By Roy L Hales
While a couple of Director Anderson’s actions contributed to the confusion, she was almost invariably on the receiving end of the abuse. The July 24th Electoral Area Service Committee (EASC) meeting was plagued by confusion, misunderstandings and misguided allegations. The principle Cortes topics were cannabis & a FOCI Grant-in-Aid application, but the responses to a report on the BC Rural Economic Forum may provide more insight into how EASC functions .
The July 24th EASC Meeting
Chief Administrative Office David Leitch explained it is standard operating procedure for denied applications to go before the board. Committees make recommendations; the final decision is made by the board. (As a rule, the board follows the committee’s recommendation.)
FOCI Transportation Coordinator Funding
This initiative arose out of a 2017 SRD Transportation Study. According to Chief Administrative Office David Leitch, it is SRD staff’s job to find ways of implementing it, not an outside organization like FOCI.
Two years have passed since the study.
Cortes Regional Director Noba Anderson asked, “Why did staff not … bring forward a report that said hey, here is how we can action some of this?”
Leitch replied that they had not been asked. The proper avenue for this is the director’s annual one-on-one conversation, with staff, at budget time.
Director Anderson will bring this up at the “November 13th one on one.”
(Some irresponsible comments about specific Cortes residents, FOCI and Director Anderson are in the unedited audio of this segment. In the future, I hope the directors will check their facts before making public statements.)
Sale of Cannabis
SRD staff is preparing a regulatory framework for the production and retail sale of cannabis on Quadra Island. However on Cortes Island, this will be treated as part of the upcoming zoning bylaw update.
Abram, Whalley & Anderson describe the situation within their respective regions. They have different approaches. Anderson is concerned that all Cortes growers be treated fairly ; Abram would prefer to see any sales on Quadra restricted to the industrial park; Whalley is totally opposed to any marijuana traffic. Listen to the podcast for more details.
BC Rural Economic Forum
I did not include the discussion of Director Anderson’s report from the BC Rural Economic Forum in my radio broadcast, as this is not a story specific to Cortes, but in some ways it may be the most instructive of all the discussions.
We appear to be witnessing a power struggle. Much of the discussion appears to be about whether the Cortes Director is sufficiently differential towards Abram. Why wasn’t he invited to the forum? How did two Quadra Island residents – i.e. people from Abram’s area – become delegates? Leigh launched into a verbal assault against Anderson (and was the only director to subsequently vote against receiving this report). Anderson replied, [The BC Rural Economic Forum] ” … is not an organization that is going to be seeking appointments from regional districts. Economic organizations have the ability to self organize and this is what is happening.”
This unedited recording starts with EASC Chair Jim Abram insisting Cortes is not one of the Discovery Islands, at least from an SRD perspective.
Recordings of The Session
I used one of the station’s ZOOM H4n recorders at the maximum WAV setting (48kz; 24bit) to record this session, but a combination of noise from the overhead air conditioner and the distances involved resulted in an audio that is decidedly lower than broadcast quality.
Photo Credits: (top) Cars parked on Squirrel Cove road – Roy L Hales photo; Transport Mode – While on Cortes – FOCI Application; Cannabis Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash; Transport Mode – Getting to Cortes – FOCI Application; Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash; Boats in Ganges harbour, Salt Spring Island – Roy L Hales photo ; (bottom) Whaletown Road at Squirrel Cove- Roy L Hales photo