Cortes Island’s Second Virtual Townhall Meeting

Cortes Island’s Second Virtual Town Hall Meeting, April 7, 2020

Cortes Island’s Second Virtual Town hall Meeting was also broadcast over Cortes Radio, CKTZ, 89.5 FM. It began with a series of news updates, followed by breakout sessions.

Broadcast of Townhall Meeting – courtesy Cortes Community Radio

Four Pronged Approach

Regional Director Noba Anderson outlined a four pronged response to the COVID 19 crises’ early needs 

  1. Application for provincial funding, coming through the Strathcona Regional District system.   It looks like the Cortes Community Health Association is putting together a proposal to hire someone to help people plug in to the different opportunities available. The Cortes Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA) seems to be supporting that, especially for local businesses.
  2. The food bank, food security, food delivery: It looks like the Southern Cortes Community Association will be applying for funding to do food delivery, probably in conjunction with some of the stores and the food bank. A total of $5,200 has now been raised for the food bank, which is now shopping for groceries and connecting to local growers. 
  3. The Cortes Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA) is working on some projects: a potential local currency; a skill sharing directory; a Cortes investment co-op
  4. Linnaea Farm spearheaded a conversation about how to be more generative in our food production. How can we grow gardens for the community? 

Phenomenal Opportunity

“I’ve had a few people, very rightly, reach out and say, ‘Look we have this phenomenal opportunity if we can see it as such. We have a labour force for the first time ever in the summer. There are a number of people who worked in shellfish, or tourism or whatever and are now available. There are a number of projects that the community has long wanted to do, but it is hard to find a labour force. Can we find a way, as the immediate financial and food needs are met, to pair those things? I expect if the leadership in this community comes together we will have no problem sourcing funds for that,” said Anderson. 

Cortes Island Health Clinic

Dr Ellen Anderson started working at the Medical Clinic on Monday, April 6, and will be here for two weeks. She said they have only a limited number of swabs, but the number of people being tested has increased. Dr Anderson cannot disclose these numbers, or conform whether any have tested positive, but asked for help transporting the swabs to Campbell River on Wednesdays and Fridays. The Gorge store agreed to do this on Fridays. 

CCEDA Update

“We are working on a bunch of pieces, which we will speak about soon,” said Adam McKenty, President of the Cortes Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA).

To help ascertain the local impact of the COVID 19 crises, and see what CCEDA can do to help, McKenty asked local businesses and organizations to fill in this quick survey: – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VPTK3CS

Cortes Island's Second Virtual Townhall Meeting
Heron on Squirrel Cove Beach by A Davey via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License) 

Breakout Sessions

At this point the broadcast reverted to Cortes Radio’s playlist, while callers went to breakout sessions for a half an hour. I deleted this segment from the podcast above.

When the meeting was reconvened, a member from each session gave a summary of their conversation to the group. 

Short Term Access to Food & Food Distribution

Three of Cortes Island’s stores, The Cortes Market, Cortes Natural Food Co-op and Gorge Harbour store, were among the participants in this group. 

“It was really heartening to hear that no one is having a challenge getting food supplies right now. There have been small things, like a delay on yeast or something like that, but no sense of a disruption in the supply chain,” said Karen Mahon Carrington, spokesperson for this group. “All three stores are doing a lot of deliveries, as well as pick ups, free of charge.” 

(As a result of the COVID 19, the stores are currently experiencing summer sales volumes.)

Food Growing For The Medium To Long Term

Adam McKenty summarized this discussion as “How can more food be grown here? How much land would we actually need? What are the barriers to making that happen?” 

Access to land, capital and machinery.

“The economics of growing food and actually getting paid for your work and what are the things we can do, as a community, to change those equations and make it more vialbe.” 

Health & Wellness

“We had a nice chat about things people can do at home to reduce the chance that their immune system will be hyper provoked, which seems to be the main problem with this particular virus,” said spokesperson Maureen Williams, ND.

They discussed forest bathing, Qi Gong, joint movements, water therapies, stress reduction  etc.

Mental Health

“I know some young people who are very shy, very private, but also struggling with a need for connection,” said Jennifer.

Possible helps:

  • a group mediation
  • 8-9 AM Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays –  Donna Dryer’s (one to one) “Talk-In” clinic, phone 250-935-0037. 
  • HollyhockTalks: Sheltering in Community, Thursday mornings, 8:30-10:00 AM throughout April.

Children & Families

“Thursday is our pilot doing a ZOOM scavenger hunt with children. We are looking forward to trying that,” said Desta Beattie, Cortes Island’s family support coordinator.

How many signs of spring can you find in the woods or forest?

Here’s a start. Find:

  • Something green & pink
  • Signs of nesting
  • Something magical
  • Signs an animal is getting ready for spring
  • The smallest and the largest tree cone you can find.
  • Something that lives in the soil.
  • A flower or leaf bud.
  • 3 more findings of your choice

(The results were shared in a ZOOM chat on April 8.)

ZOOM meetings are being set up for three age groups: preschool, school age and teens. 

Beattie added that she will soon be conducting a needs assessment for children and families on Cortes.

“One issue coming up is the need for child care, which I do not currently see a solution to in this time of physical distancing.”

You Are Invited To The Next Meeting

You are invited to the next Cortes Island Virtual town hall meeting at 5:30 PM on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. A link to the ZOOM conference will be posted in the Tideline, or tune in to Cortes Community Radio, CKTZ 89.5 FM

Top photo credit: Whaletown by Gerry Thompson via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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