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Hey Cowichan, we’re back!

Help us go deep on untold stories about our changing local environment.

I’ve got some good news! This summer, The Discourse is 100 per cent committed to serving the Cowichan Valley community with newsletters that connect and in-depth reporting you can’t find anywhere else.

You haven’t heard from me in a few weeks; we’ve been in the process of setting a new path forward since the end of our supporter campaign. Now that the dust has settled, I want to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You, the people of the Cowichan Valley, really stepped up to say that this work is important and should continue. Whether you made a financial contribution, helped spread the word, or came along for the journey in some way, I am grateful.

You’ve told me that deep reporting on Cowichan’s changing environment is important to you, and for that reason I’ve committed to spending the summer telling those stories. And what a time to do this work: The Cowichan and Koksilah watersheds are facing potentially historic droughts, the fight for the future of North Cowichan’s municipal forests continues, and Cowichan youth are rising up to demand action on climate change. 

But I don’t want to just take a deeper look at stories other media are already covering. Help me unearth stories that aren’t being told. What environmental story do you see in your backyard that should be making headlines, but isn’t? What questions do you have about Cowichan’s changing environment that you want answered? Reply to this email — your input will inform my reporting.

News of the week

  • Where Do We Stand, a community group that has called for more democratic involvement in the management of North Cowichan’s municipal forests, is speaking out against current harvesting in the forest. In February, North Cowichan council agreed to limit harvests this year to blowdown from December’s windstorm. But, according to the group, what’s happening now looks a lot like clearcutting, with standing trees being removed as well, and is not what the community was expecting. “I’m devastated by the number of live trees that have been logged,” Icel Dobell told the Cowichan Valley Citizen. North Cowichan Mayor Al Seibring told CTV News that the harvesting will mitigate wildfire risk.
  • The Government of Canada announced research funding last week that will help move forward a proposal to build a higher weir at the top of the Cowichan River. The Cowichan Valley Regional District, Cowichan Tribes, Paper Excellence and other partners are working towards replacing the current weir with a higher one to ensure adequate water supply for people, industry and the environment into the future. 
  • Nearly 50 Cowichan groups have called on Cowichan’s regional and municipal governments to declare a climate emergency and take action on climate change. The call to action was spearheaded by local group One Cowichan.
  • The B.C. government has approved a final closure plan for the contaminated soil site in Shawnigan Lake, and it allows for all the contaminated material to remain at that location. Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau spoke out against that decision, stating in a blog post that it reminds her that “we are in a system that doesn’t serve our community, but instead serves the interests of those who have put our community at risk.”

Let’s gather

    • Now through Aug 5: 🎉 The 39 Days of July festival continues in Duncan, with music and events every day at Charles Hoey Park, the Duncan Showroom, and City Square. This Saturday, July 13, is also Downtown Duncan Day, featuring a pancake breakfast, a parade, entertainment and more. 
    • July 11: 🎨 The Ou Gallery in Duncan hosts Back of My Head, an interactive performance by artist Rosie Ranauro. Come between 6 and 7 p.m. to help with the artist with a drawing exercise, and stay for a discussion and light refreshments.
    • July 13: 🎻 Join the Chemainus Valley Cultural Arts Society for its bluegrass extravaganza, all afternoon and evening in Waterwheel Park. 
    • July 13: 🍺 It’s pub night at the HUB at Cowichan Station, featuring beer from Small Block Brewery, food by Holy Cow Indian Eats, music, dancing, and an open mic.
    • July 17: 🚰 Can you help conserve water in the Koksilah watershed? This community dialogue Wednesday evening at the HUB will focus on current drought conditions and real ways to make a difference. 

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