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General · 4th September 2014
Jim Abram
So here we are again at the end of the summer and into September. Let’s hope it will be a wonderful sunny month so we can all get our produce in and our gardens put to bed before the inevitable weather of months to come. 

Fire Ban Jurisdiction

I would like to make it clear to all of my constituents that the SRD has no authority at this time to issue or end a fire ban in this area. The only ones that can do that are the Fire Chief, the Provincial Fire Office and Municipalities. I have received a number of calls from people distraught with the early lifting of the ban days before the rain finally came. I agreed with them that it was premature. Our Fire Chief, diligent as she is, kept the ban in place. That is only for the South Quadra Fire Protection District. 

So, I called the SRD staff and asked what could be done. A bylaw is needed and would take some time to institute. So this will be discussed in the 2015 Work Plan negotiations coming up in the next couple of months (for next year). I found it irresponsible for the ban to be lifted when we have so many families that depend upon forestry to make their living (woodlots and others) and all of the people who live in the rural areas of the island. A fire at this time with conditions as dry as they are would be as devastating as the ones in the early 20th century. (more so with the increase in population and numbers of houses). Enough said. This issue will be looked into.

Sewer Expansion Area
As you all know by now, the referendum did pass and the bylaws have gone through the SRD. The work now begins to put out the Request for Proposals to actually install the system. It is expected to be operational by late next spring. And as a note of interest two more properties have asked to be included on the northern edge along Q. Cove proper. This is a good thing for the environment and will help to keep the groundwater and the ocean healthy.

I would also like to congratulate our staff for agreeing with my direction in keeping the Annual Sewer Rates down for the next year. They are set at $468.00 per residential hookup. This is down another 17% from last year and with the new properties coming on stream in 2015, I am expecting to see that number drop even further. 

Quadra Legion Tax Exemption
It was with great pleasure that I was once again able to recommend that the Legion be given a partial tax exemption for the recreational portion of their tax bill. They offer many services to our community and give more than they receive. This exemption helps them to defray the costs of operation. There were also two other Conservation Covenant tax exemptions passed by the board for small properties that benefit the community and the environment by being held in their natural state rather than being developed.

Seniors Housing
I am very pleased to mention that the two seniors groups on the island have decided to work together on what we have desired for along time: assisted seniors housing and various other forms of seniors housing. I have worked with these groups for years and our Local Area Plan makes specific mention of these types of initiatives being paramount in our near-future planning efforts. I hope to continue to be able to assist in these endeavours for assisted living, individual seniors housing and other forms of available housing for all age groups. This is very exciting for me and is the actual implementation of our Local Area Plan that we worked so hard on for three years. Hopefully this will be an initiative that will help our elders stay on the island and live out their lives without having to move to other places for care. You will be hearing a lot more about this in the near future as plans come together.

Ferry update
As I am sure that all of you have noticed, that our ferry schedule is not making life on Quadra very easy. The lineups and overloads are ridiculous and it is not about summer… it is about scheduling. 

I am pleased to announce that the UBCM Special Committee, of which I am a part, is having another conference call this week to finalize the UBCM plans for release of the consultant’s report on the economic impact of the ferry issues on our Province and our communities. The details are still confidential but I will let you know as soon as they are public which could be as soon as next week. The results of the report are mind boggling. UBCM is planning big things for the convention which is happening Sept. 22 to 26. All media will be advised and present. I can’t wait for you to see the results.

Coincidentally, I received an email today from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transportation, MLA Jason Sturdy, inviting me to meet with him on Sept. 15th to discuss Transportation planning for the next 10 years for Vancouver Island. I have asked that the date be changed to the 16th as I will be at the Marine Area Planning Partnership wrap up meeting in Richmond on the 15th. This is one meeting  (MaPP) that I cannot miss. So I hope they will be accommodating and change the date. If not I will have to appoint an alternate in my place. 

I just want all of you to know that the issue of Ferries providing affordable and reliable service to us is still very high on my priority list. After all, it is our Marine Highway!

Ok, enough for this report. 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! 

Respectfully submitted, 

Jim Abram
 Director, Discovery Islands - Mainland Inlets (Area C), SRD