Today we’re starting to talk to citizens in the Cowichan Valley about the new law they are writing right now in Victoria for our water and how we can ensure it gets us closer to local control.
BC’s water law is over 100 years old and neither protects our water adequately nor does it give local people any meaningful say over what happens around them.
We’ve felt this acutely here in the Cowichan Valley from issues like the low river flow crisis that hit our salmon last year to the ongoing battle over contaminated soil in Shawnigan and other places.
And, while we can never control nature, these situations have been made worse by the human element – who gets to make decisions and how – with little accountability to those of us who live with the consequences.
A new water law could fix this. It could enable appropriate bodies like the Cowichan Watershed Board (which has First Nations as full partners) to have real authority to make decisions locally.
So we need the writers of the new law to get the language right and need citizens to speak up to ensure that happens.
To this end we’ll be going to public events and festivals around the valley, talking to people about this time sensitive opportunity and encouraging them to sign a petition to the responsible Minister.
We could use your help. You can sign the petition online and reach out to friends to do the same. We need volunteers to help with outreach. We’d welcome a donation to help with the costs of materials and festival entrance fees.
If you see a One Cowichan volunteer out and about, come say hello!