Island News & Views
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General · 27th October 2011
Jim Abram
Well, the frost has been on the pumpkins, so I guess we are truly into fall. It has been great to have a few sunny days in spite of the cool temperatures. I haven't had much time to get out there and enjoy it yet! As your Director, I am still keeping up the incredible pace needed to deal with all of the issues before us at the Regional District and on the island. We are, of course, in the middle of a local government election process. So, make sure you get out there and vote on November 19th at the Quadra Elementary School. Go to the following web site for more information on other voting opportunities: http://www.strathconard.ca/siteengine/activepage.asp?PageID=151 You can also phone the Chief Election Officer, Tom Yates at 250-830-6704 if you have any specific questions. It has been a number of years since we have had an election and I hope that everyone will take this opportunity to exercise their democratic right to vote.

I would certainly be remiss at this point if I did not express my desire to continue to represent you in this position. I have worked extremely hard for this area and its people along with my wife Wendy, for many years. We are committed to serving you for this coming term. I am constantly learning in this role and constantly increasing my connection base at the Federal, Provincial and Local Government levels as well as with the media. It takes years and years to build trust in these areas and to learn to collaborate with others. It also takes a lot of time to develop trust at these other levels and I have managed to do that by always keeping in mind that I represent the people and issues of this area.

The driving force behind my decision to run for re-election to the position of Regional Director for Area C is, quite simply, love of what I do. I love the area that I represent. I love doing things for others. And I love working with people; to help them accomplish their goals and address their needs and i enjoy the challenge of strategizing to make things happen for this area.
We live in what is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. It’s easy to forget this in the midst of our daily grind, but future generations are depending on us to take care of this place we call home. In all my endeavours, I am thinking of the generations that will follow us.
One note of importance: Election signs are placed by candidates to solicit votes from members of the public and to remind people to vote. They are not cheap to produce and they take time and energy to place. Unfortunately a significant number of signs have been defaced, removed or destroyed by vandals. We are better than that on Quadra Island and I would hope that if anyone has any information about the person or persons who are setting a very negative tone to this time-honoured democratic election process would report them to the police.

Telus Internet services
As I mentioned in my last report about meetings at UBCM, I have since heard back from the contact I made there about getting Telus high speed internet for the rest of island.
She was good to her word and sent me the following email recently:
"Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, Jim. I wanted to ensure I left no stone unturned. (We're a large company and our capital spending is spread over several departments.)

I'm pleased to say that TELUS is planning to upgrade our wireless infrastructure on Quadra next year to provide high-speed service... on the Island in May 2012 "

She also gave me the senior person in charge of our area who contacted me immediately to let me know we can meet anytime. Along with this she gave me the head government liaison for this file and said we could meet as needed. Should I be re-elected, this is on the top of my list!

I have been chasing this issue for our island and the outer islands for about three years and have finally had a breakthrough due to being in the right meeting at the right time.

Ferry meeting with the Premier and Minister

I was just notified that the group that I have been meeting with (14 chairs and vice-chairs of all coastal regional districts and the Islands Trust) will be having our follow up meetings with the Premier and the Minister of Transport in January and February to discuss the results of the Commissioner's report on ferry fares and the Coastal Ferry Act. I am truly looking forward to this meeting since I have been an advocate for making our fares "fair" for many years. I have also advocated for putting the ferries back into the Ministry of Transportation and Highways as part of our marine highway. We are so close on this one. We have a receptive audience and I know them both well. Our group of chairs and vice chairs represent more than 70% of the population of B.C., so I do believe we will have a captive audience at the meetings in the new year.

Quathiaski Cove Sewer expansion project

The petitions will be going out to property owners very soon regarding the expansion of the Q. Cove sewer system to include 53 additional properties, some of which have failing septic systems. It will be up to the owners of the existing properties within the expanded service area to decide if they want this service to happen. It was brought forward to me for investigation by a number of these owners in the first place, for the SRD to investigate. The investigation and engineering has been done and it is now time to make a decision. The decision on whether or not this service is instituted is entirely up to you. In order to proceed, it will take 50% of the owners representing more than 50% of the value of property in the area in order to proceed. Stay tuned!

Quathiaski Cove Local Area Plan and Official Community Plan review

Well, it has been a long time coming, but we are finally past first and second reading of the Local Area Plan that took us almost two years to complete with massive amounts of public consultation. The by-laws will be presented after appropriate first nations consultation, at a public hearing in the next couple of months. The plan is to deal with the Local Area Plan (LAP) separately from the OCP changes that must be made to allow for the LAP. The OCP will also have the provincially mandated changes to our OCP regarding greenhouse gas emissions, which we must all now have in our plans. So this is all being done in the same public hearing (it is all related), but will be dealt with in two separate by-laws. I look forward to seeing all of you there. This is a major step in our island vision to provide more available housing for all age groups and for senior's care facilities and for mixed use commercial / residential. We will also be able to incorporate all of the concepts around a walkable village core along with sustainable building practices and alternative energy use. This is an incredibly exciting time for us as a community and I have been very pleased to be a part of it since its inception.

As always, I am always available. 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. The old "oberon" address is no longer active.

Respectfully submitted,

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