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General News · 25th October 2022
Noba Anderson
I invite you to join me for a bonfire in celebration of this community! Saturday afternoon at 3:30, October 29th at Manson’s Spit, rain or shine. A farewell to me in this role, a gratitude to so many, and a celebration of that which we hold in common.

As I wrap up my 14 years as your elected Regional Director to the Strathcona Regional District and reflect on my parting thoughts, it is not a list of accomplishments or things undone that most press at my heart, but rather reflections on the ‘whole.’ Indeed, this has been the focus of my attention for the last decade; cultivating the knowing that, especially on this small island, we are all parts of one whole. That each of us, and each of our organizations and common efforts, make up pieces of this one living entity and that our well-being is entirely dependent on the well-being of this ‘whole.’

For my more detailed reflections on things done and undone, my learnings and thoughts on government, I invite you to take the time to read and listen to De Clark’s thoughtful interview with me on Cortes Currents. She is a master deep dive reporter and has complied 7 short 10–15-minute audio clips and associated articles. It was a broad reaching and really honest reflection on my time of service. Thank-you De!

In this increasingly urbanized and destabilizing world, community is by far our most valuable renewable resource, but it does indeed require renewal. Although we are an island of self-sufficient introverts, it is the value we put on community and our commitment to its participation that makes this one of the most remarkable places on earth. There is a remarkable level of intactness here in our human community, in the more-than-human community, in the land upon which we live, and in the relationships between them all. As a fishing net may have holes while retaining intact its ability to catch fish, so is our community still intact, holes and all. We do still (just) have the diversity that makes this place so rich in its composition of people, wild spaces, and indeed spirit. Yet this wholeness, as every living thing does, requires our continued feeding, devotion and love, without which it will atrophy.

Although I have been honoured to be your local government rep, it is clearly not the government of the Regional District that keeps this place vibrant. The real governance here is our collection of social profit (not-for-profit) organizations. It is they that attend to the well-being of our clinic, and halls, and docks, and fire trucks, and wild spaces, and children, and elders. I ask that we now consciously feed the connections between them all, that which makes them a whole. The Cortes Community Economic Development Association is designed to think pan-island and cross-sectoral - big picture for the benefit of all. More recently the Cortes Island Community Foundation was designed in the same spirit, to inspire philanthropic gifting in support of all our organizations and efforts that support this rich place. It serves the ‘whole’ through its convening of the social profit sector, its strategic prioritization of efforts and funds, and its ability to step into places of opportunity that would otherwise not have leadership. I know the Foundation is not yet well known, but I urge us all to support it, and in so doing to support ourselves. Seeing the need for community housing, it birthed the Cortes Housing initiative. Now seeing the need for leadership on our private managed forest lands, it is birthing a purchase effort of Island Timberlands/ Mosaic’s forest lands. It is our most wholistic community organizational effort so far. What we still lack is true community council…our best integration of efforts… I see this somehow on our horizon.

Where shall we turn our collective effort this winter? I submit it is indeed to this convergence of focus on forests, housing and community self-direction. The community purchase of the IT/Mosaic lands lives at the intersection of those three community priorities. If successful, we will be in the driver’s seat of land-use planning on these lands that will include community housing, conservation, and forestry. Between First Nation lands, parklands and our Community Forest we have brought so much of the Island into the common. It is really with the purchase of these remaining lands that we will complete this multi-generational effort of local people making local decisions about local lands for local benefit.

I am deeply grateful that Mark Vonesch is willing to step into the role of Regional Director and be my successor. Like myself, he is rooted in this community and in our social profit world. He is a landowner and a father and a community volunteer. I believe our values are largely aligned and am warmed knowing that he will continue to work on so many of the issues I have been pushing toward for so long. But unlike me, he believes in the power of government to make positive change and has the energy to put into it. He also has a character that I believe will be a better fit at the Regional District, and that he will therefore attract less grief from his colleagues. I truly wish him the very best and commit to offering whatever historical memory and support and perspective he may deem valuable. I commit to being available to him as much as he wants in the years to come.

My friends, by all indication we are moving into times of greater and greater change and disruption. Community is the unit of resilience. This is one of the most climactically and politically stable places on the planet. Yet, it is only through cooperation that we can leverage that for our common well-being. This community needs our riches and our love, our time and our connections, our money and our ideas, our cooperation, patience and compassion. I call on each of us to contribute to the ‘whole’ in every way we can, in ways that stretch us, in ways that cultivate love. Let us hold that community is more an action than it is a noun.

My daughter Zyla and I will be taking a break for the winter in the Spanish-speaking world. On our return in the spring, I will feel into how to reengage with this beloved place in a way that is more filled with creativity, joy and love. To reach me personally, find me at

In profound gratitude to so many, this remarkable place, and spirit that holds it all.
All my love,
Noba Anderson
Outgoing Regional Director