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General News · 26th May 2020
Hayley Newell
Our Senior Village Expansion Team

It’s official! The Cortes Island Seniors Society is pleased to announce that we have broken ground for the expansion of the Seniors Village. Four new units will be added to the existing six, allowing more seniors to stay rooted in their island home and community.

We could not have gotten to this point without the support of this generous community. Help came in so many forms, and from all directions. Thank you everyone for helping bring this dream to fruition with your loans, donations, volunteer hours, and vital input at our events and town halls!

With that, we would like to welcome project Superintendent George Gabara to Cortes. He will be living on island as a part of our community until the 4 new cottages are completed near the end of 2020. When I interviewed him, George noted what a warm welcome he has received so far, remarking that coming to Cortes feels like a homecoming. He has worked in the tourism industry and on many building sites in Europe, the South Pacific and BC.

As a former naturalist, sea kayak guide, and 60 Ton master ticket for large boat charters, he has explored much of the nearby waters by charter vessel, tugboat and sea-kayak. He also worked for North Island College as a guide instructor and put in thousands of days of guiding in Haida Gwaii. He has an islanders heart and soul. This is his first time he has “landed” on Cortes and he is looking forward to getting to know the beaches, parks and places to paddle and boat this summer with his family.

George has recently been working to transform the Evergreen School Elementary school in Campbell River into state-of-the-art Commercial Aquaponic Greenhouses. In 2017, the school did not pass seismic inspection and was set for demolition. Instead of the building materials being sent to the chipper, they are being transformed into year round self-sustaining buildings that will be growing local food.

Many Cortesians will be working with George on the Seniors Village expansion. You may recognize some of the local carpenters, labourers, sub trades, certified first aid providers, and site cleaning staff who are part of our Cortes Crew.

George and the Seniors Village Construction Team will take steps to stay healthy and respectful of the health and safety of everyone on the island. They will practice physical distancing between workers and use hand/tool cleaning sanitizing stations on site. The jobsite will have detailed health and safety signage for staff and visitors to follow. Our prime objective is that this construction project does not bring added stress to our community -- especially our elderly.

Beyond efforts to simply physical distance crew and contractors 3 specific protocols that Kinetic is requiring on all its sites including the Seniors Village expansion are:
1/ restricted access to all visitors, crew and contractors who start by entering the site and attending a hand wash and tool sanitization station,
2/ minimum twice daily cleaning of all tools and areas that are used by workers,
3/ very strict lunchtime protocol where crew will be eating away from each other - no food or packaging will be stored or disposed of on site.

We plan to keep working hours between 9AM and 5PM, Monday through Friday. If, occasionally, the crew needs to work on weekends, we will provide the Seniors Village residents and neighbours with as much notice as possible. Please feel free to email or phone us if you have questions or concerns via:

Hayley Newell, Project Administrator at