Breaking ground on Cowichan development and government transparency
You asked me to dig into development. Here’s what I’ve unearthed.
A few weeks ago, you voted for me to dig into development and planning issues. Here’s the inaugural story.
It’s about rules that the Municipality of North Cowichan plans to put in place in early 2019 that aim to improve the way the public learns about and offers feedback on development projects close to home.
“This sounds really dry — ‘Development Procedures Bylaw’ — but it is the single most exciting thing for me, as somebody who cares about public transparency,” Natasha Horsman, North Cowichan’s manager of communications, tells me.
The neighbourhood groups I spoke with say the bylaw is a complete reversal on North Cowichan’s attitude to public consultation compares with a few years ago.
But what do developers think? If you’re a developer or know one who wants to talk, get in touch right away.
Meet your neighbours
Nick Neisingh and his wife had been feeling a little desperate looking for an affordable place to start a home and farm. Then they found a piece of property in Crofton, not suitable for a housing development, too run down for most homebuyers, and further discounted by the familiar pulp-mill odor that occasionally wafts over the neighbourhood. They jumped at the opportunity, and Tatlo Road Farm was born.
Although they knew very little about Crofton when they made the leap, Neisingh says he’s been pleasantly surprised by the community they have found.
“We always refer to Crofton as the East Van of the Island. Young families are moving to Crofton and it’s a cool place. It’s gentrifying, but not in a gentrifying way,” he says.
The wider community of the Cowichan Valley has been welcoming and supportive, particularly people they’ve met through the Duncan Farmers Market.
“We didn’t know how awesome it was until we started going, in the first couple of years. It’s a great market; a great community comes there and we couldn’t do what we do without that.”
News of the week
North Cowichan council voted unanimously on Wednesday to grant a temporary use permit for a winter women’s shelter, to be located at Cowichan Place, next to Wendy’s House, where the school district operates preschool programs for parents and young kids.
Former North Cowichan mayor Jon Lefebure held an open house last Saturday to tell neighbours about his plans to develop a seven-unit complex in Chemainus, with rents at about $800 a month, the Cowichan Valley Citizen reports. Some residents expressed concerns about parking and other impacts on the neighbourhood.
There’s still time to Stuff the Truck for local food banks, My Cowichan Valley Nowreports. The Cowichan Valley Basket Society will be at Save on Foods accepting donations of food and cash from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday.
🕯Dec. 6: The Cowichan Women Against Violence Society will host a candlelight vigilat Sands Funeral Chapel to mark the national day of action on violence against women. Don’t forget warm layers and comfortable shoes.
🎄Dec. 6: Carolling, Christmas lights, cookies and cocoa will be on offer at the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre for its annual Christmas light-up.
🎲 Dec. 11: Carmanah Pizza in Lake Cowichan will host its first ever strategy games night, for those who like their dinner with a side of winning.