Sometime this fall, the Cortes Foundation will be offering the community of Cortes Island a public venue to explore, and bridge, the issues that divide us.

Photo of Norman Rockwell’s 1942 painting Freedom of Speech at the townhall in Cambridge, Vermont – photo by George Putnam, Chair of Cambridge’s Select Board (town council). 

The topic came up during a discussion about the water shortages some of the Island’s shallow wells are currently experiencing, while Cortes is at drought level four.

“We’re going to set up a much larger conversation, island wide, on any topic. Yesterday we were at a meeting that discussed sponsoring a facilitator to be present through the Fall, on specific dates, to get together and start airing out some of the issues that people are encountering on the Island, any divisiveness between groups,” said John Preston, one of the Directors of the Cortes Foundation. “So we are aiming at taking the next step, offering the Island a voice to speak to itself and try to reach consensus on many different issues.”

As we get closer to the launch date, they will be explaining how, where and when these discussions will take place.

One of the immediate topics of concern will undoubtedly be a collective response to the Island’s water issues.

Preston believes the deep wells some people are drilling punch holes in the aquifer and threaten everyone’s water supply.

As regards the Cortes Foundation, Preston said, “It is a game changer for Cortes. We now have an instrument that will allow us to attend to these kinds of issues. Cortes now has a basket that it can fill with resources that are for everyone. The foundation is island wide and we are going to be putting out a message that we want to hear from people: What are their needs? What are their worries?”

He described the Cortes Foundation as an organization that will allow the people of Cortes Island to cumulatively contribute to their future.

Links of Interest

Top photo credit: Conversation around the table  photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash 

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative