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General News · 26th October 2019
Ashley Zarbatany
Today is the big day to support our community halls and local firefighters. Please get out, bring your friends, and vote! It's extremely important that everyone who supports these referendums show up because every vote counts.

As someone who has a partner on the fire department, I want to encourage everyone to vote yes to support the firefighters in getting the support and legal rights they need to administer first aid when they show up to an emergency. I do not want any of these brave and committed volunteers to have to go through the trauma of being unable to save someone's life due to bureaucratic red tape. That is not a burden I think any of us want to put on their shoulders, so please make sure you get out there and vote today.

As someone with a young family, I would like to encourage all of you to vote yes to support funding our community halls. Most rural areas recognize the vital importance community halls and strong civic ties have in creating vibrant and resilient communities, and it's about time Cortes does too. While I don't use the halls for everything, I recognize that they serve many people on this island and make life better for them, whether economically or socially.

Indeed, they have made life immeasurably better for me and my family. Whether it was going to playgroup and having contact with other adults when I was new and feeling isolated with my baby, or now being able to offer my daughter the learning experiences that come from attending preschool, or being able to take my family to fun lip syncs and other intergenerational events, I am so grateful that these programs exist in what otherwise could be an extremely isolating community. In fact, it is the intergenerational aspects of our community events that has made life so full here on Cortes and so unlike anything I've experienced in cities. It is what draws me to this place and reminds me of the wonderful times I spent growing up in a small tightly woven community in rural Ontario. It's a community that transcends age groupings or subcultures and is the foundation for a healthy civil society.

While I cannot speak for the WCC or it's membership, I do speak as someone who has been on the board for the last year and who has been actively involved in fundraising efforts, and I can say with first-hand experience that we need this funding. Relying on volunteers to fundraise for our basic operating costs just isn't working. Most of us volunteers are young, have families, and very little spare time. A reliable stream of core funding for basic operations would give us the flexibility to organize more community events and stop worrying about paying our basic bills.

So please, get out and support our community halls today. Support having a vibrant Cortes community that values the efforts of our island's many volunteers and many wonderful programs that make this community great.