Our take: Times change and Cowichan has to adapt
There is an interesting juxtaposition of stories in today’s edition that well illustrates a dilemma facing Lake Cowichan, and, less directly, all the diverse sub-communities that comprise this place we call The Warm Land.
On the one hand, you’ve got Lake people fighting desperately for recognition of their own distinct identity as they work to preserve their vision of a school, or schools to call their own.
On the other hand, you’ve got Lake people lobbying hard for a recognition they are part of a larger Cowichan as they urge officials to cut a deal to eliminate for them the two-tier fee structure at the Cowichan Aquatic Centre.
Both arguments are true — Cowichan is home to a variety of distinct communities, and those communities are all, in many ways, connected.
It is this paradox that feeds most of the political battles that plague our various local government bodies. And it becomes increasingly more complex to solve once you realize the best solutions we can come up with today will make far less sense down the road as the face of our community continues its perpetual shift.
To be clear: there is no question the plethora of small schools that once dotted the Cowichan Lake area made great sense when roads were rough and transportation around the lake difficult. The growth and expansion that occurred later made sense as the area boomed into one of our country’s most prosperous regions. The consolidation that happened in the past couple decades makes sense as boom goes to bust. And new or expanded schools will make sense in the future as the lake rebounds.
Every area in the valley is subject to this kind of ebb and flow. But it doesn’t come without pain and it shouldn’t come without dialogue as we work to find an equilibrium best for all.
As good neighbours, it is up to the rest of us to ease these transitions as best we can.