Thursday December 5, 2019
North Cowichan Council Members:
Mayor Al Siebring, Councillor Rob Douglas, Councillor Christopher Justice, Councillor Tek Manhas
Councillor Kate Marsh, Councillor Rosalie Sawrie, Councillor Debra Toporowski
Re. the expansion proposal for Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit
Dear Mayor and Councillors,
I am writing this letter to ask you to once again decline Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit (VIMC) expansion when you meet with the public on December 9th. I would have been there to make a deposition, however I am out of town on a trip booked before the meeting date was announced and so I write this letter instead.
I was shocked to find out that this issue has resurfaced after the wonderful leadership position most of you took in declining VIMC’s proposal a few months ago. I have also been dismayed by the scare tactics that have been used to compel you to turn your votes around to support the application. From all accounts that I have read, these scare tactics like multi-million dollar lawsuits are unfounded.
Although there are many reasons that I agree with in terms of why this proposal should be turned down once and for all (more carbon spewing into the atmosphere, the privileged nature of the sports track and club, noise levels and other impacts on the environment), the one that is closest to my heart is about respecting Indigenous rights.
As has been made known to me by some Quw’utsun (Cowichan) people, and as you are probably aware, the site of the proposed expansion is extremely close to the area sacred to the first peoples of this valley. Known as Ts’uqwulu, the site figures prominently in the origin story of the Quw’utsun. It is also actively used for present spiritual and sustenance (food gathering and hunting) purposes.
Given how Quw’utsun people were dispossessed of their lands through past colonial practices, and that the proposed site lies in unceded traditional land, there is a real opportunity now for North Cowichan to engage in reconciliation through measures aimed at healing the wounds of the past. To me, a major measure towards reconciliation would be to respect the rights of the Quw’utsen by declining the VIMC expansion application.
Although I am in the jurisdiction of Duncan and not North Cowichan, I nevertheless write to you as a concerned citizen of Quw’utsun Valley, as a hwunitum, ally and friend to the Quw’utsun and for future generations who would be upset about the moral and ecological implications and consequences of approving this proposal.
I ask you to be bold, visionary, to act in nutsamaat shqwaluwun (meaning in Hul’qumi’num, “working as one, with one heart and one mind”) by declining the VIMC application.