Island News & Views
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General · 14th May 2014
Jim Abram
Well, I might as well be consistent and start off with ferry issues. The new schedule has caused havoc for many sectors of our community. I am receiving emails, phone calls and Facebook postings daily about how people are being effected. In the past week I have now heard of seven families that are moving off of the island due to the ferry. This is totally unacceptable and will be a topic of discussion at our next Ferry Advisory Committee meeting on June 10th. We have a list of items to talk about that will take up more day than we have available. I hope that people will continue to forward their experiences to me for sharing at that meeting. The Ferry folks need to know the pain that they have inflicted upon coastal residents and communities by implementing the stupid plans dictated by government.

The Coastal Regional District Chairs Group (of which I am a member) will be meeting in the next couple of weeks to discuss strategies and share accounts of the effects to their communities.

The UBCM Select Committee on Ferries met last week and we have our consultants working feverishly on “stage two” of the study on impacts to communities. This issue is in confidence, so I cannot share the details of our discussions at this point, but I will say that it is very promising. We should have a full report that can be made public in the near future.

Now that one of the main activist / organizers from the Sunshine Coast is back from holidays, we will be getting together to discuss “where to from here”. The Sunshine Coast group is meeting this week, so we will have lots to talk about.

I have written to the group of lawyers in Vancouver today to find out what they have determined regarding any possible legal challenges based on the “issues” that I sent them to discuss. I am hoping to hear back from them shortly.

I have been dealing with some young activists here on Quadra and further afield about what they might feel needs to be done to move this protest along. More to follow on this front, so stay tuned.

Wharves Divestiture from Transport Canada
This has been going on for many years (about 10) and we have taken on one wharf at Evans Bay on Read Island. The process involves (in short form) the Feds giving up the wharf to a local government (the SRD in our case) and giving a negotiated amount of money that is to look after the wharf for at least ten or more years. The wharf is to be given over to the SRD in good condition with all major work completed prior to transfer.

We are now in negotiation for the wharves at Surge Narrows, Owen Bay and Port Neville. There is keen community interest in keeping these wharves open to the public and in the public domain into the future. Our negotiation conference call today with the Feds went very well and we are on our way to a solution. Once again, this is of a confidential nature, since it is a negotiation, and I cannot divulge the detail at this time. The details will be coming in the next couple of months, so stay tuned and wish us luck!

Marine area Planning Partnership and Regional Marine Area Committee
(MaPP and RMAC)
As I have mentioned before, I am the SRD Board representative to both of these bodies. The MaPP process divides the coast into four regions and we are called the North Vancouver Island Region. Occasionally we get together as all four regions at the RMAC table in Richmond. I have attended both of these bodies recently and will attending again at the beginning of June. I reported in detail last issue about the process and the websites to look at and to give feedback to. The deadline is drawing near (May 15 for NVI Plan). I hope those that are interested have submitted comments to support the process. It is important for the environmental, social and economic future of our coast. This is what drives me to be involved in these processes so that our coast will benefit. The time has been well spent with many successes for the coast and for the people of our area.

Island Coastal Economic Trust
As the Chair of the Board, I am appointed to sit on this committee of all of the Chairs and Mayors of Vancouver Island to help judge applications for funding from the Trust. The money was a 51 million dollar amount at start up about 10 years ago. It is nearing completion and the government is not willing to re-invest. The criteria are all about economic development in regions and quite difficult to meet. The SRD has received a few grants over the years, but have also been turned down many times. It is amazing how over-subcribed the fund is. We went over about twelve applications last Friday, many of which were turned down, and that was from a much larger short list process. Our next meeting will be in October and I hope to see applications from groups in our area.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)
I will be attending the FCM from May 27th through June 3rd. It is in Niagara Falls, Ont. this year. It should prove to be an interesting agenda of meetings and networking. It is our source of Federal information sharing and also our opportunity to meet with Federal officials face to face, much like we do here at home at the UBCM with provincial officials. It is also a great opportunity to find out how others from across the country are solving the same types of problems that we are having in our areas.

Quathiaski Cove Sewer expansion area meeting
On Wednesday night, June 4th, we will be holding an open house and presentation on the upcoming sewer expansion area referendum to be held, probably in July. Senior staff will be on hand to discuss the details of the project and anything and everything that you never thought you would want to know about a sewer expansion area! Please see may last report for details on the actual proposal. Please attend this event so that your vote will be as informed as it can be, from the people that really do know the answers to your questions. Don’t get your information from the good ol' “rumour mill”. Get it straight from the people who have designed this process.

Upcoming events of importance
Mayday, for one! May 24th at the Spit and the Quadra Island Community Centre for a dance that night. Mark it on your calendars.

There will be a public hearing for a property in Hyacinth Bay for the Tula Foundation to rezone from a Rural zone to a Public Assembly zone so they can carry out their educational and scientific pursuits. This will be advertised. It will be on Thursday, May 22, at 7pm at the QICC.

I will update you on other events as we get closer to the dates.

So, that is about it for today! 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… or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JimAbram…. 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