Our streetscape project is on schedule and is close to completion. The changes for South Shore Road are becoming more evident daily. By the time the paving is complete, pedestrian crossings installed, and the road markings painted, we will not only have a new look, but safety will be much better for the increased traffic we are experiencing.
If nothing else, this project has certainly gotten people expressing their opinions. We had asked the public to comment on how this project was going to change and affect our downtown core, long before we were to proceed. Apathy must have prevented comments at that time as silence was the norm; only a few people took the time to come in and review the plans.
From the comments we are receiving, many of you are excited and positive about what you see taking shape in our community. However, we are also receiving some negativity from people who have a hard time with change — fair enough.
We realized that opinions would be mixed on this streetscape. We also knew that when the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure approved the paving of this stretch of road, it would be the opportune time to make changes.
We (council and I) attended different meetings to discuss our options and it was unanimous that we embrace changes. A decision was made to revitalize our main roadway and downtown. Unfortunately, there has been some inconveniences for motorists, residents, and store owners while the work is taking place and I would like to thank all of you for your patience and understanding. The final result will be worth the inconvenience.
There was unprecedented activity throughout town once summer arrived. The population increased, new businesses opened and renovations on existing buildings occurred. It has not been an easy process for our community to get away from relying solely on the forest industry. Our economic decline for the past ten or fifteen years has been difficult to reverse. It has become evident that changes had to be made.
New ideas have us optimistic that we are starting to see new opportunities for our town. Having a positive strong commitment to our community will see benefits for the future. A healthy, vibrant town is appealing to new home buyers and investors in our business community.
Summer Nights has been a great event for Saturday evenings during the summer months. These events provided opportunity for local entertainers to showcase their abilities to people of all ages. My wife and I have been able to attend a few of the shows and they provide a very relaxing, entertaining way to spend a Saturday evening. CICV Radio and all volunteers deserve recognition for providing many families and people a low cost, entertaining night.
Recently, 118 volunteers cleaned the Cowichan River. The Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society organizes this important event annually. Seventy- five of the volunteers cleaned the upper river on Saturday, Aug.25 and another 43 cleaned the lower river the following day. During this two day clean-up over 1.7 tons of garbage and 5,000 cans and bottles were recovered from the river floor.
I had the privilege to accompany two others in a drift boat all the way to Skutz Falls. Seeing how pristine our river is, provided me with a much stronger appreciation of what a jewel our heritage river is. Having witnessed the many different aspects of riparian habitat along our journey, I became aware of how vigilant we must all remain in getting the message out there to all users of our river to enjoy, but also protect.
The clean-up volunteers did an outstanding job. The efforts of the stewardship group who put in countless hours protecting our entire watershed should also be recognized. My compliments also go out to our two, tube-rental companies for their efforts to educate their customers.
Unfortunately, we have had to deal with a few bylaw violations recently. Please keep in mind that these are not personal decisions we make. Everyone has their own opinion on certain bylaws and whether or not they should be adhered to.
I have heard some uncomplimentary remarks made about our employees who enforce infractions as they happen. Our employees did not create these bylaws. These bylaws were created by council over many years.
Most of the time we are forced to act on a violation once a complaint is made. I find it unfair that violators take out their frustration on the messenger. All I ask is, if you have been requested to stop a violation, think about what you are doing and ask yourself if you would approve of others violating these laws as well. The town is just trying to serve our citizens as a whole, not individually. If enough people believe we have a weakness in a particular bylaw, chances are with proper cooperation we can address it and make appropriate changes.