ECO Depot vote a south-end only affair?
Folks calling Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake and Mill Bay home will likely get their say on whether the CVRD should build an ECO Depot at 3224 Cameron-Taggart Road.
People living in other areas of the Cowichan Valley won’t.
At least that’s the recommendation for the upcoming referendum from the CVRD’s Regional Services Committee.
Tonight, the full board will be asked to confirm the recommendation that only electors from areas A, B and C will be asked the non-binding question: “Are you in favour of locating the South Cowichan ECO Depot recycling and household waste collection facility at 3224 Cameron-Taggart Road?”
CVRD chairwoman Gerry Giles said the recommendation was made after much debate about which areas should participate.
“I thought there was some very interesting discussions at the meeting,” she said.
The decision to leave out Cowichan Bay was a bit dicey for some directors, she said. But in the end, the majority wanted to stick with the three closest communities.
“There was a bit of a feeling around that Cowichan Bay should be involved and an amendment was put forward, but that amendment was defeated,” Giles said.
Developing the question itself, however, was pretty simple, Giles said.
“We were wanting something that was straight to the point.”
The CVRD’s decision to go to referendum, however, hasn’t pleased ECO Depot opponents.
“It is my belief that the referendum question is yet another tactic to intentionally deceive the public,” Kelly Musselwhite, who recently announced her candidacy for Shawnigan Lake directorship, said.
“The timing is also both intentional and political as the entire Cowichan Valley is on the cusp of an election. If the public’s voices had been deemed important, they would have been heard over the past 16 months.”
Musselwhite thinks the CVRD’s choice to conduct a plebiscite is deceptive and disrespectful, and misuses taxpayer-funded resources.
“This is just one example of many that demonstrates the need for new voices at the CVRD table.”
Giles reminded folk directors have had almost a week to mull last week’s resolutions.
“That was just a committee meeting, and sometimes people go away from those meetings and have an opportunity to think about the discussion and may change what happens at the committee,” Giles said.
The board will also say yay or nay to the RSC’s recommendation a communications strategy be developed supporting the opinion question process and one that informs residents of what the South ECO Depot proposal is all about.
Construction and operation of the estimated $2.5 million to $3 million facility (including land and studies) would be funded by the entire region, just as existing transfer facilities at Peerless Road, Bings Creek and Meade Creek are also being paid for by all.
“However, as this project qualifies for Federal Gas Tax funding, the major part of the cost associated with the South Cowichan ECO Depot will be supported through that funding mechanism,” Giles said.