Whaletown Commons Became a Park

Podcast below was Broadcast on Cortes Community Radio (CKTZ, 89.5 FM)  on Tuesday November 4, 2014. 

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1There was a celebration on Cortes Island a little more than a week ago. Close to a hundred people came out in the rain to much on some of the goodies and listen to some of the communities elders. After more than a quarter of a century, Whaletown Commons became a park.

All Photos taken by Roy L Hales
All Photos taken by Roy L Hales

Some of the “old timers” spoke about the logging confrontation, which also gave birth to the Watershed Sentinel and new life to the Friends of Cortes Island (FOCI). 

Local biologist Sabina Mense was on hand to show people some of the rare and endangered species that live here.

Our regional Director, Noba Anderson, spoke about political matters.

To use Hubert Havelaar’s words, it was a “very emotional” moment.

The depth that this dedication seemed to touch in him and the prominence he was given in the proceedings, prompted me to ask for an interview. He surprised me, of course. First by going back before the great confrontation to other issues and then by way the words poured out of him. No need to prompt Hubert Havelaar. (Listen to the podcast below) 

He spoke of how Weyerhauser’s crews highballed through the commons and of the 100 to  120-year-old stand of Douglas fir that they missed.

The names of the logging companies changed. MacMillan Bloedel was brought by Weyerhauser, which sold its’ interest on Cortes to Island Timberlands. 

All photos by Roy L Hales
All photos by Roy L Hales

The community’s hopes became negotiations. Hubert describes the turning point as when they raised $75,000 in pledges. That convinced the Regional District they were serious. They were involved in the fifteen years of negotiations that followed. The last six years occurred during Noba Anderson’s watch.   

Hubert was on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island when the word came that Island Timberlands finally accepted their offer.   

“My wife Wendy and I were dancing in the streets of Sidney British Columbia, just couldn’t believe that it had happened after all this time,” Hubert said.

New Growth
All Photos by Roy L Hales

There are no immediate plans for development. Hubert would like to see the number of parking spaces increased from three to ten, but this primarily a place for nature to flourish and people to relish that. 

After listening to him, my wife and I decided to take a hike around the 71 acre property.  That’s when I took these pictures.

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