distancing protocols. The Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA) and iloveshanwigan.com have come together quickly to help raise funds to support this effort. The fundraiser is centred around the Heart lawn sign which is available via contribution at www.thesra.ca/hearts. The only expense is the lawn sign itself, 100% of the proceeds will go to these local charities and the signs are being delivered and installed by community volunteers practicing social distancing. Don’t delay; this campaign will close shortly. Email email@example.com if you would like to volunteer installing signs (completely on your own).
By the time you read this, the fundraiser will be well under way. The lawn sign represents love to the whole community, gratitude to the frontline workers and hope to all for our future as a world and a community. The first weekend we exceeded our weekend goal of $5,000 and we are on our way to the total campaign goal of $20,000. But we still need your help! Please consider purchasing a sign for your lawn or a location that will be highly visible. Some people have chosen to donate theirs to local businesses or essential services stations. We realize these uncertain times are hard for everyone and thank you in advance for your generosity.
I would like to thank all the businesses and citizens who have made sacrifices to shut down and stay home to keep our community safe and healthy. Together we will get through this and come out of it stronger. I have 3 pieces of advice; go out in Nature everyday, try to do something kind everyday and connect with your friends and neighbours (virtually of course). I am here should you have any questions or concerns. Together we have proven our strength, compassion and community spirit. We are in This Together!
(250) 715-6763 call/text
The Time is NOW to ThinkShawnigan
by Sierra Acton Area B CVRD Director
On the evening of February 25th the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre was standing room only as the implementation of the ThinkShawnigan Village Plan was passed to community by Micheal Von Hausen Inc. A total of nine public and stakeholder engagement opportunities helped shape this plan over the past nine months. Residents, visitors, and businesses have been contributing ideas and suggestions from as early as Doug Griffiths’ presentation in April 2019. This collaboration continued through Canada Day, The Gathering and the Community Design Charrette from October 17th to 19th. Supplemental site and policy analysis brought further local details to the Think Shawnigan Plan. Over time the plan has evolved into six actions (Activity Nodes) and ten strategies. This Plan is about action and it starts now. From the October preliminary unveiling it was clear that the Four Corners design may be an exciting project to start with. To that end, we are having a workshop on Saturday March 28th at 9am. At our first Take Action Workshop we will work together to plan, delegate and strategize on how to implement the plan to improve Four Corners NOW.
Think Shawnigan Take Action Workshop
Where: Shawnigan Lake Community Centre
When: Saturday March 28th 9am-noon (snacks provided)
What: Bring your positive and can do attitude!
The Think Shawnigan Plan provides priority, choice, and necessary details for implementation now and in the future. It includes six Activity Nodes:
1. Village Core (Old Village)
2. Community and Cultural Centre
3. Viewpoint at Lakefront
4. Government Wharf Beach
5. Shawnigan Station and Lakefront (land north of existing Village area)
6. Masons Beach
1. Village Core streetscape improvements
2. Village and Community Centre improvements
3. Village connection to lakefront
4. Public waterfront and activities
5. Village mix of uses and innovative businesses
6. Design guide and building/site Improvements
7. Trails connections and completion
8. Housing infill
9. Shawnigan Station (land north of existing Village area)
This Plan links the six activity nodes by a comprehensive trail network to create a cohesive and concentrated Village area, while conserving the natural rural setting. The strategies provide necessary details for implementation and are based on community input. These strategies will enrich and improve the Shawnigan Lake community while retaining its unique character and qualities - keeping the essence of Shawnigan. In addition to this Plan, the separate Shawnigan Lake Village Design Guide gives detailed direction to future development and improvements in the Village Plan area.
See more at;
This is not a CVRD plan, this is a Community Plan and will require community groups, stakeholders and community volunteers to make it happen and come together. Love it, Share it, Protect it!
Road ends and Public Lake Access
by: Area B Director Sierra Acton
On November 28th I hosted a Director’s Meeting that highlighted the many jurisdictions surrounding road ends and lake access. It was well attended, with almost 100 people filling the meeting space. There were representatives from CVRD Parks, CVRD Bylaw Enforcement, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), RCMP and Conservation. Although MOTI clearly stated that road ends are public right of ways and the public has a right to use them, it appears that no one wants to take full responsibility for enforcing the rules that surround their use. The Ministry owns the road ends, but to date, has not taken action to address the blocking of road ends through fences, construction etc. However, going forward the MOTI has committed to helping the community with a few key offenders. The CVRD is limited to enforcing zoning; there is a W4 zone that allows for public use of a road end, but prohibits the construction of private docks. Conservation prohibits disruption of the riparian area and any removal of vegetation without proper permits. Finally, the RCMP is only a phone call away if a disagreement about the use of a road end requires police intervention.
Currently the CVRD does manage 3 Parks/Beaches, Memory Island and 4 Road ends:
In 2014 the CVRD was all set to manage two new road ends, but the CVRD and the Director at the time decided not to pursue them due to disagreements in the neighbourhoods in question. In any given neighbourhood there are always mixed feelings about making a road end into a public park. Increase use can create parking issues, litter and noise complaints to name a few of the challenges. The CVRD has a mandate for regional issues that benefit the community at large and in many cases, neighbourhoods want access, but not necessarily a CVRD ‘promoted’ public park. If you are passionate about increasing public access to the lake, I want to help make that vision a reality. Please step forward and let me know. This issue has been talked about for many years because it’s not an easy one to solve, but a determined community can accomplish a lot.
If you have a road end issue I would suggest the following:
There are over 70 public right of ways on Shawnigan Lake. However, not all road ends are accessible, since some may be too steep and some are better left as wildlife corridors. Road end maps are available online or at the Shawnigan Lake Museum for a small fee. There are many road ends that people currently enjoy, so be a great neighbour and share your favourite one in the community. My top 3 are Tranent/Kews Rd, Munsie Rd and Millicent Rd.
As always I’m available in person, by phone or email. LOVE IT, SHARE IT, PROTECT IT!
-Year in Review and what’s to come!
by Sierra Acton CVRD Area B Director
I am big on setting goals, but I also like to celebrate what has been accomplished before setting the intentions for the coming year. Here are some highlights from this year;
In 2020 we can expect;
On a personal note, I was just recently appointed Chair of Community Services at the CVRD and I am looking forward to the new opportunities and experiences that this position will bring.
I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday. As always, I am available. Let’s connect.
LOVE IT, SHARE IT, PROTECT IT!
November Director’s Report
by Sierra Acton Area B CVRD Director
It’s been a busy fall filled will meetings as budget season is underway at the Cowichan Valley Regional District. It is always a fine balance between taxes, keeping things running and executing our goals. Luckily the federal government has a grant funding program to help rural communities with infrastructure improvements. Locally we will have some upgrades through Gas Tax Funding at the Community Centre, Parks and Trails and Kerry Park Recreation planned for 2020. If you have a CVRD water system you too may be a benefactor to some upgrades through gas tax funding, details will be in the final 2020 budget.
Locally we just came out of the ThinkShawnigan Design Intensive. It was well received and has given us many projects that we can plan for. The final package will be available in January. Out of the process also came items that can be implemented in the next year. I will be presenting the NOW Plan at the Shawnigan Residents Association AGM November 21st 7pm at Shawnigan Lake School. This is where the little things add up to big impact, hope you will join the momentum.
The CVRD Board agreed to fund up to 4 roundtable discussions on milfoil. All agencies, ministries and jurisdictions will come together to help clarify a path forward for the community. Many groups and residents have been striving to mitigate this issue. As we have learned the lake itself is something we can all rally around. Insuring we are all on the same page will help us actualize our goals.
I often hear the community say they want more lake access and they also ask about the rules around road ends. The CVRD manages 3 beaches, 1 Island and 4 road ends. The CVRD has permits/approvals from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for lake access public improvements within the following undeveloped Ministry road rights of way fronting Shawnigan Lake:
·May Avenue (public trail access)
·Worthington Road (associated with CVRD’s waterfront park property at this location)
·Recreation Road (public boat launch)
·Bell-Irving Road (beach access launch for kayaks, canoes, cartop small boats)
November 28th at 7pm at the SLCC I will be bringing together all the agencies that have jurisdiction to present their roles and regulations around road ends and lake access. Hope you can make it.
As a community we are outraged about the ongoing saga of the contaminated soil dump (CHH), but not shocked by the continuing ridiculousness of the situation. Local government (CVRD) has exhausted its options to deal with this site. The Provincial Government has jurisdiction and they are refusing to act. In the history of remediation in BC, no site has ever been cleaned up unless it was being developed. In the New Year I will be bringing together a Think Tank of high level professionals to come up with a solution. If you believe you are part of that solution, please let me know, we need all “brains” on deck!
I look forward to connecting;
(250) 715-6763 call/text
If we can ThinkShawnigan, we can create it - by Sierra Acton Area B CVRD Director
No doubt Shawnigan Lake Village is the heart of our community. We all want to be proud of the place where we live, work and play. How do we insure we grow with connectivity and thoughtfulness? How do we keep our identity and at the same time meet the needs of our growing community? Our village has 13 acres of empty private land and many parks and public spaces. We have a special opportunity now to guide our village as it grows instead of trying to repair unsuccessful developments in the future.
From October 17th to October 19th the Shawnigan Lake Community will be involved in an Intensive Design and Planning process that will help shape the future look and feel of the Shawnigan Village. During this process we will look at the heart of the Village and the surrounding area. This intensive process will develop detailed three-dimensional drawings that will be grant and project ready. We have been gathering the communities’ input at events since this Spring and most recently at the ThinkShawnigan Gathering. So far, the common themes are: walking improvements, park enhancements, retail ideas/spaces and housing.
Mark your calendars to participate:
• October 17th Ideas Fair (Hear and add to what the designers have heard so far) 7-8:30pm
• October 18th Studio Drop-in (Watch the designers at work, See the ideas taking shape) 4-6pm
• October 19th Presentation of draft design concepts for the future Shawnigan Village 4:30-6:30pm
• All events are FREE and will be held at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre! All welcome!!
After the intensive design process, the consultants will polish the results and share the final designs. This is anticipated for December 2019. Sign up to be kept informed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please get involved. Provide your input. Be part of the future of Shawnigan. More details:
PlaceSpeak - https://tinyurl.com/y6fuwy6b
Facebook Think Shawnigan Movement
Director Area B
COWICHAN VALLEY REGIONAL DISTRICT
175 Ingram Street
Duncan, BC, V9L 1N8
(250) 715-6763 cell/text
Think Shawnigan Gathering comes together to celebrate COMMUNITY!
“Love it! Share it! Protect it!”
In Shawnigan Lake we are very conscience of the future we want to create. We don’t believe in just “letting things happen,” we create our opportunities and reach for our goals. From October 17th to October 19th the Shawnigan Lake Community will be involved in an Intensive Design and Planning process for the future look and feel of the Shawnigan Village. During this process we will look at the area from Government Wharf Park to Mason’s Beach and from Bellendean Road in the west, along Renfrew and Hipwood Road and Wallbank Road to the east and Thrush Road to the south. This area was chosen because the community has expressed a desire to see our village developed thoughtfully and with the community’s needs in mind. This intensive process will also develop detailed three dimensional drawings that will be grant and project ready. It is expected that some of the challenges tackled will be: mobility improvements, level of desired development, amount of future retail space, amount of future commercial space, and a more detailed assessment of housing needs. These design guidelines will aid future development decision making and provide clear design directions for the streets, public areas, and other improvements. More event details: http://www.iloveshawnigan.com/events.html
In September the past, present and future come together to celebrate. The Think Shawnigan Gathering is all things Shawnigan under one roof at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre. You can sample and experience all the Community has to offer from its businesses, groups, performers, artisans, services and associations. We will also be celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Community Centre itself and commemorating the anniversary by unveiling a brand-new Bouldering Wall! This is your chance to be one the first to try it out! Free admission to the community and did I mention, free birthday cake!!! The Gathering will also be an opportunity to introduce and highlight many of the assets of our amazing community to the Design Team of the Think Shawnigan Intensive; throughout the day artists will be sketching community ideas. Come share your ideas and celebrate all that is Shawnigan.
Think Shawnigan Gathering
When: September 21st
Where: The Shawnigan Lake Community Centre
email@example.com to reserve a table or offer entertainment
I look forward to connecting;
(250) 715-6763 call/text
Director’s Report-by Area Director Sierra Acton
We all love our Playgrounds and Galland Park is no exception. Recently the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) received a playground assessment report declaring the Galland Park Play structure was unsafe and removal was imminent. The kids in our community are our most precious resource, I applauded the CVRD for recognizing that limiting the risk is important. Sadly this play-structure is being replaced but the design and implementation is not decided yet so there will be a delay before the new playground is installed. It is unfortunate that the community, the Parks Commission and myself were not able to have this conversation earlier. In hindsight it would have been best to be planning for a new structure well in advance. Playground replacements are a conversation for the whole community to take part in, funding comes from our annual tax requisition from property taxes. This year the Park’s Commission (a community volunteer group who make recommendations in regards to Parks) was working towards replacing Old Mill’s playground and was just starting to discuss the Galland playground that replacement was coming up for next year. Now with removal on the horizon priorities need to be reviewed and gears shifted. It is not ideal that the Playground will be removed before summer. The positive is we now have an opportunity to look at the surrounding playgrounds as well so they can complement each other and we have a diverse range in the community. On June 24th at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre from 6pm-8pm there will be opportunity to give your input on future playground design and planning for 4 Village Core Parks. From there ideas will be suggested and community input will be further requested on Placespeak. Also feel free to email me and I will forward to the right person at the CVRD.
We as a community can be so kind, inclusive and generous. These are the predominant characteristics in our community. There are times we fall short, especially on social media. As a community we have a presense online but don’t forget your neighbours have feelings and see what is written. I am thrilled to meet people who have been here for decades and some only a year. We have grown 6% since 2011, considering how beautiful it is and the Malahat has been rebuilt it may pick up. People who are a part of our community may “demand more” and ask the questions that might need to be explored. Should we be incorporated, should we have control of our roads and should we have more say at the local level? These are simply questions. The issue comes in when people are dismissing these questions with rude remarks such as “move back to the city” etc. We are all part of this community wether we pay taxes or not , wether we want sidewalks or not and wether we want to grow thoughtfully or just let it happen. This is not a lecture just a reminder that all are welcome to be part of this community and certainly all are entitled to their opinion. My hope is we continue these tough discussions in a respectful and inclusive way.
The Shawnigan Research Group (SRG) and the Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA) continue to push for removal of the contaminated soil dump on lot 23. Recently in the Legislature during Question Period Sonia Furstenau lined up 3 questions over 3 days to address removal to the Minister of Mines and Natural Resources, the Minister of Environment and the Premier. Many community members were in attendance, thank you for your perseverance and commitment to community and for the removal of the contaminants. The decision to bury the 100k tones of contaminated dirt is before Minister Heyman and a decision is expected by summer. If any of the letter writers in the community wish to help put pressure on the decision please do, (insert email).
Our community gets noticebly bussier in the summer, watch for bikes, kids and more traffic in general. Hope you all have a fun filled safe summer!!!
Community Playground Discussions Openhouse June 24th 6pm-8pm @SLCC
I look forward to connecting;
(250) 715-6763 call/text
Shawnigan Area Director’s Update
The Community was well represented at the CVRD board meeting on Wednesday April 24th; everyone from frontline protestors, to letter writers, to soil dump site monitors, to documentary photographers and other active community members filled the gallery in support of the long awaited Soil Relocation Bylaw. Many of you have probably noticed the endless stream of dump trucks headed up the Malahat everyday and wondered where all that dirt was going. Well, with this new bylaw, the CVRD will now know where the soil is coming from and where it’s going. Hopefully this much needed regulation will help reduce turbidity (from erosion) in our lakes and streams, protect the beauty of our natural landscapes and reduce the volume of heavy trucks on our roads.
The Community came together to celebrate “what NOT to do” with guest speaker Doug Griffith, author of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community. The satirical presentation was well received. It was upbeat, inspiring and the perfect start to many more conversations on the future of our village and where we see it going. It you want to join the conversation, please reach out so I can connect you with the ThinkShawnigan movement.
We are blessed to live in a beautifully forested area, but with our forests comes the unfortunate risk of wildfire. The best protection against loss, damage or injury due to wildfire is prevention. As we head into another long hot summer, I am pleased to host the Shawnigan Lake Fire Department at my next community meeting. They will present valuable information on how you can help to protect your family, property and neighbours from the risk of fire. Mark your calendar and see you at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre on Tuesday June 11th at 7pm.
Recently I attended a crucial meeting with our team, the Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA), the SRA’s legal counsel and our MLA, at which the Ministry of Environment (MoE) staff made it clear that the Contaminated Soil Dump is a landfill and, as such, it requires a closure plan. The MoE is preparing to present a closure plan created by Sperling Hansen Associates (SHA) to the Minister of the Environment, the Hon. George Heyman. The plan entails trucking another 70k tons of soil up the Malahat to bury the 100k tons that was already dumped. This despite the fact that Justice Sewell’s ruling called into question the legitimacy of the entire permitting process. This despite evidence that the site is already leaking. This despite the fact that there is already a huge amount of fill sitting on the adjacent lot that was supposedly intended for this very purpose. When it comes to the contaminate soil dump, it appears the bureaucracy at the Ministry of Environment (MoE) is not interested in making a decision based on facts and logic. At the moment they are simply presenting the Minister a closure plan for approval and he will have to decide if the plan is “reasonable and necessary to protect the environment.” Removal of the soil is not even on the table!! It is clear now that this decision will ultimately be a political one; no amount of facts will change the outcome. Our pleas go out to our friends in the BC NDP and the BC Greens to once again stand up for Shawnigan Lake.
In Community, Sierra Acton
Monday May 6th 7pm Director’s Meeting at The Hub Cowichan Station
Tuesday June 11th 7pm Director’s Meeting at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre
New Experiences, Renewed Appreciation and Fresh Starts
by Area B Director Sierra Acton
As most of you know, around mid March, Nick Colin’s memorial bus stop was hit by a car and demolished. Luckily no one was hurt. The CVRD does not have jurisdiction over Nick’s stop because it is Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure land and BC Transit is responsible for bus stops in unincorporated areas. However this community never ceases to amaze me; people rallied together swiftly, organized and before you knew it, the memorial had been replaced. Reading all the comments on Facebook has been so heart warming. I hope that this memorial is not lost on the drivers in this community and acts as a reminder to all of us to slow down.
By the time you read this, it is likely that ThinkShawnigan’s event with guest speaker Doug Griffith will have taken place. His book and presentation 13 ways to Kill Your Community was a great kick off to our Village Planning slated for this Spring. A Design Charrette will address the kind of village we want to create in both the near and distant future. The plan will help visualize our goals and specifically lay out the where, what and how, thereby bringing the private and public sectors together. This will ideally facilitate the services, development and lifestyle we want in the village area. The Charrette becomes a guide to get the infrastructure grants, housing development and businesses we want for our village core.
Removal of the contaminated soil dump continues to be a top priority, as this is the biggest threat to our watershed and future of our community. The upcoming meetings with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) may be the most important meetings to date; after these meetings the Minister of Environment will be making his decision. Currently I’m working closely with the Shawnigan Residents Association (SRA) and the Shawnigan Research Group (SRG) as we prepare to meet with the MoE. Please consider contributing to the SRA legal fund, so we can have legal attend these meetings.