I have just returned from what I guess you could call a “working holiday”… I made the mistake of taking an iPhone and and iPad along with me on our camping/road trip. It was only a mistake because I never really “left work”. On the other hand, I was able to deal with issues as they arose rather than leave them all until I was home again. It is a real toss up as far as deciding whether or not it was beneficial. I’m going to go with “yes” just to make myself feel better about my decision.
I will start with congratulations to the organizers and volunteers of what I have heard was a great Canada Day celebration at the Cape. Since I was unable to make it, I did arrange beforehand for my Alternate Director, Dan MacKenzie, and the Vice Chair of the SRD Board, Mayor Craig Anderson of Gold River, to attend on my behalf. I have been told that Dan did a great job of delivering my message and his to the crowd. I hope that you all enjoyed the festivities. I am sure that this event will bring our community even closer together than it has been in the past.
While I was away, a couple of articles were written and submitted as being factual information about two topics: the Q. Cove sewer and SRD taxes.
I have debated with myself for days as to whether or not I should even respond or just let it go. Well, my decision was to at least clear up some of the absolutely false and misleading information that is out there before you on one topic this issue and then touch on the other one next issue.
Let’s start with the sewer issue. I will start by saying that the issue stinks! (no pun intended). I have been dealing with it for far too many years as has our new SRD Board and staff. It is a bad situation and has been exacerbated by numerous breakdowns, legislative requirements and just bad luck!. I have worked hard to try and mitigate the problem for the people who live in the sewer area as have the SRD staff. It is always easy for someone to take up pen and paper and fire away at government. As I have said in the past many times, I hate government! That is why I got involved in the first place: to try and make it better and have it controlled locally with lots of public involvement. Generally, that has worked very well over time. I have had too many battles with our own RD staff and Board over this issue to count. But those battles have been constructive and have always been aimed at fixing the problem. Sometimes the solutions are not popular and I don’t like them any more than the people in the sewer area. But the show must go on! We have a sewer and it needs to function well. It is there to serve a purpose: to provide a clean and safe method of disposing of sewage for the people of the Cove and for our school.
When we were the CSRD we had a larger staff and unlimited resources to keep things working. When the provincial government, in its wisdom, split us up and created the SRD we lost the staffing and the “spare parts”. We were on our own and someone had to fix things when they broke. Our staff were stuck with the job and the users were stuck with the cost. The RD has no “slush fund” or “other pot” to draw from. We cannot be compared to municipalities as the author of the aforementioned article did.
The issue of the “grant money” that I managed to get from the government two years ago has been questioned. That money was for the SRD to use as it saw fit to try and "stop the bleeding" of the users of the system who were hit with one huge increase. I always try to be respectful in what I say about anything I write about. The author of that article had no qualms in using inflammatory language like “laundering” of the money used to help the users or terms such as “”intentionally, deliberately and unlawfully misappropriated (funds)". His karma, not mine! I am not going to waste much more of my time or yours on this issue. But I do need to throw out a few facts: that’s right, facts, not nonsense like what was printed in local media before.
I would also note that the author has never attended one Committee meeting, one Board meeting nor any of the dozen or so public meetings that discussed this topic where he could have actually participated in the discussion.
Q. Cove sewer rates will be around $480.00 to $490.00 per residential hookup this year. That is a fact.
"Economies of scale", regarding the addition of new properties, should be fairly obvious to any property owner.
The number of users is currently 124. The numbers stated in the article are incorrect. Approximately 38 new hook ups would be added if the referendum passes. That is about a third of what is paying into the system now. Add a third to the existing number and I think it is pretty obvious that the annual fees will be less when spread out over that larger number..
The alleged amount of “exceeding $700.00” in the future is ludicrous. Highly unlikely!
I have spent enough of your time on the inappropriate submission that has been presented by a person that calls himself “Integrity BC”. Integrity equals honesty. The previous article does not suggest integrity or honesty, only malice.
Also please note that the article suggests that I should spend my time on issues other than ferries. I guess we should ask the rest of the population what they think about that! And, by the way, I spend my time on ALL of the issues that effect islanders, everyday. I can multi-task! It is a requirement in this position.
UBCM Conference call re: BC Ferries
I spent the day yesterday reading and highlighting and making notes on a huge report from the consultant hired by the UBCM and the AVICC to look into the economic impacts on communities due to the actions of BC Ferries. The information is totally confidential at this point, but I can say that we had a very well attended conference call with representatives from the entire coast for 2 1/2 hours. We will have our next call next Monday to continue the discussion. I am very excited by our discussion and look forward to this report being made public. And contrary to the comments made above about me spending too much time on ferries: I will continue working day and night on this issue until we win. We will win!
OK! That is it 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… or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JimAbram…
. If it is important, my cell is 250-830-8005… Lots of choices.
Please do not use my residential phone number for SRD calls. All business calls should be on 285-3355. Many thanks!
Jim Abram Director,
Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD