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General News · 7th December 2019
Noba Anderson - Regional Dir.
This is the lead article in my December newsletter, which you can find attached at the bottom of this post and which I anticipate will go into Cortes mailboxes on Monday, December 9th. I have also provided the radio an audio recording of this article.

I also provide below this lead article, the first few lines from each article that follows, hopefully enticing you to read the rest in the newsletter.

Community is the Unit of (Climate) Resilience

Strangely enough, the events of the last year (the citizens petition to remove me from elected office, court, and the various proceedings at the Strathcona Regional District) have allowed me a spaciousness of reflection to focus on the biggest picture of all. When I strip away the daily chatter, the only thing that inevitably surfaces, over and over again, is the need to really, really face the implications of climate change and the related, ecological, social and economic stresses that will increasingly be upon us. I first shared my big-picture thinking with the Klahoose First Nation at a Chief and Council meeting, then with the participants at the Cortes Social Profit Forum in September, with many of you in small circles, and now in this way with you all.

Climate science is simply grim. People are mobilizing globally as never before: Greta Thunberg and the global youth School Strike for the Climate, Extinction Rebellion’s activism and the International Rebellion in major cities all over the world. Although we are moving into the great unknown, with so many possible unfolding scenarios, none of them are pretty. No change is easy, and we are facing the biggest global change in the history of humanity. The effects of climate change on the ground are happening much faster than science predicted; and so I sit, now, with the seemingly inevitable reality of some level of social collapse, or at least massive transformation, that will soon be upon us. Many of us, in our own way, have known of this coming for a long time. Indeed this is why many of us live here, in a simpler, more intentional way; growing food, buying less, traveling less, learning how to make things.

As I think through the local implications of this global fraying, the only place my attention consistently turns is to the building of a deep, adaptive and resilient community response. It bears repeating that community is the unit of resilience! To shape an informed community response, I submit that we first need to collectively face the truth, as much as we can, and begin planning together.

In my search for how to bring this conversation home in a way that is empowering, self-reflective and bends us toward love rather than fear, I have spent time with Karen Mahon Carrington and her ‘Climate Hope’ work. Moved by her approach and heartened by the establishment of the Climate Hope Society designed to assist people in facing the climate truth, I invited them to submit a grant-in-aid application to establish a Cortes chapter of their Climate Hope work. Their proposal, now partially funded by the Regional District, is designed to convene a series of conversations this coming year to support our community in preparing - emotionally, structurally and physically - for what is now on our doorstep.

As a community leader it is my job to think big picture and provide leadership where I can. The near-term nature of our climate reality has heightened my already strong focus on local resilience. As I see how our external governance systems continue to fail us in so many ways, I have been assisting organizations that support resilience and localization in our community communications and decision-making structures. This has been done, in part, through incubating and supporting the development of both the Cortes Community Economic Development Association (formerly the Cortes Island Business and Tourism Association) and the Cortes Island Foundation; both designed to support island-wide, cross-sector communication and thinking. I recently co-sponsored the Foundation’s gathering of all Cortes Social Profit organizations to begin seeing all the great work that each organization does as being part of a living whole. We are all connected and each group serves a needed role in this community we love.

We have always been a more autonomous bunch over here on Cortes; a community of independent introverts, less interested in being governed from afar. And so we have fewer regulations and more community organizations than just about anywhere else. Yet the social profit (not-for-profit) sector as a whole is not actually a local governance structure. My whole 11 years in elected office, I have yearned for something that looks like a Cortes Community Council; something that pulls from the old ‘ratepayers association’ days and adds to it our best thinking about democratic structures. I will share more with you as our thinking matures, but I am actively learning about what other islands do, what models exist, and speaking with those of you who share this passion. I think the time is right, for a whole number of reasons, to organize locally, to build Community Council, to create a space to talk about what most matters in these changing times. We need a mechanism through which to communicate our collective will, both to ourselves as well as to others. I see that building community-based complementary governance structures is actually a key piece of local climate resilience. To this I am now dedicated.

Community is the unit of resilience. Not the individual. Not the family. Certainly not the city. Resilient community is our very best bet. There is nowhere else I would rather be than Cortes. We live in a relatively climatically stable part of the world with a relative abundance of resources and food. We are so blessed to call this island community home.

I call upon each of you, as you are able, to face what is coming with honesty, courage and love and work together more than ever before.

First Responder & Hall Services Pass
After 10 years of persistence, Cortes finally got the chance to VOTE! 550 of you voted and the decision was very decisive indeed! 83% of you supported the proposed First Responder service and 75% of you supported the proposed Community Hall service. The Regional District has now formally established both services and, subject to contracts with the Fire Department and both community halls, funding will flow in 2020.

Cortes Currents – Local News Source
I am delighted to say that some of the ‘news’ here is dated now that there is an actual Cortes news outlet. Some of this content will be known to many of you because of the thorough on-line and on-radio reporting by Cortes Currents as well as my regular reports at Yet, paper is still appreciated by some, so here you go. Please do continue to follow Cortes Currents at

Rural Islands Economic Forum
I have long craved a space in which to share with, and learn from, other rural islands. It was a great honour to help make the first Rural Island Forum a reality in November on Pender. Five other Cortes delegates joined me, and we learned much to bring home. My personal contribution was a presentation on the economics of climate change. (Read the rest in the newsletter...)

Cortes Social Profit Forum
I have a deep passion for convening community conversations and supporting the not-for-profit (social profit) landscape on Cortes Island. During my 11 years in office, I have found various ways of bringing parties from the social profit sector together to collaboratively inform me on issues and to create initiatives jointly. (Read the rest in the newsletter...)

Corry Dow - New Alternate Regional Director
Mary Lavelle has been Cortes’ alternate director for 5 years, including one year when she stepped up to all Regional District board meetings while I was on maternity leave. Due to her family’s need for off-island high-school, Mary is no longer able to serve in this capacity. (Read the rest in the newsletter...)

My Response to Being Censured by SRD
It has indeed been a strange ride at the Regional District this past year. In October, we saw another chapter in this twisted story when I was censured and sanctioned by the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board for “revealing confidential and privileged information... contrary to the Community Charter and the Director Code of Conduct Bylaw 2018.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘censure’ as ‘a judgment involving condemnation’ or ‘the act of blaming or condemning sternly’ or ‘an official reprimand.’ (Read the rest in the newsletter...)

Can Cortes Compost?
In my newsletter from May of last year, I wrote:
“I was SHOCKED to learn that we on Cortes throw more organics in the trash that any other community in the whole Comox-Strathcona region! 50% of our trash is organic! What?! Only 30% of our garbage was actually trash while the remaining 20% was recyclable. (Read the rest in the newsletter...)

Parks Update
We now own the Whaletown Commons Park free and clear! In these years of paying the purchase debt, our parks maintenance budget has been very, very lean. Given that debt payments are no longer needed, instead of putting those released monies into the future parks acquisition fund, in 2020 we will be addressing deferred parks maintenance issues and installing more signage within our parks system. I am grateful to the Cortes Parks and Trails Committee, hosted by the Friends of Cortes Island, for their continued guidance in these matters.

Come Ask Me Anything Gathering
(Although I may not be able to answer everything…)
Tuesday, December 17th
Gorge Hall - 4 pm

I acknowledge that his has been a very strange year indeed at the SRD and that I have been able to say little about much. That has begun to shift, but certainly not as much as is needed. There are also a lot of excellent community projects in which I have had the honour of participating. I’d be appy to talk about them. I’ve shared in this newsletter about my high-level climate change and governance thinking, some local work as well as regional connections. I will be spending a couple days on Hornby before the 17th, learning about their unique way of island organizing, so I could share a bit of what I learn. I may offer a short version of the climate change presentation I gave at the Rural Islands Forum… I’d love to see you there. Tea and cookies…

Warmly, Noba Anderson
Cortes Regional Director

Thank you
Comment by Ian Lennon on 8th December 2019
Extinction Rebellion in press!

Thank you,

Courageous Leadership
Comment by Mark E Braaten on 8th December 2019
Bravo! I am very heartened to hear Noba affirm the strength in community and know that, many here including myself, wholeheartedly agree. Still it takes tremendous courage to speak openly about change, and those that have this courage are great leaders. Lets all be leaders and speak openly, and respond appropriately. I think this community has the potential, possibly more than most communities, to set an example of what it looks like to be proactive. Yes! Lets do that!
Trail map signs
Comment by Kate Maddigan on 8th December 2019
More trail map signs with reference points that visitors can understand is pretty important, but I get it, Ian, that signs can be ugly
wasted paper
Comment by Shirley A. on 8th December 2019
Please don't put paper copies of this in every single mail box, not everyone needs a paper copy... For those who need it just put ten copies at each post office and community hall and then re-print if needed.
Please, no more signage
Comment by Ian Ross on 7th December 2019
The best thing about our ‘parks’ is the break they give us from our otherwise overwhelmingly human-centred world. As someone who loves to walk our local woods and parks, please keep the signage to a dim and distant roar.
And thanks for all your good work.