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General News · 16th February 2012
Noba Anderson
For supporting documentation for issues in this article, please not attachments at the end of this article.

Island Timberlands
On January 23rd I took a small delegation to meet with Island Timberlands and presented them with a binder of Cortes-generated information, including your letters, preceded by a summary of the input gathered a prior community meeting. IT expressed a willingness to consider land purchase proposals but they do value both land and timber at a higher price than most. IT also agreed to a joint follow-up meeting in February between the Cortes delegation and petition representatives to discuss operational level issues. Your input will make the basis for our suggestions at this second meeting, scheduled for February 22nd, and we will report back to the community afterward.

Some of the Island Timberlands forest lands proposed for 2012 harvest are of ‘provincial ecological significance’ and house old growth douglas fir stands that are very rare with less than 1% remaining in the endangered ‘Coastal Western Hemlock – Very Dry Maritime’ biogeoclimatic zone. One usually only finds individual fir veterans making intact stands very rare, and whole stand clusters as found on Cortes, truly provincially significant. These lands also contain red and blue listed species and plant communities as well as many sensitive ecosystems.

MLA Claire Trevena and I have written to the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Forests requesting their support and stating that “We are actively looking for solutions to what could become a divisive and confrontational situation which would provoke international activism, civil disobedience and subsequently substantial media attention.” I have also written the Strathcona Regional District Board requesting their support in finding a resolution to this escalating situation. (Both letters are attached below.)

Garbage Transportation
On Cortes, we have always paid for the transport of our garbage off island (now to the tune of over $50,000 per year), whereas just about every other community in the region does not pay transport once garbage arrives at a ‘transfer station’ such as our recycling centre. For over two years, I have been advocating at the board that we equalize this discrepancy and make this regional service fair. At the last Solid Waste board meeting it was decided to make this change which, as well as benefiting the region in other ways, will save the Cortes taxpayer $50,000 per year!!!!

The Regional Solid Waste Plan is coming to Cortes for community consultation on April 12th. The draft can be found for your review at www.cswm.ca/plan.

Highspeed
I spoke with MLA Claire Trevena about our lack of high-speed internet access on Cortes again given that this issue is now one of her top priorities. I have sent her a synopsis of the current Cortes situation. She is compiling information from North Island communities and we will make a concerted effort on this front in the next short while. There is also a detailed SRD staff report on the status of Cortes and Quadra internet service on this week’s committee agendas, and attached below.

Grant-In-Aid
Although these grants comprise a relatively small part of the overall Cortes SRD budget, it directly supports so much Cortes not-for-profit community activity that serves so many of you. This year’s spring deadline for GIA submissions is April 2nd. Please mail or email your submissions to me for May fund disbursements. Forms are attached below, or by phone request.

Radio Show
I am now hosting a radio show ‘People’s Place in Politics’ aired live alternate Tuesdays at 11 am and repeated Saturdays at 2 pm. Each show has two main components, an update of regional district issues and a feature chat with a guest that represents some facet of Cortes political life. Victoria Smith joins me this week for a conversation about Cortes Radio, the first in a series with local organizations that make the backbone of local governance.

Ferries
I’d like to thank Bob Tracy and Uschi Koebberling for joining the Ferry Advisory Committee. Also, the BC Ferry Commissioner submitted his final report to the Provincial government in January after his community consultations, including Cortes. To review the full report, go to http://www.bcferrycommission.com/reports-press/whats-new/coastal-ferry-act-review/report-released/ The Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs response is attached below.

SRD Budget
It is budget time again at the Regional District and this year’s community consultation will be held within the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that date soon. Shall we continue to contribute to the parks acquisition reserve? Do you want to better fund bylaw enforcement? Are you happy with how we spend your half million dollars each year? The full budget can be viewed on the SRD agenda at www.strathconard.ca. It you would like interpretation help, just call.

Roads
I spoke recently again with Highways expressing our request for a centre line as well as for a posted 40km/hr speed limit and associated signage on either side of Beasley Rd in Manson’s. The area manager will soon visit Cortes to review these issues with me and others interested. We still do have a commitment for two crosswalks in Manson’s before late spring.

Phone Service
On the issue of loosing phone service when the power is out, Rob Hazlett from Telus recently wrote the following: “I have had several of my technicians involved in diagnosing the problem and we have now included some of our national and manufacturer support people in finding a solution. We have a couple of possible issues we are exploring and I will inform everyone as we get closer to resolving this.”

North Island 911
Representatives from five Regional Districts jointly form the board that is the North Island 911 Corporation which manages the funds for the 911 service in this area. I have been recently appointed to sit on the 911 board on behalf of the Strathcona Regional District.

As always, you are welcome to contact me:
250-935-0320, directorcortesisland.com

Noba Anderson