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General News · 27th October 2015
Neighbours and friends:

As you've probably heard, there's an immediate opportunity for our community to purchase the "Trude's Cafe" property (591 Whaletown Road) from Sedley's estate, as a community resource, for $105,000 - if we are able to purchase by December 7th.

In support of this effort, we are very pleased to announce the formation of the 591 Whaletown Land Society. We have formed to collect the pledges and purchase the property if the fundraising is successful.

There is considerable enthusiasm for purchasing this property, for several reasons:

Many islanders miss the old cafe and would love to see a warm, welcoming, coffee-providing social space in that location again; but there's more to it than that. We want to create a community hub where the Whaletown post office is joined by social space and service-oriented businesses.

Since this is one of only three commercially zoned properties at this end of the island, it's a unique opportunity for the community to foster micro-enterprise and artisanal production and sale. We want to support the building of our island economy, and this is a promising location - especially given its connection to the Gorge Marina and store.

Finally, Trude and Sedley have always been strong believers in community and social enterprise; we would honour Sedley's memory by creating such an appropriate and lasting legacy on his land.

A question that's been troubling many supporters of the project, understandably, is the legal/procedural aspect. Who will hold title? Who will manage the land? Who will be responsible? Clearly this was the last solid piece needed to make this whole proposition real.

This is why we have created a BC Non-Profit Society -- with the full blessing of Trude and her fundraising team.

Although we will be cooperating with and indeed relying on their fundraising efforts, the pledges will be collected by the Society, and decisions about future land use will be made by us. The 591 Whaletown Land Society's registered purposes are as follows:

1) to acquire the property at 591 Whaletown Road, Cortes Island BC, and

2) to steward the property at 591 Whaletown Road, Cortes Island, BC for the benefit of the community at large as determined by our membership.

Dissolution Clause: Transfer of title for 591 Whaletown Road, Cortes Island, BC will be to
another Cortes community organisation as determined by our membership.

We hope that this promise of responsible community governance during the period of property acquisition and initial development will encourage islanders (and friends of Cortes) to donate funds towards the property purchase.

Capital is of course limited, so our initial goals post-purchase have to be cautious and modest. Community input and energy will determine the details, but the Society's intention is to transfer management (and possibly title) to a solidly-based social enterprise or community association, to maintain and use the commercial zoning to generate revenue, amenities, and social connection for both islanders and visitors.

The fund-raising deadline for this project is December 7th. If the community has not raised sufficient funds to purchase the property by that date, an accepted offer and sales agreement will take effect on December 15th. The property will then belong to Richard and Michelle Glickman (owners of the Gorge Harbour Marina Resort); the Glickmans fully support community ownership.

Please join us in making this property acquisition a reality!

Pledge forms were recently mailed to every Cortes mail box, along with an information circular by Trude and her team. We are also looking for a private lender to make up any shortfall in one-time pledges; monthly contributors will finance that loan. If you are in a position to contribute in any of these ways, please contact any of us directly or pick up pledge forms at the post offices.

Many thanks from our founding members:

Andy Ellingsen
De Clarke
Lamme Janssen
Tim Fournier
Noah Davidson
Yifan Lee
Sheryl Thompson
Ashley Zarbatany