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General News · 30th July 2013
John Sprungman, SCCA President

The Southern Cortes Community Association (SCCA) Board of Directors is pleased to report that the Strathcona Regional Board has approved our application for funding to make heat pumps the primary heat source for Manson’s Hall. The $80,000 project will utilize gas tax dollars that the federal government returned to local governments for infrastructure improvements. This distribution was based on population and the SRD received about $350,000 earmarked for Cortes Island. Thanks to our Regional Director Noba Anderson for her successful effort to make these funds available for projects by non-profit societies.

Five air-source heat pumps will be installed at Manson’s Hall. Three of them will supply heat to existing ductwork that is connected to the three oil furnaces which currently heat most of Manson’s Hall. Over the last three years, the hall has burned 15,705 litres of furnace oil which cost nearly $20,000 and put an average of 14.25 tons of carbon into the atmosphere annually. Heat pumps, which are electrically powered and use about 40% of the kilowatts required for electric heating, will almost erase the hall’s carbon footprint and greatly reduce our operating costs. Two of the new heat pumps will be connected to units called mini-splits which will be installed in smaller rooms in the hall. Heat pumps can also cool rooms during hot weather.


If you’ve been to the hall in the last month, you can see changes beginning to happen as general contractor Jean Fontaine and his Blue Moon Woodworks crew work on renovations, beginning with fixing up the old post office room and doing required structural remediation so we can put the former library room back in service. The old PO will become a small group meeting room but will temporarily house the hall office while that room has its ceiling reinforced.

The SCCA has received several federal grants and a grant from the Coastal Community Credit Union which will cover a large part of the cost of this work and pay for new flooring and a deck for the playschool, renovations to both the women’s and men’s bathrooms, fixing the squeaky floor over the Pioneer Room and constructing a pedestrian patio outside the new post office and main hall entry. The gravel surface inside the yellow wheel blocks, the deteriorating walkway and wooden porch will be replaced with pavers and new concrete.
New exterior doors for the main hall and playschool are being built and installed by Jim Kearney and Ian leCheminant.

The federal grants require community contributions in money and donated labour, materials and equipment so we will need all the help you can give to take full advantage of them.


Cortes Cafe proprietor Garnette Blackie has notified the SCCA board of her intention to cease operating the cafe by August 30. In June, the inspector for the Vancouver Island Health Authority informed the SCCA that major renovations will be needed to bring the kitchen into compliance with VIHA’s Food Premises requirements for a commercial kitchen before he will issue a permit allowing a new operator to provide food to the public from the kitchen. The SCCA board is working on plans to meet VIHA's requirements and to improve the kitchen, but at this time we have no funds available for this project.


The SCCA board welcomes Cathy Winter who has accepted an appointment as a director. Cathy grew up on Cortes, is trained and works as a bookkeeper and was the construction manager when the Cortes Health Centre was built. She joins a board that includes Julian Ayers, Desta Beattie, Diane Daly, David Drysdale, Mags Johnston, Myrna Kerr, Jim Murphy and John Sprungman.

Belated thank yous to Ben Deschenes for barbecuing burgers at the SCCA’s burger stand on Cortes Day and to Fred Savage and Joel Doyle for making and installing a screen door for the post office staff entry to provide summer ventilation.