Community Articles
Go to Site Index See "Community Articles" main page
General News · 21st May 2009
Noba Anderson
I am learning to balance intricate details while holding a regional perspective. Siskin Lane park signage to Sayward fish farms, Senior’s Society funding applications to Campbell River / Comox Valley hospital negotiations, Cortes community plan review to Bute Inlet power generation proposals, Whaletown Commons to Oyster River forestry land rezone applications. Local politics ranges all over the map, literally and figuratively.

Oyster Fest
What a delight it was to be on the serving side of the Oyster Fest food court. Truly, hats off to the festival organizers over the years! It takes real vision to turn what is at times a difficult community story into a celebration of beautiful food. For the first time I really enjoyed raw oysters, salty then sweet. May the ripples of this festival run deep.

Official Community Plan (OCP) Review
I have been acting as the liaison between Strathcona Regional District staff and my OCP review committee* to design a review process that is Cortes generated, cross-generational, and welcoming. This has been a stretch for staff, but I am very pleased with the direction we are headed. So far, we have been setting direction on process, not content. CONTENT is up to YOU!

Here’s how it goes…

1. Vision Cortes! ‘Blue-Sky’ Session – June 13th
Saturday, June 13th, 1-7 pm, Manson’s Hall. Free child care provided.
We are kicking off the OCP review with a facilitated community ‘Blue-Sky’ visioning session where the ‘sky’ is the limit. This is the place to share your big picture vision for Cortes’ future. Everything goes! Everyone welcome!

2. Community Education and Data Collection – Summer / Fall 2009
Education - This is a chance to educate ourselves on community planning before getting into the details of our own review. We will be bringing in guest presenters to share stories from other communities. Also, we will deliver basic ‘Civics 101’ education to help us all better understand what goes into a community plan. An Education Coordinator will be hired to help with this work. If you want more information or to apply, look for adds soon or contact Kristen Scholfield-Sweet at 935-6464.

Data Collection – We will identify a few places where specific base-line data information, once collected, will help us make better planning decisions. To this end, we have engaged the Cortes Housing Initiative to develop a housing needs survey and to report back on their findings. We will be identifying a couple other key areas for further information gathering.

3. The Actual OCP Document Review – Winter 2009 & Spring 2010
This is where we form working groups and review our actual Community Plan. We will be identifying parts of the plan that need updating and adding new components. The details of this will become clearer over the next few months.

What is an OCP?
Our OCP is Cortes’ statement of our long-term vision for our future. It guides planning, land use management and decision-making for our island. Every rezoning application gets held up against our OCP. Every time we want to make a change in land use, we consult this vision. Because it is constantly being referenced in this way, it acts as the benchmark for all future planning.

Don’t we already have one?
YES!! Our current OCP, finalized in 1995, is a really good one. A lot of great community thought and effort went into its creation and it will absolutely form the foundation for our revised plan. It speaks very well to a set of community values.

Why update it?
Much has changed in the last 15 years, both on Cortes and in the broader world, that needs to be considered in today’s planning. When I read the current OCP I get a great sense of community values, but I don’t so much see where we are headed. How are we going to prepare ourselves to be resilient and adaptable in quickly changing world? What is priority to YOU?

Regional Hospital Debate is Over
After 5 years of negotiations, your local government reps, myself included, who comprise the Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital District Board have come to an agreement with the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) to fund and build two new hospitals; one in Campbell River and one in the Comox Valley. Although the Comox Valley will receive most of the long-term regional services, the Campbell River hospital will be built first and on the same grounds as the existing hospital. VIHA has agreed to build a minimum of 40 extended and transitional care beds in Campbell River prior to the new hospital being opened so as to lessen the pressure these patients have on acute care beds in the hospital setting. The Campbell River hospital will also be the North Island regional centre for mental health and addiction services with an additional 10 to 15 beds to service these needs.

* My Advisory Planning Commission (Bruce Ellingsen, Frances Guthrie, Joe Cliffe, Julia Rendall, Doug Weyler, Carrie Saxifrage & Paul Brewer) forms the core of what is the OCP steering committee, augmented by David Rousseau, Zoë Miles, Oliver Kelhammer, Krista Ma and Kristen Scholfield-Sweet, my alternate director.

That’s it for this report. Feel free to contact me.
In gratitude, Noba Anderson

Tel: 250-935-0320
Fax: 250-935-0321
Website: – regional director page under special sections tab
Box 120, Whaletown, BC, V0P 1Z0