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General · 5th July 2011
Jim Abram
Happy Independence Day to all of our American neighbours out there that have chosen to live here full or part time! You can bet there will be lots of celebrating south of the "49th" tonight. And that brings me to our Canadian birthday celebration:

Canada Day celebration
What a day! (and I don't mean the weather. It could have been better!). This was by far the best Canada Day celebration in the past ten years. The efforts put into the festivities by so many volunteers and businesses was incredible. The entertainment, the activities and the food were all fantastic. I was told that as we approached 7pm, well over one thousand dinners had been served and the line still extended across the main field. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the food and camaraderie as they ate at various locations throughout the Park.

We could not put on such a wonderful day without volunteers! I want to thank the backbone of every community: its volunteers. You are all wonderful. Of course we need the donations and the businesses and the funding, but it is the organizers and volunteers that pull it all together and make it work. You are what holds our community together and make it such a special place. Thanks again!

Rebecca Spit / BC Parks meeting
An invitation from BC parks staff and management was extended to a small group of people on the island to discuss the future of Rebecca Spit Park facilities. I attended and listened to what they have planned in the short term and over the next year or so.

As many of you will remember this all started with a small group of us having conversations with BC Parks at the local level and with a call by me to the Executive Director in Victoria. The group met in the field at the road through the park when it was at its worst. Due to this we got the road upgraded with 15 truck loads of road crush and lots of time put in by people in the community and a commitment by BC Parks to come back this year and work on the "neck" (starting at the boat ramp) that keeps getting further eroded each year..

So, what we were told was that BC Parks commits to upgrading and maintaining the road with the "neck" being the priority and with other upgrades to the outhouses and picnic tables happening this year. They will be trying out a shoreline protection device along the Drew Harbour side (known as Greenshores development). I am not going to go into it in detail here, but it will not be rip-rap style protection. It is a softer approach that they are sure will work.

As your Director, I insisted over and over throughout the evening that local people be hired and local materials be used. I strongly believe in our tax dollars being spent in our community. They are agreeable to that to a point. They do have rules about tendering, etc. I have asked them to be creative in how they put the bids out so that local people will have a chance at getting the jobs. We'll see what happens. It is very promising what they are doing for the "jewel of Quadra Island". According to them the Spit gets 150,000 visits per year. So it deserves some attention in my opinion.

Fall Fair
Once again, volunteers! I would like to congratulate the organizers and the hard working volunteers for putting together an amazing event to be held for the first time this fall. Keep your eyes open for future ads in all of our media about this event and how you can help out, participate or just enjoy! Pick up brochures throughout the community.

Quathiaski Cove sewer extension grant application
Some of you may have heard that we were unsuccessful in obtaining the $400,000.00 Towns for Tomorrow grant to help defray the cost of expanding the sewer in Q. Cove. When I saw some of the less worthy accepted applications, I was extremely upset. Consequently, I put a motion through the Board to write to the two Ministers involved expressing our displeasure and requesting an immediate meeting with them to try and find some other funds to help out on this project. We will see what happens.

Heriot Bay sewer study
Well, the results are in and they were not what we had hoped for. The community asked the SRD to pursue looking at a community system for Heriot Bay in the 2007 OCP. We took that direction and applied for a planning grant to do the initial study. It was done and it looked feasible at first glance. A second study needed to be undertaken. Another planning grant was applied for to do the engineering study that would give some real figures on two options. 1) Collect, treat and dispose of sewage outside of Heriot Bay or 2) collect and pump the effluent to the existing treatment plant in Q. Cove for treatment and disposal. As it turned out, both options were outrageously expensive and far out of reach of most landowners. The only way these proposals could go forward is if the people in the Heriot Bay service area voted to do so. That is not going to happen. The SRD has no intention of pursuing this any further until the population of Heriot Bay requests it in a big way. So, that is one issue I will not need to write about for some time!

Dump site on Heriot Bay Road - (Raven dump site)
I have been informed by Emcon Services that the dump site that has historically been used for garden cuttings and woody debris, with the owners agreement, is beginning to be abused by some. There are reports of garbage, construction debris and demolition debris starting to be dumped there and this is going to lead to a complete closure of this very useful site. The staff at Emcon are good enough to volunteer (there's that word again!) their time to push the debris over the steep edge and keep it looking tidy. That will end if the abuse continues. So I hope that everyone will respect the terms of use and not force the closure of the site.

Ferries and the Minister
Last but not least, I am included in a meeting of all coastal Regional District Chairs with Minister Blair Leckstrom on July 19th in Vancouver. The Chair of our Board cannot make it and since I am the Vice Chair it worked out perfectly for me to attend on behalf of our entire Board. I am delighted and will deliver the same message all of you have been sending to me: the ferry fares are killing our island community, forcing young and old to move off the island that killing our businesses. I am sure the other chairs have the same message. I intend to caucus with them before hand to make sure we deliver a unified message: put the ferries back into the Ministry of Transportation and Highways. Treat it for what it is: the marine extension of the highway system throughout BC. I'll let you know what happens.

I think I have said enough about now and hope you have some sun in your lives in the next while. Feel free to call me between the hours of 8:30 am and 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday (please, not on weekends, folks!) at 285-3355, or you can fax me at 285-3533 or you can email me anytime at jimabramxplornet.ca , or by mail at Box 278 in the Cove, V0P 1N0... Lots of choices.

Please note my new email address.

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Abram
Director, Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD
keep bids local
Comment by Debbie on 10th July 2011
I am very appreciative that you have asked them to be creative in how they put the bids out so that local people will have a chance at getting the jobs. Keeping the jobs in the community is whaqt we need.
Thanks.