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General News · 5th July 2011
Richard Trueman
Lately the WCC Board has ruled that NO ALCOHOL be allowed on any WCC premises; -The Gorge Hall and the Old Schoolhouse Gallery. Although they are only making clear the stated law, they are perhaps unaware that the Food Safety Rules have also been in violation throughout Cortes history within their buildings and public events.

I know from my daughter-in -law’s experience at public markets in Vancouver, that she can sell deserts, sweets, but no savories without them being prepared in a separate licensed kitchen. (The Mansons Hall Friday Market tries or tried to uphold this regulation, I believe.)

You may ask how that affects us. Consider the Chili at the WCC Christmas Bazar, the Turkey and home brought fixings for the Christmas Dinners, the salads for sale by the WCC on Cortes Day.

To my way of thinking, the “what ifs” and potential of being sued from food poisoning are far greater than the accidents that might occur from the use of alcohol at a gallery opening.

The ramifications of reminding us and enforcing the law regarding alcohol and food stuffs are great if we consider our usual state of community and our sense of it here on Cortes. How many events have you attended at the Gorge Hall in which you shared your food and partook of another’s food or alcohol; -retirement parties, birthday parties, etc. We regard, and perhaps wrongly so by the letter of the law, that these events are an just an extension of our family and that we share our bounty as if we were at home.

I regard Cortes as the pot-luck capital of the world, but it may cease to be...

Do you realize in the unending scenarios of “what ifs” that your home is not even safe.

I envision the fearful future where you invite people to your home and greet them at the door with a waiver they must sign before entering, so you might not get sued for a careless alcohol induced accident or a case of food poisoning. And heavens forbid that they bring any food stuff from their unlicensed kitchen or booze from their own home brewery.

Do I have any recommendation. No certainly, I do not suggest breaking the “law”. I only lament the change that this magnifying glass brings to the family of Cortes.
Thank You
Comment by Diane and Mark Lloyd on 10th July 2011
My husband and I recently moved from Vancouver Island to Whaletown and like many before us, were drawn by the beauty and pioneer spirit of Cortes Island. We were also (and still are) moved by the commitment and hard work of volunteers and staff, as well as the many avenues available for public input and comments, that have resulted in the establishment and provision of many of the current services, attractions and amenities on Cortes Island.

Having been a past President of a couple of volunteer associations and the Principal of my own company, I know that at the end of the day, after considering all the facts and input, it is the person(s) charged with the responsibility that must act based on what they believe to be the right decision.

With respect to the decision being discussed:
While my husband and I could not attend the recent Emergency WCC meeting, we were able to attend the previous meeting of the WCC at which we were able to express our views on this matter when it was raised.
So, we first want to thank Brigid Weiler and the Board for their efforts in calling a follow-up Emergency Meeting before making their final decision on this matter. And whether people see this Board decision made out of fear or made on principle (which is our point of reference as Christians and abstainers), we believe the right decision was made on this particular issue.
Thank You.
Diane and Mark Lloyd

More etc's
Comment by Janet Turpin on 10th July 2011
Have there been complaints about the Friday night openings at the SchoolHouse? If the Board is enforcing complaint driven laws, then surely the SchoolHouse gatherings should not be under scrutiny and be allowed to stay below the radar. my opinion, the Boards of the Island are not here to uphold the law, but rather to first and foremost uphold community values. In my utopia, the island community polices itself...out of control drinking is not tolerated. We know the value of living far enough away from rules that control every step and we wish to keep it that way by taking responsibility for ourselves and not allowing thoughtless action to threaten that privilege. And yes, the alcohol issue raises its head every few years like clockwork and must be dealt with. But let's deal with the situation that has arisen and not apply the same broad brush to events that are not causing any trouble, just in case something might happen sometime. If we listen to insurance industry fear mongering, none of us would get out of bed in the morning.
What if everybody has a valid point?
Comment by John Anderson on 8th July 2011
I keep hearing the same underlying issue time and time again. We have a precious way of life here and nobody wants it to disappear. That's the issue.

One example is the glass of wine that is served at some art shows which I have enjoyed very much. Some people are watching for the danger signs of restrictions taking away such simple joys.

At the same time, we want to be safe and some people are watching out for that. An example of unsafe I can think of comes from a few years back when a drunken fight broke out at the Gorge Hall in which I personally did not feel that our attending children were safe.

I think it would make Cortes become an even better community if we somehow realized that every decision we make has to consider both of these concerns. I also think the first step in realizing that is to keep these conversations civil. Everybody has a point and they don't cancel each other out. I don't think people realize how easy it is to misunderstand others' opinions in this email format.

I'm sorry that I was off-island for the emergency WCC meeting Wednesday night, but I think that this is a complex and difficult issue that needs cool heads and lots of conversation to find a way to proceed that we all can live with.

It isn't easy at all to have a community like ours. We are committed to having gatherings that are (to quote Richard) "just an extension of our family and that we share our bounty as if we were at home."

The trap, from my perspective, is unexpressed fears, fear of losing control, fear of losing freedom, but the root is the same, fear. I notice that when I am afraid of something, I have a trip-lever aggressive reaction that I justify as the only way I know to stop what I think needs to stop. So, I'm not the model for anything. I just see the craziness of living in a place with amazing people that endlessly form into two groups over every issue, both of which have valid points.
I wonder if people really read my post?
Comment by Richard Trueman on 7th July 2011
No where did I say the WCC Board is wrong in upholding the law and worrying about the Insurance ramifications. Nowhere did I state that alcohol is benign. (I myself do not drink.)

What I did posit is that this renewed focus is the seed for drastic cultural changes on Cortes and that one law is just as valid and important as the other, if you uphold one you should uphold the other (alcohol regulations, food safety regulations), and both are insurance concerns.

As an aside, I some times wonder that regulations are not so much to protect the unwary but to give guidelines to those who would sue, and that regulations, over regulations are the tail that is wagging the dog ;-)
Comment by king solar on 7th July 2011
it was my understanding that if it was a private function that you could have food and booze, such as our wedding a few years ago apperently broke all these rules?. i have often pondered building a community hall on my property so the island could have red tape free time..what happened at these halls back in the day? ask around...
My Opinion
Comment by Jack Wills on 6th July 2011
Richard, perhaps you are unaware that the W.C.C. no alcohol policy has been in place for MORE THAN 10 years!!! this is NOT a NEW rule.

According to B.C. law there must be a special events license to allow alcohol at events held outside of a private home. According to the W.C.C. constitution, The executive is required to uphold that law. There can be severe repercussions in the way of financial liability for the W.C.C. executive and sponsors of events not conforming with this law.

Manson's Hall, and many other community halls do permit alcohol on premises IF a special events license has been obtained. The current executive committee of the W.C.C. is currently looking into the ramifications of altering the long standing alcohol prohibition at the Gorge Hall, the Art Gallery, and other venues under its wing. Any rule change will have input by and be voted on by the entire W.C.C. membership

It is wise to have the liability insurance in place to protect the club executives and event sponsors. I am willing to bet the insurance coverage would be considered void without the proper special events license being issued and adhered to.
All this inconvenience of rules and licenses really should be followed in order to protect those individuals who are willing to step up to perform the often thankless task of overseeing our community halls.

Perhaps you are barking up the wrong tree here.

Regards, Jack Wills
Comment by Conrad on 5th July 2011
I agree!
- No alcohol because that can lead to drunkeness.
- No food because somebody could get sick
- No dancing because somebody could get hurt
- And most of all, no laughing because that could mean that we're not taking life seriously enough


Is Big Brother watching ?
Comment by norberto rodriguez dela vega on 5th July 2011
Well said Richard !

If we were to follow all these rules and regulations, there wouldn't be any more Cortes Day, Oyster Festival, Music Fest, Farmers Markets, Xmas Dinners, Dances and Concerts, Openings at the SchoolHouse Gallery, any potluck will be banned, etc etc.

And it would be the same in any other Gulf island where all these things and events are at the core of the island community traditions.

Give me a break ! There must be ways to find alternatives. I wonder if the SRD and/or Noba could provide some advice here ?

I would like to think there are some special treatment, permits and licenses for rural communities with this type of situations.

Or maybe Big Brother has really arrived to Cortes?

Just a humble opinion