A new group has been formed to shape to explore economic development issues in the Cowichan Lake region.

Known as the LIFT Committee, for Lake Cowichan, Electoral Areas I and F, and the Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation, the group has held three informal meetings to share ideas so far.

The initiative was formed by Aaron Hamilton and Chief Georgina Livingstone of the Ts’uubaa-asatx First Nation, and the committee meetings have included representation from local government, regional business interests, Economic Development Cowichan and Community Futures Cowichan.

A range of issues has been discussed so far, including transportation routes to the region, the need for additional housing and employment options and opportunities associated with trails development and proposed residential and commercial projects.

The importance of laying the groundwork for new value-added forestry and advanced manufacturing jobs has also been a hot topic of discussion.

At the community level, the committee has examined ways of supporting volunteerism and sharing regional event information.

The LIFT Committee plans to meet throughout the year on a bi-monthly basis.