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General · 2nd December 2013
Jim Abram
Let's see, what can I write about this issue? How about FERRIES?

DECEMBER 9TH FERRY MEETING AT THE COMMUNITY CENTRE, 6 - 9PM - BE THERE! Some child care available if needed

Yes, folks, this will be your opportunity to come to the Community Centre and tell the "panel" what they are doing to our island. They need to hear it from you and I hope every person on the islands can be there and will get up to the mike and make your views known.

The "engagement", as they are calling it, is supposed to focus on the service cuts, and senior's discount reduction.

Let's step back and look at the underlying problem. You need to talk to them about the fact that the insanely high ferry fares have driven the ridership down and will continue to do so. That is the root of the problem. And it is planned to get even worse in April of both 2014 and 2015.

And if you step back a little further, you will say to them that they must recognize the coastal ferry services as essential extensions of our provincial public highway system and ensure that the fares are reduced and the service levels are maintained at current levels.

Those are the two most important points that need to be hammered home over and over again. Then we can talk about the impacts of losing our two late night sailings and the reduction in the senior's discount.

This is the time for all of us to pull together. One voice made up of 500 parts will be very effective in my opinion. We will also have our Chamber of Commerce there to talk about economic impacts and we have asked the Campbell River Chamber to do the same.

I put a motion through the Board last thursday to invite the Chamber and to invite the Mayor and Council to come and support us like we support them. They are the ones that are going suffer many of the economic impacts of this decision. So will our businesses and our population in general.

The posting that I put on Facebook reads as follows: (There will be some repetition with the above, but read it anyway, ok?)

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: FOR ALL ISLANDERS
BC Coastal Ferries Community Engagement: Public Open House and Question and Answer Session
Monday, December 9th from 6-9pm at the Quadra Community Centre

If you only attend one event this holiday season, this year, this decade... make it this meeting!

This is YOUR chance to keep Quadra Island livable!

The Province is “engaging coastal communities and ferry users from across the province on strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of the coastal ferry network.” In other words, this meeting is our chance to tell these people how we are affected by what the government is doing to us! They need to hear it and the media needs to hear it. I have worked hard to ensure that all of the big city media will be at our meeting- CTV, CHEK and GLOBAL TV; the Times-Colonist, the Province, MAJOR radio and the local CR and Quadra reporters. Let's make their trip worthwhile!

At the meeting, the representatives will be discussing the planned cuts to our ferry service. They will be armed with statistics and questions such as "Why would you need an 11:30pm ferry?” Well, how about work, culture, sport, entertainment and returning home from the late flight from Vancouver, to name just a few? That is just one example. All runs are important to someone. We need all of our present runs and should settle for nothing less. THIS IS OUR HIGHWAY!

Above all, we must realize that what the government is doing right now is trying to DISTRACT us from the REAL PROBLEM: THE FARES ARE TOO HIGH! That is what has driven the service into the ground. Fares have caused a marked decline in ridership since 2005, thus generating less revenue. They need to be rolled back, not increased like the govt. plans in April 2014 and again the next year. They are too high NOW.

The SOLUTION is to put the ferries back into the provincial highway system where they came from. They are the marine component to the terrestrial highways and need to be funded as such! THIS is what we need to tell them on the 9th.

SO! Come one, come all, to the meeting on Dec. 9th. Be there just prior to 6 pm.

The hall holds more than 500 people plus overflow, so let's make sure it's packed. We will have qualified staff offering free child care, in the building, for at least 10 kids (ages 3 to 12 yrs old)… but don't be afraid to bring your child, screaming or not- that's life! The panel needs to hear from the next generation of Quadra-ites!

I am counting on my community to help save itself. I can only do so much...now it is your turn. Come out and speak up!

Shade trees in the Campbell River parking lot (some good ferry news!)

Well, after many years of trying and being turned down, I brought this topic up at our last Ferry Advisory Committee meeting and received support from the committee and genuine interest from the Terminal Manager. She was tasked by her staff to meet with me on this matter. We met last thursday afternoon. (I did bring this up last report and this is the continuation)

I am sure that most of you have been in the parking lot in the warmer times of year and been cooked in your vehicles. You have tried to keep your kids and pets cool after a long hot day in town and tried not to expire yourself. Well, the solution seemed simple to me many years ago. Plant some tall, skinny shade trees that would provide shade right across the parking lot in the afternoon. Upon inspection with the Terminal Manager, she was very receptive to the idea and had already hired an arborist to come and advise her. So, they are looking at planting a row of Lombardi Poplars all along the western fence line where they will not interfere with anything!. We will see where they go with this. It might only provide shade for the first couple of rows the first year, but we have to start somewhere. The trees are fast growing, columnar in shape and grow in really poor conditions. They can easily be trimmed at the lower levels to keep from interfering with the walk-on traffic.

Meeting with local Ministry of Transportation staff

I met with our Area Manager again last week and went over all of the projects that we have had on the "list" of things to do for Quadra. They are progressing! Signs are being erected where necessary, some ditching is being done, the work has begun on Kanish View Estates to bring it up to standard and just in time for the snow! (sorry to mention that word). Lots of other projects are still being examined and I will be kept informed of their progress.

Telus Meeting

Last but not least, I will be meeting with Telus in Victoria on December 4th to be updated on their plans for Quadra Island. I have no information other than the fact that I have a meeting. I am hoping for lots of good news to share with you next report.

I have tortured you enough. Time to quit! 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
Re Ferry Meeting
Comment by Paul Ryan on 2nd December 2013
Bring your kids to the meeting and encourage them to stand up to the Mic and tell these people what they are about to do with their lives. If you have a teen or preteen who goes to CR for a function and comes back on the 10:30 or 11:30 ferry, ask them to step up and be heard!