Tag Archives: Andrea Fisher

Finding Home: Options and Challenges

Funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative

This article is the first in a three part podcast series called Finding Home.

The first podcast features Sandra Wood and Ian Scott discussing the options and challenges for creating affordable housing that they have encountered in pursuing the creation of four affordable rental units for seniors and 20 units for all ages on Cortes. That podcast is almost two hours long and includes a number of questions and answers from local community members. Please listen to the podcast for more in-depth explanation of the Seniors Village expansion and the Rainbow Ridge project. 

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Reinventing Hollyhock for a virtual world

Originally published on Cortes Radio.ca. This radio broadcast was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative

In a normal year, Cortes Island’s best known learning centre needs to take in $3 million in revenues to keep operating. 2020 has been anything but normal. As a result of COVID, most of this year’s programs were cancelled and Hollyhock could not rehire most of its usual staff. This has also been a year of innovations: with courses being offered online for the first time and a day-long virtual Hollyhock-a-thon called ‘Shine the Light.’ The Cortes Island centre’s response to this year’s challenges almost amounts to reinventing Hollyhock for a virtual world.

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Cortes Island Slowly Reopening

There were four tables when Mansons Friday Market reopened, on May 29th. Last week there were seventeen. They spilled outside the hall and throughout much of the parking lot. There were a lot of new faces: some covered by masks, but mostly not. This was only one of many examples of Cortes Island slowly reopening.

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Cortes Island Stores Granted Assured Loading

For Curt Cunningham, of the Squirrel Cove General Store, it means not having to leave at 5 AM to ensure he can board the first ferry leaving Cortes Island on Monday mornings. He can stay in bed for another two hours. Cunningham will no longer worry about the consequences of being forced to wait for another sailing on the trip home. (Three loads of ice cream melted in the ferry parking lot last year.) There will be no more nights when he is forced to sleep on Quadra, or Campbell River, because there was no room for his truck on the last ferry. He will not have to ask an employee to open the store in the morning. BC Ferries granted assured loading to Cortes Island’s commercial food trucks.

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How Is Hollyhock Coping?

According to CEO Peter Wrinch, “Hollyhock exists to create, curate, and host inspiring, meaningful experiences that provide both the inner and outer skills for personal growth and social transformation.” During peak season (July/August), the non-profit educational centre employs close to 10% of Cortes Island’s adult population. Hollyhock had a record year in 2019 and, expecting to repeat the experience, put together an ambitious slate of programs for the April 14 to October 24 season. Then the COVID-19 crises reached our area. Now the tentative opening date has been pushed back to the beginning of June, at the earliest. About 40 Cortes Island residents who had expected to be employed, are now sitting at home. How is Hollyhock coping? 

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