…..“the yearning for home is rooted deep within the bricks and mortar of our very bodies”
Housing issues remain the primary concern for residents of Cortes Island. The call has been heard through the many surveys done 2008, 2013 and 2017. They paint a consistent and disturbing, albeit familiar trend. Cortes’ unique circumstances i.e. it’s beauty, relaxed lifestyle, cosmopolitan population all make it a sought after second home locale. Housing prices have been driven upwards by increased demand and an influx of wealth to the island. A consequence is that young people and families can no longer afford to buy in, and usually do not qualify for traditional mortgages.
Without an abundance of young who bring both imagination and vitality, new enterprises are not initiated. Our island school, as a vital community space, stands to lose funding if attendance declines further, and with it valuable professional teaching positions as part of the island economy.
Cortes Island is now on the map. Tourists understandably come from far and wide to spend quality vacation time on our island in the summer months. Rentals that might ordinarily have been designated for year round residents are now commanding much higher rents as short term vacation rentals, thus depleting our rental stock for islanders.
On the other end of our age spectrum, many seniors are no longer in a position to maintain a homestead. There are currently 16 seniors on the waiting list for the existing Senior’s Village, where there are only 6 cottages, happily occupied. Since there are so few rental housing options, seniors may have no choice but to leave their community for want of age appropriate housing.
To remain a vibrant multi-generational community, we must address housing insufficiencies on our island. Without stable and affordable year round rentals many vital sectors of our population will be forced off island, to our mutual loss.
What is a community without the vitality of the young and the wisdom of the old?
Housing uncertainties on Cortes Island: Interviews and reflections.
Patricia lives in the Senior’s Village and has done so for eight years. She is 71, vibrant, creative, and in fact many of us know her through her volunteer work at the museum or for the handmade crocheted and knitted animals that grace so many children’s beds. Full story…
Claudia is known to us all through her enormous contributions to the community, if not by name or face. For years she has spent each spring time designing and developing the summer camp programs that both island and visiting kids enjoy, thus providing a vital chance to interact with and learn from each other. Full story…
Patricia’s friend Janet who moved to Cortes to be close to her family, her son Adam and daughter in law Tamara (and two grand-daughters) who run the Linnaea Farm program that helps put food on our tables. Full story…
Mark who manages the Friday market, a cornerstone of the community as well as doing back up admin for Manson’s Hall, told me of the stress both physical and mental of moving five times in less than 18 months prior to him finding his present rental, which is becoming too small to accommodate his rapidly growing five year old whom he co-parents. Full story…
Helen is an English biologist who relocated to Cortes and runs FOCI (Friends of Cortes Island), which is the closest thing we have to a department of the environment on a minimally regulated island, whose natural resources, healthy ecosystems, and wild beauty most of us are committed to protecting and preserving. Full story…
When asked, “What is holding the island back from reaching its full potential?”, this is what you answered.