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General News · 8th July 2011
John Sprungman
At the Southern Cortes Community Association AGM July 7, 2011, Julian Ayers, Andrea Block, Myrna Kerr, Jim Murphy and John Sprungman were elected as directors, joining Tom Bennet and Jenny Hartwick who were elected to two-year terms last year. After the AGM, the board met and appointed their officers.


President John Sprungman
Vice President Jenny Hartwick
Treasurer Tom Bennet
Secretary Myrna Kerr
Directors Julian Ayers
Andrea Block
Jim Murphy

President’s Report by John Sprungman

For many years, Manson’s Hall has served as a centre for the Cortes community for programs and activities and as a meeting place for all ages. It also has provided space for many services to start small and grow. The Cortes Health Centre, North Island College and Coastal Community Credit Union all began in Manson’s Hall. More changes are coming soon because NIC is closing its office and the library and post office need bigger and better spaces.

After assessing the existing library space in Manson’s Hall last year, the Vancouver Island Regional Library advertised for Expressions of Interest in providing rentable space for a new library on Cortes. The SCCA board submitted an EOI for the cleared site between the hall parking lot and the skate park.

In February, VIRL informed us that they consider it a viable location. Discussions are continuing with VIRL to design a facility VIRL would be willing to lease.

We have a dedicated library committee, chaired by Mary Gordon, which includes Martha Abelson, Julian Ayers, Ron Croda, Peter Elliott, Mary Lu Lorenson, David Rousseau, Sherry Sprungman and Sandra Wood. We hope to have a public information meeting about plans for a new library before the end of the summer.

In addition to the library, the SCCA land is home to Canada Post, Cortes Community Radio, Cortes Playschool, Cortes Café, Reel Youth, the SCCA Thrift Store, the Pottery Guiild, Friends of Cortes Island, Strathcona Regional District's skate park and the Manson's Landing Cemetery.

Last week North Island College informed us that, as of September 1, they will not be continuing to use the portable building on the Manson's Hall parking lot for their programs on Cortes. The building belongs to the SCCA and was leased to NIC. Its availability opens up new possibilities for us to better accommodate other hall leasees.

Thanks to the efforts of many islanders, the SCCA has always been able to meet the challenges of change through generous donations of labour, materials, equipment and money, through successful grant applications and with lease and rental income.

This year successful grant applications and substantial donations from islanders will allow us to make improvements to the entryway, bathrooms, and the bar area in the main hall and to put new flooring, tables and chairs in the Pioneer Room. We also received grants for hall administration and program development, summer youth recreation and our playschool and other children’s programs.

Elinor Bazar, Julian Ayers, Sandra Wood, Mary Lavelle, Walter Nugent, David Rousseau, Jim Murphy and Sue Ellingsen did the work that resulted in this funding. Thanks to our Regional Director Noba Anderson for helping to fund grant writing for Cortes non-profit organizations and to the Cortes Island Seniors Society for their support.

In the last six months, the SCCA received a Gaming grant of $30,975 ($18,000 for hall administration and program development, $10,000 for our Summer Youth Recreation Program, and $2,975 for the Play School), and a New Horizons for Seniors grant of $21,000 and a Regional District Grant-in-Aid of $2,000 for renovations. The Coastal Community Credit Union gave the hall $5,000 to improve insulation. The Tides Foundation donated $14,177---half for summer youth and half for renovations. In addition, more than 60 islanders gave more than $9,000 in response to our year-end appeal.

There has also been a lot of volunteer help. Steve Ringwood, Mark Appleyard, Ray Kendel, Jim Murphy and Bill Ophoff made the Green Bin for waste and recycling happen at minimal cost. Ian Disney is hauling hall garbage to the recycling centre and Tom Fife treated the water system and upgraded the filtration for free. Jim Murphy, Walter Grundmann and Dave Popkey donated their time to improve exterior doors at the pottery studio, playschool, cafe and library. David Rousseau put in better heating controls and has helped with planning on many levels.

Every purchase in the thrift store helps to maintain the hall. Thanks to all who donate clothing and to the dedicated volunteers who take turns working in the store throughout the year, including Ruth Zwickel, Diane Hansen, Gail Ringwood, Gail McKerley, Lynn Marttila, Judy Malek, Myrna Kerr, Rick Ochsenbein, Josee Gagnon, Callie Waddell, Elinor Harwood, Ann Dewar and Erika Grundmann.

The Manson's Landing cemetery is maintained by a long-serving committee that includes Jean Campbell, Ann Dewar, Ian Disney, Sully and Marge Sullivan.

We are fortunate to have our capable and conscientious hall manager Mary Lavelle and janitor Josee Gagnon and have recently hired Mark Christian to assist in the office. Our thanks to Hollyhock for providing a scholarship for Mary Lavelle to attend Julian Griggs' workshop on the The Art and Craft of Effective Facilitation in May.

Retiring SCCA directors Elinor Bazar, Garnette Blackie, Laura Heslin, Walter Nugent, Mark Vonesch and Romina Wendell deserve our appreciation for their service. Special accolades to Walter who served as both president and treasurer during the past year.

Year after year, Cortes Islanders have contributed in many ways to keep our community centre going, to use it to create the kinds of activities they enjoy and to provide services they want. In the next year, we will have new projects of greater magnitude than usual. Helping to make them happen can bring us together just as our community centre does day after day year-round.

Thanks to all who make Manson's Hall more than just a building.