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General News · 29th August 2014
Noba Anderson
Please find attached at the bottom of this article a 4 page Cortes Parks Update. Simply click on the PDF icon entitled Cortes Parks Update August 29, 2014, which is nicely formatted in colour with photos and maps. But for anyone who cannot access it, here below is the plain text. It will also come to mailboxes next week.

In this Parks Newsletter….
Whaletown Commons Deal!
Wee Park by the Ferry
New Park Brochures
Seascape Road Beach Access
Island Wide Beach Accesses
Cross-Island Trail Linkages
Cortes Parks Map

Whaletown Commons Now a Park!
Yesterday, the Strathcona Regional District Board signed a purchase agreement with Island Timberlands to buy the Whaletown Commons as a Cortes park for $839,000! Island Timberlands presented us with this final offer with an associated August 29th deadline. We accepted.

It has been a long road with many people involved. I want to thank everyone who offered comment to the SRD, informing yesterday’s decision. As with most things on Cortes, there are many perspectives and I am grateful that so many people shared their voices. Thank-you!

I want to extend a special thanks to the Whaletown Commons Society, to those who have helped in so many ways from birthing the concept to fundraising to helping complete the deal. The Society is contributing nearly $73,000 to the purchase from local donations, including an anonymous $10,000 contribution and $20,000 from Ruth Harrison! Dozens of other people have also contributed financially to make this park a reality. Thank-you!

The Whaletown Commons has been a formal park priority in two Cortes Official Community Plan iterations and worked on by three Regional Directors. My commitment is to keep parks taxation as stable as possible while maintaining our current assets and project commitments.

In October when all the paperwork is complete and title has been transferred, I expect the SRD will host a celebration in the woods! Until then, Enjoy!

It is a precious thing to set aside public wild space in the heart of a neighbourhood… well done Cortes!

Wee Park by the Ferry
Ferry Park? Fairy Park? Whale Tale Park? Whale Tail Park? Other??? Please Help with a Name.

We have just completed all the final paperwork with BC Ferries and Ministry of Highways to make the beach, path and picnic area below the ferry line up into a small Regional District park.

The workplan for this park states:
“The Whaletown Ferry Terminal property has great value as a heritage site as well as present-day recreation value. The beach was the whale blubber rendering station in the late 1860s during the whaling era—from which Whaletown derives its name. Although the land between the current parking lot and the beach is now very overgrown, beneath the brambles there is a beautiful old homestead site. With some care and community effort, this area could be well restored and turned into an idyllic park in which to wait for the ferry.”

The proposed vision for the area is one of a beach access park and trails accessed through Byers Point Road and the BC Ferries’ Harbour Road property. Specific planned improvements include low key signage to identify the site, footbridges to allow for access between the sites, provision for graduated steps at the top of the beach access, development of trails through the extent of the beach access, and placement of viewing benches or a picnic tables.

We are still looking for a good name for the park - please share your ideas with me.
Over the next months, you will continue to see improvements to the trails and rest areas, so visit often while you are waiting for the ferry or simply looking for a sweet Whaletown beach spot. Enjoy!

Trails, Access & Connectivity is the focus of Cortes parks work for the remainder of 2014. We have excellent existing parks and beach access right-of-ways and we now are working on a plan to improve public knowledge and access to some of these locations.

New Park Brochures
The SRD has just completed three new park brochures and trail guides for Siskin Forest Park and Trails, Hank’s Beach and Carrington parks. These are in addition to the existing brochure for Kw’as Park. These pamphlets highlight some of the ecological and historical features of these local parks as well as making their trail systems clear for visitors. I will post electronic copies of these brochures soon at www.cortesisland.com and they will also be available at park trail heads & the Cortes Museum’s Visitor Info Center.

Seascape Road Beach Access
This access is now formally open. Under contract with the SRD, Ryan Harvey has built a beautiful set of stairs and a bridge over a small stream trickle and seasonal micro waterfall - all to access the beach below. Please enjoy with friends!

Island-Wide Beach Accesses
This summer, the SRD is conducting a survey of a number of beach accesses around the island, some of which are easily accessible but lack clarity for users and some would need trail building work to open safely. After this assessment is done and made public, we will be working with the Cortes Trails Committee, a project of the Friends of Cortes Island, to prioritize next steps and get working on the ground to sign and build a few more beach access. If you want to help with this effort, please contact either myself or FOCI.

Cross Island Trail Linkage System
Participants in last year’s Cortes parks and trails symposium and members of the Cortes Trails Committee have identified an ideal network of public trails which would connect many parts of the island and provide for recreational access to new areas. In the fall, we will GPS that entire proposed trail network so that we can, over time, acquire land owner, community forest and crown permission to make these trails a reality. We had Cortes land ownership base maps made up for our planning purposes that we have made available for sale in all 4 Cortes stores. Enjoy!

Please contact me about anything in this parks update. It is an honour to serve Cortes as Regional Director.

In Gratitude, Noba Anderson - directorcortesisland.com - 250-935-0320 - Box 394, Whaletown, BC, V0P 1Z0