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Discharge from the Town of Lake Cowichan’s sewage-treatment facility is being investigated as a potential factor in a fish die-off in the Cowichan River last summer.

Material is coming from new Cowichan hospital construction site

The president of Cowichan Search and Rescue is making sweeping suggestions for reducing the risk of drowning on the Cowichan River.

Martin Drakeley accepts job of fire chief in Powell River

The song, Jaws of Old Marie, describes the experience of tumbling through rapids

North Cowichan’s top fire official is resigning in the wake of a report citing firefighter concerns with how the department is run, has learned.

So why won’t BC Coroners Service recommend improved safety for inner tubers?

The Chemainus River is the latest Cowichan Valley stream to generate concerns about drought-related impacts on fish stocks.

Our forest type ‘contains more species at risk than any other ecological zone in BC’

This letter-to-the-editor first appeared in The Cowichan Valley Citizen.

Prominent California vinters claim 'sustainability is in our DNA'

As water flows on the Cowichan River continue to drop, a rescue mission is underway to “salvage” salmon and trout fry stranded in isolated pools and side channels.

Fire department undergoes “communication and leadership effectiveness review”

Development, invasive species, historic fire suppression also raise concerns

Victoria law office that investigated Kate Marsh received $44,284

Effective Thursday, North Cowichan will close the gates and prohibit motorized public access to three areas within the Municipal Forest Reserve — Mount Prevost, Mount Sicker and Grace Road — until further notice.

Forestry staff continue to monitor for wildfire risk during dry weather

The estimated $100,000 cost of developing a new management plan for the Municipal Forest Reserve will be covered by a $500,000 provincial grant, Mayor Rob Douglas said Thursday.

Consultations with First Nations on the Municipal Forest Reserve will be a “long-term project” based on a “new reality,” Chief Administrative Officer Ted Swabey has told North Cowichan council.

A newly appointed Environmental Advisory Committee featuring extensive First Nations experience met for the first time on Tuesday at North Cowichan municipal hall.

It was sad to hear of Gordon Lightfoot’s death May 1 at age 84. It got me listening to his music again. A passage from The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, based on a shipping tragedy on Lake Superior, caught my ear: “The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down, of the big lake they called Gitche Gumee.”

North Cowichan councillor Christopher Justice is asking council to investigate the ecological impacts of recreational trails in the municipality, be they for mountain bikers, hikers, or horse enthusiasts.

North Cowichan and local First Nations are not meeting the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) related to consultation on the Municipal Forest Reserve.

Development company was ‘saddled with significant debt,’ BC Supreme Court finds

Al Siebring 'open to considering work anywhere my services are needed'

Safety, blowdown, wildfire risk, and water infrastructure all cited as factors

The public would continue to not have the right to lodge complaints against council members under a revised Standards of Conduct policy being recommended by North Cowichan municipal staff.

It has now been well over 1.5 years since North Cowichan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with “Cowichan Nation” on August 17, 2021, regarding the Municipal Forest Reserve.

Early prospectors created adits to look for mineral deposits

North Cowichan, First Nations welcome to join in and save start-up costs

The Duncan-North Cowichan sewage-treatment facility on Marchmont Road has once again been cited by the province for a slew of environmental infractions, a review of provincial compliance-and-enforcement files by reveals.

‘You’re in a really great position. It just needs leadership to pull it all together.’

North Cowichan is within its rights to not publicly release details of a standards-of-conduct complaint against former councillor Joyce Behnsen, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner has ruled.

Tree removal related to a wildfire-mitigation program underway on Mount Tzouhalem/Shquw’utsun in North Cowichan will disrupt public access to some trails over the next several weeks.

Evi Mustel provides a simple analogy for the seemingly complex field of statistically valid surveys.

'When you look at its forearms, those are getting close to the size of my legs'

For a council meeting to take place in North Cowichan, a quorum, or majority, is required. That means at least four of the seven council members must be present.

The consultants’ report on the final phase of public consultation on North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve is chock-full of interesting stats and numbers — notably, 76-per-cent support for conservation management.

On-line survey shows 76 percent of respondents back two ‘conservation’ options

First published in The Cowichan Valley Citizen on Feb. 23, 2023

‘Guiding light’ to family, friends, clients banned 25 years by BC Securities Commission

Failed mayoral candidate John Koury received a high $20,961.00 in contributions in the 2022 municipal election campaign in North Cowichan, Elections BC data shows.

Is last week’s 4-3 vote on North Cowichan council an indicator of more to come over the next four years?

Kudos to North Cowichan council for unanimously approving a motion requiring that the authors of letters appearing on the consent agenda be made public.

As a well-known and opinionated columnist in the Cowichan Valley for years, Don Maroc wasn’t one to pull his punches.

Mailing of 14,921 cards may have had ‘large impact in the Cowichan area’

Ted Swabey’s ‘democracy’ comment hints at culture of secrecy at municipal hall

‘Veterans’ serve as reminder of the past, and inspiration for the future of our forests

Homes on the slopes of Mt. Prevost, Maple Mountain and Mt. Richards ‘might become quite desirable’

We’ve come to identify North Cowichan’s 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve as the Six Mountains — Prevost, Sicker, Richards, Maple, Tzouhalem, and Stoney Hill.

Beware of false information spread by a few pro-logging advocates

Decision goes against more-open policies of other Vancouver Island municipalities

Scheme viewed as a faster way to earn revenue than waiting for poorly harvested forest to recover

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Do you have any photos that depict historic logging operations in North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve?

North Cowichan has published an article ostensibly to encourage public participation in a consultation process on the Municipal Forest Reserve — but which comes off as a plug for status-quo logging.

Transition from clearcutting to partial harvests, thinning, wildfire interface predicted

On-line survey with four scenarios must be completed by Dec. 31

Public can now weigh in on future of Municipal Forest Reserve in on-line survey

Its name is a handful — the Coastal Douglas-fir (& Associated Ecosystems) Conservation Partnership.

That would be the outcome of one of four management scenarios posed by UBC

North Cowichan income from carbon credits would overtake revenues from timber harvesting

Debra Toporowski — a member of Cowichan Tribes — has the potential to cast a decisive vote on a split North Cowichan council..

7 things to know about public consultation into the Municipal Forest Reserve of North Cowichan

Concerns include vegetation loss, safety, erosion, water quality, and wildlife impacts

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring’s complaint against Councillor Kate Marsh should have been resolved informally long ago and not reached the stage of a full-blown legal investigation, Councillor Rob Douglas told council on Wednesday.

Have you wondered what’s happened to the consultation process into the future of North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve?

“It’s becoming quite a problem of people harvesting trees illegally.”

Spending on municipal staff up 17.5 percent in one year due to covid, new hirings

Skutz Falls on the Cowichan River is impressive enough at this time of the year as salmon fight their way upstream against rain-swollen waters.

They’re called rub or mark trees and are used by bears for more than simply scratching their backs.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada announced Wednesday it is removing the controversial cross from atop Mount Tzouhalem.

The cross atop Mount Tzouhalem — a subject of intense ongoing controversy — has been vandalized yet again.

Mosaic Forest Management says it is willing to partner with municipalities — including North Cowichan — private landowners and First Nations who are interested in preserving forest lands through the sale of carbon credits.

Richard Hughes — the social activist and outspoken former long-serving regional district director — has finished his career on his own terms.

The province paid more than $800,000 to fight last summer’s Copper Canyon wildfire on Mosaic private forestlands, a freedom-of-information request by reveals.

First published by the Times Colonist on Mar. 17, 2022

But remains consistent on central themes of the event

Public cannot file complaints against councillors for bad behaviour

The mystery of the Mount Tzouhalem cross — taken down, then put back up, all without permission — has adopted an unexpected hue.

Logging-related revenue and jobs do not even rank within the top-10 list of what citizens value most about the Municipal Forest Reserve, a consultant’s report for North Cowichan council reveals.

‘Many community members expressed concern about harvesting practices’

You may have watched news reports last October of the rare visit of a beluga whale to Puget Sound, Wash.

Council should acknowledge changing community values

When forestry ribbons start showing up on trees, you have to think the chainsaws aren’t far behind. When those ribbons are spotted during a pause in logging in North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve, it can be especially troubling.

The lengthy battle over expansion of Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit is not over.

The BC Forest Discovery Centre is conducting a review of its operations in response to concerns that the Forests Forever exhibit — funded by forest companies — offers a one-sided view of forestry in the province.

A draft plan for public consultation on future management of the 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve — also known as the Six Mountains — has highlighted several “challenges” with the process being undertaken by North Cowichan council.

In a few weeks, North Cowichan residents will get their first peek at plans for a public consultation process into the future of the Six Mountains/Municipal Forest Reserve.

North Cowichan CAO Ted Swabey: “We do not clear-cut as a harvesting practice:"

The provincial Office of the Ombudsperson has ruled that meetings of a citizens’ forestry Working Group are not required to be held in public because the group was created by a consultant rather than by North Cowichan council.

Vancouver consultant Erik Lees this week emphasized the importance of a “balanced” public consultation into the 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve. But given the lack of transparency surrounding the citizens’ Working Group one wonders if that’s the case.

It took a freedom-of-information request to North Cowichan, but has finally obtained the official minutes of the first meeting of the citizens’ Working Group that is helping to guide public consultation on the Municipal Forest Reserve.

I drove up to Stoney Hill today, a sunny winter’s afternoon. I was not alone. The parking lot was jammed, forcing motorists to pull over on the roadside up to two blocks away. Traffic came to a complete stop while frustrated drivers wondered what to do next.

Meetings of the newly appointed citizens’ Working Group on future management of the 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve are not open to the public, but has at least obtained some basic background on the individuals selected.

Transparency: "We encourage a high level of disclosure regarding the process and results, as well as clear communication regarding how those results are used.” (Source: Lees and Associates winning contract bid.)

People who buy a home in North Cowichan are willing to pay a premium for a water or mountain view — and that preference translates into untold millions of dollars in house prices as well as added tax revenue for the municipality.

Mt. Prevost and Mt. Sicker are critical viewscapes requiring protection

North Cowichan should seize the moment and take a leadership role on environmental policies and regulations, a consultant’s report for the Municipality recommends.

Forests Forever exhibit is biased, sidesteps logging issues

Second in an occasional series on the Six Mountains

The BC Ministry of Environment has issued a “non-compliance advisory letter” for several violations related to a municipal sewage-treatment plant that empties into the Cowichan River, a review by of provincial enforcement and compliance files reveals.

Cost and environmental factors cited
Latest in an occasional series on the Six Mountains

I drove to the top of Mount Prevost this past sunny weekend. The place bustled with sightseers, mountain bikers, hikers, and motorcycle/ATV enthusiasts.

It’s just one tree that lived long ago, but its story still resonates, and has the capacity to make us remember how things used to be and how they might yet be in the future.

One of the world’s great mountaineers, Pat Morrow, visited North Cowichan last weekend — and he had a few words to say about the grassroots campaign to save the Six Mountains from logging.

North Cowichan taxpayers are not expected to pay a dime as a result of a legal challenge by Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit over the Municipality’s refusal to allow expansion of the controversial operation.

North Cowichan farm non-compliant for manure application

The paint on a memorandum of understanding signed between North Cowichan and First Nations is barely dry, yet it is already showing some wear.

North Cowichan council approved a staff report Thursday aimed at producing a Biodiversity Protection Policy, with only Mayor Al Siebring speaking against the idea due to the ongoing cost of consultants.

An arsonist is thought to have caused a 2018 wildfire on Maple Mountain in North Cowichan’s 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve, municipal forester Shaun Mason said Monday.

Development around wetlands also a concern

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