Getting watershed savvy with the town’s elected officials

Notes from the Town of Lake Cowichan's Wednesday, August 31, regular meeting of council, re-scheduled from Tuesday, August 23.

  • Sep. 5, 2011 8:00 a.m.


It had been a while since the town’s elected officials have had a full table at a council meeting.

On Wednesday, August 31, the Town of Lake Cowichan held its regular meeting of council; rescheduled from Tuesday, August 23, during which time they were unable to make quorum.

Greeting the full table of elected officials was Cowichan Watershed Board member Rodger Hunter, who had a test for the everyone.

Filling three cups with three different types of water – expensive Fiji bottled water, Town of Lake Cowichan water, and City of Duncan water – he had everyone guess which cup was full of what, and which tasted best.

In the end, the town’s elected officials and staff deemed Duncan’s water the tastiest. This is the same conclusion Duncan’s elected officials came up with, during a similar test between Duncan water and Fiji bottled water

The fun test came as a means of drawing council’s attention to the importance of both water, and water conservation.

“If you don’t have an ample amount of water, forget about development,” Hunter said. “Water is the key resource.”

Luckily, he said, the town has made the right decision in its water metering project.

Water conservation at Cowichan Lake is important not only for Cowichan Lake area residents, but for stakeholders downstream, of which one group is the marine wildlife.

Catalyst is another major stakeholder, in addition to the communities downstream.

Water conservation is just one of seven primary targets the Cowichan Watershed Board is facing. The following are the remaining six targets:

• Reducing turbidity (sediment) in the watershed.

• The ability to eat shellfish out of Cowichan Bay; something that hasn’t been done since the 1970s.

• Maintain a density of juvenile steelhead.

• Maintaining riparian habitat.

• Public education.

• Maintaining a minimum flow of seven cubic meters per second at the mouth of the Cowichan River.

Town adopts bylaws

• The town’s elected officials agreed to expand the fire protection service area to include the Woodland Shores development.

• The Town of Lake Cowichan’s Five-Year Financial Plan Amendment Bylaw No. 903-2011 was adopted. As was the Town of Lake Cowichan’s Revitalization Tax Exemption Programme Bylaw No. 902-2011.

The financial plan bylaw is just that; a financial plan that covers the next five years.

It includes an increased residential tax increase from its current $1,304,872 to $1,412,000 by 2015.

The revitalization bylaw will serve to temporarily freeze property taxes, so as to kill the financial penalty connected to improving one’s property.

The hope is for the bylaw to result in revitalization of the town, with a focus on the downtown commercial area of town.