Well, we are already more than half way to the first day of spring! Guess I'd better find the time to take down our Christmas lights, not to mention prune my fruit trees, raspberry and blueberry plants! This has been one of my busiest winters to date and there is no sign of any slow-down in sight.
I will get right to it and bring you up to date on a number of topics I have mentioned in earlier reports.
West Coast Environmental Law forum on "Clean Green Energy"
I attended this forum at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue on January 11th in Vancouver. I was one of 17 participant speakers before a full-house audience. It was a very good opportunity to express my concerns as your local government representative about our elimination from the land use decisions regarding "green energy" projects by the provincial government due to the passage of Bill 30, which took away our right to zone with respect to any independent power projects. Lannie Keller also spoke on behalf of the Friends of Bute Inlet. I will include a link to the audio-visual presentation that was sent to me. I know that some of you will not be able to view it due to dial up internet connection, but many of you will. I will attempt to get a written transcript for a future report. The link is: Jim Abram (Strathcona Regional District) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHhlhruLNLA
The California trip
Three days of travel, including 12 hours of plane travel each way with delays in two airports due to the violent storms in California, and we still managed to have a successful meeting with the California Governor's committee that we were invited to present to. Our presentation took about an hour and questions and answers followed. I feel that we were able to bring many issues to the table regarding the lack of public consultation and local government involvement in the development of run of the river (ROR) projects and to point out the lax environmental processes and regulation in this province in relation to ROR projects. This committee will develop a "rule" that will be used to inform the drafting of new legislation (or not) to lower the environmental standard that is currently in place in California. If the legislation stays the same, then it will make it impossible for the Bute Inlet proposal to proceed as planned, since the proponent will not be able to export power to California, since it will not be considered "clean, green power". The import of power, as it stands now, must not harm the environment from whence it comes and meet all of the current environmental standards of the state of California. We also spent a number of hours meeting with the coalition of organizations in California that are opposing this possible change in their current legislation. California has always been a leader in environmental legislation to protect and keep the environment clean. They are the example that all of the other states compare themselves to. It would be a real shame to see them take a giant step backwards in the protection of the environment so that they can import power from BC and export environmental devastation to BC. We will see what happens in the next couple of months. I went along on this trip with the Western Canada Wilderness Committee and a scientist from Simon Fraser University, as their guest.
Hows 'bout them potholes, eh? - ACTION REQUESTED!
I applaud Arne Liseth for bringing up the issue of potholes on the Spit Road in the last issue of the DI. I was out there yesterday and it is OUTRAGEOUS! The road is basically potholes connected by bits of road surface for most of the distance. This is Quadra Island's jewel! And it gets very little attention by the Ministry of Parks. This needs to change and I am asking each and every one of you to contact the North Island Section Head, Parks and Protected Areas Division of Ministry of Environment, Ron Quilter, at 250-337-2402 (call Service BC at 1-800-663-7867 for toll free) or email him at ron.quiltergov.bc.ca I have just spoken to him at length. He is a very reasonable person and I have worked cooperatively with him for years. He is aware of the road problem and looking for solutions. But he needs to hear from you! Please copy your MLA, Claire Trevena, since this is a provincial responsibility, and send a courtesy copy to me at my email address. I contacted him to make a personal plea to get the work done more often and to do it right! I suggested that this is a capital project and not just a routine maintenance issue.
I am also aware that the much used boat ramp is in very bad repair and needs some serious work done to it. We also spoke of this and he was unaware of the state of the ramp. This is another item that you should be talking to the Ministry of Parks about in your communication regarding the road. And lastly, I was just told (and I have not verified this yet but Ron Quilter was unaware of any plan to do this but suggested that it might be something that the Park contractors would be considering) that the fire rings will be removed from the spit, so that people will not use the drift wood for fires!... I wonder if they have been to the Spit and seen the mountains of driftwood that have now covered large areas of the road and the trails??? If the west side of the Spit is short on driftwood for fires, then perhaps a logical compromise would be to ask people to gather their firewood from the east side of the Spit, rather than a knee jerk response of removing the fire rings. The driftwood comes and goes with the tides and the seasons. Nothing that the Parks department does is going to change that fact. The driftwood is not going to stop the erosion of the Spit road or trail. The high tides take the driftwood away on the west side and the tides erode the narrow areas. The only thing that will temporarily help that situation in light of rising sea levels, is proper shoreline protection devices and raising the road and trail level. Time to get on with it in my opinion! Please write to, and call the Ministry. They need to know the level of concern from Quadra Islanders.
Scallop lease update
The issue of the scallop lease, applied for by the Cape Mudge Band south of Rebecca Spit Park, will have been dealt with once again by the time that you read this. It came to our last meeting and the referral responses were missing from a number of key agencies. The Board referred it back to staff to make personal contact with each of the missing ministries. They got one more response but are still missing others, due to staffing issues in the ministries. It will be at the Electoral Area Services Committee for consideration and then will possibly go to the Board at the end of the month for a recommendation to go to a public hearing in early March. If that is the case, please watch for notification of the date and time by either the Discovery Islander or by direct mail out. The SRD will ensure that the public is notified to the best of their ability. You can read the staff report at www.strathconard.ca
Go to "RD Board" then to "Agendas" then go to the "Electoral Area Services Committee"
Q. Cove Village planning process
As I have stated in previous reports, the process is underway and the steering committee has been meeting regularly. Please refer to my last report for details. A time table has been set and a mail out went to all post office boxes. Stacks of the flyer were also left for those who do not receive "junk mail" so that they too would be able to stay informed. There is a questionnaire being circulated and copies can be picked up at Hummingbird office supply and various other locations such as the Heriot Bay Inn. You can submit them at Hummingbird or give them to any of the steering committee members who were listed in the last issue of the DI and posted on "the gumboot". They will be accepted until March 9th. There will be a public presentation on Wednesday, February 10th, at 7 p.m. at the Quadra Island Community Centre. This will be led by the consultant, David Rousseau, and the steering committee members will be present. The next public meeting date is set for March 9th, same time, same place. There is a very ambitious schedule of meetings and work set out over the next few months. The consultant and the committee will be keeping you apprised of dates and times of important sessions where the general public will be able to participate. This is going to be a great process, designed here on the island, and I look forward to a truly unique final product that we hopefully can all support and be proud of.
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.
Director, Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD