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General News · 10th April 2024
Mark Vonesch
It has been a busy beginning to spring and I’m excited to share these updates with you.

Join the Cortes Advisory Planning Commission

I am looking for a group of people who care about the future of Cortes and want to play a positive role in land use decisions. This advisory group will provide valuable input on land use management requests with advice, information, and recommendations.

If you or someone you know is interested in applying, please fill out this form. I would like to see a diverse cross section of Cortes represented!

Apply →

More info about Advisory Planning Commissions at the SRD can be found here:

Cortes Roads - What needs to change?

I have heard from many of you with concerns regarding the safety and improvement of our roads - dangerous corners, the need for more signage, and ways we can make more room for active transportation (walking, biking).

I had a preliminary meeting with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) last week and they are committed to making improvements. I am hoping for some new signs to be installed by the summer and bigger projects considered later this year.

If you have ideas for making our roads better, please fill out this short survey in the next two weeks so that I can present it to MOTI when I meet with them on Cortes in May.

Principal Residence for Short Term Rentals

On February 28, the SRD Board approved my decision to opt into the primary residence requirement of BC’s Short Term Rental Act. As of November 1, 2024 all publicly advertised short term rentals on Cortes must be on the primary residential property of the host.

Opting into the requirement for principal residence closes the door to folks who don’t live on Cortes from purchasing property here and turning it into a short term rental business. This won’t solve our housing challenges, but it is a positive step forward in protecting the further erosion of rental housing stock.

The vast majority of STRs will not be affected by this legislation, but some off-islanders who own property here will be impacted. If you know anyone in that position, please let them know there are two ways that STRs can still happen on someone’s secondary property:

1) If you have a full time renter living on the land, that person can act as the short term rental host.

2) As long as you do not publicly advertise, you can still operate a short term rental. So renting to friends, family, or personal contacts is allowed, but you can’t advertise on social media, websites or any short term rental platforms like AirBnB or VRBO.

Cortes was the first community in BC to opt into this legislation and since then many other small and large tourist communities have chosen to participate, including Quadra Island and Tofino.

The Minister of Housing, Ravi Kahlon, wrote this letter to me last week in response to opting in:

New FireTruck

Last year the provincial government created a “Growing Community Fund” for municipalities and regional districts. The fund provides a one-time total of $1 billion in grants distributed among all of BC’s local governments to support the delivery of infrastructure projects necessary to enable community growth.

$287,000 of that funding has just been approved by the SRD board for Cortes to get a new firetruck. This will replace the current pumper truck, which has come to the end of it’s serviceable life. Cortes Fire Department staff will be picking the truck up from Kentucky very soon.

Read the SRD staff report to learn more here:

Cortes Community Hall Funding

When the hall tax was approved five years ago, a portion of our land taxes was agreed to be used to support the operating costs of the Manson’s and Whaletown community halls. When the bylaw and associated contracts with the halls were set up it did not allow for any other funding outside of land tax requisition to occur.

Last week the SRD Board approved my motion to amend the bylaw and allow the SRD to provide capital funding from other funding services (provincial govt, federal govt, other grants) to our community halls.

The decision does not affect your land taxes, but will allow us to direct other funds to support these key community amenities.

Read the staff report here:

Listen to a Cortes Currents news story about hall funding and our new pumper truck here:

Please reach out if you have any questions or want me to give you a call to chat about anything!

Mark Vonesch
Regional Director - Cortes Island - 250-202-4422
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PS: If you haven’t already emailed with your thoughts and suggestions for updating our zoning bylaws, please do so asap. It’s important that your voice is heard!

The Cortes Housing Society has made some recommendations at the link below that I hope you will consider including in your email:

Details about the zoning bylaw review process can be found here: