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General News · 31st March 2011
Noba Anderson
This is the second part of a newsletter that has gone out to all Cortes mailboxes. The first part can be found in the previous posting. It was too long to fit all into one posting. The formatted and printed version is attached as a PDF at the bottom of this article.

First Nations Relations: my learning
Last fall the SRD identified improved First Nations relations as one of our top three priorities throughout the region. In December 2010, I attended the SRD board invited address to the annual Kwakiutl District Council (KDC) assembly. The KDC is similar to a regional district in that they represent many regional first nations on issues of import, largely focusing on matters of health care. I was given that day a copy of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which Canada was finally a signatory just the month before. The SRD board has formally received that declaration and will continue to clarify how we want to pursue our desire to build stronger first nations relations.

In March, I also participated in two First Nations workshops/dialogue forums. The first was a province-wide ‘Community to Community Forum’ hosted by the First Nations Summit and the Union of BC Municipalities to bring together first nation and local government leaders to share stories of inter-governmental collaboration. Models were shared from Smithers and the Wet’suwet’en Nation, West Vancouver and the Squamish Nation, Princeton and the Upper Similkameen Indian Band, Squamish/Pemberton/N’Quatqua Nation/Lil’wat Nation, and others. We were given relationship building resources and encouraged to take these stories home. After years of discussion and negotiation, Mount Waddington Regional District on the north end of Vancouver Island recently signed a protocol agreement with first nations in the region. Protocol agreements between local and first nation governments exist all over BC, however, the real work seems to be consistently in the building of mutual rapport and understanding. The agreements then can lay out a process for communication, information sharing, planning, service delivery, etc.

The second event ‘It Takes a Village First Nations Training and Dialogue’ was hosted by the Campbell River and Area Multicultural and Immigrant Services Association and a council of First Nation elders from the Campbell River area. This was a full day interactive roll play simulation of life in a first nation village pre and post colonial contact. However simplistic, it profoundly drove home for me in a visceral way what previously had been a more intellectual exploration of the effects of residential school and the dismantling of traditional village structures. This event was very warmly hosted and facilitated by elders, who walked us through group discussions throughout the day. This type of event is possible also to host on Cortes if there is interest. We all have so very much to learn about each other, and many bridges to build over time with patience.

Cortes Wildfire Protection Plan
The SRD emergency services has been working on community wildfire protection planning for the last 9 months. The plan is based on local ground truthing and consultation with the fire department and the BC Fire Service warden on Cortes. The purpose of this report is to identify forest/ residential interface areas of concern and suggest future prescriptions. The final report, which will be made public later this spring, will have a series of recommendations for action; actions that would require further prioritization, community consultation and funding.

Recycling Centre Building
As anyone visiting the Cortes recycling centre recently will see, the new recycling building is well under way with the roof taking shape. This project has been a long time coming and will be completed prior to the busy summer season. Thanks to our ‘midden keepers’ for accommodating so graciously this site upheaval, and to Bill Friedel for getting the building up through all the red tape. The next phase of the recycling centre upgrades, which have been approved for the 2011 year, is to build a ring road up to and around the dumpster bins as well as an improved bin wall to accommodate a few more bins.
For photos, visit cortesrecycles.ca and click on the ‘facebook’ link.

Ferry Advisory Committee
We still have two openings for two more Cortes representatives on the local Ferry Advisory Committee. At this point Bertha Jeffery, Barry Glickman and I represent your interests at that table. We meet twice a year, all expenses covered, and give input to BC ferries about issues of the day. If you are interested, let any of us know.

To read all SRD agendas and minutes, financial plans, annual reports and to follow all formal business both on Cortes and in the Region more broadly, please visit www.strathconard.ca.

In Gratitude,
Noba Anderson

250-935-0320, directorcortesisland.com, Box 394, Whaletown, BC, V0P 1Z0