Tag Archives: Smelt Bay

Cortes Island Children and Youth Programs

The Cortes Community Health Association (CCHA) has been offering Youth Programs for more than 15 years. Serene Williams’ association goes back to 2009 when, shortly after moving to Cortes Island, she became the Teen Szene Co-ordinator. She married after that and now has two children of her own. They were initially homeschooled but when both of her children registered for the Cortes Island School, in September 2022, Williams became the Youth Programs Manager for the Cortes Community Health Association. 

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Neighbourhood Concerns about the ‘Cortes Airport’

Editor’s note: On Feb 1, roughly two weeks after Cortes Currents left the first message on her answering machine, Judy Kemchand posted the following update on the Tideline: “Our scope of work includes increasing the safety of the runway by grading the existing gravel surface and chipsealing the airstrip. This runway is currently used by smaller aircraft only as it is not long enough to accommodate jets or larger planes and there are no plans to lengthen or widen this surface so it will continue to only accommodate those types of aircraft that have landed here before. Jets will still not be able to land on Cortes. Additionally, all pilots will still be required to gain permission from the land owner to land on this private runway. We are also contracted to build a small wooden 56′ x 64′ storage hangar at the north end of the runway, which will be used to house a small plane or helicopter if desired. There will not be any aircraft fuel storage onsite as has been speculated.”

In June 1999, James and Diane Hansen built an air strip in the southern tip of Cortes Island. According to the deposition that John Woolley later made to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, “the majority of the neighbouring property owners, including himself, have strongly objected to the development and operation of the airstrip.” They were concerned about ‘excessive noise,’ potential accidents, ‘environmental hazards resulting from the storage of fuel and the impact of the operation of the airstrip on water quality and bird habitats.’ The most serious opposition came from the Comox-Strathcona Regional District, which stated the airstrip contravened its zoning laws. However Transport Canada approved the strip and after a long legal battle, in 2005 the courts decided that the Hansens ‘shall be entitled to maintain and operate their airport.’ 

That was 18 years ago, but a number of Cortes residents are concerned about the work currently underway on the airstrip. 


The 2023 Christmas Bird Count

The Cortes Island Museum has been sponsoring two birding events every year for the past two decades.* 2,873 birds were seen during the 2023 Christmas Bird Count, but this number would have been much higher if there were more participants. 

“We can only go to a certain number of places where we know there will be birds, and that’s mostly along the coastline,” explained Laurel Bohart, a keen birder as well as co-curator of Wild Cortes.

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The Awakeneers New Single: December In The North

The Awakeneers are still living in Willow Point and have just released a new single. Cortes Currents interviewed them over ZOOM and we had our cameras turned off to preserve bandwidth.

Isa McKenty explained how he came to write ‘December in the North’: 

“It was the day before one of our concerts in the Acoustic Matinee Series. I was supposed to be practicing for that, but it started snowing and I looked out my window. It was so pretty that I wrote ‘December in the North’ instead of practicing. It was actually a year to the day between when I started writing the song and when we recorded most of the tracks that you’ll hear on the recording.”

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The Smelt Bay Goose Hunt

On Monday, November 6, Max Thaysen and Travis Powiak posted a notice on the Tideline. They would be hunting Canada geese at Smelt Bay and Hollyhock Beach, between 12 and 3 PM, on Thursday. 

“I like eating goose for a variety of reasons, including wanting to have the most ethical and environmentally responsible diet that I possibly can,” Max explained.

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