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General News · 6th September 2017
Sue Ellingsen - CISS
September 6, 2017
Attention SRD Board and Tom Yates

I write this letter in support of a tax based support for the community halls on Cortes. As President of the Cortes Island Seniors Society (CISS) I represent about 135 members, many of whom have enjoyed access to the Manson's Hall over as many as 40 years. The CISS has not had the funds to establish their own recreation center, but this has not been a serious problem, since we have had a long standing arrangement where we pay an annual rent to the SCCA which has allowed us to have our Christmas dinner, weekly bowling, morning exercise sessions, Christmas wreath creation, membership and Board meetings, and occasionally other activities in the hall. We have found the SCCA to be a responsible and well run society.

The Board of the SCCA has diligently pursued available grants to make improvements to the building, and several of those have been for the benefit of the seniors using the facilities. Some of those improvements are lever handles on faucets, lever door handles, and access ramps for those with limited mobility. Many other improvements have been made, mostly with the acquisition of grant monies for specific projects. These projects and grants demand detailed applications with uncertain results, more accounting and reporting, all of which have proven difficult for volunteer Directors. Grants which cover operating costs (heating, electricity, insurance, bookkeeping etc.) have become much less available.

We are aware that many community centers in the SRD are supported by taxes, and we are particularly aware of the bustling well run center on Quadra, which I understand has had tax support since the mid 80's.

I was the secretary for the SCCA for about 8 years, until about 10 years ago. At that time we were managing---just, to get by with available money. For at least the last 5 years the Board of the SCCA has been spending more time trying to figure out how to pay the ongoing operating bills than they have spent time on programing and creating new opportunities for the residents here. Volunteers should not have to put all their energy there - into raising money for operating costs. The result has been that people join the board, find out how difficult it is to carry on, get tired of begging for money from this community and quit. The end result has been somewhat unstable boards for the last while.

To sum it up - the community halls are the hubs of activity on this island. They add charm to the place. They are the places where things happen - much like the church halls of days past. To have these centers of community life closed for lack of funding would in my opinion be criminal.

Sue Ellingsen

Cortes Island Seniors Society
Ph 250 935 6545
Comment by Tom Bohart on 7th September 2017
As a member of the Cortes Seniors, I have not authorized anyone to speak on my behalf on this subject. As yet I do not have enough information to make an informed decision.
Yes to a tax based support for our community hall
Comment by Mary-Lu Lorenson on 6th September 2017
Cortes suffers from a dirth of facilities throughout it's long and depleted winter months for those of us who "hold down the rock" for all the fair weather birds. The Hall is almost a sacred place in that it does not close it's doors to we remaining inhabitants and allows us to congregate and participate in activities necessary to ward off "cabin fever". Already the hall has had to decrease it's hours of opening due to financial restrictions when for a mere $85.00 dollars MAX per property we can ensure the community hall as an important social life line. What a deal. People donate to help out and now we can all do this via the tax incentive being proposed. If Quadra has been doing this for it's peoples for decades why is it that we have not understood it's benefits by now? Embarrassing really.