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General News · 2nd February 2021
Sandra Wood
Housing Society 2020 Year End Review

Looking back on 2020, the Cortes Island Seniors Society (CISS) and the Cortes Community Housing Society (CHS) had an incredibly busy year creating more affordable rental homes; here are some of our major accomplishments:

A Tender Release went out on February 25th for sub-trades to bid on the Seniors Village expansion. Kinetic Construction was hired to be the General Contractor for CISS working with subcontractors. A number of local job opportunities became available for general labourers and carpenters.
We continued local citizen fundraisers with “Love Yourself, Love Housing”; Rites of Spirit Massage donated a portion of February profits to the housing initiative.
FolkU, a local peer-to-peer education initiative, interviewed Sandra Wood, Project Coordinator of Cortes Community Housing. This interview was published on local news sources, Cortes Radio and Cortes Currents.

The Housing Committee hired Miranda Cross and Thomas Biebighauser to develop a Stormwater Management framework as part of our commitment to improve stormwater management on the Rainbow Ridge property and protect Hague Lake. This report is available on our website here along with all other project reports to date. Check them out.
We hired BC Hydro and RB Engineering to help design the site’s utility distribution (phone, power, internet). The cost of servicing this site is one of the biggest expense areas; the more certainty we have on this item, the more confidence we will have in the project’s infrastructure budget. We also continue to work with consultants and engineers on the design and budgets for the road, storm water and wastewater systems.
The Public Hearing planned for April 30, 2020 for Rezoning Rainbow Ridge was postponed due to Covid19.


● The Cortes Island Seniors Society broke ground for the expansion of the Seniors Village. Four new units were being added to the existing six, allowing more seniors to stay rooted in their island home and community.
● We welcomed project Superintendent George Gabara to Cortes. He was a part of our island community while the 4 new cottages were being completed.
● This project employed a number of locals including carpenters, labourers, certified first aid providers, site cleaning staff and local sub trades.
● Given the ongoing pandemic, George and the Seniors Village Construction Team took steps to stay healthy and respectful of the health and safety of everyone on Cortes Island.


We ran a June fundraising campaign around the Great Canadian Giving Challenge, which for every dollar donated entered the project to win a $20,000 grant. We focused this campaign around micro-donations from first time donors and existing supporters given the current global situation and the financial instability many were facing.


Cortes Community Housing Society (CHS) officially formed a new non-profit society for the construction & operation of affordable rentals for families and people of all ages. We have incorporated our bylaws and our charitable status is pending approval.

August & September:

We continued with local community-based fundraisers. Local artists Larry Cohen & Suzu Matsuda donated the proceeds of their most recent pottery sale to the housing project, and the Cortes Forestry General Partnership gifted us with an amazing in-kind donation of cedar and fir lumber, milled locally in Tiber Bay. The donation includes gorgeous finishing lumber, which has been integrated into the interiors of new seniors cottages. In-kind donations include sign design by Sachia Kron, film footage by Mark Vonesch & Bill Weaver, trees for landscaping from Art Knapp’s Nursery and allan blocks from the Klahoose First Nation for retaining walls at the Seniors Village.


We hosted a public hearing for rezoning Rainbow Ridge on October 15th, 2020 and rezoning was officially approved on November 4th, 2020.

November & December:

Seniors Village expansion is completed with new residents moving in as of December 20, 2020 just in time for the holidays.
HOME: A Cortes Community Anthology continues to be sold online in addition to local retailers as an ongoing year-round fundraiser, including the Cortes Natural Food Co-op, Cortes Museum, Marnie’s Books, Gorge Marina and Squirrel Cove General Stores.


Submitted our Rainbow Ridge grant application to BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund intake on their January 15/2021 deadline. Hoping to achieve preliminary project approval during 2021 for the building of more affordable rental homes on Cortes Island.
Our year-end appeal included a call to donors who can help us retire as much of our $445,000 land debt on Rainbow Ridge as possible, making our grant application strong.
You can still help and receive a 2021 tax deductible receipt for your Canadian donations via CanadaHelps OR US Donations via Tides USA.

We offer our deep gratitude for all your support and in making this long list of accomplishments possible, because we know it takes a community to raise a village.

Elizabeth Anderson,
President, Cortes Community Housing Society (CHS)
and Director/Liaison, Cortes Island Seniors Society (CISS)