It has been a strange year for everyone and a hard one for many.
Throughout last year’s warm season, we lived such privilege, the privilege of having space and a relative degree of proactive calm. For many, covid actually provided a socially acceptable reprieve from the business of things. I do not underestimate the economic and emotional toll felt by many, but overall, we did pretty well. This past winter, however, was very difficult for many of us. Even though we are an island of self-sufficient introverts, we still derive a sense of belonging and value from our connection with each other in this place.
I have struggled to know how to be an effective leader when our collective pulse is so quiet. I realized that, even though we remain one of the most whole and intact communities anywhere, the absence of regular informal interaction has worn thin our sense of the collective whole. It was my darkest winter, with the grief that followed the passing of my father, with the exhaustion of mothering an energetic kidlet, with multiple concurrent legal wranglings with the regional district, with the social dampening of covid, with my own professional wayfinding in this time where interactions with you are so different, and with the strain of it all on relationships. I am finding now the lift of spring, although belated. I am getting out more into the forest and swimming and bicycling. Through this, I am feeling more connected to myself and by extension to this place and to the role you have given me. I share this personal vulnerability, not because I am in any way unique, but because I am not
unique. It has been a very hard year for many, and I invite us all to be more gentle and kind with each other as we move about again.
As the weather warms and invites us out, and as restrictions hopefully ease, I strongly encourage us all to find safe and joyous ways of reconnecting in person. We have become all too familiar with our relative isolation, and it could so easily be the default setting now. And yet what so many of us most treasure about living here is indeed the strong sense of community, community that now calls our attention and indeed our re-weaving. I feel our collective fatigue and even grief and, yet underneath that, we remember that we live in one of the most resilient and wondrous places on earth. This is due both to the nature of this place itself as well as how we move so intentionally with each other to create strong community. Please cultivate again reconnection with each other beyond your most intimate circle. If we are to weather well the many more rounds of coming disruption, it will require our continued strong collaboration.
I am in court again on Tuesday for the second appearance in my case against the Strathcona Regional District. On Wednesday, the SRD Board will be responding to Telus’ proposed cell towers, and the lack of due community engagement, after which I owe you an article about connectivity. In short, the SRD has secured millions of dollars of federal funding to bring fibreoptic cable to everyone’s homes this summer/fall season! (See article and radio update on Cortes Currents at https://cortescurrents.ca/funding-for-broadband-internet-set-up/)
We only qualified for this funding because Telus had not yet erected towers, thereby providing some minimal service and rendering our community as ‘served’ from the federal definition of connectivity. Other communities where Telus has recently erected towers and bought out the local internet service providers have not been so lucky. For months, Telus has committed, both to the SRD and to me personally, to a robust community engagement process. We have asked them to respect the Cortes Zoning Bylaw which requires a rezoning application and its associated public hearing process. Telus has now chosen to do otherwise, and they will be hearing from us.
I wish you all the warmth and kindness that this season can bring.
All my love, Noba Anderson