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General · 26th August 2009
Jim Abram
After a brief hiatus, I have a few items to mention in this report. I will keep it brief.

Scallop farm on east side of Quadra

As many of you know, the Cape Mudge Band made application about a year ago for a two year Temporary Industrial Use Permit for the growing of scallops at the southern boundary of Rebecca Spit Provincial park, just off of Indian Reserve #9, which abuts private residential lands to the south of the Reserve. The intent was to experimentally grow scallops to see if it was viable. The band recently came back to the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) to apply for a rezoning of an enlarged area in roughly the same location. The new application does extend in front of properties to the south of the Reserve on its boundary. The original area of the application was approximately 64 hectares and the new application is 85.5 hectares.

This area has three zones in place on the water that must be amended if this proposal is to go ahead. The three zones in our zoning bylaw are: Access Two, Marine Reserve One and Indian Reserve One. All of these zones were instituted by the Comox Strathcona Regional District (CSRD) in our 1990 shoreline zoning by law exercise. The Access Two zone is the general zone, that doesn't allow for much, that covers most of the water area in Area C. The Marine Reserve One zone is basically for marine ecosystem protection and parks. The Indian Reserve One zone was put in place our of respect for First Nations Reserve lands so that no one would apply for other uses in front of their lands. The Reserve lands, under the laws of the day, stop at the foreshore (the highest high tide mark). The water area is provincial in jurisdiction and local governments have the right to zone it accordingly. Hence the decision by the CSRD to create the Indian Reserve One zone. This in no way confers any "Indian Reserve" status to the water. This is a matter strictly for the Federal government to determine, which lands are Reserve and which are not. I am bringing this to your attention because a number of people have asked me about the status of the water area, thinking that the IR-1 designation means that it is actually Indian Reserve. It does not mean any such thing. It was a designation created by the CSRD and placed on that area in front of each Reserve. It has no legal status other than at the local government level. I hope this clears up the confusion.

Esplanade Park in Heriot Bay

Well, after many, many decades of dispute over who has jurisdiction over the Esplanade Park (the area that runs along the shoreline from the west of the Heriot Bay wharf parking lot), an unfortunate fire incident a few weeks ago brought it all to a head and to a probable solution. The fire was attended by concerned neighbours, the fire department and the RCMP, and was dealt with appropriately. What happened afterwards is where it gets interesting. The jurisdictional issue came up once again while in discussion with the RCMP. I had discussions with our Corporal at the RCMP and with the top man at the Ministry of Highways in Courtenay and with the Regional District Parks department. Verbal agreement was reached to attend to the clean up of the area (by Highways) and the derelict outhouses and the underbrush that was considered a fire hazard. The really surprising part was that after so many decades the Ministry was willing to talk about giving the land to the SRD as dedicated park land!. I requested that it be zoned Park One many years ago as acknowledgment of its current use by the public. That was done, but had no real teeth to it until we had actual jurisdiction over the land. It appears that is about to happen. So, many thanks to the neighbours that helped to make this happen and we shall see what happens in the very near future. We will most likely get some sort of long term lease over the property from the Ministry.

Evans Bay wharf

As I have reported at various times, we have been in negotiations with Transport Canada to get possession of the Evans Bay wharf on Read Island to provide further access to Read, by water. I still cannot divulge the details of the negotiations, but I can say that the issue comes to our Board meeting this week for final resolution. I will let you know the outcome in my next report, since it should be concluded by then.

Surge Narrows road end (Hoskyn Channel landing)

I attended a meeting with the Ministry of Highways, Emcon Services and Read Island residents at the road end to see what could be done to improve the ghastly condition of the last 200 feet of road that is road right of way. Quite a discussion ensued and we all left with lots to think about as far as a solution goes. We are still in discussions about it and I have had a couple of good conversations with Bob O'brien of the Ministry. I say it is a road, the residents of the outer islands say it is a road and the Ministry say it is not... so we still have some talking to do! Whatever the solution, it must be one that keeps that portion of road maintained for public access. That is what it is and has been for many decades. I will continue to work on this one and hope for the best. More to follow

I think that is about it for tonight. Feel free to call me between the hours of 8:30 am and 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday (not on weekends, folks!) at 285-3355, or you can fax me at 285-3533 or you can email me anytime at abramfamoberon.ark.com , or by mail at Box 278 in the Cove, V0P 1N0... Lots of choices!

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Abram
Director, Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD