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General · 17th September 2014
Jim Abram
So here we are in mid-September with beautiful weather beyond compare. How long can it last! Probably by the time you read this we will have some much needed rain. But we cannot complain. We all need water. 

BC Ferries “activities"

Well, we have been in a bit of a holding pattern with the ferry issue for the last month or so, but that doesn’t mean that we have not been working feverishly behind the scenes, coast wide. I have been on regular conference calls with the Union of BC Municipalities as a member of the UBCM Select Committee on BC Ferries along with the consultant we hired six months ago to do the socio-economic study on the impacts of ferry fare increases and service cuts. Well, it finally paid off and the report was released along with a UBCM press release and much hoopla. We got unprecedented media coverage that is still continuing as I write this report. We have been in every major media outlet and all TV stations and radio shows since the release last Wednesday. I did media interviews pretty much solid for two days straight. The report was astonishing. We have all known all along that the impacts were severe. But we have now had them quantified and validated by an outside third party with expertise. You can get the complete Policy Paper and the consultant’s full report at  http://ow.ly/BluIe .

There are four recommendations that will be brought before UBCM’s membership in the Policy Paper:
• First, that the government reverse its course, and restore service and fare levels for BC Ferries to 2013 levels.
• Second, that the government build on this report and do its own socioeconomic study.
• Third, recognize BC Ferries as an extension of the highway system and fund it accordingly. And,
• Fourth, that the province work cooperatively with coastal communities and other interested parties on the development and implementation of a long-term strategy for the coastal ferry system. 

The government is not real sure what to do, and we intend to keep the pressure on, right through our upcoming UBCM convention the week of the 21st of Sept., and beyond! This is extremely exciting and it requires constant “keeping on top of it”. We cannot afford to miss any opportunity to hold the feet of government to the fire. When the “big city” media are writing columns and editorials saying “put BCF back into Highways”, it says to me that we are on our way! Please follow my FaceBook page at  https://www.facebook.com/JimAbram  to get the latest updates. I also post on three other coast wide pages, but you can get it all on mine if you so choose.  And that brings me to….

UBCM Convention – Sep 22 through 26
I will be attending the convention and we are all geared up to have the BCFS issue and our UBCM report as the main topic of the convention. There will only be one Policy Paper on the floor (as compared to about six most years) and it is our paper on BC Ferries. After the debate and passing of the paper, the media frenzy will start all over again. 

I just received notice yesterday that the Premier, the Minister of Transportation and the Minister of Jobs and Tourism have granted our RD Chairs group (of which I am a part) a meeting on Wednesday the 24th. We had requested this months ago and it looked like we were going to be turned down. I believe the UBCM report has changed all of that!  We are also having a major two hour policy session on Tuesday afternoon to bring the delegates up to speed for our discussion on Wednesday morning at 10:30 (when the Policy Paper will be presented). So, this is going to be one heck of a Convention! Don’t forget that UBCM represents ALL local government in BC: 184 of them!

I also have meetings lined up with the Ministry of Highways Deputy Ministers to discuss Heriot Bay Rd., paving on the south end and safety in the north and elsewhere and all other issues that have been brought to my attention by you, my constituents. I will also be meeting with the Ministry for Technology and Connectivity to discuss the completion of our fibre optic system on Quadra and all coverage generally.

Quathiaski Cove Sewer Expansion
The By Laws have all been passed and the work now begins. Soon, the Request for Proposals will be issued and contractors will be able to bid on doing the actual work to install the lines and hook them up to the existing system. With a bit of luck, the system should be in operation by late spring of 2015, thus reducing the annual operating costs for the entire system. 

Intentions, Part Two
I am very appreciative to the people who have approached me to say that they are glad that I will be running for re-election this next term, as I expressed in my last report. I would especially like to thank Phil Stone (Editor / Publisher of the Discovery Islander) for his support as expressed in his editorial comment in the last issue of the DI. 

There is an incredible amount of work to be done for our area ( I mean ALL of Area C) and I am hoping to be the one to keep working on it. The issues of Seniors Housing and Assisted Living are going to be at the top of the list along with other forms of available housing for other age groups so that we can keep people on our islands and create worthwhile work for them so they can afford to live here. I am very optimistic about our chances of success. We have an incredibly committed group of volunteers already working on these issues and I intend to lend my support to them in whatever way I can. This will be an issue that will require not only commitment, but connections to other levels of government. I look forward to it, with your support.

I will leave you with these issues and look forward to telling you all about the UBCM after the convention. 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