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General News · 10th November 2008
Myrna Kerr
In case you were unable to be there, I am providing my opening text. M.K.

1. Cortes Island History and Biographical
I have been part of the Cortes community for the past 25 years. First as a summer sailboat tourist my husband and I bought land on VonDonop inlet in 1989 and on South Point Road in 1991. From 1989 until we built our home and moved here in 1999 we were frequent year round visitors.

My working career was almost exclusively in non profit organizations in the position of Executive Director except for 10 years in the Continuing Care Division of the BC Ministry of Health. first as Provincial Home Support Coordinator and lastly as the Northern Regional Director of Continuing Care. I was Manson's Hall Manager from 2003 to 2005. My education is a BA in Psychology.

I was Alternate Regional Director for Cortes Island from 2001 to 2005.

I have extensive volunteer experience on Cortes including, in order of time from 1999: the Whaletown National Enquirer, Manson's Landing Cemetery Committee, Cortes Island Firefighting Association (Treasurer), Cortes Health Association, (Board Director and Treasurer) Southern Cortes Community Association (Secretary and currently President) at this time I am Secretary Treasurer of the Cortes Island Rod and Gun Club, a member of the Ferry Advisory Committee and a happy volunteer at the Manson's Hall Thrift Store the first Friday of every month. Some of you may have bought clothes from me.

2. Issues Facing Cortes Island

1. The current financial crisis will have a tremendous impact on Cortes Island and we must be prepared for significant changes. Any recession will hit Cortes seriously and we must promote economic stability while protecting our environment and preparing for the sustainability of our own and future generations.

2. Forested areas must be protected and Crown and private land moved under the protection and management of the island. Initiatives to acquire, or at least control, private land must be fully supported.

3. Affordable housing has been on the table for many years. Affordable housing models, with accompanying land for gardens exist in other jurisdiction and proposals have been offered on the island. It is time to move into action on this.

4. The Official Community Plan is to be reviewed and revised and passed into bylaw so that Cortes has a map for future evolution. The whole community must have the opportunity to take part.

There is a strong degree of stability among established islanders, both financially and culturally. At the other end of the scale the young population, our future generation of islanders, our own children, lack the ability to become established. As today's community we must take bold steps to ensure tomorrow's community has our support and assistance. Affordability is a much discussed issue, and we may have relatively few options left but we must do everything we can in that direction.

3. Role of the Strathcona Regional District and the Cortes Island Director
The purpose of the Regional District and the Director is to provide good government for their community, to provide stewardship of the public assets of the community and to foster the current and future economic, social and environmental well being.

I spent four years as Alternate Director and was not comfortable with the way some things were done or the results achieved but those 4 years have been invaluable in understanding the workings of the regional district and the needs of Cortes.

We can not shy away from the most basic issue - sustainability. Sustainability is not something out of our reach. It must be a real priority and goal that shapes everything else. Next comes adequate earnings, land, homes, protection of our environment and culture and respect for each other.

Some issues will extend beyond the scope of the Regional District because it has real but limited powers. Here I will work with other areas of government and other players in a constructive, cooperative manner to achieve favourable results for all. I see the fruits of this hard work as a vibrant healthy community with its economy, culture and environment under the community's control, alive and intact.

4. My Commitment to Cortes as Regional Director
I am committed to a community that has a vibrant economy in a safe and healthy environment. A community where the importance of each individual is valued and their independent life style and work respected.

It won't be me making decisions over the next three years but I will take the decisions of the community to the Regional Board. I shall encourage talented people to sit around the table, ensuring their participation is fair and unbiased. I shall present their proposals and solutions to the community for input, ensuring that each of us has an equal voice.

I will provide regular and complete updates on all issues before the Strathcona Regional Board and its Committees, keeping you informed on all the matters which I will be addressing on your behalf, thus ensuring that anything which has an impact on Cortes Island is immediately communicated to you.