It is quite the day out there! Blowing and raining and looking pretty grim. But the ‘power’ will remain with us, right? Today has been the day from Hades! The number of things going on are overwhelming. I am going to just jump right into them. And for all of you who come to me in good faith to work on issues, please realize that many of the issues have nothing to do with local government jurisdiction. I work on them and take them on because I care about my community and the issues don’t go away. Someone needs to be your advocate and I am ready to take on that position: Feds, Province, I don’t care! If it effects you I will do my best on your behalf.A new term in office
I know I thanked you in my last report for the honour of being acclaimed as your Director. I really want to say ‘Thanks a lot!’ (Just kidding.) I do love this position and find the challenges interesting. There is something new every day and not a day goes off as planned. Adaptability and creativity are essential (and having no time for any other life helps, also)!
First of all, I want to say that we all need to direct lots of positive energy to the family living directly above the area who are most effected, in the hope that the worst is over for them and that all will work out for them. They live at the top of the slump / slide that took place last week above Heriot Bay Road along Drew Harbour. The saturated ground let go in the early hours of the morning enveloping Heriot Bay Road and cutting off all passage. I am so thankful that this event did not take place during a school bus run. Anything on the road would have been taken into Drew Harbour due to the magnitude of the slide.
The crews from Emcon were on the scene quickly, followed by officials from the Ministry of Highways. This stretch of road has been under study by the Ministry for the last couple of years, mostly due to narrowness, the absence of shoulders in some sections, and undercutting from erosion. I have been working with our Area Manager and the Acting District Manager to try and get the road brought up to a safe, useable condition. They have been very cooperative and even commissioned an engineering study for the stability of the road on the Harbour side. I have received numerous complaints over the years about the width, the lack of ability to walk, bike, push strollers, etc. along this road. Speed has also been an issue. And then there were the two accidents that took place at the north end of this stretch near Pilot Road (one involving a loaded dump truck). All of these things plus a lot of lobbying have gotten the Ministry to have a look.
The road allowance goes right up to the properties on Schooner Road and is the responsibility of the Ministry. Land has now been taken from a private land owner. There is a fix according to the people who do this kind of work and Highways must get on it before the situation worsens. I will work tirelessly towards this end.
The other issue I am working on with the help of the Ministry and Emcon is the flooding of the gas station and Aroma Café, caused by overgrown ditches on the school side of the road and the area on Harper Road at the intersection with Heriot Bay Road. I am told that these ongoing problems will be fixed soon.Wharves: Transport Canada signing
Well, tomorrow is supposed to be the signing for the divestiture of the three wharves at Surge Narrows, Owen Bay and Pot Neville. Unfortunately it has been cancelled once again, this time due to the fact that our MP John Duncan can’t make it! I am not sure what he has to do with this event since it has been SRD staff, Transport Canada and myself who forged the deal to transfer $3M along with the wharves and to run them for 10 years, since the Federal Government has decided in its wisdom that it is going out of the business of maintaining wharves for the transport of people and goods! We were given the option of having the wharves removed from these communities or accept the downloading of responsibility of running them and continuing to provide the service to our communities. We chose to take the money and make the best of it. I am sure we can do the job and maintain the service. The divestiture has been put off until November 14.Telus: Landline, Internet, cell and data coverage
Just to be really clear on this issue, I have been working on all of the above. I know that my reports talk about one or the other depending on which is most current in the minds of Telus, but in my mind, they are all essential services and need to be provided to our community – all of them to all of it! I am meeting with Telus again in Victoria on November 7 as a follow-up to our UBCM visits with the Ministries that deal with connectivity, so I am hoping that there have been ‘conversations’ between then and now and we will move along a little faster. I have also been dealing with complaints from the Granite Bay neighbourhood about not even having basic telephone service, as recently as today. This is totally unacceptable in the year 2014. I hear people all around the province complaining about not having fast enough internet service and I have to laugh when many of us don’t have any internet or cell service, or in some cases basic phone service. Give me a break! We are within miles of Campbell River, a full service provider. All I can do is keep trying.
Each Director on the Board must have an Alternate to fill in for the Director in the absence of the Director. For this past three year term, Dan MacKenzie has been my Alternate Director and has done an excellent job attending meetings that I have had to miss due to other meeting commitments. I have asked Dan to once again stand as my Alternate Director and fortunately he has accepted the request. His powers as Alternate, under the Local Government Act, only apply in my absence. I only say this so that I will not scare Dan off, having him think that people will be calling him on SRD business on a regular basis! Thanks, Dan, for your past work and for taking this on for another term!Meetings with the Premier
The Coastal Regional District Chairs Group, of which I am a member, met with the Premier and two Ministers at the UBCM conference to discuss the Policy Paper on BC Ferries adopted by the UBCM membership at the conference (http://ow.ly/BluIe )
. We were promised at that meeting that as soon as the Premier returned from her trade mission to India that we would get another personal meeting regarding ferries. Our group was notified last week that she was going to assign her Chief of StaffcDan Doyle to meet with us instead. We’ve told her that is not acceptable and are awaiting a reply. She did promise a personal meeting and as a group we intend to hold her to it.
I am also seeking a personal meeting to discuss some developments that I have been working on that she may be interested in. I cannot give you the details at this time, since I am awaiting confirmation of some other key meetings that need to take place first. Sorry for the intrigue, but I really don’t want to ‘show my hand’ just yet. I will let you know one way or the other in the very near future.Public Hearings
There are two Public Hearings coming up. One is a simple lot line adjustment on an outer island and the other is for a rezoning to divide one property into three properties in the Milford Road area. They will be held at 7pm on Wednesday November 5 at the Community Centre. Look for the ads, or feel free to contact me or the planners at the SRD.
I am going to stop there and leave some of the other items for future reports. Feel free to call me between the hours of 8:30am and 7pm, 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