The community is invited to celebrate the first 20 years of Ruby Lake Restaurant and Resort, and provide input on future directions for what has become an important eco-reserve. Photos Heather Jeal
The environment and business can work together if you have the right person.” ~ Aldo Cogrossi owner/chef, Ruby Lake Resort and Restaurant
Celebrating 20 years of growing the eco-reserve, resort and restaurant at Ruby Lake, the Cogrossi family invite the greater Coastal community to visit Sunday, August 18 from 2 p.m. to dusk and help set the vision and direction for the property’s next two decades. Entertainment includes guided or self-directed tours of the site, live music by Brothers In Farms, Boingy Boingy, and Nick Ferreira, as well as performances by Dances on Water and Gerardo the magician all set against the lush natural background of the Ruby Lake lagoon and surrounding hills. All entertainment is free; barbecued steelhead trout, yakburgers, and wild boar sausage will be available for purchase.
Aldo Cogrossi, the ‘mayor of Ruby Lake’ whose early vision provided the initial impetus for the eco-reserve portion of the property, hopes the facility can move from being a seasonal resort to a year-round facility – the Spirit of the Rainforest Retreat Centre –drawing a new clientele for conferences and other events that will benefit the whole Coast.
Going forward, “there has to be stewardship of this area,” says Cogrossi. “That’s why it’s so critical for us to bring the community here, to see what their reaction is. We want to build a year-round identity, a year-round destination.” Cogrossi himself does not plan to steward the next phase; the restaurant with its ‘slow food’ ethic and reliance on locally-supplied top quality fair trade and ocean wise products is his main priority. Instead, depending on public reaction at the Sunday event, he hopes to put together a steering committee as a precursor to creating a society to guide the retreat and the reserve.
The Cogrossi family refused an earlier offer to purchase part of the business and acreage when the purchaser’s vision for the property did not mesh with the direction already set.
When Aldo Cogrossi first began building the Coast’s premier Italian resort overlooking the tranquil lagoon, he recognized its potential as a sanctuary for birds and wildlife. In the intervening years, he and his team of volunteers, family and friends built nesting boxes for birds (rebuilding the population of barn, tree and violet-green swallows) and started a program to attract wood ducks (hosting an annual Wood Duck Festival to help cover the costs). The lagoon now draws between 40 and 80 ducks each spring, and painted turtles nest on its sandy banks.
“The environment and business can work together if you have the right person, or the right group,” Cogrossi says. “It means business must always be giving back. That’s what I believe. And that’s why I’m always broke,” he laughs.