Tonight I attended an event at the Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre in Duncan BC to address the flow "management" of the historic Cowichan River. The intent was to bring together all the stake-holders and officials from all levels of government to explore everyone's wishes and try to find common ground.
These stake-holders included:
- a pulp and paper corporation with a 1960's licence to use water from the river for industrial purposes
- First Nations people who have lived on the river for thousands of years and have cultural ties to the salmon that spawn there
- cottagers who's "enjoyment" of their property may be impacted by fluctuating levels of the lake that feeds the river
- recreational anglers
Lots of luck with that!
As those in the crowd whispered revolutionary ideas like, "If we had left the trees, the lake and the river alone it would all have managed itself", the government bureaucrats showed slides of graphs and statistics and when that failed, un-furled a paper scroll with more axes and coloured lines . . . . . then fell silent.
The stake-holders voiced their disparate talking points, sometimes politely, sometime not so. Thankfully, no one mentioned the cultural significance of roasting marshmallows on the beach . . . . . then we all went home.