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Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society revisits 50-year vision

The Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society met for the first time in 2012.

The Cowichan Lake and River Stewardship Society met for the first time in 2012 during their annual monthly meeting at the Legion Hall on Jan. 12.

President Gerald Thom, secretary Judy Brayden, Pat Weaver, Jayne Ingram, David Kidd, Parker Jefferson, Brooke Hodson, Jean Atkinson, Lois Atchison, Dianna Gunderson and Paul Anderson were all present for the CLRSS meeting’s proceedings.

In his correspondence, Thom relayed a handful of news to the CLRSS including former board member Tyler Clarke’s resignation, that the CLRSS had received a $1450 grant from the Pacific Salmon Fund for signage around the lake and that the organization’s Chamber of Commerce membership needed to be renewed. Thom noted that $500 grants from each the Cowichan Valley Regional District Area I and F were also in the works.

Clarke sent a letter of his resignation into the CLRSS which Thom read aloud.

“I wish the society the best in their future endeavors,” wrote Clarke. Clarke, who was also the former editor of The Gazette, currently resides in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

Thom also discussed a bio-engineering workshop that he or another CLRSS board member will attend Feb. 25-26.

The two-day course involves a classroom session and a hands-on day of field work at Averill Creek, harvesting plant materials and restoring banks.

Thom was in attendance of a recent Cowichan Lake Watershed Board meeting and reported that CVRD Area I director Ian Morrison has now replaced Klaus Kuhn as the Board’s CVRD representative.

The main focus of the CLRSS meeting was revisiting their proposed 50-year vision plan.

As outlined in the agenda for the CLRSS meeting, the main theme for this vision is, “A family friendly, community-centered, diverse and sustainable economy that includes eco-tourism.”

Some of the goals this vision aims to accomplish are promoting a clean, safe, pure and publicly owned river that is a heritage river, promoting the protection of plentiful fish stocks, promoting a beautiful, protected environment with plenty of green spaces, and parks with public access to and from family-oriented beaches, and promoting a family friendly economy based in tourism and eco-tourism.

CLRSS board member Anderson brought up his concern on how tourism and especially those tourists who choose use the Cowichan River as tubing destination are effecting the ecosystem.

“It’s just something to think about with tourism. How does that part fit in?” he asked his fellow board members.

He thinks investigating responsible eco-tourism is the best route to travel down.

“Are they damaging the ecosystem of the river or enhancing it? I don’t see how tourists don’t leave a footprint. They’re going to leave something behind when they come,” he added.

The CLRSS brought up that looking into decibel regulation for loud boats might soon be a priority. This would involve the RCMP obtaining a decibel reader to test loud boat engines. Such equipment costs upwards of $2,000.

The CLRSS continued to commend Brian Houle for his work with the water levels.

“He did an outstanding job. It’s the best job that’s ever been done,” said Hodson.

Thom closed the meeting by remarking on the high number of salmon that have been present in the local water systems this year.

“A lot of Coho [salmon] came back,” said Thom.

The CLRSS will meet again on Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall.