The residents of Quamichan Lake plan to be more vocal and proactive with the concerns of their neighbourhood.
More than 100 people attended the Quamichan Lake Neighbourhood Association’s AGM on March 1 and association president Marilyn Palmer said the increasing density of the mainly rural community was a major concern raised.
She said the association was formed just over a year ago largely as a means to express the neighbourhood’s concerns with the number and density of housing projects that are being planned for the area.
Palmer said the association made presentations at all three public hearings last year that were held by the Municipality of North Cowichan in regards to the controversial housing proposal for Donnay Drive.
The developer plans to build 38 residential units on 27 lots on a 2.65-hectare site just north of Maple Bay Elementary School.
“There were many delegations at those public hearings who spoke against the development plans, but council voted for it anyway,” Palmer said.
“Council listens but they don’t act consistently with what they hear. They are morally obliged to listen to the citizens and act on their concerns when they represent the views of the majority. This is still a democracy after all.”
Palmer said another important issue that was discussed at the AGM was the health of Quamichan Lake.
There have been at least four dog deaths around Quamichan Lake since 2016, and all are suspected to be caused by ingesting toxic blue-green algae from the lake.
North Cowichan set up a task force, consisting of staff and council members, along with water specialists, to study and seek solutions to the ongoing health issues related to the algae.
The task force concluded the nutrients that are causing the algae outbreak in the lake are coming from a number of sources, including urban runoff, and runoff from nearby agricultural lands, construction areas and logging sites.
“The health of the lake is a great concern for us,” Palmer said.
“We look to our municipal leaders to help stop the flow of material entering the lake that ends up with dead dogs. But the municipality is loathe to admit that developments are releasing harmful phosphates that are entering the lake and we don’t think they are taking this seriously enough.”
Palmer said there is strength in numbers and the association has decided to begin collaborating with other neighbourhood associations in North Cowichan to present a united front to council when dealing with municipal issues.