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General · 20th July 2011
Jim Abram
Thankfully the weather forecasters have been wrong the past two days and we have actually gotten some sun. I think our garden was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to have a chance to produce!
This report will be a bit longer, but I will try to be as brief as possible. There is an awful lot going on for summer months. We have gone beyond the days of when business slowed down in the summer because of holidays and gardens! Now it is just one very long year of non-stop issues. (actually it has been like that for a number of years... I was just in denial!). So here we go!

Granite Bay Park sign vandalism

As most of you know we spent a number of years of hard work between the Regional District (SRD), the community and businesses to completely create a new park at Granite Bay. We have a first class wharf, ramp and floats, a recently upgraded all tide boat ramp, outhouses in the season, a large parking area and even a few chairs and picnic tables. It is all there for the use and enjoyment of the public. The SRD even commissioned one of our local artisan / woodworkers to build and etch a beautiful welcoming sign at the entry to the Park.

It saddens me to say that someone decided to take a sledge hammer to the sign a week ago last Saturday. They broke it up pretty good and left it in pieces on the ground. I of course reported it to the RCMP, who were really great and responded immediately and took photos and forwarded them to me within two hours of my report. I have no idea what kind of fun this person or persons might have gotten out of destroying the sign that marks the work of our volunteer community members.

Since then I managed to engage a Granite Bay resident to fix it for a pittance. He was able to piece it back together and put it back in place. Many thanks to him! I hope we don't have to go through this exercise again.

If anyone has any information on this act of vandalism, please call the local detachment of the RCMP at 250-285-3631 or you can call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 250-287-8477.

See below for pictures of the sign 'before' and 'after'.

Dogs chasing deer
I would just like to mention that there have been many reports of numerous dogs on the south end chasing deer. This is an especially bad time of year for such and activity since fawns are not able to outrun most dogs and will die trying. If you witness such an activity, please notify the local RCMP at 250-285-3631. There is a hefty fine for dog owners if their dog is "guilty of an offense".

"Monster House" on Helmken Island

I mean no disrespect in my title. We just had an application for a Development Variance Permit for a house on privately owned Helmken Island, situated in Johnstone Strait near Sayward at the upper end of Area C. This house was made of steel and glass and was approximately 130 feet tall and our bylaws allow for 30 feet. I had to laugh that it was accepted as a "variance" when the variance was over 100 feet above what is allowed. The plan was to build it in China, assemble it on Helmken for a period of about two years, then disassemble it and ship it to one of a number of other locations that the applicant wanted to live where it would be reassembled. There were a number of local residents at the meeting as a delegation to oppose the permit. I made the motion "that the DVP be denied" and that will go to the board for final disposition on July 28th. Just when I think I might have seen it all! I was going to include a photo, but it has been deleted from our website.

Schellinck proposal

This one is probably far too complicated and long to keep your interest. I will say that the staff report that came forward with legal advice, told us that to re-designate this property as a site specific change was not "defensible" in her opinion. So then there was the original option that the planners had put forward that many people thought was not good enough. However, there was a third option that the lawyer put forward that was a bit of a mixture of the others. It seemed more likely to complete the package so that it could go before the community for a Public Hearing. My interest throughout this process was to make sure that all bases were covered and that if it was going to go to the public then it had better be in the best form possible for the community to consider whether or not to recommend that it proceed.

I think we have reached that stage and there isn't much more that the applicant or staff can do to make the proposal presentable to the public. The next step to be able to get it before the public is to move first and second readings, which I did at the EASC committee, and this will now allow staff to work out the finer details of the development agreement, which must be complete prior to a public hearing. In this manner, the public will see every detail that is part of the proposal and be able to make informed comment on the proposal. We as a board have spent a lot of time and energy on this proposal. It is time to find out what the general public thinks of it.

The public hearing will not be right away as the agreement has to be worked out first, as I said. I will keep you informed as will the SRD.

Meeting with the Minister re: BC Ferries
By the time you read this, I will have met with Minister Blair Lekstrom in Vancouver along with about a dozen other chairs of regional boards (I am a vice chair, going in the place of our chair). The purpose of the meeting is.. you guessed it.. the impact of ferry fares on our communities and sliding BC Ferries back into the Ministry of Transportation, where it belongs. I will have a lot of backers at this meeting, which is always good. The Minister understands the situation very well. He just needs to figure out how to fix it! My brief (printed elsewhere) gives him a solution. I bet we could bring a thousand people to the Legislature to support him in putting ferries back into Highways! What do you think? Would you come along when they are back in session?

Meeting with Cape Mudge Band Chief and Council
Once again, by the time you read this we as an SRD Board will have met with the Cape Mudge Band Council regarding the issue of the scallop farm on the east side of Quadra. We requested this meeting more than a year ago after their rezoning application was turned down by the community and the Board. We have been trying and we have had some help from the Province in the past while in setting up this meeting. I am very pleased to be able to sit down with the Council and hopefully discuss options and opportunities. I will report back to you on this issue in my next report.

OK! That about does it for this report. Hope some of you have made it this far! 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. I am still getting emails at the old address which will no longer be active by August

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