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Catalyst Crofton puts grant finding to good environmental use

Business Notes from around the Cowichan Valley
Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, visited Catalyst Crofton on June 3 to see $5.85 million of CleanBC funding at work. From left are the mill’s deputy general manager Krista Cuddy, executive assistant Courtney Malo, vice president of energy and business development Carlo Dal Mont, COO Stew Gibson, Doug Routley, mill vice president of corporate communications Graham Kissack, and Terry Lalari, the vice president of government relations. (Submitted photo)

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo–North Cowichan and Parliamentary Secretary for Forests, visited Paper Excellence’s Catalyst Crofton mill last week to see how the recently awarded $5.85 million of CleanBC funding will impact the operation.

The CleanBC Industry Fund is a provincial government program that invests a portion of government’s carbon tax revenues into businesses working on emission reduction projects.

Catalyst Crofton’s greenhouse-gas emission reduction project is a combination of a number of process improvements that will result in a significant reduction in total steam energy demand, resulting in decreased natural gas usage at the mill.

Crofton already has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 70 per cent since the Kyoto Accord in 1990.

This CleanBC project will further reduce the mill’s GHG emissions by another 17 per cent, or about 32,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year by reducing the operation of the mill’s natural gas power boiler.

This reduction is the equivalent of removing 7,000 cars from the road permanently.

“We’re very appreciative for the ongoing support that Doug has extended and that he could join us today and learn about the investment’s the B.C. government is helping us make at Catalyst Crofton,” said Graham Kissack, Paper Excellence’s vice president of environment, health and safety and corporate communications.

“These upgrades will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and those of B.C., while helping us remain more globally competitive as we continue to produce the renewable and sustainable forest products that our world needs.”


The popular Little Corner Sandwich Shop, the food truck that has been operating in the parking lot at 277 Government St. since February 2021, has closed its doors.

The owners, Chris Jameson and Clayton Frost, announced on the company’s Facebook page that they are reorganizing the Cobble Hill-based business, and there will no longer be a Duncan location. The trailer has since been removed.

“Our apologies for any inconvenience,” the Facebook page read.

“We’ve done a massive overhaul at our Cobble Hill location and will be freeing up our smaller trailer for events this summer. Hope to see you all in Cobble Hill very soon.”


The Fort, a retro video and board game café at 250 Jubilee St. in Duncan is up for sale.

Owner Emily Lavender said on the The Fort’s Facebook page that the business will be up for sale until June 30, and if there are no bites, it will close.

Lavender said when she first opened The Fort that she wanted to create a space where people could come together and have some good old fashioned fun doing the things that brought her joy growing up, which included playing board and video games and having snacks.

“I know there’s many people that love The Fort, so spread the word around,” the Facebook page said. “It’s an incredible opportunity for anyone that wants a fun and social business.”


An innovative program that allows Cowichan residents to transition temporarily between hospital and home has received a prestigious national award.

The Canadian College of Health Leaders recently announced that Island Health’s Short Term Enablement and Planning Suites (STEPS) program has been awarded the 3M Health Care Quality Team Award, which recognizes innovation, quality, patient and family engagement, and teamwork.

STEPS is a partnership between Duncan Community Health Services , Island Health long-term care, and The Meadows at Sunridge Place, a privately owned assisted living home located at 361 Bundock Ave.

The Meadows has set aside 10 assisted living suites, while Cowichan CHS provides staff, furnishings and equipment for patients who are ready to leave hospital, but may not be able to return home for a number of reasons.

“STEPS is a novel partnership that gives clients some time, space and support to be matched to the best location of care,” said Kristy Schafer-Blood, manager of Duncan Community Health Services.


The Cowichan Valley’s Country Grocer and 49th Parallel stores will be celebrating Island Good Days on June 24- 26.

Island Good was created and is managed by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance to help improve business prospects for goods production in the Vancouver Island and Gulf Island region.

Island Good Days works under the premise that greater awareness of these local products leads to more sales and more market share, which leads to increased production, investment and jobs.

Participating grocery stores will be featuring Island Good products and more during Island Good Days.

Watch for store advertising during the week preceding June 24-26.


More than $10,000 has been raised for hospice care in Cowichan by Enrico Winery and CHEK News’ The Upside.

On May 26, Upside viewers were encouraged to call in or make a donation online to be entered into a draw for a $500 gift coupon to Enrico Winery and a voucher for an evening cruise on the tall ship Providence.

Cowichan Hospice staff enthusiastically took over-the-phone donations and expressed their gratitude for the incredible impact those donations will make in the community.

“The pandemic has made grief so much more difficult for people, especially when loved ones could not be with someone until their final days or hours,” said Gretchen Hartley, executive director at Cowichan Hospice. “And then after a death, we could not gather with family and friends to grieve in the normal ways. No one needs to grieve alone. The generosity of Upside fans will help grieving family members get the support they need.”

Cowichan Hospice offers free confidential one-to-one and group grief support, as well as providing emotional support and information for those facing serious illness and the important people in their lives, both in the community and at Cowichan Hospice House.


The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce is advising that there’s only a few days left to get tickets to the chamber’s next speaker luncheon on June 16 with presenter Jason Yochim, the executive officer of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board.

Yochim will speak about the state of the housing market on Vancouver Island.

The luncheon, which will be catered by The Cook and Butcher by Cow Cafe, will be held at the Oceanfront Suites banquet room in Cowichan Bay, beginning at noon.

Tickets are $35 for members and $45 for non-members. For more information or to advise of dietary restrictions, contact