A week ago I posted our concerns about the upcoming RAVE - with the outcome being that the organizers did the right thing and cancelled it due to the extreme fire hazard that presently exists on Cortes Island. During the process of researching the RAVE I learned a few things that I thought others might be interested in knowing too.
The area around Carrington Bay is a Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Park. The land itself is a Crown Lease which expires in 2035. The SRD is responsible for the Park and for carrying liability insurance, the same as it does for all the areas on Cortes that it manages.
Saying that, the Parks By-laws and Special Events By-laws that were inherited from the Comox-Strathcona Regional District when the SRD was formed have no “Event Permits” so have “little teeth” when it comes to managing or regulating events that are held in the park (the same would apply to Hank’s Beach or Kwas Park.). The SRD recognizes that the above by-laws need to be reviewed and updated and have set that as a priority for the next year. Noba Anderson, our Director, has agreed that islanders need to have discussions this fall/winter regarding possible Parks and Special Events By-law changes to determine what we want to have happen for Cortes. Businesses are not allowed to operate within a park or on crown land. However, it is sometimes difficult to prove something is a commercial endeavor.
Carrington Bay Park is not included in the fire area of the Cortes Island Fire Department. Therefore if a fire occurred in that area they would not respond. The area would fall under the Ministry of Forests (MOF) for fire suppression. The MOF restricts the use of the lands they manage only if there is an active fire, or when there is extreme forest fire danger. They typically do not restrict recreational use, though they can close areas if they deem it necessary and work with other land holders or forestry companies that own the land.
If a fire started MOF would do a tactical evacuation of the immediate area with the assistance of the RCMP. They would not be responsible for the public evacuation of the Island. That type of evacuation is the responsibility of the SRD through the Cortes Emergency Social Services Program chaired by Chris Dragseth.
The Carrington Bay RAVE or “Camp Out” as it is now referred to is organized by The Naked DJs. If you want to learn more about them you can check out their website at http://littleisland.ca/the-nakeddjs/
I have tried to summarize what I uncovered in my discussions with various agencies. If I have put something down that isn’t quite correct I apologize. If you didn’t see the message from our Fire Chief Dan Pippin regarding what each of us can do to reduce the risk of a fire on Cortes check out comment # 20 in my first article titled RAVE Concerns.