Mansons Landing: Project Manager needed for the Village Commons

The Cortes Island Foundation is seeking a Project Manager to oversee development at the Village Commons, in downtown Mansons Landing. This is a two year position, expected to take about 24 hours a week and pays between $35 and $40 an hour. 

“We at the Cortes Island Community Foundation are really excited to be able to offer a job and to attract someone into this awesome role as Project Manager for the Cortes Island Village Commons development,” explained Executive Director Manda Aufochs Gillespie (MAG). 

Image credit: Manda Aufochs Gillespie – submitted photo

“This job is going to entail two different aspects. One of which is filling the terms of BC government funding that we have for the Village Commons, helping to build some of the infrastructure needed for community gatherings and help fulfill the near term project potential of this place. The second part  is to really have someone who is passionate about the potential of this place and the role that it could serve in the Cortes Island, community economy and social community.”

CC: What will the Project Manager do?

MAG: “Like most Project Managers, they are going to have to oversee the implementation  of the project as it stands, as well as help to create the future vision. So there will be the fulfilling of grants and working with budgets. There will also be a lot of working with people.”

“There’s going to be contractors helping do the work on the land and even more importantly, there are a lot of stakeholders who care for and rub up against this land in some sort of way. So the ideal candidate is going to  play well with the other people in the sandbox. In particular, we know that there’s going to be collaboration needed with the Southern Cortes Community Association in Mansons Hall, with the nearby Rainbow Ridge development, with the radio station, with FOCI, with the Klahoose First Nation. There will be a welcome pole built on the land, and we have some really exciting possibilities about how that will be put in place.”

“You need to have some hard skills to do the job well. Being able to work with budgets and understand what plans mean and helping get new plans made. You’ll also have to have the important human soft skills of being able to communicate about the project and work with a variety of different partners.”

CC: Tell us about the pay and the benefits for someone who is accepted.

MAG: “We are really excited to be providing what we think is a true Cortes Island living wage. You’re getting  between $35 and $40,  with the potential of additional benefits, things that you’re required to have, like WorkSafeBC, but also the option of extended health benefits, etc.”

CC: What’s happening at the Village Commons right now.  

MAG: “The Cortes Community Foundation  just received stewardship of the Village Commons from the Cortes Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA), which held its stewardship for the last few years.”

“We feel like it’s a real gift that not only did we inherit the stewardship of this land for the next few years, but we also inherited a blueprint for the next  level of development on that land. That blueprint was put together by CCEDA with the community and includes a really beautiful listening project of what people hoped and dreamt would happen on that land.”

“We are hoping to colour in the detail and expand the potential of that land. We’re about to realize the first step. We have funding to put in a gazebo, a welcome pole and more trails, paths and landscaping, and to begin to look at how that land is going to actually make sense and integrate with its neighbors.”

“Right now, we feel like the land doesn’t make perfect sense with the way that it interfaces with the land of the Southern Cortes Community Association, or the land that is owned by the Cortes Housing Society where Rainbow Ridge, etc. will go.” 

“We’re really lucky because we didn’t get this land with just nothing.

We got this land with this plan, and we got this land with some of the grants that Kate Maddigan wrote for getting that plan put into reality sooner rather than later.  We didn’t have to do the hard work of doing that. 

We need to figure out a way to make this place realize its potential as the heart of our Manson’s village.”

CC: What is there now?  What exists on the Village Commons?

MAG: “Right now on the Village Commons, there is  a gravel pad and some benches and tables.  There’s a tent that was damaged last year, so it can only be put up for short periods of time in the summer,  where many people have come and have been part of meetings  or community events.”

“I’ve hosted a few things there in the past through the radio station and Folk U. I love that space already. There is the pod that lives there, which is a project that the Community Foundation with the Cortes Community Health Association helped to shepherd, and the beautiful work of Desta Beattie who helped to enliven that pod.”

“That pod is a tiny, tiny, tiny little nonprofit shared workspace.  There is a printer in there,  a heater and WiFi. Anyone can sign up, but particularly the different nonprofits  or community organizations can sign up so that their workers have a place to work outside of their home.”

“You can have small meetings there, but not very large meetings because it is truly a tiny little pod. Through the pod project and Desta’s amazing leadership, we were able to build on that Village Commons land, a little shed where there’s additional equipment stored that is available for the community to use. That includes a portable speaker mic system, a couple of market style tents that can be set up and some really lightweight easy to move chairs.”

CC: In the original plan, there was talk of different business developments. How’s that going?

MAG: “Some of this will start being realized through this next part of the project.  That initial part of the plan showed there’s a lot of things still missing in our community downtown spaces that we take for granted in other places.  One of the things that we are missing on Cortes is  a community economic draw that is open, or at least accessible, most days of the week, all year round. We think  we can slowly move our way into realizing more of this.” 

“Within the next two years, we think we’ll be able to realize more of that potential: more places for people to work, to run businesses, to sell their market crafts, a large covered gazebo pavilion and this welcome pole. Those will be realized through this person’s job over the next couple years, as well as flushing out the next level of detail in how to make this space really work to serve the community needs of Cortes.”

CC: Is there anything you want to add?

MAG: “This project and this job is only possible thanks to the leadership of CCEDA, and the grant writing prowess of Kate Madigan. A special thanks to ICET (Island Coastal Economic Trust, or ‘Ice T’) and all of our BC government partners who saw that our little community needed some help, and some resources in order to realize this next bit of the vision.  As everybody on Cortes knows, we need to have paid people who are earning a living wage in order to help fulfill the potential of a lot of our organizations. So we feel really excited that we’re going to get closer to realizing some of the things that the Cortes community has said that they want and need over the last few years and that there’s going to be a person who’s paid to help our community realize that. Thank-you to every single one of the people out there who helped carry this to the place where now we’re going to have real assistance moving it to the next level.”

Top image credit – CCEDA’s 2022 Concept plan for the village commons

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