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General News · 15th November 2015
Another update from the 591 Whaletown Land Society on the prospective purchase of the Trude's Cafe Property...

In response to requests from the community, we will be hosting a public meeting at the Gorge Hall THIS Sunday, November 22nd, at 1pm. We will give a short presentation on what has happened to date - nothing of substance that hasn't been already reported at - and most importantly, hear you and do our best to answer your questions. Please join us!

We would like to take a moment to thank Mario for his dedicated support of Trude and this land purchase, and his key role to date. We understand that he now needs to put his time into other efforts, and we accept his resignation from the project for this final fundraising effort. We wish you all the best!

Lovena Harvey has joined our Board of Directors, and we are delighted to welcome her on board! She a WCC Board member as well as the co-founder and manager of the Gathering Place Trading Company, which specializes in organic and fairly-traded products from family or cooperative farms in developing countries and is committed to organic farming, sustainability, and social responsibility. As a founding member of the CNFC and the BC Farmers Market Association, she is been a long-time active supporter of cooperative business. She also has long supported social space at the Trude's Cafe land, and we value the solid business sense she will bring to the effort. Lovena joins the existing Board, comprised of the following community members:

Yifan Li is our President, and is particularly suited to this role as he has well-practiced meeting facilitation skills. He has lived on Cortes for 4 years and has been involved in community efforts to protect Cortes land. He has a particular love for Trude's vision of common space.

De Clarke is our Treasurer, and we value her experience as Treasurer (and later President) of the Cortes Natural Food Co-op Board during some challenging phases of their land purchase effort. Prior to retirement she accrued many years' experience in software engineering, database design, accounting systems, and technical writing. She is a year-round resident and property owner, who lives just down the road from the Trude's Cafe site.

Sheryl Thompson is our Secretary. Besides being our local Home Support Community Health Worker, she is an advocate for seniors and cancer patients, and former CEO for CANSAV ( a national non-profit organization dedicated to victims of asbestos exposure. Prior to this Sheryl enjoyed a career as a Project Manager for digital media production, live events and movie production in Toronto and Vancouver for a couple of decades, before making Cortes Island her home.

Lamme Yansen, director at large, is a long-time property owner just 3 lots away from the Cafe. She brings valuable business savvy to the team, developed over 20 years of managing her father's very large German art estate.

Tim Fournier, director at large, brings a young-activist-oriented approach to just getting things done! He has been a long-time supporter of Trude and various incarnations of the Cafe, and more than anything loves coffee and wants to be able to get a cup of brew in Whaletown where he can sit and drink it with friends.

Andy Ellingsen, although not on the board, is a founding member and is included in all board communications. He has been playing a critical support role as a facilitator and mentor to the new group.

We want to also thank Frances Guthrie for her assistance in the realty world and Jay Havelaar (nephew of Whaletown's own Hubert Havelaar) for his legal counsel.

We intend to meet our fundraising goal of $120,000 with three major components.

First, our goal is to raise at least $60,000 in one-time cash donations. At present, we have commitments for over half that amount and are busy turning those into cash. A particular thank-you to John Blaxall, Richard Glickman, and Anonymous for their recent significant contributions.

Second, we are aiming for 50 monthly pledges of $20 each (or the equivalent) so that we can pay down a loan for the remaining $60,000 over a 5-year period. To date we have $320 pledged monthly, so we're about a third of the way there.

Third, a loan or mortgage and co-signer is needed to bridge the difference between the cash in hand and the purchase price. As stated above, this loan or mortgage will be paid monthly by the 591 Whaletown Land Society, financed by the funds collected from our monthly contributors. We are also exploring mortgage options with VanCity, which would be at their standard lending rates. For this to work, we would need a co-signer or guarantor who has confidence in the list of monthly contributors. Is that you?

Alternately, if you, or someone you know, can make a low interest or interest free sizable loan to the Society, we would save on interest and register your loan as a mortgage on the property - again paying it off over 5-years with funds from the monthly donors.

Remember, although we are greatly benefiting from the previous fundraising efforts of Team Trude, as the BC Non-Profit "591 Whaletown Land Society" we just started collecting funds less than a week ago!!! We feel it's important to fund the full purchase via philanthropy, so as to give any future local businesses, social enterprises, and community spaces the best possible chance of success. If you agree, please consider supporting the effort.

We've been hearing many concerns from our neighbours and friends about this project, and we feel many of those concerns are valid. Some say that there are only 200 people in Whaletown, do we really need a social centre? Some feel that the Community Club needs all the energy we have, that we should not take on too much; and besides, what if there aren't any people who actually want to use this land for local business? These are all questions worth addressing.

It's true that in the short term, what we can achieve on this property may be quite modest; but we have the longer term in mind, and we feel that this space should be held in trust for the community, to keep those possibilities open. There are so few commercially-zoned properties in a key location like this!

Stay tuned for more news, and please join us Sunday, November 22nd at 1pm at the Gorge Hall.

With many thanks to all who have expressed their support thus far - the 591 Whaletown Land Society Board