A local fairytale? Not for the Cowichan Estuary

Imagine holding a 50-year Crown lease which the government has generously given to you

A local fairytale? Not for the Cowichan Estuary

Imagine holding a 50-year Crown lease which the government has generously given to you for a 50-acre island with two kilometres of prime waterfront in the centre of an area known for its beauty and very high wildlife values in the middle of an estuary.

It is located in close proximity to all goods and services a community has to offer. As a bonus the government has supplied you with a private hard-top access road leading to your island connected by a bridge constructed by your nice neighbours for your personal benefit. Even better, the fee you pay for the 50 year lease amounts to a combined total of $300, for a lease with practically no strings attached. In other words you are free to do whatever you please.

You don’t even need building or development permits for structures you put up. You are not bound by any laws. You may block off the access to keep people out; you also can post your island with no trespassing signs. In other words you own your own personal paradise without checks and balances. Would this not be great and a dream come true? You are the king of the castle and no subject to law enforcement! What a life that would be!

And if anybody dares to complain about your privileges you call on your government to defend you. And, lo and behold, the government hastens to your defence, chastising whoever dares to speak up against you and your privileges, against the noise and light pollution which bother your neighbours and worse, the damage you do to the highly sensitive estuary bordering your island.

If you think that this is bad, just wait for what will happen if the current rezoning application by the lessee of this island would be approved by your elected CVRD representatives. This would open the door for any type of manufacturing industry to settle in the heart of one of the most sensitive ecosystem on earth. It also would slam the door shut for multiple uses instead that are compatible with the conservation objectives of the Cowichan Estuary and benefit our community.

Why is it that politicians on all government levels appear to turn a blind eye on matters related to industry in the Cowichan Estuary? Ironically this all is happening in your immediate neighbourhood right under your nose on Crown land — the Westcan Island — that belongs to all of us and should be used for the good of society instead. Think about it.

Goetz Schuerholz

Cowichan Bay resident since 1977

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