Tag Archives: Cortes Gas Tax

Mark Vonesch’s First Year In Office: Things ‘Accomplished’ and ‘In Process’

Mark Vonesch is very passionate about Cortes Island and his activities as Regional Director. If this were a video, rather than a radio broadcast, you would see this it in his facial expressions. There is a hint of this passion in the words he chose and the tone of his voice. 

Cortes Currents asked him for a recap of this past year and what to expect going forward into 2024.  

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SRD Looking Into Providing Preliminary Road For Rainbow Ridge

At the November 22nd meeting,  the SRD board approved a report to explore the possibility of using Cortes Island’s gas tax reserve to help build the access road into the Rainbow Ridge Affordable Housing project.

“It’s really great to see the SRD jumping in to work on housing using all the different tools that they have access to. This was led by our Regional Director, Mark Vonesch, who brought this to the SRD board. What was approved at this point is the request to have staff work on a report,” explained Sadhu Johnson, Executive Director of the Cortes Community Housing Society.  

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SRD Approved all but one of Cortes Island’s Grants in Aid

Editor’s note: The following report consists of highlights from a segment of the SRD Board Meeting of Nov 22, 2023. 

The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board approved all but one of Cortes Island’s 2023 Grant-in Aid applications. It was a long, often confusing, debate. The SRD Board denied the Cortes Island Academy’s application because, as Chief Administration Officer (CAO) David Leitch explained “this Grant in Aid is in contradiction to our policy in terms of awarding money to other senior levels of government.” The Board initially granted the other Cortes applications, then seemed on the verge of rescinding them. Their decision to pass most of the applications was followed by a motion to change the manner in which Grants-in-Aid are processed.

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EASC Turned Down Linnaea’s Application For Funds To Purchase A Heat Pump

In theory, Cortes Island receives a portion of the Provincial Gas Tax. A recent Strathcona Regional District report states, “as of January 1, 2020, the balance of Electoral Area B’s Gas Tax Reserve is approximately $565,325 and (this year) is expected to receive a 2020 transfer of $58,155 in addition to any interest earned on the balance.” According to Regional Director Noba Anderson, the amount keeps growing because Cortes has not been able to access these funds. “The SRD has still not developed any kind of application guide or internal policy around Gas Tax spending, although it has been on the CFO’s work plan I believe for at least five years.” On March 11, 2020, EASC turned down Linnaea’s application for $44,520 in Gas Tax dollars to purchase a heat pump.

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