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.
By Area B Director Sierra Acton
Our village is the heart of our community. From the many conversations that have been had with businesses, community groups and locals from seniors to youth, one thing is clear; we all want a vibrant, healthy, thriving village. Therefore, with the help of the CVRD and Economic Development Cowichan (and no impact to taxes), the community will be undertaking a design charrette to help guide the future development of the village. The consensus is we want convenience, connectivity, lake access and views and also a strong sense of place. A design charrette creates the blue print that visualizes all these goals and specifically lays out the where, what and how thereby bringing the private and public sectors together. This ensures we get the services, development and recreation we want in our village. It becomes a document that can be used to help get us infrastructure grants, seniors housing, and attract new businesses.
More businesses mean a larger commercial tax base which will help alleviate some of our tax burden since we are so heavily residential in Area B. Attracting new businesses, employment and affordable housing to Shawnigan aligns with our community’s long-term vision of a place where we can live, work and play. The charrette makes it visual and will be owned by the community to help shape the future we want to see. Stay tuned! Everyone is invited to participate.
I’m excited to report that Phase 1 of the Shawnigan Village Rail Trail project is underway and should be complete in about two weeks time. Phase 1 will connect the Community Centre to Government Wharf Park. This initial 300-metre section is the first piece of a project that will provide significant benefit to the greater community of Shawnigan Lake by getting people off the roads and enhancing access to the lake and village.
The Rail Trail project has been in the works since it was first identified in our Community Parks Master Plan back in 2010 and many residents provided feedback and input during the CVRD’s public engagement activities in 2018. If fully built out, the project will create almost 2 kilometres of accessible public trail between Mason’s Beach and Old Mill Park. Eventually it is possible that the trail will even connect to Cobble Hill, the Kinsol Trestle and the Trans Canada Trail.
I look forward to seeing many of you on the trail when it opens later this month!
The community spoke and I listened. Almost everyone I talk to wants to see more for their tax dollars and more funds returning back to the community at a local level. Therefore, in recent planning of the 2019 budget, the Board decided to move the funding from the Shawnigan Basin Society to the Area B grant in Aid to ensure maximum support for local watershed initiatives. I care deeply about the health and viability of our watershed and I believe that these changes will enable us to directly fund watershed initiatives and community groups working on water projects without wasting local tax dollars on overhead and salaries that potentially duplicate the new Regional Watershed function.
Happy to connect Sierra.Acton@cvrd.bc.ca
Important Invite: Emergency Preparedness Presentation by CVRD Safety Division
at next Director’s Meeting Mon. March 4th at 7pm at the Shawnigan Lake Community Centre.
Area B Director’s Update- by Sierra Acton
One upside to the fight against the contaminated soil dump was the many new friendships that were created standing on that hill. We were brought together by our love for community, our belief in what was right and our passion to protect this valley for future generations. Those shared values galvanized many new friendships. One of those new friends was Heidi Goddard and she is now my Alternate Director. Heidi and her daughter where literally the ‘poster child’ for the Save Shawnigan Water Campaign: the photo of her standing in front of a truck, in the dark, with a baby strapped to her chest. She is dedicated to her community like so many others that braved those cold, dark mornings. I’m thrilled that Heidi will be filling in for me, when I can’t attend. Heidi is also the Vice Chair of the Shawnigan Lake Community Center Commission. Heidi is not the only one starting a new role; I was elected to Vice Chair of the CVRD Board on the night of the Board inauguration, which is a new role for me as well. I am excited for the challenge of this new position and the associated opportunity to grow and learn. I will be working with my friend and mentor, Ian Morrison, who is the CVRD Board Chair.
Budget season is coming up at the CVRD. This means the Board will be reviewing all of the tax allocations for the various Areas. Certainly with the new Housing and Water functions, I will not be advocating to increase taxes on extra expenditures if they are not a priority. If anyone has input on this topic or anything else CVRD related, please contact me.
This week the courts decided in favour of the CVRD on a crucial zoning issue. Specifically, that a sawmill is not a home based business and that the commercial use of a sawmill is not permitted in an area that is zoned residential. The decision affirms the Regional District’s zoning authority and validates that the CVRD’s decision to pursue bylaw enforcement action in this case was supported by law. Any further commercial activity at the site in question will be in violation of a court order. Unfortunately, going to court is expensive and it ends up costing tax payers a significant amount of money. (Bylaw is very challenging for electoral areas as we don’t have as many enforcement and regulations ‘tools’ as municipalities.)
A message from our Local MOTI Rep on Preparing your home and property for winter, rain and snow storms;
We advises that home owners check culverts, gutters, downspouts and perimeter drains around their house to ensure everything is working properly, and free from debris.
Mainroad Contracting will make every effort to keep roadside catch basins, culverts, and ditches clear.
Residents are requested to help by not depositing debris, leaves or garden trimmings in drainage ditches, and by preventing debris from accumulating against ditches.
Homeowner Drainage Checklist
Join my monthly email list for updates and community information by forwarding your email address. Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Sierra Acton-Director Area B
Thank You Shawnigan! I look forward to serving you for the next 4 Years.
By Sierra Acton, Area B Director
Thank you area B for your vote of confidence. You spoke loud and clear; I am honoured. I am also excited to have a full 4 year term to work towards our goals. This October, I enjoyed talking with community about our future. We all share a similar vision and the top priorities are;
As I went door to door this fall, a repeated concern was the lack of services compared to our tax dollars. In Area B, the Cowichan Valley Regional Districts also acts as our local government since we are not incorporated. The District may not be perfect, but I will be using my experience with the board to help influence better land use decisions, bylaw enforcement and more fiscal responsibility. At the CVRD, Shawnigan Lake has one seat at a table of 15. The system was designed for rural areas and so our needs are not met by this system. For example, we can not control the speeds on our roads, in our neighbourhoods, or even create proper drainage at the lowest parts of the village. The Regional District is limited to what and how it can perform services. However, Incorporated areas have full control of their services and tax dollars. Did you know Ladysmith residents pay the same in taxes as we do? They are the same population and have control of their roads, policing, water, and sewer. Budget season will be starting, I look forward to many more view points on how we should be supported by local government.
Please join me at my next Director’s Meeting on December 3rd to discuss our taxes and anything else you would like to discuss about the role of the Regional District. Most importantly; being Area Director is a huge role and there are many opportunities for community members to help out. Should you wish to explore ways to get involved, big or small... let’s connect. Love it! Share it! Protect It!
Director Area B
Thank you for the opportunity to answer some questions before the election.
Love it! Share it! Protect it!
It has been an honour to represent the community of Shawnigan Lake for the last year. As your Area Director I have learned a lot. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Shawnigan Lake again, if re-elected on October 20th. A successful Director strives to build community, create consensus and hear both sides of the story. It is a great role and am a creative entrepreneurial thinker with a “can do” attitude.
Our community misses out on many opportunities due to the fact that the 100k tones of contaminated fill still sits at the top of our watershed; it has to be removed. I have built an excellent working relationship with the Ministry of Environment Staff, our Shawnigan Research Group and our MLA (and mentor.) This ongoing issue is a priority for me. I am also concerned with supporting the preservation of our natural areas while thoughtfully developing our village, so the community can live and work locally.
Not only have I learned a lot about myself and the community, I have also learned that nothing gets done without funding. In order to have funding come back to our community, CVRD Board approval is required. Around the board table I have been your voice. I have demonstrated and earned the respect of the board which has resulted in bringing home funding to our community. Despite the challenges associated with non-regional functions, we were able to have an illegal garbage dumping campaign, $175k of regional support for our community centre and $10K of lab fees for our Shawnigan Research Team of Professionals to conduct water quality and sediment monitoring for contaminants in Shawnigan Creek and Lake. In addition, through ongoing work with Economic Development Cowichan we will receive support and funding for signage to support our village and local businesses in 2018/19. I have also just initiated a new policy framework for amenity contributions, to remove the subjectivity and improve the outcome for the community during a re-zoning (more to come on that.) I am also awaiting a review of extending the time between committee meetings and final decisions at the Board in consideration of a longer public input time period to help improve transparency.
Like you, I have just one vote for the referendum questions. Water and housing are extremely important for our area and the region. I know the people of Shawnigan care about each other, our local environment and the ability to have safe affordable housing for children, youth, families and seniors. Currently it is very difficult for youth and aging seniors to stay in Shawnigan Lake if they want smaller more affordable housing. With this in mind, I have also started a conversation on our zoning and bylaws in support of the housing crisis. I look forward to additional conversations on how Electoral Areas can play a role in creating the housing stock we need in our community by reviewing and modernizing some of our bylaws and zoning. If elected, I would like to start the modernization of our bylaws so that they reflect the way we want to live now versus 20 years ago
I have built significant momentum on a number of key issues and I hope I will be given the opportunity to continue with these initiatives and more over the next four years.
On October 20th, Vote for SIERRA ACTON.
Please get informed on the referendum questions; www.cvrd.bc.ca/drinkingwater & www.cvrd.bc.ca/housing
Nothing is more important than our health and access to excellent health care facilities is a very important part of that. In October 2016, the Cowichan Valley regional Hospital District finalized the purchase of three properties on Bell McKinnen Rd. Just recently the Concept Plan was approved by the Hospital Board for our new hospital, which is scheduled to open in the Fall of 2024. The next phase is to prepare a detailed business plan; this being the most important part of the planning process. It will engage stakeholders at all levels including planners, architects, engineers and other experts who will complete the detailed plans for the hospital. Business planning will also include a review of the location choice as well as a final decision regarding the selection and recommendations for placement of the hospital within the selected site. Without a doubt, improvements to our health care and support services are needed in the valley. I feel very blessed for our community that it’s on the way.
The Community and Shawnigan Lake School have a long history of collaborating and sharing this community and it’s LAKE. They stood with community and aided our battle to stop the contaminated soil dump and, most recently, provided a professional plan to help manage the milfoil as a community. I met the new Head Master, Larry Lamont, at the end of August. He has a great sense of humour and complements former Headmaster Robertson’s philosophies, especially his appreciation for working with the community. Headmaster Lamont is open to even more outreach and sharing of resources in the community, which is an exciting opportunity for all of us. I look forward to our next meeting, once he is more settled in the role. Unfortunately there has been some recent confusion about the School, Rowing Canada and their RFP for a new National Training Centre. The school has no intention of suggesting that they (or anyone else) have priority over any other lake users, they simply hope to continue to enjoy the lake in a respectful and courteous manner as we all have for decades. However, if Rowing Canada continues to train here, it would now be official as part of three facilities that Team Canada calls home. Personally I love seeing people enjoy the outdoors and the lake all year round and I wish Shawnigan Lake School much success in sharing their rowing facility and our community.
I will be voting Yes on election day, October 20th, on the referendum questions presented on the voting ballot. One, an asset important to all of us, is clean water. The other is Affordable housing, which is another necessity and can potentially affect us all. Please learn more about the referendum questions at www.cvrd.bc.ca/drinkingwater & www.cvrd.bc.ca/housing
Another initiative that is underway is the updating of the Solid Waste Management Plan, which is a regional project that is looking at future Municipal Solid Waste requirements based on regulatory requirements, best management practices and local needs. This project includes an interactive planning process with a Public Advisory Committee, a Board Oversight Committee and a technical committee. The CVRD team is in the process of engaging with the public to receive your feedback, which will continue until Sept 15th. There are three Open Houses scheduled to gather feedback from the public, the closest being at Cobble Hill on Sept 11th. Your input would be greatly appreciated.
Enjoy your fall everyone! Please connect and share your views on many important issues like the referendum questions and the Solid Waste Management Plan.
Director Area B
Shawnigan is even more amazing when the sun shines; so many people are out walking, riding bikes, enjoying the lake or our many parks. In June the population starts climbing as snowbirds return and summer vacationers are welcomed back. Sometimes change and reintroduction can be a challenge. We all love this place and we all feel more connected to place and each other when we share it and help each other out.
The Milfoil plan, sponsored by Shawnigan Lake School to help us deal with the invasive Milfoil weed, is now on the CVRD's Website ( https://www.cvrd.bc.ca/DocumentCenter/View/89788/Shawnigan-Milfoil-Report_Final ) THANK YOU Shawnigan Lake School for your partnership. The Cowichan Valley Regional District has added the Shawnigan Milfoil issue to their Invasive Species Plan for 2019. This year the SLS plan points out simple suggestions and best practices. It is believed that this weed has been here for nearly 5 decades, unmanaged, so this year the plan suggests that we monitor the lakefront and see how the milfoil behaves.
The BC Summer Games are coming to the Valley from July 19th to the 22nd. Be sure to catch one of the sports being hosted in Area B and support youth sport in BC: Watersports will be hosted at the Victoria Aqua Ski Club (VASC), Rugby will hosted at Shawnigan Lake School and Lacrosse will be hosted at Kerry Park Arena. There will be many other sports through out the area though, so check out the schedule of events at https://www.bcgames.org/Games/BCSummerGames/AbouttheGames.aspx
The CVRD is working on a petition process for a number of properties who have no fire protection. The area not covered is around Goldstream and Stebbings Rd. Unfortunately, if you live in that area, you are likely not protected (even if you applied for coverage.) To be certain, contact Jason de Jong at (250) 746-2564 or JdeJong@cvrd.bc.ca. The petition will require more than 50% of the properties to register for service or that area will still not be covered. If anyone would like to get more information please contact Jason or look up your address at GISPORTAL. Properties in the protection area can expect a letter in the mail by the fall.
A fond farewell to Sarah and Angus Mackay who have been working hard for our community since they got here in Shawnigan Lake only two years ago. Their contributions will forever be remembered in our Timber framed Pavilion. Thank you Sarah and Angus for all you’ve done and good luck on your next adventure.
I wish returning and full time community members a fun, safe and healthy summer. As always, I look forward to connecting! If there is something you would like to discuss, please call/text 250-715-6763 or email Sacton@cvrd.bc.ca