All posts by De Clarke

De Clarke is a sailor, photographer, retired software engineer and intermittent author who since the late 70’s has published both technical writing and essays on various topics ranging from feminism to technology and environmental issues. She has lived on Cortes since late 2011.

SRD Update: March 27th meeting and more

At the March 27th meeting of the Strathcona Regional District Board, a couple of items affecting Cortes were on the agenda. Decisions were taken with regard to funding for our community halls, and equipment for our volunteer fire department.

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Island Alchemy: Twenty-Five Years of Good Libations

One of Cortes Island’s best loved businesses is a U-Brew tucked away in an old seafood plant, off the beaten track on Hansen Road. Founder and sole proprietor Doug Brown started the business 25 years ago after moving to Cortes from the Fraser Valley.

Currents interviewed Doug in mid-March 2024. Our extensive interview covers many topics including: how Doug got started in wine-making, what inspired him to start a U-Brew on Cortes, how wine is made, why wine is now a more practical product for him to offer than beer, what challenges he has met along the way, what he loves about his work, his feelings about community and customer service, and his thoughts about the future of this iconic Cortes Island business.

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Salmon Update: CAFO Conditions, Mass Die-Offs, Manufactured Risks and License Renewals

Scientists at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden recently concluded that some farmed salmon die from depression. (This may not be too surprising, given the conditions in which they are kept.) In other recent research, a team of US and Canadian scientists has charted an ominous trend: mass die-offs of farmed salmon are increasing in both frequency and scale. Some observers question whether the industry, after decades of growth, may be past its peak and about to decline.

Meanwhile, DFO suggests that salmon farming licenses should be renewed this summer for six years rather than the current standard term of two years — only five years after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a campaign promise to shut down net-pen salmon farming in BC altogether by 2025.

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Herring Roe on the Beach at Smelt Bay

Early in the week of March 11th, during the annual herring run, a combination of weather and tides swept an unusual quantity of herring roe ashore at Smelt Bay.

On Tuesday the 12th of March, the roe in some places was piled 6-8 inches deep on the beach. From a distance it resembled lighter coloured sand piled on top of the familiar gray sand and shingle of Smelt Bay.

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Housing Society To Offer Event Series

From March through July of this year, Cortes Housing Society — in partnership with FolkU — is presenting a series of monthly forums featuring guest speakers and community discussion. These forums will address the vexed issue of housing — both price and availability — which remains a serious problem for the island.

The invited speakers have expertise in various aspects of this problem, and some will be sharing results from successful projects in other communities. Cortes Currents interviewed Sadhu Aufochs Johnston, executive director of the Housing Society, to find out more about this event series.

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