BC Ferries calls on shipyards to bid on construction of four new vessels

BC Ferries calls on shipyards to bid on construction of four new vessels

A BC Ferries “Island Class” vessel. Image courtesy of BC Ferries. BC Ferries is building four more “Island Class” ferries, due to increased demand and current vessels aging, and a call for proposals has gone out to shipyards in British Columbia, as well as nationally and internationally. Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries spokesperson, says the new vessels will come into service by 2028 and augment the six “Island Class” vessels already in the fleet. The ships will serve inter-island routes and all are hybrid diesel/electric powered. The cost of each is approximately $50 million dollars. Marshall says one of the new boats is earmarked for the Quadra to Cortes Island route, nearly doubling local capacity. She also confirms that two of the existing ships are set to begin service on the Campbell River to Quadra island route this January, increasing capacity on that busy crossing by about 80 per cent. The introduction of two ferry services was originally slated for this past summer, but a shortage of available crew delayed implementation. Marshall says BC Ferries posted a record second quarter in vehicle traffic, helping to make the case for adding more vessels to the fleet. She provides details in the interview below with CKTZ News: Cortes Radio · CKTZ News - BC Ferries calls on shipyards to bid on construction of four new vessels This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative....
Short term rental tax aims to help affordable housing crisis: regional director

Short term rental tax aims to help affordable housing crisis: regional director

On Nov. 9, the Strathcona Regional District passed a new tax on short term rentals on Cortes Island. Image courtesy of the Cortes Island Community Housing Society. Cortes Island is adding a three per cent tax on short term rentals as a solution to help address the affordable housing crisis on Cortes Island. Regional Director Mark Vonesch introduced the proposal as his first motion at the Strathcona Regional District Board meeting on Nov. 9. He says there is no cost to local property owners: the tax is paid solely by visitors. The motion was passed unanimously by the new board and an application for implementing the tax on Cortes Island has been submitted to the BC provincial government. Vonesch is optimistic that the tax will be in place in time for the next busy tourism season in summer 2023.   A three per cent tax is being implemented on Cortes Island in 2023. Airbnb logo courtesy of Dream Time. He adds that the money collected from the tax will go towards funding the 20-unit Rainbow Ridge affordable rental housing project. The Cortes Community Housing Society hopes to have the project shovel ready early in 2023. Mark Vonesch elaborates on the initiative in the interview below with CKTZ News: Cortes Radio · CKTZ News - Short term rental tax aims to help affordable housing crisis: regional director This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative....
Local food bank joins Food Banks BC, gains access to greater funding, resources

Local food bank joins Food Banks BC, gains access to greater funding, resources

A donation jar for the Cortes Island Food Bank sits on a counter at a local store. Photo by Greg Osoba. The Cortes Island Food Bank joined Food Banks BC on Oct. 7 and has just launched its own website. Coordinator Filipe Figueira says joining the bigger provincial network provides more resources and funding possibilities. Established 20 years ago, the Cortes Food Bank was run solely by Samantha Statton, who volunteered her time. Figueira says they can now apply to Food Banks BC for grants to help compensate Statton for her service. He also says the new local website creates another way for people to make donations, as well as for people needing help to access resources. Figueira expects demand to increase now that some COVID-19 aid is no longer available to individuals and due to pressures from the rising cost of food due to inflation. Food Banks BC also provides help with local data collection, which is useful for assessing client needs, he adds. Figueira is pleased that the Cortes Island Food Bank will be included in the annual Food Bank Day, coordinated by CBC Radio British Columbia on Dec. 2, where donors can earmark their donations to individual food banks, or Food Banks BC as a whole. Last year, nearly $3 million was donated and distributed to food banks across the province. Statton and Figueira talk about the latest developments at the Cortes Food Bank in the interview with CKTZ News below: Cortes Radio · CKTZ News - Local food bank joins Food Banks BC, gains access to greater funding, resources This program was funded by a grant from the Community...
Community Forest Cooperative seeks proposals to create products from local wood

Community Forest Cooperative seeks proposals to create products from local wood

Cortes Community Forest Cooperative President Carrie Saxifrage and Director Sadhu Johnston sit in a home finished with Cortes Island wood products. Photo by Greg Osoba. The Cortes Community Forest Cooperative (CCFC) is hoping to reduce logging on Cortes Island by developing more wood products locally. The organization, in partnership with the local Klahoose First Nation, holds a community forest tenure with the BC Ministry of Forests, covering about 30 per cent of the crown land on the island, according to CCFC President Carrie Saxifrage. Each year the partnership needs to harvest a demonstrable portion of trees under its tenure. On Oct. 29, the CCFC issued a call for proposals to produce a “Business Roadmap for Value Added Forest Products,” and stated that it is working on a strategy “to ensure that more lumber harvested on Cortes is used on Cortes.” Proposals must be received by November 10th. Value added wood products can include trim used in carpentry finishing, furniture and dimensional lumber, as well as other items. Saxifrage says that if more wood products are produced on Cortes Island using partnership harvested timber, resulting in economic activity, pressure to cut more trees under the organization’s tenure will be eased. She and CCFC director Sadhu Johnston say the organization adheres to sustainable forestry practices and the partnership with the local Klahoose First Nation is a benefit to all residents of Cortes Island and is responsible for the tenure that provides a degree of local control over logging on crown land. Find out more in the CKTZ News interview below with Saxifrage and Johnston: Cortes Radio · CKTZ News - Community Forest Cooperative seeks...
Volunteer Fire Department chief let go by the organization’s board of directors

Volunteer Fire Department chief let go by the organization’s board of directors

Former Cortes Island Fire Chief Dave Ives prepares to hand in his gear at Fire Hall Number 1 on Cortes Island. Photo by Greg Osoba. Cortes Island’s fire chief was dismissed this week ahead after five months on the job. Dave Ives was a few weeks shy of completing his six month probation as chief of the Cortes Island Volunteer Fire Department. Ives said he was summoned to a meeting with the organization’s board of directors but that the meeting didn’t happen, and, instead, he was issued notice of his dismissal on Nov. 2. Ives says he believes the issue came down to not seeing eye to eye with the board of the Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association. CKTZ News requested comment from the Board of Cortes Island Fire Fighting Association and was issued a written statement from President Chris Walker. “Unfortunately[,] it became apparent that there were aspects of his leadership style that were at odds with the culture of our fire department and our efforts to help him adapt his style to our culture did not succeed. Matters deteriorated and we realized that we needed to be honest with him and ourselves that this was not going to workout,” the statement reads. Listen to the CKTZ story below: Cortes Radio · CKTZ News - Volunteer Fire Department chief let go by the organization’s board of directors This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative....