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Protesters pack the Quadra Community Centre at ferry meeting
General · 18th December 2013
Jim Abram
Greetings to all on this beautiful foggy day! It has been quite the exciting week and I will try and touch on some of the highlights for your reading enjoyment.

BC Ferries extravaganza

I would like to thank all of Quadra Island for the incredible turnout at the Community Centre on Monday night. What a crowd! We managed to get between 500 and 600 people out to this meeting. That is phenomenal! Your presence was an extremely powerful message to this government even if their presenters didn't get it! It is the Premier and the Minister who will be seeing what went on and how much media coverage it got. This is such an awesome community to represent. To come out in bad weather to once again voice your opinions to the government is a real show of solidarity, love and caring for each other and our island way of life. We are all in this together and we stood together as we will in the future. There has been media coverage on CTV and CHEK TV at 5pm, 6:30 pm and 11:00 pm. Great article in the CR Mirror and the CR Courier along with media up and down the coast. And you can see what went out to all the seniors in BC by going to:http://www.betterthan50.com/conversations/posts/North%20of%2050/north-of-50/ruth-less-than-amiabell-slams-bc-ferries/ This is a province wide seniors on-line publication.
The Minister was on CBC radio the next business day and I am positive his interview was prompted by our meeting's response to their insane plan. Our MLA was interviewed the next day after that as the Opposition Transportation critic. They know we are not finished with them yet! The protest actions by the Chambers of Commerce and business are ramping up and major public protests will be arranged for February. So be ready!
Once again, I want to thank all of the people who helped to make this event happen and to all of the people who participated. You are all wonderful! I asked the staff at the Community Centre to arrange for child care and they acted swiftly and had it all set up and it was well used. I asked Judy Hagen to see if she could get some traffic control for the parking that would result with such a large crowd. After many discussions with other agencies about liability we were able to take it under the wing of the SRD and Judy had a total of six volunteers controlling traffic. I would also like to thank the staff at Emcon CR and Quadra for making sure that all roads on Quadra were cleared and sanded and salted. They also graded the apron / shoulder along West Road from Homewood all the way to Industrial Way on both sides of the road to allow for the much needed overflow parking. Thanks to Michael Stahnke and his crew for setting up the hall the way I suggested to force the presenters to move straight into a meeting format without all the baloney of having story boards with all of their misinformation taking up our valuable time. We needed to talk to them as a group and we did! As a side note, the consultant came in and removed a portion of what was set up, intent on having story boards. I argued with her when I arrived at 4:45pm and she won.. for a short time. As soon as the throngs of people started to arrive, we started to put the chairs back up! This was the first event that I have attended on Quadra where the hall was mostly full a half hour prior to start time! That is a true indicator of how angry this island is with the BC Government and its plans to further destroy our community.

As I mentioned earlier, we are not finished with them yet. There are going to be massive protests, province wide. Below is one of the first off of the blocks. When Chambers of Commerce and businesses get angry they become a force to be reckoned with. They will be taking their (our) concerns straight to the Premier. Since "jobs and the economy" are one of her main platform points, she will have a hard time ignoring this group of job creators and contributors to the economy! I include the following for you to see what is planned in the near future. The idea is to get all of the coastal Chambers of Commerce joining this fight. And I believe they will. Our communities are being destroyed and we cannot put up with that.

We are also planning massive protests in Victoria once the Legislature sits again and the entire coast is sending people to that one. It will give us a chance to surround the Legislative buildings and let those inside know what it feels like to live on an island! I will be working on all of these initiatives with all coastal communities over the next months and when it is time I am sure Quadra, Cortes, the outer islands and Campbell River will join in to make this a notable event. Stay tuned.

MASSIVE FERRY PROTEST ON THE WORKS

The headline is correct, we are organizing massive protests against the provincial government's mismanagement of BC Ferries, but we need your help to make the massive protests happen.

The newly formed BC Ferry Coalition is working to organize massive protests not just on the Sunshine Coast but also around the Salish Sea in various coastal communities including Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo in the New Year.

There is not a single coastal community in BC that is not aghast at the service cuts and yet higher fare increases the provincial government is proposing. The provincial government is strangling our coastal communities and is damaging our social and economic fabric and they must be stopped!

We will be sending out more information next week including details of plans and background information to help our citizens better understand the issues at hand. In the meantime, please take the time to pass this information along to your family, friends, workmates and various organizations and networks you are connected with. We are working on a BC Ferry Coalition website which we hope to be fully functional in the very near future. The BC Coastal Ferry Advisory Committee Chairs website is a good source of information at http://facchairs.wordpress.com and is well worth visiting.

We are inviting any organizations who want to lend their names as supporters of the BC Ferry Coalition to contact us to add their names in support. We also need to raise funds to cover our organizing and printing costs. Individuals and organizations who are able to lend their financial support can send cheques made out to the 'BC Ferry Coalition' ℅ my address for now for. Send Premier Christy Clarke a Christmas present in the form of a donation to the BC Ferry Coalition! Your generosity will help determine our collective success.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas with family and friends and an Active New Year!

We also suggest a New Year's Resolution for us all: let's come together to force the Provincial Government to stand down from their reckless and ill-conceived BC Ferries Service Cuts and Fare Increases and demand open and transparent ferry service needs assessments in and for all of our coastal communities, which we believe will necessitate a complete re-thinking of how BC Ferries is mandated to meet those needs.


Defend Our Marine Highways!

Defend Our Coastal Communities!

Help Build the BC Ferry Coalition!


Sincerely,

Jef Keighley for the BC Ferry Coalition, 8580 Redrooffs Road, Halfmoon Bay, B.C., V0N 1Y1, 604 885-2290 - home, 778 999-1950 - cell, keighleydccnet.com

SRD Board Elections

As some of you will already know, I ran for the position of Chair at the SRD Board last Thursday, Dec. 12th. I was successful! So I am now the Chair of the Board and looking forward to all of the things that we will be able to get done in this next year. The Board has already supported our efforts to stop this madness with BC Ferries and they will continue to work toward a successful conclusion to this round of insanity. I put forward a motion at the same meeting that will have the Board send out a major letter with all of our community arguments to the Premier, the Minister, the Cabinet and all of the BC media. That motion passed unanimously and has been written and will be sent this morning (Monday, Dec. 16th). All of our Coastal Regional District Chairs Group (which I am part of) are doing the same from each of their Boards. That takes in 70% of the population of BC and is a fairly significant proportion of the population. As the Chair of the Board I will be signing on behalf of approximately 44,000 constituents.

Outer Islands

Ok. Enough about ferries! For those who live in the outer islands, I want you to know that tomorrow, Dec. 17th, I will be meeting all day at the SRD offices in CR with the representatives for Transport Canada and their lawyer to negotiate the divestiture (abrogation, in my opinion) of the three wharves in your area. Surge Narrows, Owen Bay and Port Neville will all be discussed. We are on some sort of crash deadline with the feds as they need to have a negotiated offer back to them by Dec. 31st. Just so you are aware, I am participating in this process on your behalf under duress. This is wrong! It is a federal responsibility to transport people and goods from community to community on our "marine highway"! (sound familiar?). I am only agreeing to go through the process after close examination of the consequences if I don't participate. Those consequences would be the eventual removal of these public facilities and I cannot allow that to happen to the communities I represent. So wish me luck. I will have my CAO and our lawyer at the meeting also as part of our team.

The other issue that I want to mention is that I will be able to give you some long awaited news about an enforcement issue in your area. It first needs to be released by the Board for the public to see. At that time, I will let you know the details. Until then, my hands are tied. It will be very soon.

Telus

I mentioned in my last report that I would be meeting with Telus in Victoria on Dec. 4th. I had the meeting and it was very frustrating to hear that the corporation is in their annual planning process at this point and that they cannot release any information to the public at this time. From the words used and the tone of the meeting, we are still on the list for further upgrades. They still have a team of people working on the planning details, so that is very encouraging. I am sorry I cannot give you more definitive details, but I can't tell you what I don't know. I will let you know as soon as I do.

Sewer expansion misinformation distribution

I was informed that a letter has been distributed to property owners in the Quathiaski Cove sewer expansion area. Apparently this letter contains some incorrect figures that would lead people to believe that joining the system would be far more expensive than it will be. The letter is also a plea for people to vote "no" to the expansion. My personal opinion is that this request would be a mistake. I would encourage anyone that has received this letter to call me to discuss it. I have spoken with the author and have explained some of his misconceptions. Please phone me or the SRD (Russ - 250-830-6703 - direct) for correct information on this very important initiative.

Last but not least…

I would like to thank all of my community for all of the support you have given me in this past year. I look forward to winning more battles with your help in the coming years. We still have lots to do and with your help, I am confident that we can accomplish anything!

I would like to wish all of you a very Happy Holiday Season and hope that you get to spend some down-time with family and friends and forget about our daily battles with the forces of darkness! I look forward to a very productive, exciting and successful New Year.

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
Ferry Protest logo ...watch for it--be part of the action!
Ferry Protest logo ...watch for it--be part of the action!