Lori Iannidinardo Has Been An Active, Committed Director for Cowichan Bay

Cowichan Bay's Lori Iannidinardo

Cowichan Bay’s Lori Iannidinardo

For six years, Lori Iannidinardo has been an active, committed Director of Area D – Cowichan Bay. She serves on the Cowichan Watershed Board and the Parks Board, where she was Area D Chair for 11 years.  For 18 years Lori has been a coordinator for Cowichan Community Kitchens and is a founder of the Vancouver Island Logger Safety Support Group.

Ms. Iannidinardo wants to continue her work and be a strong voice on issues that people tell her matter: water, a sustainable economy, fiscal responsibility and respectful relationships.  For that reason, she is standing again for election.

She continues to work with multiple agencies to ensure we have water to drink, that fish habitat is protected and other water needs are met. The upcoming Marine Zoning Bylaw will help meet the Watershed Board target to harvest shellfish in Cowichan Bay by 2020.

She sits on the South Cowichan Water Advisory and actively supports water quality testing and ground water monitoring to have a better understanding of our aquifers.

She continues to work with the Cowichan Roundtable on issues such as Derelict Vessels and has been working with other agencies and community members on a VORR (Vessel Operating Restricted Regulation) to protect eelgrass beds in the estuary.

Ms. Iannidinardo promotes Area D as a place to do business as evidenced by the growing number of farm markets and other enterprises.  Recent statistics show that market garden farms provide just over 5 billion dollars to the Canadian economy.

She wants to ensure that farm production continues to grow and that their harvests reach the local population. The input into our economy of local businesses, restaurants, fisheries, hotels and local artisans is important.

The values of a Cittaslow community – an international designation given to Cowichan Bay in 2009—are all found in the Area. She represents Area D on the Cittaslow Cowichan Board, supporting its commitment to the stewardship of farmlands, the protection of waters, local food production, the community’s unique history and traditions and its people.

Ms. Iannidinardo has always made it her priority to listen to community concerns. She holds regular, well attended town hall meetings and takes action on what she hears.  Her approach is to work openly and transparently with clear communication.

On taxes, she knows that focusing on delivering the required services is challenging in a Regional District with the current levels of downloading from provincial and federal governments. The District takes on more responsibility without support and she will continue to remind other levels of government of their responsibilities.

Her vision is the vision expressed by the community, reflected in the new Official Community Plan (OCP) for Area D.  In 2010 a diverse group of individuals, including a representative from Cowichan Tribes, sought input from residents through workshops, focus groups, open houses and community surveys.

People got involved and expressed what really mattered.  That Plan is now in place. It is her commitment to ensure it is implemented to meet the community’s vision.

Web site: seal1

Twitter: @Lorilanni


Candidates Running for elected office in the Cowichan Valley and for the School District Board can email their releases to


Shawnigan Forestry Rezoning Flies in the Face of The Community Plan — It Should Be Tabled Until After the Election

Richard Hughes-Futurist

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Shawnigan’s Advisory Planning Committee (APC) unanimously rejected the plan to rezone F-1 Forest Land to Residential allowing the developer to develop 28 lots in exchange for protecting some wetlands that are already protected by the Ministry of Environment.

Outgoing Director Bruce Fraser plans to advance this rezoning at the ‘Special Board Meeting’  this Wednesday.

If the scheduled order of meetings had been maintained then the new board would be dealing with this controversial issue. It will be special alright. Strategically planned to allow time to jam this through and who knows what other surprises await us on ‘Super Wednesday’.

Shawnigan CVRD Director Bruce Fraser

Director Bruce Fraser

Although not a legal requirement, rezoning matters of this nature should be held over until the new Director is elected and sworn into office. It is at this stage that the principled response is to back off.

Let sober reflection be your Swan Song Director Bruce Fraser and table this motion.

The other CVRD Directors have shown that they do have the ability to discern what is right and what is wrong. They recently stood up and voted against the Cobble Hill Director over the Balme Ayr Gravel Pit proposal.

If Director Fraser insists on pushing this through any other Electoral Area Director can move to table this controversial rezoning forcing a vote. If it passed then the next elected representative would deal with this on the new Board convenes.  What is the hurry?

CVRD Logo2

Whose interests are being served and whose are not?

There is a difference between the right to do something and the right thing to do.


Here is the email that I sent around to the candidates, and their responses.


Good Morning Shawnigan Candidates
On Wednesday, October 22nd,  a ‘Special CVRD Board Meeting’ has been called. Director Fraser has forwarded a resolution that is in serious conflict with the Official Community Plan.
This application on Renfrew Road would see 28 lots and homes built if approved.
The Shawnigan Advisory Planning Commission was unanimous in their opposition to rezoning F1 Forest land for housing.
Do you support this rezoning being approved now, or do you want this controversial application to be tabled, until the new CVRD Board and Shawnigan’s new Director  is elected and sworn into office?
I  will be posting a blog on this issue, including your positions later today.
Cowichan Conversations


I have had responses from 5 of the 6 candidates.


Candidate Robert Arndt replied:  

Yes I think it should be tabled. That’s the aquifer out there and septic fields will leach into limestone and into water table. The CVRD knows this. Might not say so though. 


Candidate- Brent Beach

 The reasoning is inconsistent with the OCP, both on reasoning F1 land and residential outside the village. The amenities offered are inconsistent with the OCP. I am disappointed in CVRD planning for sending this forward and the CVRD for failing in their OCP oversight responsibility


Candidate – Sonia Furstenau

My priority is to preserve and protect Shawnigan’s watershed lands.  When we consider the future of Shawnigan, we need to recognize that the well-being and health of the community is dependent on the watershed and its capacity to provide drinking water.  This consideration must be at the forefront of any discussion around development proposals.

We need to have a comprehensive process that includes community input to the decision.  It is crucial that the process is transparent and responsive to community input  - this is essential to have a decision aligned to community interests.  We need to have better ways of keeping the community informed and involved in providing input in order to make sure that we develop policies and plans that are well aligned with the needs and desires of the community.

In order for us to make informed development decisions in Shawnigan, we need to create a criteria-based decision making tool that sets clear community benchmarks for watershed benefits.  I am committed to working with the community to develop such a tool so that the objectives and expectations of the community are clear for the protection of the watershed lands.

As we do not yet a benchmark agreed upon by the community, I would look to the Advisory Planning Commission for direction.  In the case of this development, the APC recommended against moving forward with the application as it stands – as a result of the APC’s concerns, and a lack of clarity and specificity around the details of the application. I would not support this going forward at this time.

I am also aware that the application has gone through a formal CVRD process. The application in question has completed a process that had South Cowichan APC site visits and multiple reviews and recommendations, and has offered a public information session and a public hearing for community input. CVRD regulations stipulate that after the close of the public hearing, the board shall receive no further community input.  This is all the more reason that there needs to be full transparency and detailed information available to the community before any application reaches the public hearing stage.


Candidate – Larry Jorgison

I just finished sending Rob Hutchins an e-mail requesting that these bylaws be removed/tabled until the new year for the new board.


Candidate – Lois Morrow

No, I am not in favour of this application being tabled until a new board is sworn in.  Shawnigan Lake Investments (Partridge/Sharpe) originally proposed this project in 2009.  Since then they have made numerous changes to the proposal in response to recommendations from the APC and on the advice of technical experts.  It has gone to a public meeting and proceeded to a public hearing.  From the official minutes of the public hearing:

Grant Treloar, Chair of the Area B Shawnigan Lake APC for the last two years and has had the opportunity to work with the applicants on their development over the last three years.

Application went before the South Cowichan APC which consists of members from the Mill Bay, Cobble Hill and Shawnigan Lake APC’s, as the subject property is located out of the village containment area.

The APC did not support the application at their very last meeting in the spring but noted that they were moving along and making good progress with the application. At that last APC meeting they felt the revisions to the application had come along way at becoming a positive application but they did not feel good enough, at that time, as they still had issues with the number and location of lots and that was why they did not support the application at that time

Hopes that they not give the process up and it is not turned down at the public hearing stage as there is merit to what the applicants have done, the APC felt it was just not yet positive enough for the area and the watershed to proceed at that time.

It is a misrepresentation to say that the APC was unanimous in their opposition.  They were not in favour “at that time”, and their Chair is on record as hoping that the application is not turned down at the public hearing stage.  Once the public hearing is concluded the CVRD board cannot receive further comment, for or against.

There is statutory provision to amend an Official Community Plan if the community supports an amendment.  I attended the public hearing, and judged that the sentiment of the majority of citizens who were also in attendance was in favour of approving the application.  Either their voices are heeded, or the promise of listening and responsive communication mean nothing.


Candidates Running for elected office in the Cowichan Valley and for the School District Board can email their releases to


Amy Matamba Is Running For A Position On the Cowichan School District Board

Vot Amy Matamba

Tell A Friend

Candidates Running for elected office in the Cowichan Valley and for the School District Board can email their releases to

Janice Macalister – Running for CVRD Director Area E


Janice Macalister
Running for CVRD Director Area E
Vote November 15th at the Eagles Hall

I have lived in the Cowichan Valley for 22 years, the last five in Sahtlam (Area E). I work part time at Volume One books in Duncan. My previous political experience was as a Trustee, Vice-chair and Chairperson on the Cowichan Valley School Board from 1999-2005. During this time I sat on many committees including the joint committee with the CVRD that explored, and recommended, the changes to the original Fairgrounds and the relocation of VIU. I have been on a variety of Boards and have also been engaged in the protection of domestic animals in the valley. I am currently semi-retired and have spent the last few years restoring both the house and gardens on our property in Sahtlam. I have never lost my interest in local politics and have always stayed connected to the current issues in the valley. I would like the opportunity to lend my voice in finding constructive solutions to the challenges we currently face.

We need a strong CVRD board working in collaboration with the First Nations as well as other community groups, to engage all levels of government in finding an acceptable solution to the issue surrounding water supply and quality, for the Cowichan Valley. The crisis has been upon us for 4 years and we do not have the luxury of another four years to implement a comprehensive water management strategy. I feel it is important that a reclamation plan, for the Cowichan River, be developed and implemented as soon as possible.

I will bring a strong and definitive approach to the CVRD board should I be elected and will work diligently towards representing the concerns of Valley residents at both the local and provincial level.

I think my past record as a School Trustee reflects that I am open, available and collaborative, as well as accountable to the electorate. Accountability to, and consultation with voters, whether it is on environmental issues, economic strategy or tough financial decisions is the key to be being a successful elected representative on this board.

I am always willing to pay for medical care, education, seniors, childcare and the protection of our environment. I feel that our taxation rates are reasonable at this time, however I am disturbed by the ‘top heavy’ nature of the bureaucracy that is presently the norm in the CVRD.

My vision for the Cowichan Valley is to see a balanced community, both environmentally and economically. Sustainability can be achieved in these areas with strong, grassroots engagement and accountable governance. Considering the many issues facing us in the Cowichan Valley, whether it is the Gravel Pit, the Crematorium issue, the Transfer Station in the South end, dumping at the quarry or the water management crisis, I believe it is time for some new perspective at the CVRD Board table.

Any questions or concerns feel free to contact Janice at 250-746-9945 or by email at

Authorized by Janice Macalister; financial agent.

Candidates Running for elected office in the Cowichan Valley and for the School District Board can email their releases to

Balme/Ayr Gravel Pit Proposal Panned-Public Meeting


Davis Indge

By David Indge

After attending Thursday nights meeting on the Balme/Ayr pit proposal, it is clear they have a plan, they just do not know how they are going to execute it and what to do if things go wrong. That bodes ill for the entire community.

Mr. Brian French stated in his PowerPoint there has been a lot of misinformation spread about the Balme/Ayr proposal. As things progressed, we quickly learnt where some of the miss-information was coming from.

Mr. French stated they were derailed by a “legal technicality” which is at best, obfuscation of the facts. As was pointed out to him later in the meeting by Lori Iannidinardo, there was no technicality.

The OCP, the legal mandate by which this valley directs and assists community growth and development in a unified, conformed manner fully endorsed by the CVRD, has been in place long before the Balme/Ayr proposal was ever started. Any legal opinion, was on a process of debate, nothing else.

To add to this, the very first question he was asked, Mr. French showed he has a misguided idea where the replacement fill is coming from. In his answer, after his protracted commentary trying to divert from any answer at all which the audience picked up on immediately, when pressed, he stated the replacement fill, tons of it apparently, will be coming from building sites in Victoria.

The groans of disbelief and perhaps disgust that answer brought forth (from both sides, for and against the proposal) spoke volumes. Few, if any, in the audience believed him. This to me at least confirmed Mr. French’s earlier comment regarding miss-information being spread.

I will not dwell on the fossil fuels that will be used supporting that little caravan of heavy trucks bringing fill 50kms over the Malahat and going back empty, I’ll leave that for the environmentalists. And the thought of adding any more traffic to the Malahat, especially trucks and pups heavy laden with fill, should be an additional concern to all who travel that highway.

When the question was raised about local truck traffic, the answer was provided (I forget by whom) that we could expect upwards of 9,000 truck and trailer units heading back and forth up and down Cowichan Bay Road per year. Further it was defined as approximately one every 12 minutes.

A quick calculation shows a more accurate figure: Every 12 minutes equates to 5 per hour x 9 hours (7 AM until 4PM) = 45 per day x 5 = 225 per week x 52 = 11,700 per year. Multiply that by 30 years well, my estimate says 350,000 unit movements along the main road to and from Bench School.

If you have children or grandchildren, you had better show them what a big gravel and pup truck looks like. They will be seeing lots of them on their way to and from school, or while standing by the road waiting for the school bus to arrive. Lest anyone wants go for a walk around the triangle, wear high fizz clothing, you’ll need it. At least should you get hit, they will be able to find you.

And all this, is to support a land reclamation….?


Editorial-Cowichan News Leader Sizes Up Local Elections



Our take: intriguing matches should make for interesting campaigns

The civic election nomination deadline passed Friday, leaving Cowichan political watchers with some very interesting races to handicap.

• It’s unclear how far the tax revolt goes in North Cowichan. It has a high-profile champion in John Koury, but he will need to demonstrate there are enough other reasons to vote for him if he hopes to unseat Jon Lefebure as mayor. The fact only two councillors are seeking re-election assures us of a very different council.

• Peter Lockhart Gordon would not seem to have the support base to mount a serious challenge to Mayor Phil Kent in Duncan. There are some intriguing new faces in the mix for council, but they are in tough in a city notorious for re-electing people and the entire council running again.

• Mike Walker has a strong base of community support and seems well-entrenched in conservative Mill Bay. But former provincial Green party candidate Kerry Davis has the experience and the team to mount a challenge should the area decide to take a progressive turn.

• In 2011, determined CVRD watchdog Dara Quast was unable to crack the broad base of support cultivated by the venerable Gerry Giles in Cobble Hill. But with Giles retiring, Quast has the connections to now be the favourite, unless the Giles camp wholeheartedly embraces Matteus Clement.

• A multitude of strong positions taken by the energetic Lori Iannidinardo have ensured she isn’t universally loved in Cowichan Bay. But they have also created a very dedicated support base that will make her difficult to knock off. Challenger Currie Ellis surfaced during the debate about live-aboard boats and will have to show he is more than a one-issue guy.

• Mel Dorey could be vulnerable in Saltair, although it remains to be seen if either of his challengers have the horses to take advantage.

• After years of holding a relatively safe seat in Area E, Loren Duncan is facing no less than four challengers. The question is: will they fragment the vote enough to keep that seat safe, or will each draw off enough support from Duncan to allow someone else to walk up the middle?

• And Shawnigan is as wide-open a race as we have ever seen. Someone could win this with as little as 25% of the vote.

Lois Morrow is a Serious Contender to be Shawnigan’s CVRD Representative


Lois Morrow- A Serious Contender

Cowichan Conversations

On August 15, in an exchange of comments with Councillor Sharon Jackson regarding the optimal term length for local elected officials, the proprietor of this blog establishment wrote: “We really need people who can find the washroom on their first day.”

Well, I think I can meet and exceed that criteria.  I’m Lois Morrow, a candidate for Area Director in Shawnigan Lake, and I have been following the affairs of the Cowichan Valley Regional District for the past three years.  In that time I have learned the issues, the procedures and the laws around regional district governance and yes, I do know my way around the CVRD building.

My involvement in local politics began during the debate over the EcoDepot proposed for our area.  Since moving to Shawnigan Lake in 2005, I would often drive past an open field near my home where deer could be seen grazing, and where a local farmer harvested two or three hay crops per year.  Vancouver Island has a limited base of farmland, and it seemed foolish to take any amount out of production for an industrial facility.  I joined the Citizens Together group, and we halted the CVRD’s plans through both a court case on zoning and a referendum.

This experience taught me at least three important lessons.  First, our community was caught off guard by the announcement of an EcoDepot, and I realized that as citizens we had not been following closely enough as our regional government made decisions that affected our community.  My motivation to attend CVRD board and committee meetings, the Area Director’s monthly meetings, and many public information meetings for these past three years came from a sense of obligation to be a more aware citizen.

Second, I learned a new management term from a critique of the debacle written by Director Bruce Fraser: DAD management – Decide, Announce, Defend.  I think most citizens have come to reject this style; they want participation from the beginning, and will push back against a regional board that does not include public input as a major component in decision making.  Communication, openness, consultation, will not be just words to me if I’m elected.

Third, and this is not an idea original to me, is that the EcoDepot debate changed the community of Shawnigan Lake.  Many residents were engaged, on both sides of the issue, and from this grew a sense of empowerment in taking on local political issues.  This served us well when the provincial government granted a permit to locate a contaminated soil facility at the south end of our lake. The entire community responded with not just no, but hell no.  I was a member of the executive of the Shawnigan Residents Association, which carried an appeal against the permit to the Environmental Appeal Board, and I watched as the community opened their wallets to raise over $250,000 to fund the experts and lawyers that were needed.  The commitment from our community, and from myself, to not allow such a threat to our watershed and our drinking water is ongoing and unwavering.

I believe that clean water as a basic human right must be accompanied by the basic human right to food security.  According to the Cowichan Food Security Coalition, only 3.33% of land in the region is being farmed (2011), and estimates of the percentage of food sourced locally range between 10% (Island on the Edge) and 19% (CFSC).  I have deep rural roots: raised on a farm in Manitoba, I also lived for 21 years in a rural area of northeastern Alberta before moving to Shawnigan Lake, and I am currently a member of the Koksilah Farmers Institute.  Protecting farmland and supporting initiatives that promote self-sufficiency in food will be priorities for me in elected office.

My education and experience has been within the non-profit sector.  I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Linguistics from the University of Alberta and a Certificate in Voluntary Sector Management from Grant MacEwan Community College in Edmonton, and have over 30 years of experience on various boards.  Among them, I served 5 years as an appointed member of the St. Paul Municipal Library Board, I volunteered with the St. Lina Agricultural Society, and I was a founding member and first Director of the crisis line and women’s shelter in St. Paul, Alberta.  I also devoted 13 years to homeschooling.  My bias will always be towards encouraging and supporting organic, grassroots, volunteer-led community activism.

I would consider it a privilege to serve the citizens of Shawnigan Lake as Area Director, and will strive to be a capable representative at the Cowichan Valley Regional District board table and an effective advocate within our municipal and provincial government offices. My thanks to Mr. Hughes for the opportunity to contribute to his blog.



Loren Duncan Seeks Re-Election In Glenora-Sahtlam-Cowichan Station


Director Loren Duncan warns that the taxpayers are watching.



Loren Duncan

Incumbent Candidate – Glenora-Sahtlam-Cowichan Station


About myself: It has been a pleasure and honour to serve the constituents these past 15 years as Director.

I reside in Sahtlam on a riverside property owned since the mid 1980′s with my spouse Maureen.

I pay property tax’s in both Electoral Area “E” & “F”.

Politically I am more Green than anything else…belonging to the party both Provincially and Federally, but
I recognize that party politics is not the appropriate flag to fly at the local government Board table.

When I wander in the political wilderness on an issue, I remember a past mentor saying…”find the public interest”
and go there…wise and sage advice.

Retired I have been able to devote the time to the job which is necessary, this is a full time task these days.

There is differences between Electoral Area Issues and politics, and Municipal. I know the ropes here.

Small but important difference in the cultural nature, and mind set, of different parts of Area “E” exist, I
know the nuances, respect them, and deal carefully and respectfully in regards.

I spent most of the 1990;s on Parks, watershed, nature, and conservation issues and dialogues, that ismy foundation still today, I came to the CVRD Board table in 1999, an advocate…but an advocate seldom makes a good politician or survives…unless they quickly acquire an understanding of the pragmatic nature of group decisions made by democratic methods…that is voting.

I understand this, while still anchoring, to being true to thine self, and your constituency.

My reputation says I can be quite the handful when defending Area “E” interests, I recall for you the School
closures which decimated the communities and weakened the family structure locally, or the rapacious
boundary attack by the City of Duncan which we all repelled…yes, quite the handful…when so needed.

On principle, in my fifteen years as your Director, I never do, and never have accepted any financial
campaign contributions, the conflict of interest potential, and perceived conflict of interest is just to great.

Thanks, but no thanks!

In closing, I am much more of a known entity than unknown…sooo I hope this is adequate, and topical.

Watersheds, Water Supply, Water Quality: History takes me back to helping found and create
the original Cowichan Watershed Council in 1995, as a Board member, I represented the Conservation
& Environmental sector in the valley for quite the time.

I sat as a Board member on the B.C. Watershed Stewardship Alliance for a long while as well. Both Societies floundered…and others later arose to carry the torch…and so it goes, for better, for worse…the basic issue(s) perpetual…so it seems.

Carrying capacity is finite, but the ask is ever growing, let’s just call it “growth”…and that’s the conundrum.

I am concerned about high level planning around sustainability without the nuts & bolts foundational
planning to support the hierarchy…I am talking about a Regional Growth Management Plan as defined
in the Local Government Act.

The CVRD has been remise in regards, our neighbouring jurisdiction have meaningful RGMP’s…but not us. As well the CVRD does not have a Bulk Water Plan, like our neighbours, a risk, risky behaviour.

My point! High level plans without methodology to implement like a RGMP by statute is like building the
second floor of a house and trying to add the basement and first floor later…not what I call sustainable
behaviour. I digress, but the Vision 2020 exercise of a few years back primarily stated to do a RGMP.

So far nothing. Is it ‘Sustainable’ housing growth we desire? ‘Sustainable’ forest harvesting? ‘Sustainable’
fisheries? ‘Sustainable’ agriculture?

All flying in the face of Climate Change realities, and oversubscribed carrying capacity, and tooth & nail competition…we do need to give our head a shake here.

Is water conservation about saving a fish…or a land developer…choices that must be made, what ever
they are, and not shelved in some report…but implemented by a foundational RGMP interwoven broadly
within OCP and Zoning Bylaw. I stand, as always, for a CVRD RGMP…it has been time, for a long time.

Each Electoral Area has a Official Community Plan and a complimentary and
subservient Zoning Bylaw. These documents define the wishes of the community in a broad sense.

However the conversations that make up the plans don’t happen often enough, the LGAct suggests
a five year review window. Area “E” had that OCP conversation, last starting in 1990, 24 years ago

That is the reality in the busy day to day planning priorities, budget, and staff capacity at the CVRD.
Some plans became so dated as to be dysfunctional, such as the recently amended Shawnigan,
and Cowichan Bay OCP documents. That said, in 1992, Area “E” adopted a OCP plan with leading
edge directions, it has good foundational bones and has been amended constructively over time.

But it is dated and getting disjointed a wee bit, still an excellent and current document for the
most part…it was a living document, and lived wisely…I digress, and pander here, but credit
is due to my predecessors and CVRD staff for the wholesome OCP maintenance over times.

Area “E” has opened up the OCP plan for review, the conversations with the communities are starting,
two CVRD planning staff have been assigned in regards, as their primary duties and tasks.

It is a time for residents within the plan to speak…and as well to listen to neighbours, participate…and
enjoy the accountable consultation by this process as it unfolds…and ultimately completes.

CVRD Taxes:
Talking tax’s can be a mugs game unless you have the relevant facts in hand.

I have attached those facts, in detailed graphs and tables. Or conversely contact me at
( Beware of wingnuttery dialogue, know your tax facts.)

Schedule D Cost per $100000 breakdown

Schedule E Cost for Average Home

A comparison of tax rates, by tables, for the nine electoral areas by $$$ per 100K assessment, and
an comparison of tax’s paid for an average home in each of the nine jurisdiction…by graph.

Each method of comparison is valid, but different. Scroll through the tables, 1 to 9.

Disregard the Municipal numbers, other than a curiosity, as they only reflect CVRD requisition
component, and not the whole Municipal tax bills.

Remember you as well pay School Tax, Rural Property tax to the Province for roads, etc,
Policing tax, again to the Province, Library tax, and Hospital District tax…sorry about having
to mention that, but it is a fact.

Soooo…where does Area “E” sit in comparison with others…how do we rank?

On an assessment basis we are in the middle, four above, four below.

On an average property basis we are third lowest.

That does not answer any questions or comments on the general drift upwards overall, and here
my reputation is fiscal conservative, with an eye to fiduciary duties and obligations…most often
to little avail…but I do try to show forbearance and responsibility, and will continue to do so.

And finally study the services that you receive and pay for from the attachments…compare to
other, jurisdictions….let all the candidates know…more…less…the same. You go figure!

Vision: I was flattered when Christy Clark borrowed my “families first” message and agenda.
Area “E” endured four rural school closures, taking the heart and center out of the
neighbourhoods. As a consequence, Area “E” was becoming an unfriendly and difficult place for
families, services were all a car ride away, neighbouring children and mothers and fathers were
losing touch with each other, a sense of local community was faltering.

Rebuilding started about a decade ago, parks like Glenora Trailshead, Community playgrounds
and Tot-Lots like Currie park, support for community actions by Bylaw and funding for the HUB,
and more! And truthfully we are just starting. A pause to thank the “E” Parks & Rec commission.

The group at the HUB which overcame the school closure and built a dream in place.
And the CVRD staff in the Parks & Culture division.

All of us are making “families first”, a priority in Area “E”, measurably and with focused intent.

We are starting on creating a ten year plan going forward at Glenora Trailshead…we think usage
will overwhelm us if we do not recognize the need, and appropriately plan…everyone is finding out
about it. Everyone already knows about Bright Angel…a rebuild of it’s vision.

A Greenway from Riverbottom Rd, across Sahtlam, to the Trans Canada trail adjacent to Hwy 18 is
being assembled, over four hundred acres initially, trails meandering…a game changer in the
Sahtlam community.

Families are paying attention in Sahtlam, especially they are on the move…and it’s in…not out!

Ecologically significant acquisitions like Wake Lake, protecting the most significant breeding
habitat for the Western Toad on southern Vancouver Island, and other amphibians, were
accomplished, not cheap, but strategic, timely and necessary. Wetlands are important in Area “E”.

In closing, if families are first, agriculture and our rural agrarian nature and bent are second, food
security, like water and Climate Change are on my mind, and I suspect yours as well.

I have vision, I have agenda, and I have the tools acquired over the last decades to enable them.
You have choices…I think I should be that choice, all things considered, and by record.


Loren Duncan


Authorized by Loren Duncan, financial agent, 250-746-0240


Candidates Running for elected office in the Cowichan Valley and for the School District Board can email their releases to

Dara Quast is Running to be Cobble Hill’s New CVRD Director


Dara Quast has lived in Cobble Hill for 25 years. She built her home and raised her family here.

Like the local family farms and agricultural areas she has long protected, her roots are deep in this community.

Dara’s educational background is in business and network technologies. This gives her a strong knowledge base to draw upon and the capacity required to do effective community outreach in order to achieve balanced decision-making, respectful of the whole community .

As a homeowner in Cobble Hill, Dara understands the full realm of services needed for a healthy and vibrant community and has proven her respect for the citizens who fund those services with their tax dollars.

Dara was instrumental in establishing a safe, affordable and reliable drinking water system in her own neighbourhood.

Quast, in her name,  successfully challenged the CVRD in the BC Supreme Court over their dubious attempt to place a waste transfer station on farmland in the middle of the scenic South Cowichan.

She has tirelessly fought to have the CVRD exercise their land use authority to stop the threat of a contaminated reclamation facility in the Shawnigan Lake watershed.

Dara recognizes that small business, tourism and agriculture – with just the right mix of light industry – has made Cobble Hill the envy of the Cowichan Valley.

Quast understands that local business strengthens our economy and helps make Cobble Hill a resilient and healthy community. She respects and advocates for people and their property rights.

As a mother and grandmother she is committed to protecting the air, the water and the land in order to ensure the health and safety of the entire community.

There is one thing about Dara that puts her in a class of her own. She listens – not just to a few but to all of you – the people she intends to represent at the CVRD table with your support.

Read more about Dara’s platform here.


Balme Ayr Gravel Pit Proposal – Public Meeting Thursday Night 6PM-Cobble Hill Farmers Institute Hall

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

The Balme Ayr Gravel Pit application is turning into an ‘Never Ending Story’

Length of proposed gravel operations sent to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) was for 15 years and was approved, but wait a minute, now they tell Energy & Mines that it is for 30 years.

I am sure that the ALC will be interested in learning that.

The names of the applicants have also been changed and one wonders what Energy & Mines is doing processing such a flawed application and why they are slated to appear at the proponents ‘Public Meeting’ this Thursday at the Cobble Hill Farmer’s Institute Hall?

The ‘Public Meeting’ is basically a one more kick at the can shot at selling this project to a community that wants no part of it.

This has been a highly politicized proposal and should be held in abeyance until the newly elected Regional Board is sworn into office


This Energy and Mines Ministry oversee gravel operations in the province, but  their record is dubious as has been made clear in their handling of the South Island Aggregate application to dump 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil in the Shawnigan Watershed, and then of course the ‘Grand Daddy’ of them all, the Mount Polly Mining’s tailing pond disaster. 

CVRD Director-Cowichan Bay-Lori Iannidinardo

CVRD Director-Cowichan Bay-Lori Iannidinardo

This application has been vigorously supported by outgoing Cobble Hill Director Gerry Giles who met her match when she tried jamming this through and mowing over a determined Cowichan Bay Director Lori Iannidinardo.

Director Iannidinardo, Chair of the Electoral Area Services,  represents the bordering farms and rural residences in the Cowichan Bay Electoral District and she received overwhelming support from the rest of the CVRD Directors responsible for land use decisions.

Cobble Hill CVRD Director Gerry Giles

Cobble Hill CVRD Director Gerry Giles

When Director Giles hit heavy a wall of opposition then acting CAO Raimondo ran interference insinuating that Lori Iannidinardo was being too forceful in her manner and had not dealt fairly with the temporary permit application .

That was rich coming from Sir Frank, well known for his heavy handed style when opposed or challenged.

Together Giles and Raimondo attempted to buffalo the Board saying that a ‘Temporary Permit’ should be granted so that they could monitor the situation. In fact it would have given the applicants a foot in the door with the opportunity to extend operations almost indefinitely.

'Raimondo-the Rude' We were 100 percent wrong'!

‘Raimondo-the Rude’ We were 100 percent wrong’!

Of course the embarassing truth is that Raimondo, after checking with their lawyers,  had to publicly disclose that along with Director Giles and Mill Bay Director Mike Walker, that they had been “100 percent wrong!”


CVRD Chair Rob Hutchins had supported the flawed process, later rejected by CVRD lawyers.

How could they not have known that all along?

Truth is that the shiny new South Cowichan Official Community Plan driven by Director Giles and used as justification for the temporary permit did not allow such a scheme and for good reason.

The high priced upper management,  CVRD Chair Rob Hutchins and long time politicians Director Giles and Director Mike Walker either missed that or chose to ignore it. How is that possible?

Raimondo whispered in his ear! Tried to stop Lori Iannidinardo

Raimondo whispered in his ear! Then Mike tried to stop Lori Iannidinardo

Yes, they were caught out again. They interpreted their own OCP’s and bylaws as it suited them, just as they had done with the provocative Eco Depot debacle where they tried to convince all and sundry that the Shawnigan OCP allowed a Garbage Transfer Station and Recycling Dropoff to be built on farmland.

Perhaps when the ballots are counted November 15th voters will elect a Cobble Hill Director who will actually stand up for the public interest.


Check out this Cowichan News Leaders News Story by Peter Rusland


Mining Approval Sought For Controversial Balme Ayr Gravel Proposal


Peter Rusland

Peter Rusland

by Peter Rusland – Cowichan News Leader Pictorial

Balme Ayr dairy farm’s bid for a mines ministry nod toward a proposed gravel-for-farmland project will heard during an Oct. 16 public meeting at Cobble Hill Hall.

The 6 p.m. meeting will see mines’ staff gather public comments about an application to remove 3.2-million cubic metres of gravel from Shelley and Oliver Balme’s Cobble Hill spread straddling the highway near Dougan Lake. Gravel would slowly be replaced with soil suitable for growing cattle feed.

“All we are trying to do is make a piece of our farm, that is deemed 42.7% un-farmable, farmable and keep it in the agricultural land reserve,” the couple stated in an Aug. 13, 2013 public letter tied to their application to the Agricultural Land Commission that eventually gained the ALC’s blessing.

But the commission’s nod followed flak from the Cowichan Valley Regional District board. Directors voted 7-1 this summer against supporting the family’s project, basically claiming B.C.’s environment ministry staff would be unable to adequately monitor the fill’s quality.

Nearby residents also worried gravel work would mean dust, noise, groundwater contamination and reduced property values.

“Fifteen trucks a day will make no difference to people’s day-to-day life,” the Balmes countered in their 2013 letter. “Dirt and pollutants that come off the Trans-Canada Highway are closer to any neighbouring vineyard’s grapes than our project ever will be.

“The reason for the 15-year time span is because we are legally allowed to take gravel from our property. If this gravel went out as pit-run, it would take 50 years and the number of trucks would quantify dramatically.”

Cobble Hill Director Gerry Giles wanted the CVRD to gain a measure of control concerning Balme Ayr’s work, and other projects, by amending regional bylaws to allow issuance of temporary-use permits “rather than relying on the (environment) ministry” for enforcement.

“All ministries (staff) have been gutted, and that makes them (enforcement) tenuous at best,” she told the News Leader Pictorial, preferring local controls.

Now, Balme Ayr’s project is governed by staff at Mines and Environment.

Still, Giles explained, safeguards ensure the Balmes follow gravel-extraction regulations.

“The application is not to do the whole thing at once, but in stages. According to permission from the ALC, they have to complete one phase before going on to the next. There’s a $500,000 bond to be posted with the ALC to ensure what’s proposed is actually followed,” she said.

“I’d be very surprised if they get a Mines permit that doesn’t also include bonding.”

Access issues must be vetted by the highways ministry too, she noted.

Ultimately, the Balmes say they want to farm more of their land, not quarry gravel.

“This proposal starts and ends with agricultural land,” they said in their 2013 letter. “We make milk. We do not need a (previously suggested) vineyard, nor do we need a subdivision.

“We need land to grow crops to feed our cows who make the milk that feeds the community.”

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  • John McKinley

    The quotes from the Balmes are from their Aug. 13, 2013 letter in regards to their application to the Agricultural Land Commission. The story has been updated to reflect that. — the editor
  • Marilyn Venturi · Cobble Hill, British Columbia

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment on the story, John. The headline is “Mining Approval Sought for Controversial Gravel Proposal” so I was surprised to get outdated and no longer valid information on the ALC application last year, which was significantly different.
    Hopefully, people attending the public meeting on Thursday will have the opportunity to hear the facts of the actual mining approval sought which have not yet been provided to the public, nor do they appear to be in the documents before the Chief Inspector of Mines. One can’t have an informed opinion without the facts.
  • Dara Quast ·  Top Commenter

    This is an interesting article. The community has not been informed that the application for a mining permit on agricultural land has been amended from 30 years to 15 years as Ms. Balme is implying.
    We have also not been notified that the Balmes are now parties of the application.To date the only information we have been given is that this is a 30 year industrial operation and the applicant is Cowichan Sand and Gravel with the contact being Brad Crawford and the mailing address being that of Capitol City Paving.

    The application was submitted on behalf of the applicant by C & F Land Resource Consultants LTD. The contact name was Brian French. This is the same consultant the Balmes used for their 15 year application to the ALC. This is also the same person who threatened legal action against multiple community members during the written submission portion of this application.We can only assume that this was an attempt to subvert the public input process and are shocked by Mr. French’s actions. All parties would have been better served if he had engaged the public instead of threatening them.

    Since this can happen in any community it is important for the citizens of this Valley to attend the October 16th meeting at Cobble Hill Hall. Hear the information and make your own determinations based on facts.

      • Oliver-Shelley Balme

        Dear Dara you are splitting hairs here, and not making any sense. Of course we are a parties to the application we are the land owners. The Agricultural Land commission is fully aware we were partnering with a Sand and Gravel company. Did you think Oliver and I would be out there with our tractor and tipping trailer moving sand.
        To date the only information available has been the entire 308 pg proposal , the Mines application, the Hydrology report. Oh and the Information meeting held for the Douglas hill rate payers July 29th 2013. And tomorrow night will be another public information meeting that the public has asked for. Please come and get the facts.
        If you yourself would like to explain to the public at the all candidates meeting or at the public information meeting tomorrow night why Mr. French had to threaten legal action, and the roll you played by supporting and misdirecting the few people opposed to our proposal, please feel free to do so. Transparency and openness is expected of a candidate. But I am sure you would not like your professional integrity questioned and things repeatedly said about you that were not true. And I am sure you would do something about it also.
      • Marilyn Venturi · Cobble Hill, British Columbia

        Oliver-Shelley Balme It is interesting to me that Mr. French would threaten legal action against community members for sending an invited submission expressing valid concerns and requesting studies, monitoring and controls, which didn’t even mention Mr. French or you. That same submission was re-sent with 277 unique community member signatures (this time protected under privacy legislation to prevent frivolous threats) and we have received correspondence from hundreds of others expressing grave concerns, hardly “a few people opposed”. The CVRD, which represents the community, is also opposed to the project. You owe Ms. Quast an apology. She is open, honest, knowledgeable and cares deeply about her community and its residents.
      • Oliver-Shelley Balme

        Marilyn it is obvious you do not understand that you cannot speak as a community representative unless you have been elected so. If you and Dara want to state you speak for the 277 people you have told our proposal is a 69 acre ” open gravel pit” then by all means do so. But you do not speak for the community as a whole, you do not speak for the people who support us in our land reclamation proposal.
    • Leslie McKellar · Photographer at Volunteering


      Richard Hub Hughes ·  Top Commenter · Are you kidding me?

      The CNL reported that Cobble Hill Director Gerry Giles wanted the CVRD to gain a measure of control concerning Balme Ayr’s work…by amending regional bylaws to allow issuance of temporary-use permits at the proposed gravel pit operation. This is where the puck hit the sidewalk. The OCP prohibits the use of TUP’s and as Raimondo publicly confessed their CVRD lawyers told them that they 100 percent wrong. So that ‘end run’ fell flat. As far as the CVRD gaining a measure of control, they had that at the Eco Depot and the Shawnigan Watershed and we saw how that worked out.