“Moving the Ball Forward” Director's Report
by Sierra Acton, Director Area B
It has been an exciting start to 2018. In our household, we like to use the expression “moving the ball forward.” This month it really feels like the Shawnigan community is doing just that. As your Director here are just a few of the initiatives and goals rolling out.
It is exciting to announce that the Shawnigan Lake School will be working with the CVRD, the community and myself to create a working plan for the milfoil issue as we position to protect our lake. I am thrilled that they have hired an environmental firm who will help create an expert plan. This plan will become part of the guiding steps on how we can work towards protecting one of our most valued assets – the lake itself. As an Electoral Area it is extremely hard to see funds allocated to a specific community initiative which do not have direct funding. Because of this I am grateful our good neighbours are working together with our community to help us conquer one of our goals!
Even non-hockey fans would have been converted if they attended the Roger’s Hometown hockey event featuring the Cowichan Valley the 3rd weekend of January. Outdoor road hockey, indoor shiny and a parade. The NHL players signing jerseys and a mini Zamboni on which to change tires drew crowds despite the weather. Whether a fan or not you had to love hockey that weekend.
As we grow and share our community with each other, it is important to bring the village businesses together to look at short and long-term goals for the village core and its community. At the beginning of January, the village business community came together to meet with a special guest – the Manager of Economic Cowichan. Some exciting ideas were tabled and as a result proposal are emerging as explore ways to encourage thoughtful investment into our community as we leverage our assets. Shawnigan is an amazing place and it shows in the community’s dedication to constant improve.
Also, this month the CVRD hosted Gil Panolosa, the founder and chair of the board of the internationally recognized non-profit organization 8 80 Cities, based in Canada ( HYPERLINK "http://www.gpanolosa.ca" www.gpanolosa.ca). He gave a compelling and motivating presentation on what makes a place great to live in. At it’s core, the most important elements are to live in a place that increases your quality of life, your health and includes everyone. Shawnigan is doing well in some areas but we can do better. An area we can improve is in our parks as they are viewed as outdoor community centres. These are places that we share and can have ‘symptoms’ of a good place:
provide weather protected areas for recreation or even just conversation, and
safe places that they encourage the congregation of young families.
He also points out that walking is the #1 activity in the world and therefore it is very important to have lots of walking paths, both for recreation or just getting around. He has many other inspiring ideas which can be found at worldurbanparks.org.
As many of you know illegal garbage dumping is a senseless act that affects us all. Work continues as I meet with the CVRD, Shawnigan Residence Association, Mainroads and the community to help target and alleviate the issue. We can expect a full community plan emerging in the spring. As details unfold, I will report back.
The Shawnigan Research Group (SRG) continues to carry out invaluable research and to monitor the Shawnigan watershed. At this time, it is critical that the monitor of the large number of soil dumping sites with Shawnigan Lake watershed remaining ongoing. The SRG continue to work hard with the Ministry of Environment on the closure plan for the contaminated soil dump and monitor the many other illegal soil dumping sites around Shawnigan. They continuously study, question ministerial actions, write letters, consult with experts and strategize. I am extremely grateful for their input, expertise and continued support to our community, all in the name of protecting our water. It is an onerous process, but the SRG are committed to getting the contaminated soil removed and continue monitoring and testing of the Lake. The SRG have also designed a water quality testing program for Shawnigan Lake that I have been tasked to find funding for.
As you can see, many ‘balls’ have been moved forward this past month. And, on that note I better sign off and get back to work!