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Cowichan 2050 Planning For the Future
Duncan, BC - The Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) is changing. With a 4.5% population increase from 2011 to 2016 growth has been steady, particularly in places like Cowichan Bay, Ladysmith, and Lake Cowichan where growth has been nearly double this rate. The economy has been shifting away from forestry towards service and retail sectors. Demographics are changing, housing costs are rising, and people are increasingly experiencing climate change impacts. These changes are putting rising demands on management of water resources, infrastructure investments, and land use decision-making, among other local government responsibilities. A regionally coordinated approach can offer a more effective and efficient way to respond to these challenges.
In this context, the CVRD is developing Cowichan 2050, a regional, integrated planning strategy that will create a new level of consultation and collaboration between local governments (staff and elected officials) and communities in the region. The strategy will provide a comprehensive overview of the social, environmental, and economic forces shaping the region. It will also provide insights into how local governments within the Cowichan Valley can best collaborate with regional stakeholders and partners to better manage the changes these forces will bring, including anticipated growth.
The first public engagement event will be on Thursday, September 14, at 7 p.m. at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre with the presentation by Charles Montgomery, author of Happy City. Admission is free, but tickets are required and available through the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre.
“The CVRD’s goal is to support sustainable and coordinated growth and lower impact development in the region,” says Board Chair Jon Lefebure. “Without an integrated regional planning strategy, such as Cowichan 2050, land use planning within the municipalities and unincorporated areas can occur in isolation, without full consideration of regional implications or opportunities. By working better together as a region, we can make the region more resilient in the face of change.”
“We have a legacy of planning decisions that too often have been made without adequate regard to the environment or to future growth needs, such as servicing,” explains Ross Blackwell, General Manager Land Use Services. “The Cowichan 2050 process is a game-changer as we work together to plan the region.”
To assist the CVRD and its municipal partners with achieving these goals, the CVRD has hired EcoPlan International, an award-winning consulting firm based in Vancouver. The EcoPlan team will be engaging elected officials and staff of all local governments, developers, and the community at large in developing the Cowichan 2050 Plan.
The Cowichan 2050 initiative has been funded through the transfer of federal gas tax revenues.