A table and benches sitting in a gravel clearing

Village Commons park opens downtown at Mansons Landing

CKTZ News, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Cortes Island’s new Village Commons opened to the public this week.

The Cortes Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA) obtained the 2.6 acre commercial property, in downtown Mansons Landing, three years ago.

“We’ve just cleaned it up and there is plenty of room for physical distancing,” explained Loni Taylor, vice president of CCEDA.

They are planning to host some music at the Friday Market on Aug. 27.

“We’ll announce more about that during the week, but we’re planning to keep it pretty casual,” said Taylor.

She added that CCEDA would love to host future musical events there, if that is what the community desires.

drone photo of Cortes Commons during development – Photo courtesy CCEDA

The Village Commons is currently a public park.

Local carpenter Travis Pawiak built the beautiful new table and benches out of reclaimed wood. There is also a portable toilet.

“We ask that anybody who uses the area, packs out whatever garbage they bring in,” said Taylor.

People can access it through trails starting near the big cedar tree, in Mansons Hall playground, or the old logging road leading into Rainbow Ridge from Beasley Road.

CCEDA hired a “relatively local consultant from Nanoose Bay” to help draw up plans for the property’s future development.

“Most of the public consultation will occur in September and into October. There will be multiple opportunities for people to share their ideas,” said Taylor.

She suggested that interested parties consult the Local Economic Action Plan (2018) on CCEDA’s website.

That’s where their dreaming and visioning started. They have also perused documents from the last fifteen years to get a broader sense of what the community has been saying.

She explained CCEDA is taking it slow, developing the land as is needed rather than in anticipation of a future demand.

“It is a beautiful park right now and it can benefit us just the way it is,” she said.

Top photo credit: The Village Commons new table and benches. FOCI’s office and the roof of Mansons Hall are visible through the trees in the background = Photo courtesy of CCEDA.