More and more the Cowichan Lake area is working to make itself a destination attractive to tourists.
One of the area’s main assets is the spectacular scenery. It’s a place where the wilderness meets civilization and people can have the best of both.
But nothing spoils the view like aging, dilapidated cars slowly falling to pieces on the sides of the road.
People want to see the soaring evergreens, the crystal clear waters and the majestic elk, not somebody’s derelict 1982 truck covered in blackberry brambles.
It makes a place look unkempt and somewhat down-at-heel.
Youbou has a particular problem with this, according to area director Klaus Kuhn.
We’re not talking about people who’ve parked a working vehicle in front of their house with the aim of selling it privately.
That’s a totally different thing.
You’ve likely seen what we’re talking about driving the roads around the lake.
It’s basically illegal dumping, only somebody hasn’t even gone to the trouble to go out to the middle of the bush to discard their unwanted item.
For the record, we are not advocating that people drive out into the bush and abandon a vehicle there, instead. That’s an equally terrible idea, and our rural areas have enough trouble with that as it is.
But simply moving your vehicle onto blocks off your property onto the roadside isn’t the answer.
It’s one of those problems that’s falling between the cracks as it’s not a priority for the agency that could do something about it, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
If the vehicles were making themselves decrepit on a person’s front lawn, the Cowichan Valley Regional District bylaw enforcement officer would have the authority to do something. But because they are technically on the road, the CVRD’s hands are tied.
As long as the vehicles aren’t impeding traffic or posing a hazard, they’re not a priority for the aforementioned ministry that looks after the roadsides.
It reminds us uncomfortably of the problem of derelict boats up and down the coastline.
And in both cases, the boats and the cars, there is someone else that is ultimately responsible: the people to whom the vehicles belong.
Perhaps you thought you’d one day fix it up, but haven’t gotten around to it. It’s time to consider how many years it’s been.
So call one of the places that will haul away your car for free. The whole community will thank you.