Hello to all, on this glorious, sunny "spring" day (in spite of the temperature and NW wind). Let's hope we are finished with the worst of winter!
Nothing has slowed down in my world of local government. Actually the pace has quickened. That is a good thing as far as I am concerned, since I like things to happen and to see results. We are nearing the "results" stage on a number of fronts.
So let's get started with the most immediate.
Meeting with Minster Responsible for Connectivity
As I mentioned in my report of Feb. 13th, I was to meet with the Minister to discuss connectivity on our island. I met with her on Jan. 20th and also had the benefit of having officials from Network BC at the meeting also. They are the part of the ministry that deals with connectivity in general. So, I got to have two meetings rolled into one. It went very well and I feel that both the Minister and the Network BC officials will be doing their best to support us in their conversations with Telus. They cannot force Telus to serve us, but they certainly can give them a strong recommendation. I presented them with the same business case materials that I provided to Telus.
Meeting with Telus - Connectivity
As I discussed in my report of January 16th and February 13th, I met with the General Manager for Vancouver Island at Telus in Victoria on January 9th. Please refer to those reports for details so that I do not need to repeat them here. I am meeting with him again on Monday the 27th at 8:30 am for a full hour to go over the business case and the possible "build out" of our island. This will give them a good idea if there is enough business to be had to warrant spending the dollars they will need to spend to connect us up to high speed internet, island wide. I will also be going over the possible questions that the public will need to be asked in a survey to give them added information in making their case to their superiors. Just the fact that he is willing to meet once again after I sent him all of the info he requested is promising. I am going to remain optimistic and will fill you in after the meeting.
Meeting with the Minister of Transportation
I will be having a private meeting with Minister Blair Lekstrom on Monday the 27th at 11:30 am to discuss our never ending battle to get ferries under the umbrella of Highways and to lower the fares. I have met with Blair a number of times and will be meeting with him again in March with the group of coastal regional district chairs. We will also be meeting with the Premier at that time also. We will be discussing the same topics and also the entire report that was prepared by the Ferry Commissioner. As a group, we have been developing a response paper to the recommendations of the Commissioner. We are making our own recommendations based on what our communities want. The government is going to make some sort of decision in the next few months, I am sure. This is why we are putting this amount of effort into this issue and keeping the pressure on them right now. Our group represents 70% of the population of BC, so I think the government will be taking this discussion fairly seriously. This could be our last shot at making substantive changes to the Ferry system prior to an election.
Notice! - Public meeting on Budget for 2012 - Monday, March 12th, 7pm at the School
The SRD will be holding a public meeting, at my request, to discuss the upcoming financial plan for the coming year. This is a very important meeting to attend so that you can get the details of the budget for the next year right from the staff who have prepared it. A short presentation will be given and then the floor will be open to questions and answers. The meeting will take place at the Quadra Elementary School at 7pm on Monday, March 12th. Please attend and be fully informed by our staff.
Another Notice! - Regional Solid Waste Management Public meeting - Thursday, March 15th, 7 - 9pm at the Community Centre
Please, please, please attend this meeting! This is the 5 year review of our Plan and your input will help to shape which direction the Waste Management Plan will go. Do you want more recycling? Do you want to see your rates go up annually for tipping fees at the landfill??? Do you want to see a Waste to Energy plant (incinerator) in the Campbell River area??? These are some of the issues that will be discussed in detail. The consultants and staff will make a presentation and then take questions. This is your opportunity to be heard. Please don't let it slip by.
Quathiaski Cove Local Area Plan
The Local Area Plan will be before the board soon and a public hearing date will probably be set for May or June. We have been waiting a long time for this to go through the proper process and we are just about there. There will be plenty of notice given and I hope the entire community will attend.
I need to prepare for travel to my meetings in Victoria so that is about it for this report. 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. You can also view my website at www.jimabram.com
Please do not use my residential phone number for SRD calls. All business calls should be on 285-3355. Many thanks!
Director, Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD