2014: WHALETOWN COMMONS BECAME A PARK

2014: WHALETOWN COMMONS BECAME A PARK

(From the Archives: Nov 4, 2014) There was a celebration on Cortes Island a little more than a week ago. Close to a hundred people came out in the rain to munch on some of the goodies and listen to some of the community’s elders. After more than a quarter of a century, Whaletown Commons became a park. All Photos taken by Roy L Hales Some of the “old timers” spoke about the logging confrontation, which also gave birth to the Watershed Sentinel and new life to the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI).  Local biologist Sabina Leader-Mense was on hand to show people some of the rare and endangered species that live here. Our regional Director, Noba Anderson, spoke about political matters. To use Hubert Havelaar’s words, it was a “very emotional” moment. The depth that this dedication seemed to touch in him and the prominence he was given in the proceedings, prompted me to ask for an interview. He surprised me, of course. First by going back before the great confrontation to other issues and then by the way the words poured out of him. No need to prompt Hubert Havelaar. (Listen to the podcast below)  He spoke of how Weyerhauser’s crews highballed through the commons and of the 100 to  120-year-old stand of Douglas fir that they missed. The names of the logging companies changed. MacMillan Bloedel was brought by Weyerhauser, which sold its’ interest on Cortes to Island Timberlands.  All photos by Roy L Hales The community’s hopes became negotiations. Hubert describes the turning point as when they raised $75,000 in pledges. That convinced the Regional District they were serious. They...
GETTING RAINBOW RIDGE READY FOR THE NEXT STEP

GETTING RAINBOW RIDGE READY FOR THE NEXT STEP

The Cortes Community Housing Society had a number of updates to announce as they work towards having a town hall meeting for their Rainbow Ridge project. “We’re very much looking forward to having this town hall meeting, potentially near the end of October, but please stay tuned. We’ll announce the date, the time, and the place as soon as we can get all  the parties together and have all our documentation and designs ready to exhibit,”  said Executive Director, Sandra Wood. Sandra Wood – submitted photo “We’ve been waiting for the Ministry of Transportation (MOT) to approve our subdivision plan for more than a year. It’s been a long process.” The full service surveying and engineering firm J.E. Anderson was employed to design Rainbow Road, which will come into the housing project. Miranda Cross, Project Director of the Dillon Creek Wetlands Restoration, designed their stormwater management plan. She came up with a plan of bioswales, ponds and creeks to help capture the stormwater coming off Rainbow Ridge. The nutrients, like the nitrogen and phosphorus, will be absorbed by plants and the soil. “Building on that preliminary work that Miranda provided us with in 2020 and 2021, we have now hired a company called Kinship to take it to the next level. They are still working with our engineers at J.E. Anderson,  to adapt the routing of the water to accommodate the new layout of the  townhouses. We’ve moved them in different positions on the property.  So the site plan has changed and therefore the routing of the stormwater has changed. That’s the piece that Kinship is now working on and building on Miranda’s original framework,”...
Carol Titler: When FOCI moved into Mansons

Carol Titler: When FOCI moved into Mansons

Carol Titler served on the Friends of Cortes Island Board (FOCI) during some of the society’s formative years. She was not one of the founding members, but joined FOCI when it was still meeting in people’s homes and hauling its records around in boxes. “Then Hubert Havelaar built an office space and it was moved to downtown Manson’s Landing where it put us right there in the public eye. People began to really want to see what we were up to,” she explained. The Lending Library – Photo courtesy FOCI website “I think I joined at a really great time because there was a wonderful group of people there. They had these great projects that were really interesting and I felt were really great for the island. Ralph Nursall, who is no longer with us sad to say, was the president of the board. He brought all of his skills from being a marine biologist and a professor. He put together contracts to work with people because sums of money would be donated for something like forestry, large sums of money, and we needed to make sure that was all accountable and so forth. Our office person was Kathy Smail, who was really wonderful about devoting a lot of time to setting up the actual organization … Kathy was always there working away at her computer. She was a great person with the members of the island and the public.” The Marine Alphabet, originally written for a Cortes Island Museum’s display celebrating Manson’s Landing Provincial Marine Park in 1998 Now that FOCI had an office, they started putting together a library. They...
WALKING, CYCLING AND MASS TRANSIT IN CAMPBELL RIVER

WALKING, CYCLING AND MASS TRANSIT IN CAMPBELL RIVER

(From the Archives: Feb 25, 2022) According to Campbell River’s Sustainability Community Plan, 12% all trips to work within the city were to consist of walking, cycling or transit by 2020. They hope to increase this number to a third by 2060. In today’s interview the city’s transportation specialist, Melissa Heidema, talks about Campbell River’s shift to alternate forms of transportation. Melissa Heidema, Transportation Specialist with the city of Campbell River – submitted photo Her most recent data comes from the 2006 census, at which point 10% of the population used alternate modes of transportation: 3% public transit, 6% walking and 1% cycling. “The goal in the master transportation plan is to get that 10% up to 20%, which would be 10% walking, 5% cycling and 5% transit. Now, 5% biking doesn’t sound like a lot, but our current mode share is 1%. So we’re aiming to go from 1% to 5%, which is quite a big jump,” explained Heidema. She admitted that more recent data will soon be available, and this could alter their perception of the situation. In addition, Campbell River’s current master transportation plan was drawn up in 2012. The city is awarding the contract for a 2022 plan to the WATT Consulting Group out of Victoria. “This will give our community a lot of opportunity to comment on how they feel traffic is going in Campbell River and what improvements they’d like to see over the next 25 years,” said Heidema. Up until recently the city had a list of 37 potential projects that could improve the cycling environment, but only a $15,000 a year budget! Heidema...
2020: THE DEFINITION OF HOMELESSNESS IN OUR AREA

2020: THE DEFINITION OF HOMELESSNESS IN OUR AREA

{From the Archives: July 11, 2020) Summer is here, and with it  an increase in the number of homeless people in our communities. According to Sue Moen, the Salvation Army’s representative in the Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness, this problem goes back about forty years – to when the federal government stopped subsidizing affordable housing. In the wake of the COVID pandemic, many Canadians have come to the realization that issues like this are community problems and we all need to seek solutions. In this morning’s interview, we talk about the definition of homelessness. BC Housing’s Definition of Homelessness “Homeless, according to the definition used by BC Housing, includes people who are precariously housed, or couch surfing, or aren’t paying rent directly to a landlord. They may be sharing a room, but their name isn’t on the rental agreement. They don’t know if they’ll have housing for the next thirty days … Also, there are a lot of people who are living in vehicles, RVs, and some even in campsites,” said Moen. “If they are off the beaten track and do not connect with services, they sometimes do even consider themselves homeless.” Describe A Typical Homeless Person “Describe a typical homeless person?” I asked. “There isn’t typical. People become homeless for every reason that there is a person experiencing homelessness. It could be fleeing violence, family break-down, fire, flood or an expected loss of employment,” said Moen. “It could be something like a WorkSafeBC claim. Someone is injured on the job. They don’t have savings. They might get medical EI while they wait for their WorkSafe claim. It can take months...
TRYING TO CLEAN UP CORTES ISLAND’S ABANDONED BOATS AND PROVIDE HOMES FOR THE HOMELESS

TRYING TO CLEAN UP CORTES ISLAND’S ABANDONED BOATS AND PROVIDE HOMES FOR THE HOMELESS

There are probably a dozen abandoned boats on Cortes Island right now, and Dominic dos Santos would like to have them towed away. “A lot of them are floating. Some of them just have no names on them. People just leave them there. it’s just been 15 years of ‘not my problem.’  We have fiberglass shards on every beach now because they abandon the boats and let ’em get destroyed on the rocks . All this stuff is gonna wind up on the beach in the next five, 10 years?” he said. Screenshot on Dominic dos Santos on his boat taken during the interview “Let’s get them off the island while I have someone that is willing to take any boat that we can give them. They’re going all the way to Victoria.  Brittany and her partner  from Victoria are willing to take any boat that we can give them. I arranged the date, which was before the 30th.” “All the harbours are full of crap boats. It’s gotta be like at least five or six boats that can be removed from the Gorge.  There’s the two at Squirrel Cove, that concrete boat at Mansons, and I just brought two from Cortes Bay.” Cortes Harbourmaster Jenny Hartwick could only speak about the abandoned boats within the Harbour Authority area, but there are more in Squirrel Cove than dos Santos was aware of. “There’s actually three vessels that are sitting on the beach in front of the Squirrel Cove dock. All three have been surveyed by the Coast Guard within the last month and the process has been started to have them removed.The Coast...