Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fall 2007 Update

Whaletown Commons Project
Community Land in Community Hands

Vision - To create a community park,
public assembly area for the future needs of the community and
to protect the salmon-bearing creek in perpetuity.

Hello everyone and a big thank you for the supportive thoughts, words, and actions on behalf of the Whaletown Commons Project.

The fundraising effort continues to make steady progress.

The community has raised more than $53,000 in donations and pledges so far and the Regional District of Comox Strathacona (RDCS) continues to support the Project. As you may recall, the RDCS Board passed the following motion in June 2006:

WHEREAS Manson’s Landing having the greatest population in Area I (Cortes) has 3 provincial and 3 regional district parks; and

WHEREAS Whaletown having the second greatest population in Area I (Cortes) has no provincial or region
al district parks;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Area I (Cortes) Park Acquisition Reserve Fund be designated for the purchase of a park in the Whaletown area;
AND FURTHER THAT a significant portion from the 2006 and each year thereafter be set aside from Area I's (Cortes) Park Budget and accumulated for the purchase of a park in the Whaletown area.

Fundraising continues with a silent auction through the Christmas season. Bidding will start for Mary Weiler’s painting “The Entrance to the Gorge Harbour” at the Gorge Craft Fair on December 8th. The Whaletown Commons Project will also be at the Manson’s Hall for the Christmas Friday Markets December 7, 14, and 21. The auction will finish on Valentine’s Day when the successful bidder takes this original watercolor home. A special thank you to Sabina Leader-Mense of the Cortes Land Conservancy for donating Mary’s painting to the Project.

Speaking of names, the Society has been aware for some time that the name “Whaletown Commons” does not accurately reflect the island-wide nature of the project – the acquisition of parkland for the entire Cortes Island community to use and enjoy.

The property we are focusing on has been known historically by several names, including Robertson Creek, Burnside Creek and Whaletown Creek. The name “Whaletown Commons” was chosen back in 2005 to describe the location of the property, in Whaletown, as well as the common good it would serve.

Since the inception of the Whaletown Commons Society, 260 members have signed up, and the distribution of our membership truly represents island-wide support. We have thought about changing the name to reflect this support, but to do so would be both complicated and expensive, requiring the disbanding of the current Society and re-registering under a new name. In addition, changing the name at this point risks creating confusion among the current stakeholders.

The Whaletown Commons Society is temporary, and will disband as soon as its objective of acquiring this land for all Cortes Islanders is achieved. At that time, the community can decide what to name its new park, and will decide how best to facilitate the formulation and implementation of a land use plan. So, for now, let’s get it together and work toward the purchase of this beautiful property, which will enrich our community in many ways.

And speaking of beautiful, the trails are in top form thanks to the loving attention of some community angels. So Cortes Islanders go and enjoy a walk, breath the clean air, listen to the murmur of the creek, and thank the beautiful trees. Let’s persevere in our dream to bring this land into community hands.


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