We must oppose taking on weir responsibility

The most recent action taken by the CVRD again prompts to me write yet another letter.

Several weeks ago I wrote your newspaper suggesting a number of reasons that caused me to dislike both the actions of the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the directors who sit at the CVRD table.

The most recent action taken by the CVRD again prompts to me write yet another letter.

This time is the proposal by the CVRD to take over complete responsibility for the Lake Cowichan weir.

For those you that don’t know; the existing weir was established “under licence” from the province of B.C. to British Columbia Forest Products to provide a continuous water supply to the pulp and paper mill located in Crofton. The rules established by the province of B.C. are that the weir and all associated costs are to be the responsibility of the holder of the licence and water flow into the Cowichan River would be controlled through established rules set by the provincial government.

Now understand this; the existing weir is maintained and operates at no cost to the taxpayer. At present, the licensee is Catalyst and they must maintain the weir, all its functions and abide by the rules established by the provincial government.

We now have the CVRD taking a “survey” of some of the CVRD populace that asks the question; “Are you concerned about your drinking water?” Of course; there is a high positive response to this question that now gives the CVRD the impetus to attempt to “take control” of the existing weir.

Of course, the CVRD is not only interested in taking control of the weir but also to replace it and increase its height. Imagine doing this all at the expense of the taxpayer. For example, in the last CVRD budget proposal the costs to establish an outdoor bathroom in Arbutus Park in Youbou was projected to cost $107,000. That gives you an example of how the CVRD spends our taxpayer dollars.

To date, the CVRD has spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars “building their case” to take over this responsibility which seems to the ordinary person to be simply unbelievable.

There was a time when residents close to the lake used “lake water” for their household needs. That all stopped when the CVRD mandated that all households would have to be serviced from a common CVRD-controlled and treated water supply. Remember Walkerton, Ont.?

So how does “the survey taken by the CVRD” related to this action by the CVRD?

It doesn’t. It does, however, provide a significantly high number (92 per cent) that the CVRD can use in any manner to show people support the idea of this CVRD action.

The CVRD intends to use the alternative approval process to determine if this proposal is to proceed. Anybody who understands this AAP procedure also knows that this system is only used by the CVRD when they know that the proposal would not pass a common referendum.

I offer you one response from one of the area directors:

“The CVRD and in turn you, the local taxpayer, have no involvement at this stage.

And that is the way it should remain.

“I consider it was wrong and cavalier for the CVRD some years ago to have announced: ‘We will take the lead’.

“If there is concern about an insufficient supply of water for the Crofton Mill, the fish or the replenishment of the aquifers, then the B.C. Government and Catalyst should solve that problem, it is theirs.

“So, dear local resident, be vigilant. Don’t be fooled into taking on responsibilities and costs that might turn out to be a real burden for you, your children and their children in the coming years.

“You know how it is, once a service function at the CVRD is established, there is no going back.”

There are so many other reasons why we the taxpayers should be demanding that the CVRD stop this ridiculous idea but the most important reason is you the taxpayer.

It is time for all of us to stand up to the CVRD and tell them to stop wasting our tax dollars!

Write your letters to both the CVRD and provincial government demanding that they not grant the CVRD this responsibility, attend every town hall meeting where the CVRD will be “floating this proposal” and most important of all, watch for the CVRD to implement the AAP vote with as little publicity as possible.

And these are our elected officials. How disgusting!


Greg Whynacht