Editor’s note: While there has not been a major fire on Cortes or Quadra Islands for decades, this could change as climate impacts grow stronger. I also think every British Columbian should be concerned when firefighters say ‘the wildfire system is in crisis’ and without ‘significant investments’ and ‘critical restructuring … will not be able to meet the demands of the coming wildfire season.’
By Sidney Coles, Capital Daily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Members of the British Columbia General Employees Union (BCGEU) went to the BC Legislature on Tuesday to meet with MLAs to lobby for transformational investments they hope will enhance public safety and make it easier for them to recruit and retain members.
Continue reading BC Legislators in the hot seat to respond to a firefighting crisis
Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A coastal First Nation’s Guardian team is gearing up to test the waters to try to limit the impacts of drought in their traditional territories on northeast Vancouver Island.
The We Wai Kai First Nation’s environmental stewards are partnering with other local groups to map and monitor wetlands, watersheds and streams on Quadra Island as summers get hotter and drier, said Guardian program manager Shane Pollard.
Continue reading A coastal First Nation’s Guardians are ‘testing the water’ to prepare for climate change
Part 1 in a series of articles about the Fall 2023 Salmon runs; Click here for Part 2.
Very little water is trickling through Basil Creek, where Cortes Island’s principal Chum run occurs in late October. There have been few days of rain on Cortes since May, and some of the area’s shallow wells stopped producing in July. Only about 10 Chum were seen in Basil Creek during the 2022 drought. Unless water levels rise, this may be the second year in a row when there is not a significant creek for the Chum return.
According to the Pacific Salmon Foundation, BC is going through ‘one of the most extreme periods of drought in recorded history.’
Continue reading Will the heavy rains come in time for this year’s Chum run in Basil Creek?
Editor’s note: A disturbing question, which is also pertinent on Cortes and neighbouring areas.
By Alexandra Mehl, Ha-Shilth-Sa, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Vancouver Island, BC – Since July 13, Vancouver Island has been in a drought level five, making for an earlier dry season than last year. Some experts say that smaller salmon bearing streams could face impacts from the early drought if no substantial and sustained rainfall begins.
With last year’s drought causing weeks of delay, entailing salmon holding up and awaiting rainfall, this year is the first time that Jim Lane, manager of biologists with Uu-a-thluk, has seen extreme drought two years consecutively.
Continue reading Will the second consecutive year of extreme drought impact salmon runs?
“One of our mandates is to create good employment for Islanders who are here full-time year round. And for our youth returning in the summer as well. It’s a great place for people who move to the island to start out and get to know the culture of the island by working with us.” — Mary Lavelle
The Cortes Natural Food Co-op is one of the top five or six employers on the island, an attraction for tourists and visitors, and the go-to grocery store for many year-round residents. Active members enjoy several benefits, but membership is not required to shop there — so the store serves many times more people every year than its approximately 360 active members.
Employing 20 people even in the off-season, and with over $2 million in sales each year, the Co-op is a significant island business. But it also makes a conscious effort to be a good neighbour. As General Manager Mary Lavelle put it during our interview, “Staff, board, management — we’re always considering the community. That is one of the factors that we always consider in our decision making: our community. And I think that’s part of what makes us so special.”
Continue reading More Than Just A Store: Cortes Natural Food Co-op