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Noba Anderson speaking at the July Community Housing Celebration
General News · 27th August 2018
Noba Anderson
Summer Greetings!

My August newsletter will go into Cortes mailboxes today and can be found attached here below. A LOT of Cortes business has been hitting the Regional District recently, so I invite you to take the time to read this update. Also attached are both the 2 page summary of the proposed Cortes Zoning Bylaw changes that went along with this paper mailing as well as a longer summary for those with a deeper interest. A limited number of paper copies of the Zoning Bylaw will be at post offices today. To read the full bylaw on line visit

Cortes Local Economic Action Plan
To truly flourish as a community, I believe that we need to foster ways in which we collectively cultivate interconnected perspectives and collaborations. It is time for us to increasingly think strategically and reach across sectors to set in place organizational systems that will support resilience, especially in these globally chaotic times.

The Cortes Local Economic Action Planning (LEAP) process, sponsored by the Cortes Island Business And Tourism Association, has enabled many facets of the community to come together, reaching beyond what any one individual, business or organization could accomplish alone. The result is a Cortes-wide plan that expands our traditional thinking and makes a real attempt to represent a whole island perspective... (read more in the attached report)

The New Cortes Zoning Bylaw
The new Cortes Zoning Bylaw has been reviewed over the past year through community meetings, surveys, focus groups, Advisory Planning Commission meetings, your comments and of course my and staff’s thorough review. It has been given first and second reading by the SRD Board and will be brought to a public hearing. I do anticipate wrapping up this key piece of planning work before the October election. Please see the insert pages 9 & 10 from SRD staff outlining the major changes... (read more in the attached report)

Apology to the Offended ‘Old-timers
I apologize for my use of the word ‘old-timers’ in my last newsletter. First, I offended at least one person who accused me of being ‘ageist’. If anything, I may be ageist in favour of our elders. Seniors issues are central to my work as exemplified here. I dedicated my maternity leave year to the Seniors Society, assisting them to secure more housing. I am reminded daily as I care for my 82 year-old father in my home. Second, it was a poor choice of words as it did not convey my meaning. I was offering to meet with relative newcomers in a less loaded space acknowledging that public meetings can be daunting as the dialogue is often dominated by those of us (and I would include myself – ergo the very poor choice of words) who have been deeply active in this community for a long time. I invite us to be more kind with each other... (read more in the attached report)

Seniors Village Rezoning Application Passed
The Cortes Island Seniors Society (CISS) zoning amendment application to allow 4 more cottages at the existing Seniors Village has been passed by the SRD. CISS will soon be making application to BC Housing to fund the building of these 4 cottages to accommodate some of the many seniors on the waiting list for housing. Well done Cortes Seniors!

Cortes Seniors Integrated Health Action Team
Knowing that we can surely better serve our island elders (or ‘old growth’ as this team has coined) with improved coordination and cross-sector supportive action, I pulled together a great team of people passionate about making Cortes a healthier place to age and die. This (so far) informal group has met a few times with the mission to support Cortes senior residents to live with community integration in a healthy and safe way, as long as they choose, and have supportive death options when the time comes... (read more in the attached report)

Cortes Community Housing Initiative
It has been my greatest pleasure to dedicate my maternity leave year and ongoing to working with the Cortes Community Housing project. The Strathcona Regional Housing Report, detailed on the next page, will be a big help in the Cortes Seniors’ September application to BC Housing for funds to build 4 more units at the existing Seniors Village as well as in future applications to build more housing for all ages on the adjacent newly acquired 51 acres of Community Housing land. I am very grateful that my regional work will be so directly useful here at home. For much more information on the Cortes Housing project, including ways to support its good work, please visit

Strathcona Community Health Network Housing Study: Cortes Island in acute need within the regional context
I have very much enjoyed being the Co-Chair and co-founder of the Strathcona Community Health Network, a network that seeks to address the social determinants of health within our region. We have released a Regional Housing Needs Assessment which identifies housing needs throughout the region. Read it at
The findings of this report as it relates to Cortes are quite concerning. Here is some of what we found:

• Significant affordability gaps (based on median income) for all family types with 29% of households spending 30% or more of their income on shelter costs, the highest proportion in the region... (read more in the attached report)

Transportation on Cortes
Transportation continues to be a priority issue, although a particularly hard nut to crack. After the release earlier this year of the long-fought-for Cortes Transportation Study, I presented it to the BC Minister of Transportation, and our very own MLA, Claire Trevena. She was quite grateful for our work as few rural and remote communities put this amount of effort into investigating opportunities... (read more in the attached report)

Whaletown Common Neighbourhood
Since the purchase of the Whaletown Commons Park, we have been working on two adjacent park additions. First, the new trail from the end of Jocelyn Road down to Whaletown Bay, connecting another Whaletown neighbourhood to the park, has now been named Whaletown Creek Trail and is open for all to enjoy. Second, the Cortes Official Community Plan also identifies the adjacent 10 acres of Crown as a park acquisition priority. Securing the Crown parcel as part of the park system has been in our work plan for years, and now that we have written support from both the Cortes Community Forest Partnership and the Klahoose First Nation, we have requested that the Province gift this land to the SRD. The current main trail loop system crosses both pieces of land making the Crown land integral to the park system both from an ecological and human use perspective... (read more in the attached report)

Cortes Industrial Land Designations
At my request, the SRD Board has directed that the planning department conduct a Cortes Official Community Plan (OCP) update process to identify and pre-designate key lands for future industrial use. When the first Cortes zoning bylaw was created, industrial land zoning was extended to those properties that had some kind of industrial use. These industrial lands were not located with any kind of community planning but rather to support existing uses. There are 4 small terrestrial industrially zoned parcels: one on the Gorge, the Emcon Highways yard, one in Manson’s and one in Smelt Bay. This essentially leaves no land for active future industrial use on Cortes... (read more in the attached report)

4 Tax Services Needing Your Vote
On the next 2 pages, I outline 4 items that are coming to you for a formal vote. In each case, the vote requests have come from Cortes (except the regional internet project) and in each case it will be up to you to guide and decide.

Connected Coast Service
The first and only regional, proposed tax service is the Connected Coast service. The intention of this project is to bring new or improved high-speed internet accessibility to 154 rural and remote coastal communities through the placement of sub-sea fibre-optic cable circumnavigating Vancouver Island and running north to Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii. The Connected Coast Project is a $45.4 million project, funded in full by the Federal and Provincial governments; something that is almost unheard of! Much more info on the whole project can be found at ... (read more in the attached report)

Garbage Collection
We are updating the way we determine the disposal fees collected from Cortes commercial accounts. We expect that the new volume-based pay-what-you-actually-use system will be fairer to all of us, save residential users money, and incentivize businesses to recycle and divert more. Through this review, it was also found that the volume of garbage being generated on Cortes has been steadily increasing for the past 10 years which will result in increases to residential taxes or charges if diversion rates aren't improved... (read more in the attached report)

Compost Diversion
As per my May newsletter, I was shocked to learn that there is FAR too much compost in the Cortes waste stream. 50% of our garbage may be organic – the highest in the whole region! If this is true, we truly need to look at measures to remove organics. There MUST be creative options for local composting of the material. At my request, staff came to Cortes to discuss options to enhance compost diversion. Their preference is to begin with an education and compost promotion program. We could use a couple Cortes champions to help our compost educator on island. Any takers??

Unsightly Premise Regulation
The existing 2002 Cortes Zoning Bylaw has a very broad nuisance provision – which I assume was a reflection of the will of Cortes residents before my time in office. It includes controls for unsightliness, odor emission, dust, noise, vibration, smoke and electrical interference. It has since been determined that these types of nuisance provisions need to be in a stand-alone regulatory bylaw rather than embedded in the zoning bylaw. As we are now reviewing the Cortes Zoning Bylaw, we must separate this part out IF we want to continue to regulate nuisance... (read more in the attached report)