Make your voice heard

The editorial staff at the News Leader Pictorial urge readers to speak up over looming decisions related to waste disposal and development.

Vocal Cowichanians are winning victories to preserve our threatened environment, but there are plenty of battles looming.

Your voice does count.

Folks who care about saving our water, air, land, and ecosystems have no choice but to demand action from our local leaders — development pressures are heavy, and getting heavier.

The biggest win was stakeholder demands granted to increase storage of river water in Cowichan Lake to prevent another fall kill of spawning salmon, due to drought. Some locals are rightly questioning the wisdom of granting Crofton pulp mill those river-water permits 50 years ago.

And, while some Chemainiacs rightly argue all of Echo Heights forest should be saved, North Cowichan council has agreed 80 per cent will be preserved from housing.

Meanwhile, locals are anxiously awaiting word from provincial bureaucrat Hubert Bunce about allowing five million tonnes of toxic soil to be dumped into SIA’s quarry near Shawnigan Lake. Just say no, Mr. Bunce. SIA’s scheme seems madness given other unmonitored dumps already leaking poison into Cowichan’s water supplies.

Other eco-wild cards include pending provincial approval of pulling North Cowichan farmland for development beside Somenos Marsh. That answer should also be no.

Finally, North Cowichan council seems to be listening to public concerns about saving most of Maple Bay Peninsula from development once an improved Stoney Hill Road is built. Council, make parkland from all of our municipal forest land there.

Our politicians need your ideas and opinions about these urgent decisions. Speak up now.

—Cowichan News Leader Pictorial