General News · 24th January 2012
Klahoose Gorge Shellfish
The Strathcona Regional District’s 4 electoral area directors voted unanimously to approve of the Klahoose Shellfish Limited Partnership’s deep water shellfish application in Gorge Harbour at the January SRD board meeting. Klahoose now has all their required licensing and I wish them all the very best in their operations, and indeed to their Nation’s economic development activities. Submissions to the SRD public hearing were split. Most, if not all, the submissions received from Gorge waterfront property owners were in opposition. Obviously, further work is required to improve the dynamic in this small basin. Most of the other submissions from Cortes resident s were supportive. A couple other Gorge aquaculture operators have indicated a willingness to sign a similar operational agreement to the one signed by Island Sea Farms, and I commit to following up on this matter. There was also substantial interest expressed about enacting a Gorge-specific noise bylaw, which would be applicable to, and funded by, water licensees and property owners alike. This too I commit to following up on.
In anticipation of my meeting with Darshan Sihota and Bill Waugh of Island Timberlands, I hosted a Cortes public meeting on January 17th to gather your messages and requests. As suggested by those present, Andy Ellingsen, David Shipway and Bill Turner, ED of The Land Conservancy, joined me in presenting them with a fat binder of information including your letters, articles, information about the Whaletown Commons, Children’s Forest Trust, Cortes Community Forest, IT logging plan critiques, etc., preceded by a summary of the input gathered on the 17th. (That summary is attached to this article.)
Island Timberlands (IT) said they would be willing to consider further proposals for the Whaletown Commons and would entertain a purchase proposal for the Children’s Forest Trust land around Carrington with a requirement for a confidentiality agreement prior to any negotiations. They do value both land and timber at a higher price than many others and are not in any rush to sell land if it is not in their shareholders economic best interest.
We remain optimistic that their communications may improve with the community, and will work with them to that end. Wayne French has recently walked the Basil Creek area with Klahoose representatives and met with water license holders on the creek. Bill Waugh confirmed that their logging plans have changed since IT’s December open house at the Whaletown fire hall, but did not provide any details.
IT agreed to a follow-up meeting to discuss operational level issues. They don’t believe, however, that it is possible to negotiate operational details with the entire community, and therefore have requested a community-backed small committee to work with them on these issues. The next Cortes step as I see it, is to decide in a community meeting if we want to participate in this way, and if so how and who.
I will provide more information as it is available and schedule a community meeting before too long.
In gratitude, Noba Anderson