Lobby optimistic bid to keep Lake Cowichan federally connected to Duncan will be heard
Local authorities are hopeful a cry to keep Cowichan Lake connected to Cowichan will not all on deaf ears.
The federal government held hearings on Oct. 16 and 17 in Nanaimo and Victoria to gather feedback on a proposed federal electoral boundary change that would see the Cowichan Lake are absorbed into a Nanaimo-based riding.
Concerns it should, instead, be included with the Duncan area were voiced multiple times.
“I think there was 21 speakers or something,” said Lake Cowichan Mayor Ross Forrest. “And they weren’t all on our area, but it was pretty unanimous. Everybody that did speak (said) that Lake Cowichan shouldn’t be in a riding with Nanaimo; we should be in with the rest of the Cowichan.
Cowichan Lake South Director Ian Morrison also spoke to the fact that the proposed boundaries would make access to constituency services difficult.
“Now that was a big deal. We’re used to our provincial representation in Duncan, we’re used to our federal representation in Duncan. If the proposed ridings were to go ahead then obviously a Nanaimo centred riding is going to have a constituency office there,” said Morrison.
“We would have to drive over an hour from our area mainly through another riding to get to constituency services in Nanaimo.”
“I made a passionate argument about the Cowichan Watershed and how the proposed boundaries have the potential of dividing the watershed into two separate federal ridings,” added Morrison.
Forrest said he was confident local concerns were heard.
“There’s no guarantee that our (proposed boundaries) are going to get changed, but I think that by all the information that they’re hearing, and after listening to all that information, I’m confident that they will. I think there were some strong enough points made.”
Meanwhile, while the Lake wants to hang with Duncan in Ottawa, Sooke is not so sure.
Sooke Council has agreed to combat electoral boundary changes that would see Sooke become part of the proposed riding, labelled South Cowichan-Juan de Fuca
Under the proposed changes, Sooke, Port Renfrew, Metchosin, and portions of Langford and Metchosin would join the Duncan and south Cowichan areas.
“I think the Malahat should be used as a natural divider boundary, and I don’t support the change,” Sooke Councillor Kerrie Reay said.