A Wood First policy should be self explanatory

Editor: I am beginning to understand why people are frustrated with politicians. On May 11th, the CVRD, or more specifically the CVRHD. [Cowichan Valley Regional Hospital District] and VIHA. [Vancouver Island Health Authority] compounded that perception.

The CVRHD agreed to partly fund renovations at the resurrected Cowichan Lodge.

Part of the renovation is removing the cedar siding and replacing it with a type of cement board called Hardi-Plank.

I understand VIHA’s reasons are mainly related to cost and maintenance.

Why don’t local politicians and VIHA management reconsider the decision to use cement board and finish the rest of the project with locally produced cedar?

Everyone seems to intuitively know to buy local when it comes to food products.

Transportation costs, freshness, carbon footprint, and supporting our farmers, are just a few of the reasons why we buy local.

Yes, the Vancouver Island Christmas tree may cost $25 compared to the $15 tree imported from Oregon.

You may ask “what’s the difference”? It might be the university student getting a job and not having to go a few more thousand of dollars into student loan debt.

It might be the seasonal landscape worker getting those desperately needed few weeks of work to qualify for Employment Insurance.

We have a proud forestry heritage and produce some of the best forest products anywhere in the world.

We complain about exporting raw logs.

We shrug our shoulders when our young families move to Alberta for decent paying jobs.

We seem to be in a race to the bottom for the least expensive, cheapest quality products, and forget imports are often made by oppressed, non-union workers, in countries that, ironically, bought our closed down factory equipment.

The Province of BC has declared us to be a “Wood First” jurisdiction.

When it comes to our tax dollars, we should adopt “Wood First” as well. The Cowichan Lake Recreation Commission did, with its $7.6 million arena renovation.

They decided to make local wood and local jobs a priority, and the result was a spectacular, on budget, success.

The commission respected their neighbour’s hard earned property tax dollars. They showed the community they understood the value of each dollar spent.

They listened to what the community wanted, and delivered.

I sense the public is frustrated with politicians because it appears that we aren’t listening.

It took us two years to get the message about the Regional Parkland Acquisition Tax, and that was delivered via the only real poll that counts; the ballot box.

Perhaps local politicians will get the message on some of the other important issues in the region, before the next time we get to place an X on a ballot in November.

Sadly, it may be too late to change any minds at VIHA regarding “Wood First” for Cowichan Lodge.

However, there is still a chance for CVRD politicians and VIHA executives to redeem themselves.

Isn’t there a plan in the works for a new  Cowichan District Hospital? Will we have to again fight for “Wood First” or listen to “Sorry, maybe next time”?

Ian Morrison

Director CVRD Cowichan Lake South/Skutz Falls