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General News · 10th June 2014
Noba Anderson
I have been receiving many letters regarding the Whaletown Commons. These letters will be received by the SRD board along with a staff report after the public meeting on June 17th. If people have written only to the board and not copied me, I have not yet received them and cannot quote them below. Last week I promised that I would provide a summary of comments received so far. What I offer below are direct quotes from you, one from each letter or phone call received. Although impossible to do, I have tried to select a few lines that best represents the core flavor of your perspective. Thank-you so much making the effort to be in touch – it does matter.

“I strongly support the truth that the best possible designation for this 72 acres of land is a park and have since the idea was brainstormed. Although I live on the south end of the island I very much enjoy walking in the wilds of Whaletown and look forward to many more walks in the Whaletown Commons.”

“If the Commons sells to a private third party, the option to stay in the story is gone. Buying the Commons is a move to local control. Is this community willing to stand up to what it values?”

“I think that the value of having more public green spaces for us and for future generations cannot be too strongly stressed.”

“My family and friends walk this land every time we can and enjoy the peace and quiet within the forest. The creek is so very important to protect and to preserve.”

“Many people after being on a boat for several days are in search of a great place for a walk or hike and we have always taken pride in directing them to explore this land while they are here. It has become a favorite of not just us locals who reside in this area but guests from around the world.”

“This area lies in the heart of our community and is a wonderful space for walking. I have difficulty walking and must use a cane and there are very few places that suit my abilities.”

“This is a precious resource not only for those in Whaletown catchment area, but also all those who live on and visit Cortes Island. To turn this parcel into a park is an entirely positive step, a gift to all Cortesians.”

“Most people in our particular neighbourhood, want The Whaletown Commons to become a Park, as it a real treasure, we do not mind people knowing this, and hope that the Regional District will not consider the objections from folk who for some reason want to remain anonymous.”

“While feeling manipulated by stakeholders such as the SRD, Whaletown Commons Society, and my political representative, I still feel this decision would properly be placed in front of the electorate to be squarely decided by those who have paid into the taxes for this fund.”

For most everyone who lives in Whaletown, the thought of protecting the Commons by making it a park, is a no brainer. However for me, most of all, the Whaletown Commons is a tribute to that spirit of grass root volunteerism, that communal self determinism.”

“We understand the price is more than what was originally hoped for, the assessed value of $826,000, but Parkland is priceless! The use of this beautiful and pristine land will carry on for many generations, serving my children and grandchildren and further into the future.”

“Aside from the park’s substantial contribution to biodiversity and the quality of life, it is its attractiveness to tourists, particular those numerous individuals who walk there from the busy Gorge Harbour Marina that should make acquiring it a ‘no-brainer’ for the SRD. As tourism is one of the few viable industries left on Cortes, where so many traditional avenues are in decline, we should be doing all we can to showcase our natural beauty and ensure both its preservation and lasting accessibility.”

“My family and I walk the Commons almost daily. We meet friends there, take solitude there and encourage others to do the same. There is no other such park recourse here in the Whaletown area. The commons knits our community together, and also acts as a "green transit corridor" between hamlets.”

“I am very pleased that we are now so close to securing this land which is in such a pivotal location in Whaletown -providing walking, biking and horseback riding trails which connect Whaletown, Carrington Bay and Jocelan Roads. It is important that our community is able to walk from area to area without having to take the longer, motorized routes and that this beautiful, natural area is protected from further clear cutting.”

“As a local resident, who regularly walks the land being proposed for a park, I would like to offer my wholehearted support for the vision to make this area a park for all to use and enjoy.”

“This area has long been a connecting link, between upper and lower Whaletown, between the post office, store, and our small independent library, as well as an amazing walking area. It is an important wildlife corridor for our larger wildlife, as well as a habitat and refuge, for avian and fish species.”

“As a resident of Whaletown I am pleased that we are able to agree on a price to acquire this gorgeous tract of land for our own enjoyment and for that of future generations----those residing here on Cortes Island, and visitors from other parts of the world. There can never be too much green space.”

“As a long time resident & land owner in Whaletown I do not support the purchase of the 70+ acres of IT's land, spoken of by a few as the Whaletown Commons. We have a very small population here on the Island & I do not feel that we can support, through our taxes, land for a park. We LIVE in a park! - just walk outside!”

“I am writing … to vigorously support the purchase of the Whaletown Commons in order to create a park in Whaletown for present and future generations to enjoy. I think not to do so would be incredibly short-sighted.”

“Now what about the basic parts of this idea that I am absolutely against. Why in hell would we want to go into debt to buy this property? First, it guarantees a tax burden on the parcel owners of Cortes – not necessarily a tax on the users of this park area!”

“The potential purchase of this property represents years of work by the Regional District, all of which was undertaken with the understanding that this purchase would be of benefit to the island. While people will always react to proposed changes on Cortes I encourage you to trust in the collective wisdom of all of those people who have dedicated so much time and energy in this direction over the years.”

“I just wanted to write and express my support of the proposed Whaletown Commons Park on Cortes Island. I think this would be a great initiative that would bring long-term economic benefits to the island and help with tourism in the Whaletown area.”

“Mansons has 4 parks within easy walking distance, Whaletown really has none. To call the WCC leased land near the Gorge Marina a park at this point is a joke.”

“I strongly believe it is important to preserve this area while the opportunity presents itself, for the sake of the ecosystem and future generations of islanders to come. “

“i feared the worst when i heard news that it was owned by Island Timber and had visions of mass destruction. i do not think it is wise at all, in these times, to cut down trees that have survived for over 200 years but wisdom has rarely been a factor when it comes to commercialism. It would be a triumph for your board, as well as for the Islanders, if the park happens.”

“The sections of the property that have been logged can become a ball field, picnic area, space for community activities, perhaps a new hall at some point. Together with the Marina, it builds a centre for Whaletown that can provide opportunities for the neighbourhood to gather as needed. For people not able to walk to Carrington, the Whaletown Commons provides for recreational access to a wide variety of abilities.”

“This piece of land is central to our community since there is no other park space within this thriving population (200 mailboxes in Whaletown/ 250 in Manson's). So the difference in number of people is not so different whereas the number of parks is very outweighed by Kw’as, Manson's Lagoon, Easter Bluff, Smelt Bay, Siskin Lane, Hank’s Beach, Hague Lake.”

“Going to the Commons is like going to Hawaii. It is transformative.”