Community champion honoured with environmentalism award

Community champion honoured with environmentalism award

Bruce Ellingsen was recognized for his dedication to the environment by FOCI with the Jo Ann Green Environmental Award. Photo by Loni Taylor. This past fall, local Bruce Ellingsen was recognized for his decades of community work sustaining healthy forests, primarily on Cortes Island. Friends of Cortes Island announced on Nov. 25, 2022 that Ellingsen was this year’s recipient of the annual Jo Ann Green Environmental Award. In 1979, Ellingsen walked through a freshly-logged area on the Southpoint Development of Cortes Island and he had an epiphany. “I just had that gut reaction: this can’t be sustainable. This is just happening way too far, too fast, that’s the starting point of my real curiosity… if I don’t think that’s sustainable, then what is?” The former oyster and land farmer has engaged in conversations and action since the 1970s, resulting in several victories for environmental conservation, community economic development, and sustainable forestry. Ellingsen served on the Advisory Planning Commission for 38 years, and was regional director from 1984-85. He went on to help set up the BC Community Forest Association at a conference at University of Victoria in 1998. And he also helped co-found the Cortes Community Forestry Coop in 2013. Ellingsen comes from a resourceful lineage of settlers to Canada, including a logger that arrived on Cortes in 1888. “My great-grandfather, Mike Manson, he was a elected to the BC legislature three times…So it runs in the blood, to be engaged in local community” The environmentalist looks to the land and its diverse inhabitants for guidance in truly sustainable consumption rates, using an example of leaf cutter ants only taking about 15...
Whaletown Community Club: 80 years of community connections

Whaletown Community Club: 80 years of community connections

Construction began on the Gorge Hall in Whaletown in 1932, according to Gabriel Dinim. Photo by Loni Taylor.

On November 20th, the Whaletown Community Club (WCC) held their Annual General Meeting, marking 80 years of community spirit. The goals and aims of the WCC have not changed, as they continue to meet the needs of the community. Gabriel Dinim has been the volunteer president of the club for 3 years. He notes the timelessness of the principals driving the organization,

“Cortes residents seem to have the same social needs and the same social desires and the same desire to express themselves- and I find that quite remarkable that we really are still the same.”… Click title for full article.

Waste Management Manager retires after 13 years of service to Cortes Island

Waste Management Manager retires after 13 years of service to Cortes Island

The inside of the Cortes Island Waste Management Centre is filled with art, sculptures, and decor- curated by the retiring manager, Brian Pfeifle. Photo by Loni Taylor. On December 31st, Brian Pfeifle will be officially retired from his role as Cortes Island’s Waste Management Manager. Pfeifle has been a resident of Cortes for 30 years and held the position of Manager for the past nine years. He reminisced about the many changes the centre has seen during his time: “Dova Wilshire took over and that’s where all the major changes started happening with recycling and how it’s managed.” After working with Dova for 3 years, Brian took over as manager. Pfeifle’s affinity for art permeated his time at the Waste Management Centre, curating an art gallery on the inside walls of the centre’s main building. Aaron McCulloch-Gary, whom has been working at the Waste Management Centre for almost 4 years, will be stepping up as the new manager on January 1st, 2023. Kathleen Pemberton painted an image of Dumpstar, the famed black fluffy cat that used to live at the Waste Management Centre. Photo by Loni Taylor. Photos of the old dump on Cortes Island include two tall incinerators, the images are displayed in the gallery of the Waste Management Centre. Photo by Loni Taylor. To hear more about Pfeifle’s legacy at the Waste Management Centre, listen to the CKTZ News Update below: Cortes Radio · CKTZ News - Waste Management Manager retires after 13 years of service to Cortes Island This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s...
BC Hydro rep affirms safety precautions surrounding damaged lines on Cortes

BC Hydro rep affirms safety precautions surrounding damaged lines on Cortes

A large dead, douglas fir landed on the power lines along whaletown road during the summer of 2022.. Photo by Loni Taylor. On October 10th, a windstorm took down several trees, resulting in three small fires in Tyber Bay. BC Hydro advises the public to call 9-1-1 if they see a power line on the ground. Photo by Loni Taylor. Cortes Island consists almost entirely of rainforest, and all the roads are lined with above-ground power lines. Ted Olynyk, a representative for BC Hydro says: “that’s the number one cause of outages in British Columbia- vegetation. In BC we have more trees per kilometre of utility line than any place else in North America. On Vancouver Island, we have three times that amount and I’ve been to Cortes many times and I can tell you probably with certainty, with no numbers, that Cortes is probably even more than that.” BC Hydro protocol for downed lines focuses on safety first. Olynyk clarifies what community members should do depending on these circumstances. “If a tree’s on the line, and powers out, Call BC Hydro 1-800 BC HYDRO. If a line is on the ground, that’s not a power issue anymore. That’s a public safety issue. So we tell people, stay 10 meters back. Length of a city bus… you don’t know if the line could still be energized. We try to bring it back on, or someone has a generator and it’s wired improperly. So if you see a downed line, call 9 1 1 - because at that point it’s a public safety issue.” - Ted Olynyk To find out more...
Southern Cortes Community Association appoints interim manager for Mansons Hall

Southern Cortes Community Association appoints interim manager for Mansons Hall

Volunteers install a freshly painted sun beam to the peak of Mansons Hall, a 100 year old building. Photo by Loni Taylor. There’s a new interim manager at Mansons Hall community centre after a year long transition. In late November, Tammy Collingwood stepped into the role after volunteering in a number of leadership positions with the Southern Cortes Community Association (SSCA). Collingwood was first elected to the Southern Cortes Community Association’s (SSCA) in November 2021, quickly being appointed vice president of the non-profit’s board. This July, when President Myrna Kerr’s term expired, Collingwood then became SCCA president. This October, Collingwood said that the board asked her to step down as president and step up as interim hall manager. The position of hall manager has been in transition since November 2021, when long-time manager Mary Lavelle resigned. Moving forward, the role may be divided among a few employees, as the SCCA board has determined that the hall manager role encompasses too many specialized responsibilities. “The manager position is just such a huge position. It’s like bookkeeping, programming, managing, administrative communications, budgeting, community engagement, building management, and so not often do you find all those qualities in one person. The idea was to come in to investigate how can we divide up this job, and also how can we streamline and make our processes more efficient so that the job is doable,” Collingwood said. This past year, despite the lack of a full-time hall manager, the volunteer board has developed some of the hall’s programs. The playschool hours have doubled twice, bringing the community childcare offerings into full-time status. There’s also new affordable exercise and...