Three individuals and one organization were recognized at the Cordova Bay Community Leadership Awards event, on the evening of June 21st at the Cordova Bay 55+ Association Centre, for their contributions to Cordova Bay.
The Cordova Bay Leadership Awards – sponsored by the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs, in partnership with the Saanich News and other community organizations, recognized three individuals and one organization this year for their amazing contributions to the community. Elizabeth May, MP for Saanich and Gulf Islands, presented the awards.
There has been a bit of shift this year in that the association has moved away from specific categories and have chosen instead to simply recognize community contributions, however they may occur.
The three individuals recognized this year were:
Kelly Urarii, Cordova Bay Elementary School Principal. She became the principal of Cordova Bay Elementary in 2012, but has been teaching since 1985. “I went into teaching because, first of all, I love children and see them as our future. Anything I can do to help them along the way is a wonderful honour for me,” said Urarii. A visit to the school, and watching Urarii in action, offers a clear indication that she does make a difference. Children greet her in the hallways with smiles and waves and she, in turn, not only knows their names, but is aware of each of their interests, hopes, challenges and skills. She is, quite simply, the sort of teacher/principal that every child deserves. Beyond her exemplary work as an educator and administrator, she spends her free time volunteering with CARTS outreach, Canada Comforts, Best Babies and Mount Edwards Transition House.
Brock Smith, Scout Group Leader for the 5th Tsarslip Cordova Bay Scout group since 2003, a role he’s taken on with enthusiasm and a caring attitude. Himself a scout as a boy, Smith has always been an advocate of scouting because of the values and skills that young people gain as a result of their membership. As the group leader he now co-ordinates all of the scouting sections including not only the Scouts, but Beavers, Cubs and Venturers as well. Smith’s leadership has seen the program grow, and this year, nearly 50 young people are part of the 5th Tsarslip program.
Roger Stonebanks served as the president of the Cordova Bay Association for seven years, during which time he helped to resolve issues surrounding the Haliburton Farm, the Story Lane development and Story Lane Park; a treed 2.9-acre park for which Stonebanks negotiated the donation. Stonebanks and his wife have been residents of Cordova Bay since 1983 and he has served his community in so many ways it’s almost impossible to list all his contributions. His work as a fundraiser was also significant for the community. “My philosophy is simple. Do what you can to make good things happen and stop bad things from happening,” said Stonebanks. His work in Cordova Bay has undoubtedly done both.
Haliburton Community Organic Farm was honoured with this year’s award for organizations. Established in 2002, the farm is operated entirely by volunteers, with the goal of providing stewardship for the land, working to help educate farmers, students and the community in general about farming and the concept of food security, and growing food in harmony with nature. All of this has been done through an incredible program of community involvement. “I wish there were more places like Haliburton Farm,” said Elmarie Roberts, one of the farm’s board of directors. “It’s critical for our future that we find ways of raising food in harmony with the ecosystem that surrounds us.”
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Whether it is performing sea rescues, providing service with a smile, guiding activities for local Scout troops, teaching skills on the water or providing loving care for the community’s next generation, the Cordova Bay Community Leadership Awards had your bases covered. The winners were celebrated Wednesday, June 21st at the Beach House restaurant on a gorgeous night filled with a host of culinary delicacies to enjoy while overlooking the inviting waters of Cordova Bay. The second annual awards – sponsored by the Saanich News and Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs – were presented to Swimfit instructor Bruce Regensburg (coach/mentor), Bonita Jeanpierre with the Canada Post outlet in the IDA Pharmacy (employee), longtime Scouting supporter Beth Sangara (adult volunteer), ski patroller, sea rescue crew member, Scouts Venturer leader and all-around wonderkid Ford Smith (youth volunteer), and irreplaceable community fixture Cordova Bay Preschool (community group).
The Cordova Bay Community Leadership Awards (CBCLA) were initiated in 2016 in partnership with the Saanich News, Tru Value Foods, the Beach House Restaurant and the Cordova Bay Association for Community Affairs.
The CBCLA were created to recognize individuals in the immediate community who give back through their actions to make Cordova Bay a great place to live. While the awards will recognize specific individuals the entire program is designed to salute all those who give back. This awards program is a great community initiative, recognizing volunteers and mentors in our community, and brings it to the attention of the residents of the community who may not realize the people and organizations in the community who contribute so much.
The inaugural Cordova Bay Community Leadership Awards were handed out at a special ceremony at the
Beach House Restaurant on the evening of June 7th. Richard McMorran was named Volunteer of the Year; Sheila Wells the Employee of the Year; Brian RoyerCollard the Coach/Mentor of the Year; and the Cordova Bay 55 Plus Association picked up the Community Group Award. Royer-Collard was the driving force behind much of the growth of women’s soccer on the Island, devoting 40 years to teaching the game he loves to his community. Wells has ensured that every visitor to the Super Duper Dollar Store is treated like a friend and is the epitome of customer service. No job was too large or task to small for McMorran to handle, working tirelessly for the residents of the community he calls home. And the organization that McMorran helped to establish, the Cordova Bay 55 Plus Association, ensures that there’s always a place to go and something to do for Cordova Bay’s seniors.