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General News · 4th December 2016
Amanda Glickman
Sometimes it’s best just to keep your head down and not say anything at all, but when you live in the heart of Gorge Harbour and watch the misinformation fly about what’s going on, well… sometimes it’s worth sharing your experience.

The Zoning and Bylaws meetings seem to have spawned a flurry of emails once again pitting stakeholders on Gorge Harbour against one another. When we founded Stewards of Gorge Harbour however many years ago, it was with the hope of providing a platform for these discussions and an opportunity for stakeholders to share their experiences and concerns, and to foster constructive dialogue that can result in positive solutions. Sadly, when conflict abates, apathy takes over. But here we are again, dredging up the mud.

As a recreational boater, former and part time live aboard, shellfish aquaculture volunteer, and upland property owner, I see all sides of the arguments. I live it. And we need to understand something.

Most of us who live on Gorge Harbour are NOT opposed to shellfish aquaculture. The biodiversity is incredible and they’re amazing floating ecosystems. Mike Moore highlights this well in one of his postings. We just enjoyed delicious fresh oysters last night brought to us by shellfish grower friends. But with all industries, there are responsible operators, and there are those who only care about the bottom line. When we all play in the same sandbox, it’s important that we all play fair.

Gorge Harbour is a multi user harbour. We have two major economies happening - shellfish aquaculture and recreational boating activities. They both impact one another. Dialogue and cooperation are required so that they can both do well. Together. But as with any ecosystem, when one begins to adversely impact the other, problems can arise. At the moment we’re seening issues with mechanization on Gorge Harbour. Last summer we saw an impact of this on the recreational boating industry and when requested to moderate this, it was not received well by the grower. This situation does not bode well for anyone. Imagine a cement mixer parked on your driveway for 12 1/2 hours straight.

So, let’s imagine, for a moment, that the marina were unable to sustain itself financially, which it barely does as things stand. Do the thought experiment. Take a moment and ask where you would get your groceries, your fuel, do your laundry, or be employed.

Imagine what would happen if fecal coliforms were to rise to high levels, shutting down shellfish operators on the harbour? If an upland property owner neglected to maintain their septic system?

What we need here is balance. There are solutions, and we’re working on them. But we need patience and cooperation to get there.

One shellfish grower and good friend said to me how tired she was that the shellfish industry is so frowned upon in this community. But she’s wrong. It’s not. Everyone I know is proud of Cortes Island shellfish and the product produced here. We would love to have local processing, but efforts in the past were shut down because of the inability ot provide facilities that meet necessary standards.

So I ask the community to please work on getting facts straight before mudslinging. We’re all in this together and for the betterment of the Cortes Island community and economy, let’s please seek constructive solutions together, not through divisiveness.

And if you really do care about Gorge Harbour, please come out and help us with our annual harbour cleanup this spring, It’s a chance to see what’s out there, spend a day on the water, and hang out with other stakeholders on the harbour. You can get the facts right from the oyster’s siphon….

Cheers everyone!
Careful about mudslinging....
Comment by Heather & Michael Bruce on 10th December 2016
Well said and we couldn't agree more. Thank you for taking the time to write your well thought out commentary. We ARE all in this together. Respect and empathy should prevail.....we hope!
Heather Bruce
Comment by Odette Auger on 6th December 2016
balance. and thank you for your authentic approach.
clean up
Comment by Jason (JT) on 6th December 2016
Do you have a date for the spring clean up?
Thank you
Comment by Bob Katzko on 5th December 2016
Thank you for your thoughts and all your efforts as a resident (floating or otherwise) !
Thank you
Comment by Bob Katzko on 5th December 2016
Thank you for your thoughts and all your efforts as a resident (floating or otherwise) !