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General · 25th September 2012
Jim Abram
Well, the first day of fall is putting on a good show for us with gray, cloudy, misty, cool weather. What a change from the great stretch of sunshine and warm temperatures that we have been so lucky to experience for so long these past weeks.

I am leaving tomorrow for a very busy week of meetings at the Union of BC Municipalities in Victoria but I wanted to bring you up to date on some of the issues that are happening right now.

Union of BC Municipalities, Ferries and Telus

I have numerous very important meetings already scheduled and I will be booking more while in attendance at the conference. On Monday, as mentioned in my last report, I will be meeting with the BC Ferries Commissioner along with 13 other chairs of regional districts and the Islands Trust, on Monday the 24th from 11am until 4pm ( a one hour pre-meeting and one hour post-meeting are included in that). On Tuesday I will be meeting with the Telus Area Manager for all of Vancouver Island for an update and timeline on their progress in bringing better cell coverage and high-speed internet to all parts of the island. Later that same day, I will meet with Minister Ben Stewart, the Minister responsible for connectivity (internet to communities), along with our CAO, Brian Reardon, since this is a strategic priority of our Board. On Wednesday, I will have a 9 a.m. meeting with the Minister of Transportation and Highways and the Premier regarding our ferry situation in the province. We have been waiting for this meeting since last fall and it is finally happening. I will also meet with top Ministry staff in the afternoon regarding the governance of the Solid Waste Management function of our two Boards; the CVRD and the SRD. This is in addition to all of the sessions that I will be attending on subjects of concern to our area. I will fill you in when I get back.

Quathiaski Cove Local Area Plan / OCP Final adoption

I am very pleased to announce that our Local Area Plan that was sent to Victoria for approval has been returned to the SRD with the signature of the Minister on it. This gave us the go-ahead to bring it to the Board last Thursday for final adoption! So it is now law! Now all that we need is to implement it. I want to once again thank the steering committee that put in almost two years of hard work and continuous meetings and all of the public that provided input into the process. I would also like to thank our consultant, David Rousseau, for helping us navigate through some treacherous waters! I would also like to acknowledge and thank our planning staff for their many long hours of commitment and caring throughout this process. They did a fantastic job of working for our community.

Smart Meters

At our last committee meeting a motion was moved by the Area B director and seconded by myself to adopt the following: "That the SRD write a letter to BC Hydro, The Premier of BC and to the Minister of Energy and Mines in support of optional refusal of the installation of wireless smart meters for citizens of the SRD; and further that BC Hydro be requested to present this "option of refusal" to the BC Utilities Commission for consideration". The Board did not support it. Only three of us voted in favour of the motion.

If you have problems with our personal experience with installations, please call the head Community Relations manager, Ted Olnyk, ((250) 755-7180; (250) 618-6267 (c) ).

Our Library!

Shortly after the opening of the new library in the Cove, I approached our Library Board representative, Brenda Leigh, to ask for more hours. We did get the noon hour added to the hours at that time. Since then, I have heard so many people that are using the library say that we need more days and hours. I went back to Brenda and relayed this information to her and she brought it to the VIRL Board meeting last week and they have voted to increase the hours and staffing at the library. She could not give me any further details at this time, but look forward to being able to use the library more often in the future!

Q. Cove Sewer "issues"

I met with our planners on Thursday about the issues that are still outstanding regarding the sewer service in the Cove. What I can tell you right now is, the water study for the entire Cove area has been started and will be done by a consultant with grant funding (not on your taxes!). The outfall is being repaired on October 7th and 8th. the anchors need to be replaced. And last of all is that a report will be coming forward to the October committee meeting outlining all options for dealing with the expansion of the service (which will lower the annual operating cost to all users of the service).

Outer Islands

We have been approached by the Federal government to take over the wharf at Surge Narrows and the Board has voted in favour of telling them that we are interested in having that conversation. I have talked with the community and met with members of the Read Island Access Society, which manages our wharf at Evans Bay. We have a long way to go yet but we are at least talking to ensure that we get the absolute maximum amount of money from the Feds to manage the wharf at Surge Narrows should we decide to take over the wharf.

I will be bringing the two top officials from the Ministry of Highways along with the manager of Emcon services over to Read on Oct. 12th to discuss the needs for their roads on the island. We will also be meeting that same day at the Surge Narrows road end to discuss improvements for that part of the road, which leads to our wharf at Hoskyn Landing.

Advisory group

This is a work in progress, just to let you know that I have not forgotten!

Well, that is about it for now. I have to prepare for the UBCM and read the hundreds of resolutions that we will be considering and voting on. If you need to contact me, you know the drill: 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!

Respectfully submitted,

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