Cortes Island Economic Forum
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Junior Member
Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #1 
There is a binder of economic development information called "Cortes Works"  at the museum.  It was produced during a project that took place in the 80's.  It has information on Co-ops (of course it needs to be updated), some examples of products and services that were successful in an island environment, and lots of ideas etc.  The 8 women on that Canada Works Project visited successful businesses on Hornby, Denman, and also the Courtenay Arts Alliance.  We brought a model back to Cortes which got the Craft Shop at Squirrel Cove started.  We brought information on how to start and run a B &B, there were none at that time. We started a dinner club at Linnaea - people would book ahead.  There was limited seating.  Little tables with tablecloths and candles and a wonderful meal would be served. We brought information on what would be needed to start a coffee shop in Manson's Hall - and indeed one started.  One of the women started the Thrift Store which continues in Manson's Hall.  Thirty years later, these things are still here.  Well, the Coffee Shop is just waiting for someone to get it going again.  Do we still need one?  I think so.  It was open 5 days a week for coffee, snacks anytime, and lunch.  Also, dinners sometimes.  The Thrift shop continues but could be bigger and designed better. 
Also during that project, we made up a "Yellow Pages" type of book that listed anyone who had a product or service that they were paid for and who lived on Cortes.  No advertising, no cost to be in it.  It is amazing what motivated volunteers can do.  I think we need this again.  We need to support ALL local people who are trying to make a living on the island.  Buy local produce and meats even if it does cost a little more, it is better and is helping to support someone.  Marni has wonderful books - yes it is cheaper on Amazon but I prefer to pay a little more and help her keep her business going.  I have a background in business development and home based business.  I worked as a counsellor for the then Government Ministry of Business Development, Tourism and Culture in this capacity for six years. 
We have many business people (many retired) who have a lot to offer.  How about forming a roster of people who can assist small businesses?  Maybe someone with a background in finance, another from law, another with marketing experience.  They could be called upon for specific assistance.

I was disappointed to see talk of group land purchase and consensus being required at meetings etc.  Consensus is the best way to kill the spirit of an entrepreneur.  We need a variety of interests to be represented.  Encourage and support our entrepreneurs.  Make use of the resourcesful people who live here and who
would like to contribute their experience and interest to economic growth.
Sandra Wood

Junior Member
Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks Patricia,
For a great reminder of the many successful business ideas that are still going & growing.  Since moving to Cortes full-time 8 years ago, I am constantly inspired by the creative, pioneering, self-sufficient spirit of our community.  Your list above reminded me of an abundance of accomplishments by our local entrepreneurs and volunteers:
  • Health Centre offering medical care & a full slate of year round programs for children/youth/teens
  • Seniors Village with affordable housing for 6 year round residents, beautiful gardens, and all the CISS Seniors Helping Seniors programs.
  • Food Co-op offering local producers and farms like Linnaea & Blue Jay a great place to sell healthy organic food
  • Twincomm have installed high speed internet, connecting us to the digital world, bringing e-commerce and allowing some of us to work from home
  • Authors are writing award winning books here
  • Artisans are selling their creations world wide via the internet (etsy)
  • Recycling Centre & Free Store expansion
  • Museum Renovation in addition to their annual exhibits, public programs, and amazing archives
  • School Food Garden, Greenhouse, and hot-lunch program
  • Tourism bringing new money to the island via eco-adventures & over 50 accommodation options
  • Skate Park
  • Manson's Hall Renovation including the OM Yoga Studio Space, Lake House Learning Centre for Home Schoolers, Reel Youth Film Making Office, Pioneer Dining Room, Dance Hall Kitchenette, brand new Playschool, new Heat Pump System, and all their annual recreational programs.
  • 2 new Post Offices (Manson's and Squirrel Cove)
  • CKTZ and all their local radio programmes
  • Bigger Better Library at Linnaea
  • Gorge Harbour Marina's fabulous renovations, including the Floathouse Restaurant expansion
  • Public dock renovations by Cortes Harbour Authority for improved access by visitors, commercial vessels, and local boaters
  • Boat fuel available at Squirrel Cove dock & new Take-out
  • 3 seasonal markets (Friday at Mansons, Saturday at Gorge, and Sunday at Squirrel Cove) 
  • Old School House Gallery Renovations & their support of local artists
  • Gorge Hall's new septic system, emergency generator, and all their community programmes
  • New Parks (Whaletown Commons & Hank's Beach & Siskin Forest)
  • Trail Blazing & Map Making by FOCI in addition to all their stewardship programs on behalf of the Forest, Lakes and Marine Environment 
  • Community Forest Co-operative and all the potential for new local value-added wood products 

I have probably forgotten dozens of other -- please feel free to add your other inspiring examples.  In the meantime, I am excited to see what we can create together in the next 8 years!  ~ Sandra
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