One Cowichan reached out to all candidates in the provincial ridings of Cowichan and Nanaimo-North Cowichan. These are the answers we have received so far, listed alphabetically by party.
Damir Wallener, Conservative – Cowichan Valley
Between the external threat of contaminated soils being dumped around Shawnigan Lake and the local threat to summertime levels of the Cowichan River, the integrity of our watershed is at risk. With the provincial Water Act currently under review, there is an opportunity to bring our watershed under local control.
OneCowichan, a coalition of local experts, community leaders and concerned residents, is spearheading the effort to make that happen. By devolving authority and revenue from the provincial level to the regional level, we can become responsible stewards of our own watershed.
I fully support OneCowichan in this effort, and will lend every assistance I can.
Kerry Davis, Green – Cowichan Valley & Mayo McDonough, Green – Nanaimo-North Cowichan
We support local control of the Cowichan watershed and watersheds across the province, and will advocate for changes to the municipal and regional funding formulas to ensure that the groups responsible are properly funded to be able to do the work they need to do.
The Green Party is committed to expanding the authority of local governments to include authority over energy development, social services, and transportation. In consultation with First Nations, local governments would also be able to make decisions about regional growth, climate change, zero waste principles, and agricultural, forest, and recreational land protection.
Steve Housser, Liberal – Cowichan Valley
As the Liberal Candidate for Cowichan Valley I fully support the concept of local control of watersheds. This is particularly important as some communities like Shawnigan Lake face the threat of contaminated soils being dumped in their watershed. This should never happen and I can't imagine it ever would if there were local control. My only concern about local control is that, if granted by the province, it must come with appropriate funding to do the job properly. I would also want to be assured that the governance model is clearly established in terms of who actually constitutes 'local' and how they are selected or appointed. But generally - great idea.
Bill Routley, NDP – Cowichan Valley
In collaboration with First Nations and Local Government leaders, I raised the issue of storage management on Cowichan Lake with the Provincial Government Minister in May of 2012, when there was still time to avert the fisheries disaster of the fall of last year. Government rejected our community's pleas!
Since last summer, I have pursued establishment of a “Pilot Project” based on collaboration with First Nations, Local Government, the many committed stakeholder groups, scientists, and members of the Cowichan Watershed Board, to acquire jurisdiction and resources in support of local decision making and control!