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General News · 17th November 2010
Noba Anderson
Meetings about Meetings

In either a disparaging or complimentary tone, people have rightly called the now-regular bi-weekly Tuesday night gatherings ‘meetings about meetings.’ A diverse and intergenerational group has been meeting at 6 pm at Linnaea to share food, some music and then techniques and processes for fruitful community gathering, regardless of the topic. (Next meetings Nov 30th & Dec 14th) I want to compliment those that have participated and welcome others to do so. Many people have said, and I would agree, that we have been through some kind of very strange worm hole of community communication within the last year. We have been more fractious as of late than is regular for Cortes, and I commend this ever changing and expanding group of people who are grappling with how to shift this dynamic in support of more functional and pro-active community communication about important issues as they arise. Thank-you all!

Official Community Plan Review
We are now approaching the final leg of the review of our official community plan, which started a year and a half ago. There have been many community meetings, surveys, and input opportunities and many have shared. 250+ copies of the OCP work book were picked up in October, so that means almost every household this time of year has one – and at some level is, at very least, taking information in. The next step is to review the first draft amended OCP, which the Focus team intends to present publicly in early December. I would strongly encourage constructive critique with an eye for improvement.

SRD Budget Process & Community Meeting
Partially in response to community concerns about SRD tax spending and partly out of a desire to be fully transparent and genuinely seek your input about the spending of your property tax dollars, I requested of SRD staff that they host an open community budget presentation and discussion for Cortes, which they did. Thanks to the 20 or so people who attended. If you want to continue to follow the budget preparations between now and march, check in with the SRD website at www.strathconard.ca. I have met with staff at the recycling centre and the board of the fire department to gather their input on budget priorities, and will be doing the same with organizations that have received ‘grant-in-aid’ funds. I am open to your input as we craft next year’s budget.

Riparian Area Regulations
The Provincial government has brought in new regulations regarding development in riparian areas adjacent to streams, lakes, wetlands etc. All work proposed to be undertaken within 30 meters of a fresh water-body will now require an assessment by a qualified environmental professional prior to that work being undertaken. In order to bring all the zoning bylaws throughout the rural areas within the SRD into compliance with these provincially-mandated changes, the same changes are being proposed region-wide. Usually any public hearing for a bylaw amendment that affects Cortes would be held on Cortes. However, given the relative straightforward nature of this change and our requirement by the province to do so, the SRD board decided to combine the Quadra and Cortes public hearing, frankly to save money. The public hearing is scheduled for December 8th at 7 pm at the Quadra Community Centre. If you have a comment on this proposal and are not able to attend, you are encouraged to make written submission to the SRD before December 8th, planningstrathconard.ca, or #301 – 990 Cedar Street, Campbell River, BC, V9W 7Z8. Find attached a copy of the bylaw. If you have questions, please contact Aniko Nelson at 830-6708.

Reflections 2 years into my 3 year term: the personal and the professional
My greatest pleasure is working with you – those of you who are dedicated to finding creative ways of pulling off projects for the long-term benefit of this place our home. My greatest pain is the energy that goes toward those few that find a way of complaining about and working against it seems whatever initiatives others create. I have near infinite time for people who are willing to offer forward ideas and put their positive energy behind them (thankfully most of you), and consequently less time for negativity. There is simply so much need for creativity, communication, collaboration and kindness. The world is changing so fast and even Cortes, which at times can seem like a little backwater exempt from the main flow of global chaos, needs to creatively respond.

I am acutely aware of the balance to be sought between being a leader and being your representative. The first requires clarity, decisiveness and a willingness to make judgment calls and decisions and to stand by them at the end of my term. The other calls for a much greater degree of consultation, listening and carrying that voice forward in whatever way is most appropriate.

Before I was asked to run for election, just over two years ago, I had little interest in regional district politics. Over the last two years, I have come to greatly appreciate the value per dollar that it returns for its services and believe it to be by far the most responsive and accountable level of government. The most compelling reason for this job, in my opinion, is to increase wherever reasonably possible local autonomy & local decision-making. To balance this with the value of a government that sits in Campbell River is a constant challenge. Although Cortes has put me through the ringer on many issues, I am grateful to serve you as best as I can while maintaining some degree of sanity.

In gratitude, Noba Anderson