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Dateline Cowichan: Cobble Hill’s Giles pushes south-end municipality
Gerry Giles’ history in local politics has been long, steady and discerning.
“It’s time the south end talked about incorporation,” the regional district chairman said during an interview in August 1983. Taxpayers would get a better deal for their money – and more autonomy in decision-making – if the south end formed its own municipality, she said.
She proposed a municipality of South Cowichan, a region that would be bigger than North Cowichan. At the time, she said the people of the south end were not adequately or fairly represented at the regional district level. “We have to look at a better way,” she insisted.
Her proposal had two options: a new municipality that would include electoral areas A (Mill Bay), B (Shawnigan Lake), C (Cobble Hill), and D (Cowichan Bay); or all those areas plus area E (Sahtlam) and the city of Duncan.
Giles didn’t expect opposition from Duncan which has always firmly rejected any thoughts of amalgamation with North Cowichan. Her plan would be more attractive, she said, because it offered the city “room to grow.” At present, she said, Duncan was being virtually swallowed by surrounding areas.
The Cowichan Valley Unemployed Committee, led by Ken Brown, called on the provincial government to commit itself to long-term funding of work programs for the unemployed hit by local mill closures and forestry job losses.
According to Ken Brown, if the federal government hadn’t stepped in to fund a provincial government program for several hundred local jobs under the community recovery program, hundreds more people would be on the welfare rolls.
Government NEED projects are valuable, not only because they employ people but also because they bring long-term economic gain to the area, said North Cowichan’s municipal forester Dave Haley.