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General News · 9th April 2012
Noba Anderson
Meeting with the Minister of Forests
On March 29th, I met in Victoria with the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Steve Thomson, his staff and staff from the Ministry of Environment about three Cortes issues; proposed logging by Island Timberlands on their private forest lands, Cortes tourism operator concerns regarding regional logging activity’s impact on their businesses, and the Cortes community forest. The brief I left with the Ministers are attached below. The community forest message was simply that progress is being made on the steps required to make application and the importance of including all unallocated Cortes Crown lands into the community forest. The concerns of Cortes tourism operators were delivered but need to be followed up on with the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. The economic case for light touch forestry in the Discover Islands due to the revenue generated through tourism is strong and needs to be pressed further. As for the matter of Island Timberlands, it was noted and appreciated that Cortes was talking with Island Timberlands about offering fair market value for their lands in question. Ministerial staff were visibly impressed with Cortes’ efforts thus far and had no real suggestions about how to improve our approach. There are no real provincial funds for land acquisition at this time, and purchase deals the Province assists with have multiple financial streams. I will follow up as appropriate.

Meeting of Cortes Tourism Operators
Given that the Strathcona Regional District set tourism as its top regional priority this year, I convened a meeting open to all Cortes tourism operators to discuss if the tourism sector wanted any organized support across the island or throughout the region. To my delight, this meeting was very well attended by 22 people representing most major tourism businesses from stores and vacation rentals to tour operators, the motel and the transport sector. There was unanimous agreement in the room that it was time to create some kind of Cortes association to collaborate on packaging, marketing, advocacy, and communications. There was interest to know more about regional cooperation but more information would be required before proceeding further. Thanks to Steve and Carol for hosting us and to all those who attended. Five committees were formed and the group will be meeting again May 29th with others welcome to join.

Meeting of Non-Profit Community Organizations
For the second year, I invited representatives from all Cortes community non-profit organizations to come discuss areas of mutual interest and possible collaboration as well as identify some island priorities for joint attention and Regional District Grant-In-Aid funding. Given that the Friends of Cortes Island have offered to fund the Cortes-wide fundraising position this year, all those in attendance supported a proposal to use some Grant-In-Aid funds to purchase a one year subscription to a fundraising database that would broaden Cortes’ reach. I then asked the group what the biggest Island-wide priority is this year for any special project funding. The unanimous response was ‘our youth.’ Based on that clear message, I then assembled a meeting the following week (admittedly on short notice) with representatives from the Teen Szene (both staff and youth), the Cortes Community Health Association, Reel Youth as well as parents and teachers. Anyone was welcome. We spent two hours discussing strengths and weaknesses in our community’s teen programming and support services, and came up with some clear priorities and next steps. I will connect further with these organizations to determine the best way to direct some limited funds.

Official Community Plan
Tomorrow is most likely your last community working session on the Cortes Official Community Plan before it goes to the Strathcona Regional District board for formal consideration and indeed then back to the community through the public hearing process. That’s 7 pm at Manson’s Hall, April 10th. Please take the time to review the document, or at least sections that particularly interest you. This matters. It can be found at the top of the page at www.cortescommunityplan.ca or at www.strathconard.ca on the ‘notice board’ on the right hand side of the front page.

Talk Garbage
Thursday, April 12th, 7pm at the Gorge Hall - The future of our waste. Please come hear of the Comox-Strathcona Waste Management Service's regional plan for garbage and recycling and give your input about how you want your waste managed. Can't make it? Complete a feedback form
online at www.cswm.ca/plan

I have made some good recent contact with Telus about our sporadic telephone service. If I am not able to make some good headway soon, I will ask you all to flood them with letters. This weekend I am headed to the annual gathering of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities in Ucluelet where we will make regional priorities through resolution that will then be acted upon by the Association or passed on to the Union of BC Municipalities for consideration and action at a Province-wide level. In my last report, I promised more Regional District budget and taxation detail. I have not forgotten.

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

In Gratitude, Noba Anderson