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General · 29th May 2014
Jim Abram
I hope all of you had a great time at Mayday this past weekend. It was once again a wonderful celebration of our island way of life and a continuation of tradition. Thanks to all of the people that made it happen and keep making it happen year after year!

Once again, Ferries!
I hate to have to keep talking about this topic, but it seems to play a very important part in our daily lives, unfortunately!

Some very disturbing, but not unexpected, news came to me over the past weeks. A tactic that I have been expecting has come to life. BC Ferries has started to tell all of its workers and the public that the ridiculous schedule that we are being subjected to, is the fault of the Ferry Advisory Committee and, yours truly! They are saying this because of the meeting that we refused to attend for many weeks and then finally gave in and attended along with a couple dozen Quadra and Cortes residents. It was a meeting to “mitigate the impacts” of the new schedule changes that the corporation was about to implement, at the insistence of the government. We had been refusing to meet with them due to something that I repeatedly had said in my reports and on Facebook. I said, “We will not negotiate”. Period! My reasons for saying this were mainly because we were fighting a political fight with an arrogant government and we had not yet had our demonstration at the legislature. So why would we negotiate something that we all knew was to our detriment and then go and tell the government we didn’t like what they were doing to us??? Many agreed with my tactic, coast-wide.

For your background information, the Ferry Advisory Committees are creatures of BCFS, not the government and they have no power whatsoever. They are meant to deal with minor operational issues on each route, in an advisory capacity only. The make-up is of residents from Campbell River, Quadra and Cortes and the Regional Directors. That is by BCFS design. Personally I feel that the exercise is a total waste of our time. The most we get out of them is figures and statistics and justifications for what they do to us.

So, back to the lies being spread by the corporation about who implemented this schedule. Neither the Ferry Advisory Committee nor your Director brought this down on you. I absolutely disagree with what they have done to our population and our businesses and our school. So many people are being impacted by the changes to date and the number of people letting me know of this increases daily. Something needs to be done!

On June 10th, we will once again be meeting with BCFS to discuss an agenda that is longer than we will have time to talk about. But we will try. The main issue, of course, is the impact of the existing schedule changes. The meeting is open to the public and if you have something to say about the schedule, you should be there. It will probably be at the HBI, but I do not know the time as of yet. It will be advertised.

I do want to make it very clear that it was BCFS implementing government direction to “not save money, but to cut sailings” (their words), that put this schedule in place. The FAC gave its best advice on what might help ease the pain, but it was totally up to BCFS how it turned out.

So, what do we do now? Do we go back to the original government plan and eliminate the last sailing on Monday through Thursday and the last two sailings on Friday and Saturday nights? That would take care of all of the day time commuters, the school and lots of businesses. But what about late night shift workers? No matter what we do someone suffers. I know one thing: This schedule does not work! Not one person I have spoken to, including staff, think it is a good schedule. Not one! So, let’s hear from you. Email me, leave voice mail on my office phone, send a message via Facebook. All contact info is at the end of this report, as it always is.

The government and the BCFS have every reason to target me and the FAC: They don’t want to take the blame for their thoughtless, heartless, mean-spirited decisions. The gloves are off. I work 24/7 on this issue trying to find a solution to it, doing media, attending coalition meetings, posting on four Facebook pages daily, working with the UBCM province wide, trying to arrange meetings with the Premier and the Minister and lobbying everyone possible that might somehow help us out. I will not have my name used in these nonsensical rumours being spewed by a corrupt government nor a dysfunctional puppet corporation.

Recycling under attack! (again!)
This is the only other item that I need to tell you about at this very moment. A private corporation (another friend of government) has been contracted provincially to carry out recycling services throughout the province. I have managed to keep us exempt until now through a great deal of effort. The reason being, that this change would limit our recycling to a proposed four hours a day, four days a week with a completely secure, enclosed facility that would be locked up the rest of the time. This is unacceptable as far as I am concerned. I have expressed my opinion / objection at the Comox Valley Solid Waste Committee and to the General Manager himself. We have had extended conversations and emails on the topic. I finally got him to agree to meet with me and the SRD staff to convince him that this is not the way we do things on Quadra. The meeting was scheduled to take place at the SRD offices on Thursday the 22nd at 2pm. And guess who didn’t show up? The General Manager! No, he sent two of his underlings to try and persuade me of the benefits of the new program. Well, it didn’t work. The more they “explained”, the more angry I became with the audacity of the Solid Waste team. Their proposal is a pipe- dream. It won’t work for us and it won’t serve our needs. It will be one more service that people won’t be able to have access to due to the ferry schedule! (sorry,I just had to bring in one more example of ferry impacts). I left the meeting having put all of my cards on the table: We will not buy into their program. Can we be forced? I am not sure yet. I will keep you informed.

I will be leaving for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities tomorrow and will be away for a week, attending meetings, but still accessible by cell and email. 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