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General News · 27th May 2010
Noba Anderson
Noba Anderson, Regional Director
May 27, 2010

Our community halls are the space in which we gather on so many occasions. The very best (and sometimes the not-so-best) of who we are comes to light in these spaces. They are spaces of celebration, feasting & dancing. They are spaces where our children learn to play, throw clay, read, make radio. They are spaces where as adults we gather to consider issues of community import, where we build understanding of one another, share stories, concerns and perspectives. They are spaces where our organizations meet to do the island’s work, where we host guest speakers and build vision. These are spaces that bulge at the joints when we fill them in celebration of a loved one’s life or when we gather in summer fullness. Few contend that the Halls are spaces for our collective heart.

I firmly believe that this issue warrants our attention and positive creativity. I have done my best and will continue to do so. I am committed to learning, listening and improving and am grateful to those of you who share this sensibility. I know that we are very capable of being kinder and more constructive as a community than has been shown by some of late. Our collective wellbeing is worth our thoughtful time.

Our halls are in need of our attention to maintain their structural stability and their programs. So, the question is – How, as a community, do we continue to support these spaces? Increased fundraising? Increased volunteerism? Program reduction? Taxation?

I hear from just about everyone that our halls are important, need to be maintained and kept vibrant. However, the volunteers that keep these spaces alive are stretched too thin trying to raise the necessary funds. Fundraising takes much effort and there are many more real and increased costs than before - heating, insurance, building maintenance, etc. So, your local government was asked by your community associations to help. It is debatable at this point as to whether the SRD’s involvement has indeed helped the situation to date; certainly the process could have been smoother. My sincere intent is to formally gage the majority will on this issue and proceed accordingly. To that end, we are in the ‘public consultation’ process and I am hearing from you.

How do you want to support your community halls?

If so, how much? Are you willing to pay $20/year per property? $50? $80? $100?

Your local government plays two primary roles; one, it provides service delivery funded through taxation (parks, planning, fire, solid waste, emergency preparedness, grant-in-aid etc,) and two, it acts as an advocate to other levels and government and agencies on your behalf. If you want the involvement of your local government in this matter, taxation is what can be offered with a very minimal admin fee. Think of it as an organized and reliable way to collect your funds to support your community spaces. That is what is up for decision.

The process to date has been well covered, so…
Process from here – get involved!

• At the Southern Cortes Community Association AGM on Monday May 31, 7 pm at Manson’s Hall members will be asked to vote on requesting a referendum to have Manson’s Hall included as a service funded by the SRD, and if it is passed, the membership will be asked to recommend a structure for the proposed tax.

June 2nd, 7 pm at the Gorge Hall, I will be hosting a meeting to gather community input on how to support our community halls, and if through taxation what kind of taxation. I intend for the tone of this meeting to be positive and solutions oriented; our energy is thin and precious. If you are unable to attend in person, you are very welcome to contact me directly, as many are doing, discuss the options and share with me your opinion.

• The SRD board will take all of that input and make a determination as to whether or not to craft a new bylaw for community consideration, and what the content of that bylaw will be. If the SCCA membership wishes to be the beneficiary of a SRD tax service, and unless a petition requesting service has been signed by half the island, I intend to recommend to the board that we proceed to a referendum in the fall to gage overall community support.

As always, feel free to contact me –
Noba Anderson