Island News & Views
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General · 14th March 2012
Jim Abram
What a night last night and all day today.. up until now! the sun is out! After all of that hurricane force wind and torrential rain and incredible damage. Oh well, it wasn't much better anywhere else on the coast. I believe this is the same storm that hit the Hawaiian Islands two days ago and gave them golf ball sized hail stones. We had pea size hail yesterday afternoon that completely covered the ground. Typical March weather.

Who you going to call?

So, first of all I would like to list a few contacts for you to make note of for the future. The reason I am doing this is due to some recent meetings I have had with senior officials that deal with our area in different capacities. I was explaining some of the difficulties we are having with roads and with hydro and with Telus and telling them of all the people that are complaining. As it turned out, they had not been receiving the complaints. That was because some people complain to me and others complain to each other about lack of services. It was a lesson for me. if you have a problem, one must inform the proper people if they want there complaint recorded. So, I will give you a few contacts that I can think of off the top of my head.

First of all, if you don't know who to call, there is this wonderful tool in your Telus phone book called the "blue pages". The "blue pages" are divided into the three orders of government; Federal, then Provincial and lastly Local. On the first page of the Provincial section there is a large box with the Enquiry BC phone number - 1-800-663-7867. If you call this toll free number and tell them who you are looking for or what department or ministry or describe your issue, they will give you the person's name and phone number for future use and then connect you toll free. It is a great tool and I use it all the time to save on long distance charges. It is good for any part of the Province. So, give them a call when you don't know who to call !!!

For road issues you should always call our local maintenance contractor, Hugh Ross of Emcon Services, at 285-3524 and if you get voice mail, leave a message. Someone will get back to you. If you can't get hold of our local Emcon people then you can still call the Campbell River office and ask for Stu Travis of Emcon at 286-8338 and he can relay your message to our local workers by radio.

If it is matter for the Ministry of Highways, over and above local maintenance, you can call our Area Supervisor, Sue Pauwels, in Courtenay (don't forget that toll free Enquiry BC number), to deal with your issue. You can also email her at

If you want to express concern about our internet (or lack of) you can call the General Manager Vancouver Island, Ray Lawson at (250) 388-8300, He needs to know that I am not the only one lobbying for this service. Please be respectful of his time as I am still working very well with him on this topic and he has been extremely cooperative.

For Hydro problems, you know what to do; call 1-888-POWERON

Police and Fire non-emergency numbers are in the book.

My advice would be to become familiar with using the Enquiry BC number when you don't know who to call.... just ask them and they will re-direct you to the right person or to someone who can.

I hope this helps you in trying to navigate the host of departments that you might just need at some point.

Telus - Connectivity!

As I have mentioned in previous reports, I have been meeting with the General Manager for Vancouver Island at the Telus offices in Victoria. I met 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 business case 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 went 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. He is going to be pondering those questions in the next couple of weeks and forward his draft to me. Just the fact that he was willing to meet once again after I sent him all of the info he requested is promising.

We got right down to business and spread out maps of Quadra showing population densities and roads and services. We drew circles around broad areas that need to be covered and discussed the possibilities for each area. He is now able to work out each scenario and cost it out for the case that he has to make to his superiors. We will meet again and go over the results. I know this all sounds like it is taking a long time to deliver. It is a very complex situation and he is dealing with a company that needs to be convinced that it is worth it to supply service to all of Quadra and the Surge Narrows area and as far up as Blind Channel. Believe me, I would love for this to just happen, but I am willing to cooperate and do as I am asked, keeping in mind the end goal: provision of service to my constituents.

Morte Lake logging proposal

I had the pleasure of joining a representative group of Quadra Islanders that are interested in recreation and the preservation and expansion of same in and around the Morte Lake area. We met with Timber-West at the Community Centre on Thursday, March 8th and were shown the proposal and all had a chance to express our reactions to the plan. I would say, without hesitation, the group would like to see T-W log in some other area since this is a prime recreation area and used by both tourists and locals on a very regular basis. T-W was very willing to go away and consider alternatives and get back to us at a later date. This does not mean that they will not proceed with their plan but at least they are willing to consider other options now that they have heard the community views.

Population figures

The population stats from the last census have been released and looking at the results as published in the "Island Tides" newspaper, our population has gone up by 5.2 % to 2,601 (this is not a complete total as some areas were not included). The Heriot Bay area decreased by 8.0%, while Quathiaski Cove increased by 12.6%. Most striking was an increase of 30% on Read Island. Just a bit of unexpected trivia for you!

I will be unavailable from April 1st through April 30th. I will not be responding to emails or calls during that time but will do my best to catch up after the 30th. Until then, 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 , or by mail at Box 278 in the Cove, V0P 1N0... Lots of choices.

Please do not use my residential phone number for SRD calls. All business calls should be on 285-3355. Many thanks!

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Abram
Director, Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD
re Census workers
Comment by Deb Cowper on 15th March 2012
Paul, as the Crew Leader (team supervisor) for the 2011 Census in this area I have to say that I take great umbrage at your slight upon the dubious 'calibre' of the Census Enumerators. I fully stand behind each and every one of them - good folk all, who did their very best to obtain records for every person and every dwelling in this area. I worked with them daily, and will vouch for the integrity and diligence of each individual.

As you are well aware, Area C includes some challenging terrain, and some very colourful examples of rural life! Undoubtedly, some individuals were not counted - either through misreporting on the forms, or as a result of not being found (which includes not wanting to be).

There are a number of inherent problems with trying to obtain the most accurate numbers for the Census, and 2011 was particularly challenging as a result of changes around the 'long form'. We can only hope that Statistics Canada takes some of the feedback provided from us working 'in the field' and makes some changes for next time....

In the meanwhile, if I had to do the job over I would take the same HIGH calibre team....that is, if they would put up with me!

Census Figures
Comment by Paul Ryan on 15th March 2012
Those census figures have to be wrong! Judging by the calibre of some people collecting the data(or not), I can understand why. These numbers are not even close! I saw some numbers from some of the other coastal communities, and the consensus is that those are way out too!