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General News · 15th September 2019
Dear Cortesians,

Have you been thinking about how the climate crisis will effect our lives on this island? Maybe you've been thinking about the coming exodus away from coastlines as the sea levels rise, or maybe you've been thinking about moving to the Great Lakes region before it's too late? Or maybe you've been thinking about ways to adapt and make this community resilient? Or maybe you've thought you'll be immune to this crisis somehow?

Whatever you've been thinking, I would like to invite you to imagine something. Please imagine for a second what our coastline and community will look like here in the coming handful of decades.

Is your home under water? Has it burned down because of a forest fire and lack of fire proofing? Maybe you don't own a home but you have a really hard time imagining a future where you do? Are you able to get around? Are all the roads deteriorated and you find yourself cut off from other people? There's so many possibilities, right?

Cortes Island needs to take the climate crisis seriously and make drastic changes to the way we organize our homes and communities. Whether that's ensuring that there are enough water towers in each area to protect the island from spreading fires and summer droughts, or making sure that there's enough food to feed everyone here. We need to start adapting and fast. The biggest thing we can do is plan our communities in a way to be walkable because the way we live now, depending on vehicles, is unsustainable. Literally, it can't continue.

So now I would like to invite you to remember that Cortes was not always a car dependent community and that the present way of doing things is not the only way. The settler homesteaders didn't have cars. The Klahoose Nation didn't have cars. Probably many of the hippies just a few decades ago didn't even have cars. In fact, many of you still don't have cars.

Our community doesn't require cars and fuel intensive ferries to exist. That's just how it's been planned for right now and we can change that plan. We have the power to do that because we live in a free and democratic society right now and not an authoritarian one (so please vote).

This brings me to my final request for imagination. Please imagine for a minute what could be done with the Gorge Harbour Marina.

Imagine if those tourist trailers were instead affordable row homes for locals in a cooperative housing village? Imagine if we could walk to our cooperatively owned grocery store and our cooperatively owned small businesses? Maybe we could even have a post office!

The property sits far above the sea level up on a hill, so it's going to be good for a while. It's also going to be important to be next to the water so that our community is not completely cut off from the rest of the world and has some level of trade continuing into the future. Maybe that will even mean just getting goods traded between Whaletown and Mansons Landing, but it will be important to have an accessible (and somewhat sheltered) dock because it will be unlikely that ferries will continue to service the island.

The other thing that it has is infrastructure. Not perfect infrastructure, but enough to manage all those tourists so surely it could manage some locals and be improved upon.

Right now, it's on sale for a mere $5.5 million. That is peanuts for some of you that live here. Obviously, it's also a fortune to the rest of us but my point is that's it's a feasible opportunity for our community if only we put our heads together and tried envisioning a resilient future for us all.

It just takes some imagination.

Future Part II (important note)
Comment by Marco on 20th September 2019
Very important addition to my previous post:

My request was denied because the group of people and I would not have had the money yo come up with the entire selling price immediately.

I know that the owners would be interested in selling to the community, provided it can pay for it, and they don't have to go through the struggle and risk of financing.

So, if the money is available...
Old Trudes Cafe land
Comment by Stephen Reid on 20th September 2019
I wonder if the old Trudes Cafe land would be sold back to community interests, maybe even for the steal of a price it was apparently aquired for? I don't believe it has had any significant development since being acquired
Future Part II
Comment by Marco on 19th September 2019
As far as I am informed, the conditions of sale for the GHM are the following:

- Enough Money to pay for the sales price
- Enough Money to run the Business and cover all possible disasters (i.e pool cracks, emergency dock maintenance etc.)
- Keep the GHM plus minus what it is today (in all it's niches).

I have tried to talk to them about a possible community take over, that being some current employees, who know how things work, taking over the responsibilities and through store, dock, accommodation and campground profits, pay off the sales price. Always keeping in mind, that not one particular person, but an entire group of islanders would run the show.

Request denied at the speed of light.

I think your idea is great, but I highly doubt that it is in the interest of who is selling.

And believe it or not, the Gorge makes profit.
Therefore voilà, I guess money trumps everything (unfortunately).

That being said, isn't it already a place where people can go buy necessities, do laundry, shower and meet friends?

Thanks for your time :)
I enjoy this conversation
Good thinking Ashley
Comment by Mark Braaten on 17th September 2019
Brilliant idea. It has many of the elements so essential to village design.
Village design in small communities is becoming a lost art. First Nations peoples and our ancestors relied on generations of experience to design villages for themselves that enabled the community to thrive. There is much to learn but the basics are simple.
Yes we have forgotten how to cooperate, but it should not be too hard to remember! (We are smart creatures?)
Thanks for bringing our attention to this potential.
HBI does it
Comment by Ashley on 17th September 2019
Isn't the HBI worker run? There are lots of examples of worker coops working well and there are lots of examples of them failing. I would assume that should anyone want to do a project like that they would do their research first to see what works and what doesn't.

At this point, I highly doubt anyone in their right mind would purchase the GHM with the intention of running a lucrative business. There's a reason it's being sold for so cheap. Which is why I think it's important to have conversations, open minds, and imagination about what could possibly be done with that property instead, especially given the infrastructure that exists there.

I personally just want to get people talking about the fact that this property is for sale for peanuts and something beneficial to the community could be done with the land. This is why I'm suggesting a housing cooperative that is within walking distance of places where people can get what they need without having to rely on extreme amounts of fossil fuels. It's not going backwards to some primitive time; it's going forward, using the technology and knowledge that we have available, to deal with the reality at hand.

As for donkeys, if the climate crisis is not mitigated keeping unnecessary livestock alive will be the last of our priorities. We'll want the water for ourselves.
Comment by Marco on 17th September 2019
I would rather embrace new and innovative technology, than ride my donkey to work...

That being said, the idea of a community owned GHM sounds good. Though, who will manage it. Who will be the deciding force when disputes are not democratically solved...

Communal ownership is a beautiful idea that should be embraced world wide, yet that is not always reality. I think the GHM needs an owner and a manager.

But keep on pushong your thoughts. It's a good start!