We all deserve a good safe place to live. Housing is a basic human right. I know that without a stable home I would not invest in my community as I do. I am so fortunate to have a house, a warm place to return to every day, somewhere to cook my food, keep my things, and a space to share with my family. It is such a blessing to know that I have some security from which to reach out into the world; a place where I belong.
So many of our Cortes friends do not have such a home. As a person in an honoured position of influence, it is my duty to help meet community needs, to convene, to inspire, to work hard. This winter, it has been my greatest pleasure to co-create with the highest of functioning groups – the Cortes Community Housing Committee - empowered by both the newly formed Cortes Island Foundation and the long-standing Cortes Island Seniors Society. It has taken everyone involved and we have moved mountains to buy over 50 acres of land in Manson’s Landing for the long-term provision of stable, year-round, affordable community housing. Please visit www.cortescommunityhousing.org
and read all about our efforts.
Serving on the Housing Committee is a way of stretching my more formal political role into one of action in service to this core community need. Helping on a working committee, I can roll up my sleeves without
putting myself in a decision-making role. Being on a local society board with its associated vote, strangely enough, would
put me in a conflict of interest position if its business crossed with the Regional District. The courts have ruled that I cannot sit on a society board because it could put me in a position of split loyalty even if there is no personal benefit involved. However, just being on a working group is not a conflict position. In this way, I have also been able to serve also on the Local Economic Action Planning committee, the Parks and Trails committee and the Transportation committee. When zoning and funding decisions are made at the Regional District about these community projects, I can cleanly continue to act in both roles as a community leader.
There is much, much, much more work ahead of us to make this community housing project real. We need to raise funds to pay down the debt incurred in buying the land, oh and then we need to build houses!... To say nothing of all the preparation beforehand and all the management afterwards. We will need many things from all of you including your enthusiasm, your money, your ideas about what kind of housing to support, and indeed your expression of interest to live on this new land! If you, or someone you know, is interested in living there, we need to know about it. Do you want to rent or own a home on this community-owned land? Would you want a place to park your tiny home or to park yourself in assisted-seniors-living when the time comes? If yes, please register your interest on the ‘for whom’ page at www.cortescommunityhousing.org/for-whom/
or contact me and I’ll help you out.
Join us for the first of many public meetings about this community housing initiative, this Saturday, April 7th, Manson’s Hall, Noon.
In awe of what we can achieve together.