Tag Archives: Alex Bernier

The Island-wide 2024 Beach Clean-up on Cortes

The first truckload was filled over the roofline with beach debris. Sam Gibb drove into the Klahoose village shortly after 10:30 AM on Saturday. Alex Bernier, followed with a smaller load. Helen Hall and Autumn Barrett Morgan, two other members of the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI), were there to help them unload. Stephanie Valdal, Services Coordinator for the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service, had come from Courtenay. The debris collected by Klahoose Aquaculture had not yet arrived. By the time the month long Cortes Island wide beach clean-up officially ended, on Sunday, there was a bin full of beach debris. This year’s clean-up was a collaborative initiative between Klahoose Aquaculture, FOCI, the Ocean Legacy Foundation and Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service.  

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What FOCI Achieved in 2023

With the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) AGM coming up on November 28, it seemed like an ideal time to ask Executive Director Helen Hall what the society achieved in 2023. 

“We’re actually doing 14 different projects, which involve everything from habitat restoration and conservation through to environmental monitoring and community education.  I just wanted to highlight some of those projects,”she explained.

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2023 Broom Bash at Mansons Spit

Close to a dozen volunteers and two Park Rangers participated in the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) annual Broom Bash on Saturday, March 18.

They swept the spit at Mansons Lagoon in about 3 hours. 

“We really appreciate all of the help from the volunteers here on Cortes. It’s really amazing that the local community comes out and takes ownership of this place. We couldn’t do it without the volunteers,” said Eli Simcoe Metcalfe, of BC Parks.

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This past year at FOCI, an interview with Helen Hall

Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI) recently had its AGM. This is also Helen Hall’s seventh year as Executive Director. So Cortes Currents asked her for an overview of this past year and how the organization has changed during her tenure. 

Helen Hall: “That’s a big question, FOCI has always been doing a lot of different projects. I act as the central point for FOCI, but there’s a lot of work going on with volunteers and our contractors.” 

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FOCI: Maintaining Cortes Island’s Regional parks

“A lot of the places people want to go and visit are either down a beach access or they are a park. We’ve got large areas of unfragmented forest in Ha’thayim or Von Donop Park. Mansons Landing Provincial Park is a really bio-diverse lagoon full of marine life. Those parks together make up quite a big parcel of land that’s set aside for conservation and for nature to thrive.  There’s no development pressure, that’s really important. We have those permanent resources protected, and obviously there’s a lot of really interesting ecosystems in them too,” explained Helen Hall, Executive Director of the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI).

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