Are Ladysmith’s Watersheds important to you?

Last spring, a public meeting was held to determine interest and approaches for building community involvement in watershed management.

Last spring, a public meeting was held at Aggie Hall to determine interest and possible approaches for building community involvement in watershed management. There was a good turnout and lots of interest.  But it has been quiet since then.

But since that meeting a small group with representatives from the Town of Ladysmith, Ladysmith Sportsman’s Club, Cowichan Valley Regional District, TimberWest and Otter Point Timber have had several meetings to talk about levels of interest and terms of reference for a Ladysmith Watersheds Round Table.

This group has prepared draft terms of reference that will now go to town council and senior management of TimberWest to determine if the proposed approach is acceptable to these organizations.

So the question arises as to how we get citizen input on the draft terms of reference?

One way is to watch the upcoming agenda’s of Ladysmith council to see when they will discuss the terms of reference. You could attend this council meeting and have a say.

Or you can review the draft for yourself online. The terms of reference have been posted to the pilot web page for Ladysmith watersheds at      ladysmithwatersheds.weebly.com. They have also been posted on the Ladysmith Watersheds Facebook page. If the terms of reference are implemented they would provide a forum for community sharing, learning and taking action on watershed management. The round table would be open to the public and groups that have an interest in the watershed with a goal of ensuring we have clean water and healthy ecosystems.

I am interested in hearing from you.  Is there interest in the community in the establishment of a round table?  What do you think of the proposed structure? What are your thoughts on such things as:

• Do we know enough about the hydrology and capacity of the systems? If there were a citizens’ stream keepers group would you be interested in helping with data collection and stream monitoring to improve our understanding?

• Is water quality adequately protected?

• Are you interested in watershed tours, if they were offered; what would you hope to learn?  Would you be interested in a speaker series on watershed management?

• Do you have concerns about the capacity of the watersheds to support urban growth?

• Is the return of salmon to Holland, Stocking and Bush Creek each fall important to you? What priority should be placed on maintaining flows, water quality and temperature to ensure the restoration and enhancement of these salmon streams?

• Do you use the back country in our watersheds, and is access an issue?

• Do you feel you have access to good information on activities and the state of our watersheds?  Could a round table help keep people informed and improve decision making? Are you interested or prepared to assist, listen or get involved in some way?

Send me your thoughts and comments to ggreg7@hotmail.com, or post them to the community watershed Facebook page at the Ladysmith Watersheds group.

The Town of Ladysmith, TimberWest and we hope the Stz’uminus First Nation will all review the draft terms of reference before we decide how to proceed. The next meeting of the core group is in April, 2016. I would like to have a sense of community interest and direction prior to this meeting.

If I hear back from enough people that there is interest in creating a round table, we can organize a community meeting to discuss how citizens want to be involved. If there is not enough interest, will you be satisfied if we just leave these issues to the Town and land owners?

Greg RobertsLadysmith