Before Sunfest’s inaugural summer here, there were plenty of concerns about whether or not the sound of raucous country music would be wafting into town each night.
However, when the Legends Valley Music Festival was announced — with its attendant Bio Cup Canada cannabis competition and expo — we couldn’t help but notice concerns about something else wafting into town were conspicuously absent.
When Sunfest was barreling down on us, there was a sense of panic among many people.
Would there be enough food at the grocery store? Would there be vandalism inflicted on town property by rowdy, drunken festival-goers? And how would we ever cope with all the added vehicular traffic along South Shore Road?
We all know the answers to those questions now.
But when Legends Valley first appeared on the horizon, the general response from Lakers was one of bemusement. Folks — whether medicinal users, recreational tokers or life-long abstainers — seemed mostly tickled by the prospect of a few thousand pot-lovers taking a trip to our lovely neck of the woods.
In the lead-up to Legends Valley there were jokes about the town running out of potato chips. Fears of vandalism or belligerent visitors were dismissed because surely patrons of this festival would be much more chill, much more laid back.
To be clear, we don’t think having fewer complaints about this one is a bad thing.
I think it’s emblematic of Cowichan Lake. And no, not because Lakers enjoy a little bit of the green stuff here and there.
The distinct reactions to each festival reflect an ambivalence about change here. They reflect the push and pull within a community that wants to embrace the future and grow, without losing what attracted us or our parents or our grandparents to this beautiful place.
And that push and pull isn’t just about Laketown Ranch supporters versus opponents.
Just like most everyone else, Lake Cowichan town councillors had some good quips about Legends Valley. There was no sense of fear about having Canada’s first-ever cannabis competition on our back doorstep.
But when faced with a business application for a medical marijuana dispensary earlier this summer, councillors voted unanimously to reject it.
There’s a push to move Lake Cowichan into the future, but also a pulling back, an unwillingness to take a chance, as with medical marijuana dispensaries, which other communities have already moved forward.