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General · 10th January 2013
Jim Abram
Another new year ahead of us and lots of hope that we can make it even better than the last great year seems like an appropriate introduction to the first report of 2013!

This report will be short and only contain three topics: my advisory committee make up; a note about Telus; and the results of the Regional District Board elections. So, in reverse order, here they are!

Regional District Board elections

The Inaugural Board meeting was held on December 13th and new Chair and Vice Chair were elected. The new Chair is Mayor Ted Lewis from Zeballos and the new Vice Chair is me!

My sincere thanks go to Mayor Craig Anderson of Gold River, for his work as Chair since the creation of the Strathcona Regional District in 2008. He has done a great job of collaborating with the electoral areas and representing their interests while including the small and large municipalities' interests at the same time. This is no easy task, but he did a great job of it and my thanks go out to him for a job well done.

Telus services and economic development on the island

It needs to be understood at this point that public statements regarding communities and industry positions are handled by Telus corporate communications under direction of their marketing teams. Announcements pertaining to our area will be released in due course as infrastructure is built and activated. This report is not meant to pre-empt the above in any way.

As was mentioned in a previous report, we will be getting top-of-the-line cellular and data services by March of this year. Those services will include data services of up to 75Mbps with the average being in the 12 to 25Mbps range and the co-location of the transmission facility will be on IR #10 near the corner of Noble Rd. and Cape Mudge Rd. on the existing Cantel tower.

Since the decision was made by Telus to locate on the Reserve, this is a great economic opportunity for the Cape Mudge Band and any new investment coming to the island benefits all of us as some of that investment will circulate around and around our community. The economic benefit of having better electronic communication is also huge for all of those people on the island who conduct some part of their business activity online. This is something that the community has been asking for and is finally going to be realized in very short order. This process has taken a great deal of time and energy but will prove to well worth it in the end.

Please watch for the official launch of this new service in the coming months when Telus puts out their release.

Advisory Committee members

In the past, under my prerogative as your Director under Regional District rules to establish an Advisory Planning Commission (APC), a group sat for many years dealing with planning matters in Area C. Towards the last days of the Commission, there was a great deal of misconception by the public concerning the role of the APC and members were feeling intimidated by the process and the perception that they were "decision makers", which they were not. After careful consideration of their very valid concerns, the Commission was dissolved.

However, there was still a concern within the community that advice from a variety of sources would be a helpful tool for the Director. A group called the Quadra Community Association lobbied me for some time to reinstate some sort of advisory group. This notion did not appeal to me for awhile due to the unsatisfactory experience with the incorrect perception around the APC. Consequently, no body existed for a few years in spite of my attempts to establish some sort of geographically based advisory group. There was no interest. The idea then came to me, and was supported by many members of the community, to just have an informal group of representatives from as many ages and backgrounds as possible to meet informally every few months or on an as needed basis. This has been explored for the past year and a list of participants of my new advisory group is now presented to you. The names may change as interests or commitments change. However, for now, here is the list in no particular order:

Dan MacKenzie (my Alternate Director), Susan Wilson (School Trustee), Sheldon Etheridge, Coleen Swanson, Paul Nimmon, Allard Van Veen,
J. D. Waibel, Betty Doak, Lynden McMartin, Kirstie Stewart, Mark Nighswander, Breanne Quesnel, Rick Snowden, Chris Toulmin, Sandy Spearing, Philip Stone, Judith Wright (Outer Islands).

An attempt has been made to have a broad cross-section of views so that my decision making will be as representative as possible and so that the community will feel more involved in the process of local government. This is the closest level of government to the local people. So, let's give it a try and see how it works. It is a fairly large group, but totally workable. The first meeting will take place as soon as there is consensus from the participants as to what fits their schedules best.

That's it for this report! If you need to contact me, 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