Warren Goulding column: Murder and mayhem shadowed 2019 in Cowichan

The three homicides recorded were certainly an anomaly in what is generally a peaceful place to live

Sadly, 2019 will not go down as the greatest year in the history of the Cowichan Valley.

It was one of conflict, divided communities and extreme violence.

The three homicides recorded were certainly an anomaly in what is generally a peaceful place to live, but the spike in crimes of that nature serve to remind us that we’re no longer living in Mayberry, Barney.

Big city social problems and crime have arrived and the evidence is everywhere.

It’s futile to expect government at any level to effectively deal with these problems. Indeed, many of the symptoms that we see are a direct result of government policies and decisions that were made years ago and are continuing to cause hardship amongst society’s most vulnerable people.

That leaves it up to citizens at the grassroots level to step up and deal with the societal problems personally and directly. In Duncan, we see it every day as a small group of conscientious folks, originally inspired by business owner Will Arnold, have taken it upon themselves to clean up a troubled area around the Trans-Canada Highway. It’s risky work, frustratingly repetitious simply because the problem doesn’t go away and the volunteers return day after day to deal with the same issues, picking up discarded syringes, human waste and all manner of garbage.

Mostly, local government is absent, although there were some encouraging signs late in the year that North Cowichan was interested in dealing with a worsening social condition that threatened to turn beleaguered Lewis Street into something resembling the notorious Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.

Too much of the year and too much negative energy was devoted to the controversial Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit issue. The problem of noise that drew the ire of Sahtlam neighbours became almost a sidebar in the debate over whether the Circuit would be allowed to expand its operations.

In the great Canadian tradition of compromise, there existed a path to a reasonable agreement that would have gone a long way to mitigating the very real sound issues, satisfying First Nations concerns, protecting the precious environment while permitting a business to continue to operate legally and even expand if it chose to do so.

Unfortunately, leadership was lacking and as the rhetoric heated up, rational positions were nowhere to be found.

As the year drew to a close, it was becoming increasingly evident that North Cowichan council is contemplating action that will stymie investment in the Valley. It’s a concern for business and for folks who are hoping to secure or hang on to well-paying jobs.

Let’s hope we can do better in 2020 on several fronts.

Warren Goulding is the publisher of the Cowichan Valley Citizen

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

37-year-old man missing from Cobble Hill area

He is described as a First Nations man, 5 foot 8 in height

Five new handyDART buses serving Cowichan

Buses to replace older vehicles being removed from the fleet

Starvation claims Great Blue Heron in Crofton

No other contributing factors found in death during a necropsy

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Old-growth forest defenders in Campbell River call for B.C. forest minister’s resignation

Protestors outside North Island MLA’s office ask government to stop old-growth logging

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

More than $800,000 in suspected cocaine seized from ship near Victoria

RCMP Dive Team suspects more narcotics had been stored below ship’s waterline

Most Read