Lack of communication mars Catalyst open house

Close to 100 Cowichan Lake area residents turned out at Centennial Hall Thursday, Nov. 5

An open house in Lake Cowichan Nov. 5 offers a chance to talk about the Cowichan River with Cowichan Tribes Chief Chip Seymour

They came, they had a coffee and went home.

Close to 100 Cowichan Lake area residents turned out at Centennial Hall Thursday, Nov. 5 hoping to learn more about Catalyst’s plans for pumping water from the lake during the next couple of years.

The pulp and paper company has sent in a Notice of Application to the provincial government for short term water use under the Water Act (Section 8).

Catalyst had announced it was holding an “open house” and organizers had prepared for it by setting out a few round tables and chairs and putting up a series of information boards around the big hall.

The crowd was clearly expecting for an informative question and answer session as entrants to the hall looked wonderingly around at the lack of chairs and the overall set-up. However, people continued to arrive and by                                     6:20 p.m. there were about 100 people there, drinking coffee, talking to their friends — often about a stormy meeting held the night before at the nearby arena or about Catalyst’s Lake Cowichan weir in general or historic terms — and waiting for something to happen.

When nothing organized seemed to follow, they began to drift away, at first individually or in pairs and then in groups.

Catalyst officials said privately Nov. 4 that they would try to find another way to get their message out.

But, despite Thursday’s communication setback, the Catalyst application is still pending and anyone with concerns can provide feedback by sending an email to or in writing to Catalyst Paper, Box 70, Crofton, B.C., V0R 1R0.

Objections to this application may be filed with the Regional Water Manager, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, 2080 Labieux Rd, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6J9.

The deadline for feedback is Nov. 29, 2015.

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