Originally published on the ECOreport, podcast broadcast over Cortes Community Radio, 89.5 FM, on Jan 10, 2018.
By Roy L Hales
George Sirk whispered “Cortes Radio” for years before he found the right pair of ears. This led to a meeting at Manson’s Hall, to discuss possibilities. Howie Roman attended and, six months after the station was launched, became a DJ. He still is. “My prime interest in Cortes radio is [that] I really enjoy having a show.” Howie served on CKTZ’s board for five years, the maximum amount allowed by the society’s constitution, and now is the station’s manager. In this morning’s interview, I ask Howie about the process of becoming Cortes Community Radio, CKTZ 89.5 FM.
When the Cortes Island Business and Tourism Association (CIBATA) was launched, it faced some tough challenges. Some believe Cortes is still stuck in the seventies and many residents would like to preserve that. Yet there is a need for the same business sectors you find everywhere else: retail, health, building and trades, tourism medical marijuana, aquaculture, learning / professional development and social profit. On February 24, CIBATA will be unveiling the draft of Cortes Island’s Local Economic Action Plan at the Klahoose Multipurpose Building, between 10 AM and 4 PM. In this morning’s program the association’s President, Colin Funk, talks about economic development while preserving Cortes’ core values.
The Canadian government believes the internet is an essential service. Over the next three years, the “Connect to Innovate” program will invest $500 million bringing, or improving, high-speed Internet to 300 Canadian rural and remote communities. A local ingredient is the sub-sea fibre optic cable, connecting communities between Prince Rupert and Vancouver, as well as around Vancouver Island. Victoria Smith, the Strathcona Regional District’s Special Projects and Sustainability Manager, confirmed that Cortes Island is a proposed recipient for improved high speed Internet.
Cortes Community radio’s new tower does not look impressive. It only rises thirty feet or so above the station, but with its installation CKTZ leads Northern Vancouver Island’s emergency communications network.