During all the fire and fury over Cortes’ proposed “Hall Tax,” it occurred to me that the problem of increasing difficulty in operating and maintaining our Community Halls can hardly be unique to Cortes. Surely other communities are facing similar challenges; it would be worth finding out how (or whether) they were solving the problem. So I set out to investigate the funding basis of as many coastal community halls as possible, in communities not too different from our own: smallish, rural-ish, remote-ish.
Cortes has a housing crises. Young families are being forced off the island because of the lack of affordable units and there is not much room for seniors who are no longer able to maintain large lots. The Cortes Housing recently purchased 51 acres in Mansons Landing to help address this issue, but are facing another issue as well. There are already too many nutrients draining into Hague and Gunflint Lakes. In this morning’s program we talk to Rex Weyler, Lake Stewardship Coordinator for the Friends of Cortes Island and David Rousseau, President of the Cortes Island Foundation, about adding housing while reducing human impact on the lakes
Some vital issues undergird the impending Cortes Community Housing fund raiser, on July 14. According to David Rousseau, one of the principal organizers, “We are slowly slipping towards a community of older people who can not afford to be here. And the people who want to come here; live here; raise families and work here are slowly being squeezed out.” He points to Hornby Island as an example of what could happen. (The population average is a decade older than on Cortes and most trades come from off island.) Cortes Island Seniors Society’s purchase of a 51 acre parcel close to downtown Mansons Landing is a significant step towards addressing the Cortes Island Housing Crises.
This morning’s episode grew out of an examination of how our attitudes towards nature have changed since the first Europeans arrived. One of my sources had a story every bit as important. Michael Manson’s grandfather came from the Shetland Islands and founded Sunny Brae Farm in the late 1880s. Mike told me the Cortes Island Story, as experienced by one of the first settler families.