By Roy L Hales
There was little discussion. The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board approved the agreements at their August 19th meeting. Cortes Island’s two community halls and first responders are one step closer to receiving funding.
Gorge and Mansons Halls
Chair Michele Babchuk and the SRD’s Corporate Officer received authorization to sign five year agreements with both the Southern Cortes Community Association (SCCA) and Whaletown Community Club (WCC).
“The Board of the Southern Cortes Community Association wishes to thank the Cortes community for its ongoing support during our campaign to secure sustainable funding for Mansons Community Hall, and the Whaletown Community hall. A special thanks to Noba for her balanced and constructive leadership and to the Strathcona Regional District for passing the new funding measure,” said Myrna Kerr, President of the SCCA.
“This is great news but it is a long time coming. Cortes residents have been calling for stable funding of our community halls for years, so it is about time that the SRD listen to our voices and implement our community will,” said Ashley Zarbatany, one of the WCC directors.
“This funding will go a long way to ensuring that the WCC is able to remain a vibrant part of our community. For years we struggled to pay our bills due to a lack of stable funding sources," Zarbatany added. "Now, we will be able to focus on what we do best, which is providing services that make our community better.”
Only core operating expenses are to be funded: electricity, heating, garbage collection, telephone and fax, internet service, property taxes, insurance, supplies and contract services related to operating and maintaining the community facility.
“It has been a long road, and I think this is the last piece that is going to be before the board other than regular budgets, going forward,” said Cortes Island Regional Director Noba Anderson.
“The next step is for the CIFFA and the SRD to write up a service provision contract while the Cortes fire chief decides on a schedule for training and a service start date, then we formally request the release of funds," Chris Walker, President of the Cortes Island Fire Fighters Association(CIFFA), added.