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General News · 15th June 2014
Noba Anderson
Thank-you Cortes for your daily letters of opinion about the proposed purchase of the Whaletown Commons. It is great to hear from so many people! See attached map for neighborhood location of the Whaletown Commons.

Thank-you Cortes for your daily letters of opinion about the proposed purchase of the Whaletown Commons. It is great to hear from so many people! There are three more key questions I would like to answer in advance of the SRD-hosted public meeting this coming Tuesday the 17th at 7 pm at the Gorge Hall. See below.

Also, I have been hearing from some who don’t want to come to the Tuesday meeting because of their memories of angry and poorly organized Cortes meetings in the past. The SRD has hired Kel Kelly, a professional facilitator who facilitated the heated Gorge aquaculture meeting a few years ago, to facilitate again on Tuesday. Emotions are high on this issue from a few perspectives, and I am committed to doing everything I can to have our public process build goodwill rather than tear at our social fabric. It is very important that all opinions are heard with respect and in a good way. I am making much effort toward putting out good clear information so that you can come and express your thoughts in the most informed way possible and be received in good safe space. Please help share fact-based information.

Q – How much tax would I pay toward the Whaletown Commons if the SRD were to complete the purchase?

A – The average Cortes property, valued at $344,000, has been and would continue to pay for the next five years about $40 per year. There would NOT be a new tax and doubtfully an increase in the existing park tax. The $40 per year is about 25% of the overall SRD Cortes Park’s budget. The same property pays about $880 per year for schools, $43 for police, $290 for hospitals, $72 for libraries and $262 for fire service.

Q – How can I donate money in support of the Whaletown Commons purchase?

A – The Strathcona Regional District will write a tax receipt for any donation of $20 or greater. If a tax receipt is of value to you, you can send your donation to the ‘Strathcona Regional District’ attention ‘Chief Financial Officer’ with a note about your intention to direct your funds to the purchase of the Whaletown Commons. Your checks will be cashed. If the purchase is not completed, your funds will be returned to you. If the purchase is completed, you will be issued a tax receipt afterwards. The mailing address of the SRD is 301 – 990 Cedar Street, Campbell River, BC, V9W 7Z8. The value of donating before a final purchase decision is made is that if the purchase is completed less public borrowing will need to be approved. Donated funds are also a real solid demonstration of support. If a tax receipt is not needed, donations can also be made to the ‘Whaletown Commons Society’ by contacting either Lovena Harvey (935-0323) or Hubert Havelaar (935-6947) or by emailing whaletowncommonsparkgmail.com.

Q – Is this a choice between a park and a helipad?

A – Absolutely not! The Cortes Fire Department has done an excellent job at clearing their Whaletown fire hall property for a helicopter landing pad. A helicopter specialist recently came to evaluate that site, along with other sites on the island. Although his final report is still pending, he has said in writing to all interested parties that the existing site is a good day-time landing site but that regardless of tree falling it will not make a good night time site. They much prefer waterfront sites for night time landing and are reviewing a few better options. If the SRD is the owner of the Whaletown Commons land and tree clearing is needed to provide for a safe helicopter approach and this is deemed to be the best neighbourhood location, there is no parks bylaw preventing tree clearing and the existing covenant allows for tree removal with the consent of the covenant holder (The Land Conservancy) and the land owner. There is already an agreement in place between these two parties that allows for tree removal for safety purposes. I, and I am sure any future Regional Director, would advocate for a safe helicopter pad and approach in Whaletown.

Thanks for your attention to this matter.

Noba Anderson, Cortes Regional Director

250-935-0320, directorcortesisland.com

PS – just a note about good process… I know that there are some people who do not believe I will listen to their perspective and therefore, on this and other issues, contact my staff and fellow SRD directors while choosing not to communicate with me. What this practice inherently does is undermine my ability to hear from you, answers yours questions and indeed represent you. I offer that there is a difference between listening to a constituent and doing what they want. I do my very best to represent what I believe is majority will and do what I think is best for Cortes overall. My fellow directors would much rather that we on Cortes work issues out locally as best as we can before bringing them to the board rather than fight it out at the board table. It is this opportunity that I have been doing my best to offer with all my communication, Q & A, and public meeting. Thank-you for participating in democracy in whichever way you choose.