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.
Though the population doubles or triples during the summer months, there are less than a thousand people on Cortes throughout the year. The RCMP come from off island, but we have a medical clinic, ambulance and a relatively large volunteer fire department (with firehalls at Mansons Landing and Whaletown). So, at the Cortes Island Preparedness and Awareness weekend, I asked the local Fire Chief how often does Cortes Island need emergency services?