General · 31st July 2012
Happy summer to you all! It has been awhile since I have written. Like many of you, I am trying to squeeze in a bit of summer between meetings. Every year the pace continues to quicken and the workload just keeps growing. Some of that is Board induced and some of it is my own fault, trying to get things done for our area during the good months of the year. I will try to provide some short updates on what is going on.
As I reported earlier, I have received good news from Telus with regard to our increase in all levels of service over the next year. I was told to give them some time (until the fall) to get their end in order. I have left them alone until today and have asked for a full update, which I will share with you as soon as I hear back. They have lots of work to do and details to deal with, so I can appreciate their need for some breathing room. I have taken this quite a ways beyond what I started to do and I do feel it necessary to let them catch up.
Quathiaski Cove Local Area Plan (OCP amendments)
As you know, we went to public hearing on this more than a month ago and it has been passed by the Board at the end of June. It then went to the Minister for approval and we are only waiting for approval from the Minister to get on with it. Our staff are checking weekly with their contacts to see when we will receive it for implementation. The Ministerial process normally takes at least six weeks, so we are on schedule.
Quathiaski Cove sewer expansion area
I read the letter in one of the last issues written by a landowner who lobbied against the expansion that the SRD was trying to do to help solve some of the problems in the Cove. I have no intention of getting into the details or debating the comments.
The SRD is still looking for solutions for those properties that want to be included in the sewer system, whether it be one at a time or in small groups. The problem needs fixing. If it means going to a referendum of the people in the original proposed expansion area, then that is what we might do. The overall health and cost of the entire sewer system will benefit from expansion. There is no questioning that. The more people that join, the lower annual fee for operation of the system. Simple math.
Quathiaski Cove annual user fee
Well, it came up at our Board meeting on Thursday for the final votes and I still voted against all four readings of the increase in user fees by 132%. I know it is said to be necessary to keep the system operating with the current number of users, but I still had hoped that we would come up with some creative solution to lower the rate to the existing users. Expansion is certainly one of those solutions. We are still looking for other grants that might help us (you) out in this horrible situation. I will keep you informed.
Sensitive Ecosystem Mapping
We are helping to support the initiative that started on Read Island to do this mapping along with the Provincial Government. This will help us to be able to make better long term planning choices for all of the areas on north Quadra and the outer islands. I am pleased to be able to help support volunteer work to help us with such a valuable planning tool, considering all of the land use referrals that we get from provincial agencies and I thank those dedicated individuals who are doing the ground work for the project.
Well, the Feds are at it again and trying to divest three more wharves into local government hands: Surge Narrows, Owen Bay and Port Neville. We have just been notified of this in the past 10 days and are looking into it. In my mind, this is a federal responsibility to provide safe movement of people and goods between coastal communities. We pay federal taxes for that and we should get some service for it. Anyway, we will be looking into it and it will require site visits and discussions with the communities involved. The feds will transfer money with the wharf for the first 5 years of operating expenses along with repairs to bring them up to standard in some cases. So we will look into it and I will keep you informed.
Water bottling applications
Here we go again. Many applications were just announced as approved by the Provincial government. Almost all of them are in this electoral area and we were not even give the courtesy of notice, prior to issuance of the licenses. They have all been awarded to a First Nation from further to the north and without consultation from the local First Nations, the SRD nor the community. This is unheard of. The amounts from each stream are just under the amount that would require an environmental assessment and the total amount is way beyond the amount that is defined as "bulk water export". This is a shameful act on the part of the Province, trying to subvert the existing processes. These licenses will create no (or minimal) jobs for anyone in this area but as usual all of the impact will be felt here. All of the benefits will go elsewhere. I will be seeking a meeting with the Minister.
Well, after writing that last bit of news, I am thoroughly disgusted and out of energy. So I will leave it at that for this report. There are lots more issues and initiatives. Hopefully I will get to them next 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.
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