General News · 10th February 2017
I truly hope you have survived this incredible week of awesome 4 foot snow, no power, sporadic phone service, frozen water, immovability, etc... I got out half way though and am now in Comox with Peter awaiting the birth of our wee one...
I offer you here a February update. You will find a whole newsletter attached to this article and in your mailboxes some time this coming week when logistics begin to return to normal.
I have pasted below here the beginning of each article contained in the newsletter as an incentive for further reading.
May you and your loved ones stay warm and safe!
Cortes Regional Director
‘Maternity Leave’ & my Alternate Director Mary Lavelle
After the birth of our child, which is due late February, I will be splitting my political duties for a three months or so with my alternate director, Mary Lavelle. I have worked with her in many capacities over the years and greatly value her support. She has attended a few meetings on my behalf at the Regional District over the past two years and is familiar with the system. (See newsletter for more...)
Cortes Zoning Bylaw Review
For those of you not regularly on-line, I offer below a summary of the article I posted at cortesisland.com in December. Not much has happened since that posting other than the creation of a webpage where information on the process can be found including all the public information made available so far. (See newsletter for more...)
$60,000 Gas Tax Funds for Cortes Trails
There have been a few incarnations of a Cortes parks and trails committees over the years and many trail-building efforts, resulting in some fabulous Cortes trails. However, until the last few years there has been no formal coordination of this work island-wide. (See newsletter for more...)
Release of Legal info Related to Island Seafarms
Between 2008 and 2011 the Strathcona Regional District was in legal proceedings with Island Seafarms regarding their operations in the Gorge Harbour. These proceedings began a few months before I was elected to office. Upon becoming familiar with the file, I advocated a mediated approach rather than continued legal action, which eventually resulted in a settlement agreement in January of 2012. (See newsletter for more...)
Economic Development Update
Two years ago, one of the key commitments I made to you in my last election campaign was that of focusing on Cortes economic development. I co-hosted an economic development forum in 2015 and we now have some funding in place and structure through which to proceed. The Cortes Island Business and Tourism Association (CIBATA) has taken the lead and launched a Local Economic Action Planning (LEAP) process... (See newsletter for more...)
Grant In Aid Applications Due February 24th
This year there will be approximately $25,000 available to support local non-profit work through the Strathcona Regional District’s Grant-In-Aid fund for Cortes. Projects generally need to have broad community benefit and I especially welcome new initiatives... (See newsletter for more...)
Strathcona Regional District Poised to Purchase its Corporate Office Building
Since the Strathcona Regional District was formed in 2008, after it was split from the former Comox-Strathcona Regional District, and moved from Courtenay to Campbell River, we have been leasing office space at 990 Cedar Street. With the need for more office space we have been looking at options that would provide long-term stability. (See newsletter for more...)
Future of the Cortes Free Store?
The Cortes Free Store is one of the best used and most beloved establishments on Cortes Island. Year round, you will find many people at any given time dropping off items and finding new treasures. It both diverts a LOT of useful material from the landfill and provides incredible value, especially for so many islanders with little money to spare. (See newsletter for more...)
Regional District Budgets
The majority of your Regional District services (parks, planning, fire, emergency preparedness, grant-in-aid...) come from the Strathcona Regional District (SRD). We budget based on the needs of services provided to Cortes with the significant majority of the funding for those services coming from property taxation. This year, taxes will go up by 2.6%, as all budgets are very stable this year. (See newsletter for more...)
and further ...
Comment by Patricia L on 17th February 2017
I have been asking myself to get more clear about what I see as a threat if CRD is involved with the free store. It is this: The recycle yard is under the jurisdiction of the CRD. The free store is on road allowance and not part of the recycle yard. If the Free Store were to become connected to the Regional District, there would be a requirement to have insurance. That would not be possible and there would be no more Free Store. Please be careful with decisions about this awesome community initiative.
Haven't seen this in my mail box
Comment by Mike Malek 202 5020 on 14th February 2017
Why don't you post the whole letter on tidelines? People everywhere could see what up on Cortes.
Please don't burocratize the free store.
Comment by Patricia L on 12th February 2017
I don't see how the free store falls within the parameters of your position. Let's keep it separate from the CRD. There is nothing to gain there.
The free store is run by the people for the people. It works just fine. In fact it works amazingly. Once there are funding sources involved, that source becomes the focus rather than the community. What repairs are needed? The roof doesn't leak, there is heat and electricity. I have only heard of one person who thinks it should be expanded and you probably know who that is. Speaking for myself only, I do not want to see expansion. This will mean more stuff and will require more volunteers. We already have trouble keeping 4 days a week staffed with 2 volunteers each day. We have a small slush fund from donations at the store. If something needs repair, I am confident that we could find materials and probably volunteer labour from the community to fix it up. If it ain't broke, don't fix it and IT AIN'T BROKE! My 2 cents worth :)