Author Archive: matteusclement

New Merchant Group formed in Cobble Hill

A new merchants group has formed in Cobble Hill, CHUMS (Cobble Hill United Merchants Society).

They are holding their first social mixer at the Cobblestone pub SEPTEMBER 27th from 7-9pm. It is open to CHUMS members and all local business people interested in networking and learning more about CHUMS are welcome: home-based, retail, commercial, industrial, non-profit.

Anita Willis, one of the owners of two hoots gallery, has been spearheading the group.

With the collapse of the South Cowichan Chamber of commerce, CHUMS is seeking to fill some of the void left by The Chamber’s departure. CHUMS is not looking to become “the next chamber” but rather a way for upcoming and existing business owners to connect, find information and work together to better the business community in Cobble Hill and South Cowichan.

Here is a write up from the upcoming website:

Cobble Hill United Merchants Society

What is CHUMS?

Early in 2017, a group of Cobble Hill business owners began meeting to see how they might work together to support each other and the community we serve. In July 2017, the group registered the Cobble Hill United Merchants Society (CHUMS) as an official B.C. society.


What is the mandate of CHUMS?

The society’s two stated purposes are:

  • To build connections among Cobble Hill business owners, residents, and like-minded local and regional organizations to broaden local and regional awareness of Cobble Hill as a vibrant and welcoming community in which to live, work, and play.
  • To foster initiatives and events to enhance the beauty, heritage, livability, and social connectivity of Cobble Hill.


Who is on the board of CHUMS?

The following business owners have volunteered to serve on the first CHUMS board:

President:                     Phil Newns, Minstrels Music School

Vice-President:             Nick Yaremchuk, Island Computers

Treasurer:                     Kim Newns, Paint Nite

Secretary:                     Anita Willis, Two Hoots Gift Gallery

Director-at-Large:        Dave Kral, Cobblestone Pub

Director-at-Large:        Candice Johnsson, Union 22 Antique and Vintage

Director-at-Large:        Susan Dumas-Ryan, The Second Hanger


Who can join?

Membership in CHUMS is open to businesses, organizations, and individuals both within and outside of the boundaries of Cobble Hill Regional District. Anyone who supports the society’s stated purposes, above, is welcome, including business people and organizations from neighbouring South Cowichan communities who see a benefit in networking with the business people of Cobble Hill.


What are the benefits of a $10 annual membership in CHUMS?

* Network with local business owners at fun “Meet and Greet” evenings.

* Join CHUMS group marketing initiatives to get more for your ad dollars.

* Participate in CHUMS community-building events and initiatives.

* Get listed in CHUMS’ growing member directory and a future CHUMS website.

* Advocate for village improvements (like a “Visit Cobble Hill Village” sign on the highway, pedestrian safety issues in the business core, etc.) as a collective group of business owners.

* Stay “in-the-loop” with newsy updates about changes, improvements, etc. in the Cobble Hill business community.

* Get CHUMS member discounts at participating local businesses.


1)     Grants in Aid:     Why has this been increased from $6,500 to $80,000 over the last 2 year period?

Many residents of cobble hill do not know of the grants in aid function. As the cobble hill event society pressed on last year and it became public knowledge that there was funding for community groups, there appeared to be an interest by the community to start initiatives that would benefit the community. So I increased it. If at the end of the year, there is money in the bank, it will be rolled over and the requisition will be lowered accordingly.

2)     Federal Gas Tax Rebate:     Why was $50,000 funded for a covered pavilion on private property at Evergreen Private School?

Evergreen is also a society. Their grounds are open to the community after hours, on weekends and the summer. The CVRD has an existing arrangment with them that will be extended through this funding. The pavillion will cost 150,000.

3)     Why was $70,000 spent to duplicate previous village designs completed in 2012, 2013 and 2014?

The design charrette gave a visual plan to some of the village’s development. The other plans you refer to were 20 years old or for very specific projects. The OCP does not give visual guidelines.

4)     Cobble Hill Events Society (CHES)

      (a) This was created by Director Clement in 2016 — Why is it being funded by Grants In Aid monies?

It was not created by me. It was facilitated by me with a group of cobble hill citizens who wanted to have more opportunities to engage with the community.

   (b)     Why has the CHES Grants in Aid been increased from $15,750 in 2016 to  $20,000 in 2017?

CHES borrowed a sound system in its first year that was not available to them this year. that increase was to buy a sound system. That sound system will be able to be borrowed by other community groups in the future. CHES is working on a policy for this.

5)     Is it true that Director Clement and his alternate, Carolyn Morris do not reside in Cobble or even pay taxes in this area?

Neither of us live in cobble hill.

6)     Why was it necessary for Director Clement to spend $1000 on a full page colour advertisement in a local newspaper?

Because people needed to know about the event. There was also advertising on Facebook and Youtube.

Design Charrette Update – April 7th


Part of the stakeholder group who worked on the charrette

We’ve had our first public meeting and are wrapping the feedback into tonights meeting, which will be more of a sit down and talk session.

You might see some familiar faces here like Gerry Giles (the previous director), John Krug (CH parks chair), Brenda Krug (CH historical society) and Gord Dickenson (jack of all trades).


blank wall treaments example of village raods1 road5 roads2 roads3 roads4 village frontage

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Village plan – good for seniors, good for kids

I saw Gil Penalosa in the beginning of my term not knowing that it would inform much of my urban planning ideas.

Gill has an organization called “8 to 80 cities” and simply put, what is good for an 80 year old is often good for an 8 year old.

I think that we can look at our plans for Cobble Hill through a “people friendly” lens instead of one group over another.

If you have the 15 minutes to watch, I hope that you can see where I am coming from

Cobble Hill Design Charrette – MARCH 20th 6pm @ C.H. Hall

3d shape

Design charrettes are a visual representation of what a community wants to see. While Cobble Hill has a great official community plan, it emphasizes a “heritage feel”… but is that 1920’s or 1950’s?

And we can all agree that the village could be more “walkable” but what does that look like? And if we build sidewalks, how do we deal with the parking?

These are just a few of the questions to ask at this meeting. You can sign up to the facebook event here:

THIS IS THE FIRST OF 4 meetings.

Below are some visual examples from other Charrettes. It is very community based and very visual.



Broadway Corridor Charrette3






logan-triangle-community-design-charrette-6-638 maplewood-workshop-2 Opticos-9 paso-charrette Plaza B Plan Team_3_Board urban_design_plan-1_slide WEB-UPDATES00-02

Where is the money coming from to build Cobble Hill

Tofino Fourth and Campbell Streetscape Improvement

Here is a picture of Tofino, before and after.

Tofino has gone down the path that Cobble Hill is on right now. First we are building a design charrette with the community to create a VISUAL pallette of what we would like to see in the village.

Next will be to prioritize what to do.

One of the funding sources that Tofino accessed and we can as well is the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET). They help fund projects they believe will help the economic vitality of an area. Chemainus and Lake Cowichan took grants from ICET as well.

This is just one of a few grant programs that we can access.