Friday, June 02, 2006

Whaletown Commons Project:
Community Land in Community Hands

Vision: To create a community park, public assemblies area for the future needs of the community and to protect the creek in perpetuity with covenants. The community’s "public assembly" buildings such as the post office, library, Old School House, and community hall are in provisional locations where rebuilding or extending the agreement won’t necessarily be possible. Public recreational areas like a baseball and/or a soccer playing field would also be an asset to the community as it grows.

Description: This 71 acre parcel located right in the centre of the Whaletown community is the only sizable, undeveloped, centrally located land in the Whaletown area. Trails, set within a mature forest, run along a beautiful-salmon bearing creek to connect Jocelyn, Omsted, Carrington Bay, and Whaletown roads.

History: The community has been interested in acquiring this land for ongoing community use since 1999. A group of dedicated volunteers began working with a variety of agencies to find a way to purchase it. In 2004, the community came together to discuss funding options. A consensus emerged to protect the unique ecology of the creek, to provide space for the possible future location of public facilities that would include ample off road parking and the development of an emergency access road to Jocelyn Road and to preserve/extend the trail network connecting these neighborhoods.

In 2005, a group of community members formed the Whaletown Commons Society (WCS) and became incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. Research into funding options continues. The WCS perseveres in dialogue with possible stakeholders.

The Regional District of Strathcona/Comox (RDCS) is one of the stakeholders involved with the project. At a recent meeting between the WCS and RDCS, Carlos Felip, Manager for Parks Planning indicated, “There is willingness on the part of RDCS to support WCS in the purchase of the Whaletown Creek Property. There appear to be some alternatives for the financing of this purchase that includes some monies from the RDCS.”

And during a community meeting in January 2006, the community expressed overwhelming support, pledging a total of $10,000 that very evening. A few more details need to fall into place before a fundraising campaign can begin in earnest.

Future: Look for information and ways you can help over the summer and fall. Details will be posted on and on bulletin boards at Manson’s Hall and next to the Whaletown post office.

A big thank you to the Cortes community and friends of Cortes Island for your encouragement, support, and financial pledges. “Where there is a will, there is a way,” says our friend Ann Mortifee and we believe she is right!

For more information, please contact:

Hubert Havelaar

Helen Radosavic

Suzan Denis

Oliver Kellhammer

Michael Hoskin


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