Cortes Natural Food Co-op offers island residents limited number of garden plots

Cortes Natural Food Co-op offers island residents limited number of garden plots

Editor’s Note: Kate Maddigan is an occasional CKTZ News contributor.  Once again, the Cortes Natural Food Co-op is opening garden plots to residents to grow plants and crops when garden space on the island can be limited. Up to five garden plots are available in the Cortes Island Natural Food Co-op’s community garden, according to new volunteer garden coordinator Kate Maddigan. With 35 plots in total, she says the Co-op views the space as a great resource for helping with food security and sustainability on the island, where finding an area to garden and grow produce can be difficult. The garden was started 20 years ago by people living on the property when the Co-op was leasing it from the local school board. However, when the Co-op purchased the land in 2019, residents had to move due to local bylaws, Maddigan says. Those still wanting to garden are grandfathered in to being able to work their plots annually, and the number of available plots varies each year. A flowering vine climbs up a metal pergola in the Cortes Natural Food Co-op community garden. Photo by Kate Maddigan. Maddigan says the plots must be worked by the May long weekend or they will be re-assigned to another applicant. Those interested must contact Maddigan no later than April 30 by email, or by calling 250-935-0242. Kate Maddigan discusses details of the community garden plots initiative in the interview with CKTZ News below:...
Theatre Quadra staging its most ambitious production ever: Chicago, The Musical

Theatre Quadra staging its most ambitious production ever: Chicago, The Musical

Over 70 people are involved in Theatre Quadra’s staging of Chicago, The Musical this spring, according to producer, director and choreographer Heidi Ridgway. The play, described as a dark comedy, was adapted from its original 1926 production into a musical in 1975, Ridgway says, by her favourite writer/choreographer Bob Fosse, who turned it into a Broadway hit. Linda Lolacher is the treasurer of Theatre Quadra, a steering committee of the Quadra Island Recreation Society, which gave Ridgway the go ahead to stage Chicago, The Musical. Lolacher is the assistant producer and says she’s also helping out with costumes. Despite legal restrictions, forbidding the use of paid advertising for the production, Ridgway says the three performances are nearly all sold out. Lolacher adds that since Theatre Quadra began as an amateur theatre group in 2011, it has staged 29 productions, making Chicago its 30th show. The play will be performed at the Quadra Island Community Centre on May 5, 6, and 7. Lolacher and Ridgeway talk about the relevance of Chicago, The Musical in the interview below with CKTZ News:...
New project manager of Cortes Housing Society oversees trail building, firewood giveaway as first initiatives

New project manager of Cortes Housing Society oversees trail building, firewood giveaway as first initiatives

Earlier this month, as one of her first tasks in the the role, Project Manager for the Cortes Community Housing Society Suzanne Fletcher oversaw a trail upgrade and expansion as part of an affordable housing initiative. The project is being carried out by local contractors around the 51 acre property where the 24 unit affordable housing Rainbow Ridge development is taking place. Fletcher says trees that were taken down are being turned into firewood and made available to the Cortes Island community for free, as part of a secondary initiative. The firewood giveaway happens on April 23, when volunteers with trucks will deliver firewood to those in need and, in return, be able to take home a load for themselves. A newly expanded trail on the edge of the Rainbow Ridge affordable housing development property. Photo by Greg Osoba. Fletcher was hired last November to be the project manager for the Cortes Community Housing Society after she was approached by the society’s Executive Director Sandra Wood, she says. Initially, Fletcher was drawn to the project manager job due to the affordable housing crisis on the island. She says she sees the 24 townhome Rainbow Ridge project as a way to help address the housing shortage and sees it as essential. Looking ahead, the housing society is applying this fall for financial support from BC Housing. If successful, construction on the townhomes will begin in fall 2024. Community members who are interested in receiving firewood can learn more from Fletcher via email at: suzanne@fletcherfacilitation.com. Suzanne Fletcher speaks with CKTZ in the interview below:...
New Cortes Cafe owner optimistic about spring after challenging startup

New Cortes Cafe owner optimistic about spring after challenging startup

The Cortes Café has seen many owners and has had many themes over the decades. Julie Keith is the newest owner/chef to throw her hat into the ring, with help from husband Sandy. Julie says she’s spent decades in the food and hospitality industry and felt there was a need to revive the café to serve as a hub for the community. The café, located in Mansons Landing Community Hall, is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, coinciding with hours of the nearby post office, and offers breakfast and lunch selections. All day omelette served at the Cortes Cafe. Photo by Greg Osoba. All services in the hall are under the oversight of the Southern Cortes Community Association (SCCA). In 2020, the SCCA had raised funds to renovate the kitchen to conform with regulations governing commercial kitchens. Its board identified the re-opening of the café as a top priority in early fall 2022 after the former owner ceased operations in the early spring of that year in order to take on other work. Julie says supply chain issues, and just having the Cortes community aware that the café had opened under new management, made for a difficult start up last fall/winter. Cortes Café Owner Julie Keith discusses her inspiration for feeding residents and visitors in the interview below with CKTZ News:...
New waste management centre boss eyes busy summer season with concern

New waste management centre boss eyes busy summer season with concern

The Cortes Island Waste Management Centre is preparing for a busy summer and the organization’s new manager is worried about capacity. Waste Management Centre manager Aaron McCulloch-Gary—who has been at the helm since the start of 2023 after taking over from long serving manager Brian Pfiefle—says everything is running smoothly at the moment, but he has serious concerns about the upcoming summer season, when the Cortes Island population triples beyond its 1,000 year-round residents. Cortes Island Waste Management Centre manager Aaron McCulloch-Gary. Photo by Greg Osoba. He’s especially concerned about trucks accessing and leaving the island to deal with solid waste. McCulloch-Gary says they’re an essential service and should receive priority loading on both the Cortes and Quadra Island ferries, adding that there are serious consequences if those trucks are delayed at ferry terminals and don’t make it to or off Cortes Island in a timely manner. The centre handles anything deemed recyclable by provincially mandated Recycle BC. It also serves as a transfer station for all solid waste, as there is no landfill on the island. Bins for the transfer need to be transported and removed by trucks. The facility is open Thursdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. A free store, where the public can drop off reusable items and shop for them at no charge, also operates on the property. McCulloch-Gary outlines his concerns in the interview below with CKTZ News:...