It must be spring because there are so many super projects on my desk right now. I have been working with the newly formed Cortes Gas Tax Advisory Committee to develop an excellent application process and evaluation tool for local Gas Tax projects designed to reduce green house gas emissions, and/or result in clean air and clean water. We have had many expressions of interest and one full application to replace the Manson’s Hall oil furnace with an air source heat pump, thereby saving them $ and reducing their carbon emissions. I will soon be forwarding this application to the SRD board for consideration. Again, this spring I am receipt of excellent applications from many non-profits for great proposed work – youth activities, renovations, tourism promotion, school garden supplies, literacy and computer access etc. Funding decisions will be made soon. Also, I have been collecting info about other island’s transportation initiatives and we will be conducting a Transportation study here on Cortes this year to further explore our options. VOTE in the Provincial Election- May 14!!!
The North Island Provincial riding is often a very close race, so each vote truly does matter. I offered to organize a Cortes all candidates debate, however, when I contacted Liberal candidate Nick Facey’s campaign manager and extended this offer his response was that the problem with Cortes was that it was two ferries away... and that was that. Claire Trevena, NDP candidate, was on Cortes last week as part of her campaign rounds. Whatever your perspective, please VOTE. Library at Linnaea a ‘Go’
At the Regional District public hearing regarding Linnaea’s rezoning application to allow library use in their old school building everyone spoke, at one level or another, in support of the proposal. Some supported this location as an interim measure and wanted to see the library return to Manson’s over time, where others viewed Linnaea as a good long-term location. At the next opportunity, the Regional District board voted unanimously in support of the rezoning, thereby removing the last obstacle to Linnaea and Vancouver Island Regional Library’s ability to begin preparations for the new library that they hope to have open by the end of the summer. Best wishes to their efforts. Parks & Trails
Nearly 30 people came out on a sunny Tuesday last week to discuss parks and trails on Cortes Island. We were reminded that the land we live on and were discussing is Klahoose traditional territory, unseeded land and that when treaty was settled there would be lands formally returned to the Klahoose First Nation. Discussions were had with BC Parks and Strathcona Regional District Parks about operational concerns and future work possibilities. The Quadra Trails Committee, 25 years ahead of Cortes, shared with us how they have been creating, formalizing, publicizing and maintaining an island-wide trails system on Quadra in parks as well as across private and Crown lands. They are very willing to share their experiences with us on Cortes as we develop a more formal trails initiative, for which there was much local interest and enthusiasm. Friends of Cortes Island shared their perspective and offered their assistance. Island Timberlands director of real estate was also there and expressed some potential for trails across their land if done through the Regional District. I fully expect another public event later this spring, without the off island guests, to create a trails working group and begin prioritizing our efforts. If you are interested, please contact me. Klahoose Marina Application
The Klahoose Resort Limited Partnership has applied to rezone a portion of the foreshore in front of their primary Squirrel Cove reserve, inside the inner cove, for the purposes of a facilitating a marina, commercial moorage facility and relocating a deep water aquaculture operation. The proposal would involve development of a marina comprised of 69 berths and 46 single point moorings along with a fuel dock, waste pump-out facility, power and water provision, a laundry and float plane and water taxi docks covering an area of 16 hectares. The Regional District Board directed staff and the applicant (Klahoose) to host a community information session prior to formal board consideration. I trust that this public meeting will be held soon and that further information will follow.AVICC
The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) is the coastal association of local government representatives which hosts an annual convention, held this April in Sooke. In addition to workshops and presentations, our main business is that of passing resolutions expressing our collective position on many matters to senior levels of government. This year I was impressed with our progressive stance on many issues. We passed a resolution requesting that the cut rotation for trees in domestic watersheds be raised to 100 years, another requesting that the default speed limit on municipal roads be reduced to 40 km/hr, another wanting to declare Vancouver Island and surrounds a GMO free zone, another asking that the carbon tax on biodiesel sourced from reused oil be eliminated, and yet another requesting that there be limits on foreign ownership of BC farmland. As Jim Abram has reported, there was of course also a resolution to lobby the Provincial Government to recognize the ferry system as an essential extension of our BC public highway system, to reduce fares and maintain service levels. And of particular interest, we also elected to welcome First Nations who have achieved self-government status to join the AVICC as ‘local government.’ Host Community Agreement for Landfill
Following up to my article titled ‘Regional Garbage’ in my March newsletter (that went to all Cortes mail boxes and can be found at www.cortesisland.com
Special Sections Tab – Regional Director Page), the proposed Host Community Agreement between the Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) and the Village of Cumberland is now seeking electoral assent. The agreement would tie the CSWM to pay Cumberland $300,000 per year and $3 million in road upgrades. If you do not support this 20 year financial agreement, you can fill out a response form and return it to the CVRD by May 31st. For more information on the host community agreement and to obtain a copy of the elector response forms visit www.cswm.ca/hostcommunity
. Island Studies Conference
Next week I will be attending a conference titled “Island Studies: West Coast Canada & Beyond – By Islanders, About Islanders and Islands” on Gabriola Island. I have been asked to present on an ‘Island Governance’ panel with elected reps from the San Jaun Islands and the Islands Trust. For more info please visit http://islandstudiesconference2013.org/
I look forward to writing about it upon my return.Removing Cortes from Tax Services
When I took office, there were two Cortes tax services that had been essentially dormant for years for which I saw no reasonable future use: the Pesticide Awareness Service and the Soil Deposit and Removal Control Service. Both of these services were dissolved a few years ago, and recently the Emergency Rescue Supplies Grant in Aid Service, was also regrettably dissolved. This service was designed to provide grant funds to Campbell River Search and Rescue, and at one time was a truly regional service. My fellow rural colleagues opted out last year, leaving only Cortes and Campbell River, and when Campbell River wanted out, because they fund this through their municipal budget, it did not make fiscal sense to maintain that service just for Cortes. The Search and Rescue centre has been made aware that they can now apply into local grant-in-aid services. That is three less tax services for Cortes since I have been in office.
Best wishes for a beautiful spring!
Regional Director, Cortes Island