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General · 10th June 2013
Jim Abram
I hope that by the time that you read this, the weather will still be as beautiful as it is today. It doesn't get much better than this!

I always have such a hard time deciding where to start my report when there are so many items to talk about. So let's just jump in with some really good news!

Breaking news!
I have just received an email from Weston Foods (formerly B.C. Packers) letting me know that they have just successfully concluded a deal with the Cape Mudge Band to sell all of their fee simple lands in Quathiaski Cove to the Cape Mudge Band.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the people of Cape Mudge for successfully completing this deal. I know that it has been a long time in the making and was on-again-off-again for some time. It is now final and I welcome working with the Cape Mudge Band in the development of our Local Area Plan objectives for the Quathiaski Cove area. The community has been actively involved in developing this plan for more than two years (closer to three years) and a solid investor / owner, in fee simple, such as the people of Cape Mudge will be a welcome bit of news. The waterfront is so important to the people of Cape Mudge and to the rest of the island residents and a comprehensive development plan for the area will be most welcome as it is the entry to Quadra Island. Our planners will be open to the ideas and suggestions for making this a very welcome addition to the sustainable, walkable village concept that has been so accepted by the entire community. Once again, congratulations!

Grants, Grants, Grants!
It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce the distribution of a grant that was provided to us through the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA). It was targeted to "community wellness" and it was then up to me to try and figure out what that really meant. I consulted with and had help from a number of people in the community in deciding who most needed the funding so that the greatest number of people would benefit from it. The following list will give you some details.

1. Certainly the Mobile Meals program is very helpful to those that are just not able to get out or just not able to cook meals for themselves. The funding will go to Quadra Circle to administer. Details are pretty much solidified, the program underway, and the grant will help provide much needed supplies, a small honorarium for a coordinator and a bit of gas money for volunteer drivers to deliver the meals.
Amount of Grant allocation: $2,000.00

2. Quadra Circle wants to go ahead with a much bigger project which is to have a Seniors' Outreach person (again receiving a small honorarium) who would function somewhat like the Seniors' Coordinator on Cortes where it is a half time salaried position but with perhaps more emphasis on actually visiting in the homes and checking on people's status and safety, reducing isolation, giving caregivers some respite as well as linking the elderly up with volunteers who might buy them groceries, drive them to the doctor etc. It is becoming abundantly clear that the official focus on caring for the aged is more and more on keeping them at home so these outreach services are the way of the future . They have a well qualified, experienced, very suitable candidate for this position. The Grant will be to pay approximately 5 hours honorarium per week for 50 weeks, plus mileage reimbursement and other needs.
Amount of Grant allocation: $5,000.00

3. A Seniors' Transportation proposal by Quadra Circle is in the works and will also require some funding. I do know that one of the things that is likely to be suggested is that some funds are used to subsidize the taxi operator in cases of need and that the taxi company be paid to, for example, do a seniors' run, perhaps twice a week, functioning rather like the 'Handidarts' do in the cities. This is certainly worth a try and should be a worthwhile expenditure.
Amount of Grant allocation: $4,000.00

4. Housing is, as we are all aware, a major issue for all generations. A very large amount of money is necessary for this item and certainly can only be supplemented by this fund. I have been involved with the first seniors' housing initiative since its beginnings. (I will talk about the existing seniors' housing project off Plaza Road next). This initiative by Quadra Circle is another type of project and is looking at various methods of securing housing for seniors in existing buildings.
Amount of Grant allocation: $7,000.00

5. The Existing Senior's Housing Project has been on a continuous fundraising effort for many years. Many good people have put a great deal of time, effort and money into this worthwhile endeavour. I am very pleased to be able to add a bit of money to the pot through this program. I hope to see them reach their goal sooner than later.
Amount of Grant allocation: $7,000.00

6. The Community Kitchen has proven to be such a boon to this community in serving up delicious, home cooked meals by dedicated volunteers and I was able to make them fit the criteria for these grants. I know that they have need for a number of appliances and hopefully this grant will assist in defraying the cost.
Amount of Grant allocation: $1,000.00

7. Last but not least is the Food Bank. I thought this one would be a "slam / dunk" as far as the criteria were concerned, but I was wrong. Creativity was called for to make sure that they were able to receive money so as to keep feeding those that need their services.
Amount of Grant allocation: $849.00

So, that eats up the entire $27,849 that was granted to us by VIHA for community wellness. I sincerely hope that I have not forgotten anyone. I am sure that some off the other small groups could have used some of this money, but the constraints placed on the use of the money were rigourous. I did the best that I could in getting the money to our community. We do not know yet if this program will be funded again this year. With the election having just happened, many things have been very slow in being transmitted to departments and then to us as the local government.

We have been fortunate to have received the amount of grant money that we have in this year. We received a $10,000.00 planning grant to deal with Q. Cove sewer issues , a $25,000.00 study grant to deal with the water supply / demand study for the Q. Cove Local Area Plan area that was a prerequisite to the start-up of any major development in the Cove (completed with flying colours, by the way!). We received a $40,000.00 "gift" / grant from our Ministry to help with the "user fee shock" in the Q. Cove Sewer Service Area for 2012 -2013, and now the $27,849.00 grant from VIHA, for a total of $102,849.00. And there is more to come!

Federation of Canadian Municipalities Annual General Meeting (FCM)
Having just spent five days of meetings in Vancouver at the FCM I would just like to give you a brief overview of what it is all about.

Participating in FCM’s Annual Conference is a chance for municipal leaders to learn from experts and their peers, connect with their municipal colleagues across Canada, and influence federal decision-making on critical issues that affect municipalities. We dealt with many policy papers that when adopted become policy of the FCM and are advocated to the Federal government.

The one that stood out the most and was the most timely was the one on Municipal Infrastructure and Transportation Policy. I quote, " Canada's National Transportation Strategy must recognize that ferry service is an essential mode of transportation for many Canadians. As these water routes constitute a marine highway for some communities, the federal government must ensure that the safety, quality and frequency of service are approximate to National Highway System standards." and, "FCM will urge the Government of Canada, in locations where ferry service is the primary transportation mode, to define essential ferry service as a component of the National Highway System". That is now the National policy of the FCM!

Delegates learn best practices in managing the expensive and complex services communities need in the most cost-effective way. By working with other communities on common goals, delegates help to advance the municipal movement in Canada and influence decisions made by provincial and federal governments.

When FCM members endorse a policy at the conference, the federal government listens. Delegates speak for local governments representing over 90 per cent of Canada’s population. That’s very powerful, and it’s why FCM has been so successful in advancing municipalities’ interests, most recently with the new investments in infrastructure announced in the 2013 federal budget.

For example, the minister of finance credited FCM for the new index of the Gas Tax Fund, which will add billions of dollars to the budgets of cities and communities over the next 20 years.

Delegates hear from national political leaders on where they stand on municipal issues and the federal–municipal relationship. They learn from experts in a broad range of disciplines about ideas and best practices to improve the quality of life in their communities. They also have the chance to meet colleagues from other communities who are dealing with similar problems and can learn from each other.

And when you are mingling with around 2,000 delegates from across the country, it is almost inevitable that you will come home with a cold. I was no exception this year!

I think I am going to leave it at that for now. 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