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General · 17th November 2011
Tom Skillman
I lived on Quadra Island for 12 years. When searching for our first home, the only option available to us was a single trailer, on a hillside in Hooleyville, for $220,000. It wasn't ideal, no flat land, it was too expensive, and it had two less bedrooms than our family needed, but it was on Quadra. We went to buy anyway, stretching our resources completely thin, and it was already snatched up, by a guy in England who paid $50,00 over the asking price. Over the phone. We couldn't compete.

My wife and I wanted to stay, but unfortunately the real estate market is so steep on Quadra we had to move to Campbell River if we had any hope of building our own equity and home. I have worked on Quadra for 16+ years, and still continue to do so. I have had varying degrees of involvement in the local community over the years, and always consider Quadra and the community as my "home". Campbell River is just where my bedroom is.

We felt driven off the island by an economic and real estate situation that seems geared to keeping families away... and I know a lot of people that feel that way. When my kids went to Quadra Elementary, there were hundreds of students... now I understand it's less than 90!!

Is Quadra doomed to become a retirement community for the rich? Is that what people really want here?

I am keenly interested in the Regional District election. I have met Jim Abram's a few times, and I see why he is popular with some of the residents. He is friendly, he recognizes the people he represents, and people like that. His work on the BC Ferries issue is something I appreciate.

So where did Jim go wrong, where he has made enough political foes to be put in the position he is now, challenged for his seat for the first time in years?

That same attribute that people gravitate towards, that need to be liked and perceived as the "hero" is what has sabotaged his record and the views of those who sit on the side that are not happy with his style.

Jim has looked me in the eye and made a promise of support for a zoning decision that affects the work I do and the people I work with. I later bumped into him in a parking lot in Campbell River just prior to "decision day"... he was CLEARLY wrestling with the issue, and I admit, I felt bad for the guy, trying to find a way to make everyone happy. I don't have a problem with that, but I DO have a problem with pretending to support people and then blindsiding them with a different decision.

I've chatted to other resident's of Quadra and I've found that for those who support him there are those who are very angry because the reputation he has developed is that of someone who tries to sit on the fence, and tell each side what they want to hear while in reality he already has made up his mind.

A more decisive, direct and honest approach would serve WHOEVER is the next regional director well. It may not make everyone happy, but that's not the job. I believe that hedging your views and telling everyone what they want to hear is a form of corruption however...social corruption.

I know it's important for people to support the person they perceive supports their issues, but I also hope that every person who votes in this critical election carefully considers issues that affect them, and the decisions the Board made on those issues.

Being a nice guy is great, but leaders must lead decisively, and serve the true majority interests of the constituents they represent.

Please, for the community, make sure your vote counts for the right reasons. You owe it to yourselves and the community.