​The Movin’ On Up Cowichan Lake Poverty Reduction project aims to create a local Poverty Reduction Strategy based on community input. (Submitted)

Cowichan Lake group focused on poverty reduction

The Movin' On Up, Cowichan Lake Poverty Reduction project

What can be done to eliminate local poverty? The Town of Lake Cowichan and a working group of community partners are working together on a project aimed at gathering ideas from area residents and then creating a poverty reduction strategy.

The Movin’ On Up, Cowichan Lake Poverty Reduction project details can be found at https://www.movinonupcowichanlake.ca/

The first public input opportunity is a poverty reduction questionnaire that can be found on the website. Printed copies can be picked up at Cowichan Lake Community services and then either returned to CLCS or dropped in the Town Hall drop box.

The goal is to learn about the individual experiences people have with poverty to better personalize the universal strategies for addressing it.

“It is so important for everyone to have a voice in this process,” said Mayor Bob K. Day. “The goal of the plan is to have a community conversation and hear what the service and community needs are for Cowichan Lake area residents, including Ts’uubaa-asatx and Ditidaht First Nations and to come up with solutions that will help lift people up and out of poverty.”

Hearing directly from local residents is critical to the project’s success, according to project director Rosalie Sawrie, of Social Planning Cowichan.

“Everyone is encouraged to participate,” she said. “The more people that take the questionnaire, participate in the online forums and become Community Champions, the greater success we will have in developing a strategy of local actions that will best address the needs of those living in poverty.”

Following the questionnaire, other initiatives including virtual community group meetings, various poverty-related discussion topics through social media and an online forum to explore local solutions and recommendations.

The project is being funded through a provincial grant through the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

Working group members include: local representatives from Cowichan Lake Community Services, Lake Cowichan Food Bank Society, Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce, Island Health, Our Cowichan Health Network, School District 79, RCMP, BC Ambulance, the Town of Lake Cowichan and Social Planning Cowichan.

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Lake Cowichan Gazette