General · 30th August 2014
SRD / Editor Robyn
The Whaletown Commons Project is a Cortes Island community initiative with a mandate to secure public land to meet the future needs of all Cortes Islanders. The newly acquired land is the 71-acre property adjacent to Burnside Creek (also known as Whaletown Creek) located in the heart of Whaletown, next to the fire hall.
From the Tideline website, here's the group's vision:
1. To create a community park and public assembly area in Whaletown.
2. To protect the salmon-bearing Burnside Creek and its unique ecology in perpetuity.
3. To provide a possible future home for some of the community's public assembly buildings, currently housed in provisional locations or on privately held lands, where rebuilding, expanding, or extending use agreements may not be possible.
4. To reserve this important piece of land for Cortes Islanders, so that we can decide, both now and in the future, how to use this land to meet the needs our community.
From the Strathcona Regional District press release, August 28:
The Strathcona Regional District is pleased to announce it has entered into an agreement to purchase Whaletown Commons, a 70-acre greenspace on Cortes Island located in the center of the Whaletown community. The Regional District has been engaged in ongoing talks with Island Timberlands to purchase the property for almost five years, and is happy to say an offer of sale for $839,000 has been accepted and that the deal will close in the near future.
Whaletown Commons has long been identified as a park interest in the Cortes Island Official Community Plan. Funding for the property comes from various sources, including Strathcona Regional District Community Parks reserve funds, donations from the Whaletown Commons Society and donations from the community at large.
Noba Anderson, Regional Board Director for Area B (Cortes Island), is the third Area Director to have worked to further this initiative and dedicate funds for this purchase. Anderson acknowledges the community for their ongoing efforts to make this happen: "I am beyond delighted that this long-standing community park priority has finally become a reality! The purchase of Whaletown Commons is a rare opportunity to secure 70 acres of green-space in the centre of a neighbourhood, and I am honoured to be part of making this happen."
For more than 20 years, Whaletown residents have worked to protect this piece of land. Its unique elements include high forest and riparian values, a salmonoid-bearing creek that runs through the northwest corner of the property, and it provides a natural habitat for wolves and other species. By purchasing the property, the Regional District can ensure the land is preserved and managed in its natural state for park purposes.