B.C. pledges $14M to replace aging Lake Cowichan Weir


On Friday, the province announced a $14 million investment to support Cowichan Tribes and the greater Cowichan community to help replace a 74-year-old weir.

It was an emotional day for many who have advocated for years in order to replace the weir. Chief Cindy Daniels from the Cowichan Tribes knows how much work it took to get all the funding in place, and how much more work there’s to do moving forward.

“The well-being of our community and the broader Cowichan community is connected to the health of our river,” she told CHEK News.

“Cowichan [Tribes] recognizes that the river and the salmon it supports as our relatives, and our relatives have been suffering,” she said. Daniels also told the crowd that her nation has been trying to save the river for years and that she is happy this day of funding has finally come.

This message of suffering was heavily noticed last year when drought levels were hitting record lows along with thousands of fry’s washing up dead along the river shores.

B.C. Premier David Eby echoed Daniels’ thoughts reflecting on last summer.

“Last summer we saw a catastrophe on the river where it as essentially kept alive only through giant pumps,” said Eby.

READ MORE: Pumps added to weir at Lake Cowichan as water level drop to historic lows

Nathan Cullen, B.C. Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, was at the announcement with an optimistic outlook on how beneficial the new weir will be to Vancouver Island.

“This weir will store more water while not raising the natural high water levels of Cowichan Lake. This will maintain water levels and flows in the Cowichan river,” he said. Cullen added that the time to save the river is now.

The province’s $14-million will be added to the $4-million already invested by the Cowichan Valley Regional District and another $24-million provided by the federal government. It’s unclear when construction will start but the project is expected to be complete in 2026.

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