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General News · 1st October 2012
Noba Anderson
Official Community Plan Public Hearing
Saturday, October 6th, Gorge Hall 1:00 pm. I am sorry about this hearing falling on the Thanksgiving weekend but we had quite a challenge finding a time that my elected colleagues were willing and able to come to Cortes. I truly hope that if you are not able to attend in person that you will submit written comments into this open public process. This public hearing is truly the culmination of more than three years of Cortes effort and attention. We have quite a good revised community plan for your final consideration and comment. It does fall short of being as gutsy as I thought it might be in a few areas, but is truly the result of the most democratic and participatory version of government there is and it is a reflection of the input you gave. Thank-you! You have another two weeks to read through the new proposed Cortes OCP (Bylaw #139) and submit your written comment. Please visit www.cortescommunityplan.ca or www.strathconard.ca on the main page notice board to download the document and submit your comments to planningstrathconard.ca or contact Russ Hotsenpiller by phone at 250-830-6703, or by mail to the Strathcona Regional District Planning Department, 301-990 Cedar Street, Campbell River, BC, V9W 7Z8 such that they are received by noon Friday the 5th of October. Or, if you can, attend the public hearing in person Saturday, October 6th1:00 pm at the Gorge Hall.

Klahoose and Regional District to Meet
I am delighted to report that the Klahoose First Nation has welcomed an invitation extended by the SRD board for a ‘Community to Community’ forum so that the Klahoose government and the Regional District government can begin to get to know each other. The Klahoose Chief and Council have offered to host the Regional District Board and senior staff in their territory and in their new Hall for a meeting on October 17th. I extend my gratitude to Chief James Delorme and his council for this welcome.

Funding for Cortes Climate Action
For about three years now, I have been working on making Cortes’ allocation of Federal Gas Tax monies available for local green house gas reduction initiatives. Based on our population, we have about $350,000 that needs to be spent by the spring of 2015, although the SRD has asked for a time extension. In 2010, the volunteer Cortes Climate Action Team developed a series of recommendations for priority projects. Now that the SRD board finally changed its policy so as to allow partnerships with community non-profit organizations, I have renewed confidence that something will actually happen on Cortes with these funds. In October, I will be pulling together a meeting of interested parties to discuss options and priorities. If you would like to be involved, please contact me.

Funds for Cortes Teens
The Teen Szene, through their host – the Cortes Community Health Association - has received a second Grant-In-Aid of $4,500. This was identified as a broad community priority at an inter-organizational meeting this past spring. I wish our island teens all the very best this year.

Garbage, Recycling & Compost
On the Cortes front, the current work plan includes paving the Cortes Recycling Centre parking and central road areas this year and fencing much of the site for safety and liability reasons. I support paving the site for cleanliness and dust suppression but have yet to be convinced of the merits of fencing. I’d like to hear from you on this matter. I also raised at board the notion of having one or two sets of centrally-located recycling bins on Cortes. I will pursue this matter further. If you think this would be of value (or not), please let me know.

At the Solid Waste board, after a multi-year process including a public meeting on Cortes, we just approved our Solid Waste Management Plan which speaks to how we intend to deal with our regional waste into the future. Expansion of the existing landfills in the Comox Valley and Campbell River is planned to provide future disposal capacity. The expansion of the Comox Valley site will be undertaken first while the land adjacent to the existing Campbell River landfill site is assessed for suitability. On the diversion and recycling front, we have set a target of 70% diversion from landfills and have just approved a composting pilot project for Comox and Cumberland to help us meet that goal. Development of regional composting capacity is required in order to capture the estimated 35% of landfilled material that is compostable. This pilot project is a step in that direction. Providing this pilot goes well, the program will be expanded to include other communities. I don’t imagine, however, that Cortes will be one of them given the number of compost bins on island and the distance of transport. I am delighted though that as a region we are, however belatedly, taking this step.

Smart Meters
Many of you now have them, and many of you have refused them. I have received no assurance from BC Hydro or the Province that you will be able to refuse them for very long. Two years ago at the Union of BC Municipalities convention a resolution was passed requesting option refusal of smart meters. After receiving a local Cortes petition with some 60 names speaking out against the smart meter program, and after learning that over 50 BC communities have passed resolutions wanting either a smart meter moratorium or further choice for their residents, I brought forward the following resolution to the Regional District. “That the Strathcona Regional District write a letter to BC Hydro, the Premier of BC, and to the Minister of Energy and Mines in support of optional refusal of the installation of wireless smart meters for citizens of the SRD; and further that BC Hydro be requested to present this ‘Option of Refusal’ to the BC Utilities Commission for consideration.” This motion did not pass as most SRD board members saw this effort as too little too late. If you have refused a smart meter and continue to not want one, I do believe you will need to be quite vigilant. All the best.

Cortes Parks
Given that it is fall, we are beginning our work plan and budget preparations at the SRD for the 2013 regional parks service. In addition to our regular park maintenance work, most years we have the ability to take on an additional project. What are your ideas? I have had a few people indicate interest in opening up a few new beach access trails like the three next to Hollyhock, in Squirrel Cove and on Potlatch Road. I have also been approached with the suggestion to investigate putting in or improving a boat launch on the west side of Cortes. Thoughts?

In Gratitude, Noba Anderson
Regional Director, Cortes Island