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General News · 8th July 2012
Jeff Schiller
I feel I must reply to Norma Stewarts letter in regards to her feelings about the Island Timberlands meeting on Cortes.
What she witnessed was a meeting held by Island Timberlands for people of Cortes Island in regards to the possible logging of "their" island. I respect that like myself you are a visitor and not a resident of this beautiful island, but you wanted to see what the protests were about.

Does it matter that you were referred to as " from Cortes", after all the meeting was for island residents to hear about the logging plans? Were you able to tell who was a resident and who was a visitor or seasonal worker? Did you know who I was? Does it matter?

I felt that there was a strong sentiment from " the locals" that the meeting be held in a different manner then what Island Timberlands wanted but after all this meeting was about Cortes Island for Cortes Islanders . I thought it was great that the format was changed and IT should be commended for that.

For all the Islanders that I know , very few are shy when it comes to an opinion about something as important as this issue is. There was an option actually provided for people who didnt want to ask the question themselves because maybe they were " shy".
You are right though Norma that there were some snorts ans scoffing with some answers or more like non answers but that was minimal, democracy aint always pretty. People spoke there minds, they let their emotions and feelings be known, this is what meetings are about, this is how issues are dealt with on Cortes and you are I have no right to judge them when it comes to an issue that is theirs and not youres or mine.

I never heard mention that IT should " give" the Whaletown Commons to the island for free. In fact the point was made that they were offered, by the "Regional District, the amount for the land that it was assessed at and IT wanted 3times that amount. 560, 000$ or so is not " for free"
I take offence that you make insinuations that people who applied for work with IT were " brave" to do so. Brave? one lady spoke up in the front row saying she had applied, she didnt seem scared to me and I have not heard of any group streaming down the road with torches to punish her.
This logging isnot going to end with subdivisions and young families building homes on it after its all done, since the land is not zoned for that.

At the end you say " intolerance shouldnt be accepted" yet all through youre letter you show nothing but intolerance. Intolerance to anyone who disagreed with the logging plans, anyone who spoke an opinion, anyone who tried to reflect the feelings if themselves when it comes to this issue.
You were " lucky ' enough to go to this meeting and see democracy on Cortes in action, it is their island, their future, I dont think they want you or I to tell them how to run their affairs, or their meetings, and I am sure they are not going to take advice form you or I, we are and until we choose to move their " Visitors".