Information gathered from the local community during community processes, including the development of the Official Community Plan (OCP), identify the economy is one of the greatest challenges to living on Cortes island.
Local citizens experience a difficult time finding work, earning a sufficient living to stay on the island and keep their children in school. As a result, Cortes is losing the younger generation of islanders, who are much needed to keep a diverse and thriving community alive.
The current situation on our island illustrates the urgent need to develop an island-appropriate focus on improving our economic situation, and the value of developing a Local Economic Action Plan for Cortes to act as a catalyst for new economic development initiatives and projects.
Economy and the Official Community Plan (OCP)
The 2012 OCP for Cortes sets out the economic development aspirations for the community, with the overall goal of:
“…developing a diverse and efficient local economy that provides stability and sustainable value to the community.”
The plan includes a number of economic objectives and policies. They include recognition of the need for a strategic approach to community economic development.
- Encourage the creation of Cortes Economic Development initiative in order to consolidate and focus tourism, assist in start-ups, and develop value added opportunities
- Encourage access to a local economic development officer to further value-added initiatives and sustainable economic development opportunities
- Develop partnership opportunities with local private and public sector organizations, to achieve community improvements, external investment and joint marketing initiatives
Cortes Island Business and Tourism Association (CIBATA)
CIBATA was formed in 2012 as a not-for-profit organization to initiative holistic community development and community economic development for local businesses. CIBATA supports activities and initiatives that promote sustainable business and the island as a whole.
Cortes Economic Development Forum
In 2015 CIBATA hosted an Economic Development Forum to explore various economic development models and opportunities for Cortes. The forum included presentations from other small communities including Hornby and Denman Islands. It generated a multitude of ideas from participants, and was met with great enthusiasm and a desire to progress economic development initiatives on the island.