A NEW KIND
ON CORTES ISLAND
LAND USE PLANNING
PARKS AND RECREATION
TRUTH & RECONCILIATION
We have an opportunity to work together and make progress on the issues that matter most to Cortes.
Democracy at its best is when you are included in the political process. Not just when you vote, but as an ongoing part of positive change. Differing opinions can sit at the same table, have civil and thoughtful discussions, and make productive decisions for the well being of our community.
Leadership embedded in kindness and listening, looking out for each other, and making decisions that benefit everyone.
My name is Mark Vonesch and I am Cortes Island's new Regional Director. I hope to use my skills and experience to serve our community and make progress on the issues that we care about most.
Please share your priorities and top issues with me so that I can best represent this island:
"THE PURPOSES OF A REGIONAL DISTRICT INCLUDE TAKING CARE OF THE REGION'S PUBLIC ASSETS AND FOSTERING THE CURRENT AND FUTURE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL WELL-BEING OF THE REGION."
Four of my siblings and I with a new puppy
Our homemade go-cart
halter training my 4H calf
Making hay as a teenager.
Cortes Reel Youth Film Festival
Teaching a film making program in Tuktoyaktuk, NT
Making hay at Linnaea farm!
My son Fynlay ❤️
Sailing in desolation sound
I grew up on a dairy farm outside Olds, Alberta. As the oldest of six children, I learned the value of hard work in a family business. My mom’s garden would feed us for the year. We drank fresh milk, ate homemade bread and our own beef.
Dad would get up at 5am every morning to milk the cows and one of us older brothers would help him milk again in the evening. We made hay together. We had chores to do after school. Growing up in a big family on the farm gave me the values and work ethic that shaped who I am today.
I graduated with honors from the University of Alberta earning a degree in business with a major in finance and a minor in marketing. I tree-planted in the summers to pay for school, continuing for 10 years, planting over 2 million trees in Alberta and BC. During this time I discovered the west coast, my love of film making, and passion for community work.
I initially came to Cortes as a volunteer at Power of Hope’s summer camp on Linnaea Farm in the early 2000's and immediately fell in love with the island. Some of the first youth film workshops I led were at both the Cortes and Linnaea farm schools and many of you know me from working with your children, teaching youth & senior documentary programs, or presenting films in our annual film festival.
I first became engaged in politics supporting Gregor Robertson to become the mayor of Vancouver and saw first hand the impact that political leadership can have on making a positive difference.
I have built and sustained (with a great staff team) Reel Youth, an organization based on Cortes that facilitates film production programs across Canada and around the world. Participants come together, identify issues they care about, and take action through film making. Check out this behind the scenes Youth & Homeless Seniors program featured on CBC The National to see some of my work in action: [YOUTUBE]
For the last year, I worked on the Cortes Housing Society survey committee to support the development and distribution of the regional housing survey. This is an issue that effects all of us and the survey results will play a role in taking action to address it. I have volunteered as a board member for the Linnaea Farm Society (President, Vice President, Director), the Cortes Island School Parent Advisory Council (Treasurer), Cortes Literacy Now, the Friends of Channel Rock Society, and the Southern Cortes Community Association. These experiences will be an asset in strengthening our relationship with the Strathcona Regional District board.
My eight year old son attends the Cortes Island School and is starting grade four in the fall. Cortes is an incredible place to raise children and I'm passionate about helping make this island a place where families can flourish.
I'd love to keep you updated with developments
and hear about what issues you care about most.