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General · 11th November 2014
Jim Abram
The Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Legion this morning was incredible. It was packed! People filled the seats and lined the walls and spilled over into the outdoors. Wendy and I were very proud to be part of the ceremony. “We will remember them”.

I have a few items this report that you need to help out with. Let me back up a bit.

Telus meeting and meeting with Network BC in Victoria
I met with the Area Manager whom I have met with several times over the past two years to discuss our internet, cell and phone service on Quadra and the outer islands. This was a follow up meeting to the issues we had discussed some months ago regarding the upgrades that we were expecting.

On the fibre optic front, the work continues at the planning stage and is being looked at by a local Telus employee. That report along with all of the reports that I have provided and all of the reports that the SRD has provided have been submitted to the head planning office for consideration.

Well, the decision as it stood last Friday, was that the issues faced by Quadra regarding the fibre optic connections will be considered when the issues faced by Campbell River are looked at. The last time I was told it will be as soon as Courtenay is finished. It is finished. So, is Campbell River next? The answer was, that it will be up to the planning team. So, it is in someone else’s hands! Great! But, it sounds like we are still on their radar. Read on, concerning my meeting with Network BC.

But first, the cell / data coverage. We talked about small repeater towers as is done in many other places. It sounds like one of the sites may have some interest to them. But nothing definite, just “consideration”. So, we will just have to wait and see. Or go over their heads.

And that brings me to the Network BC meeting. Very helpful, but hold on. One more thing about the meeting with Telus.

I believe that just about everyone knows that the phone service to Granite Bay is terrible. Either no service, sporadic service or crackling service. It is a 50+ year old barely buried line that has been repaired more times than anyone can imagine and at what cost compared to hanging a new line on the brand new poles that provide Hydro service to that community. My pleas for practicality and the safety net for that community were met with not only indifference but with outright rejection of there being a real problem. Really? I was told that the only two complaints that have come into the office were the two that I sent in that week! Flabbergasted? You bet! I know there have been many, many dozens of complaints.

So, I challenged the Area Manager and suggested that I stop doing Telus’ job in fielding calls for them to complain about the lack of service. I suggested that the complaints should all go directly to him. He agreed.

So, folks, this is where you get to do your part for your phone lines and your emergency services. His name is Ray Lawson and his email address is Raymond.LawsonTELUS.COM for those of you lucky enough to have email service. For those of you with sporadic phone service, his phone number is 1 (250) 388-8300 . And if you don’t get through by those methods I have his cell phone which I will only give out in emergency situations. So, let’s see how many complaints they really get when the lines are not working!

Now on to the good meeting. Network BC is part of the Provincial Ministry responsible for connectivity. The men whom I met with are both people I have had dealings with in the past and are both in those positions to help us out when we need help. Well, I needed help, so I called them up and managed to score a meeting while I was in Victoria. It was, I felt, very productive. I was not only able to bring them up to speed on my dealings with Telus and our connectivity issues but I was also able to have them agree to help us “find our way” through the quagmire of bureaucracies so that we can actually find some funding to deal with our issues and how we might deal with them most effectively. They were very discreet in how they divulged the information but made it clear they are going to try and help us out. That is their goal and it is also the goal of the Federal Govt., with whom they are closely connected. So, I am very excited about talking to them further about applying for funding that is available until the end of this year.

So, a day that started out fairly negatively turned out to not be so bad after all. I also did an in-studio interview with CFAX AM 1070 on the Ian Jessop show to deal with our favourite ferry issues and the flip-flop that the Minister announced about the cancellation of the Horseshoe Bay crossing. It was a very fun interview, lasted for over 30 minutes and had call-ins. The government looked pretty darn foolish by the end of the interview. Gotta love it!

Ministry of Highways - Heriot Bay Rd. slide, etc.
Well, once again, not really in my jurisdiction but “on my plate” big time. I have a scheduled meeting with the three top people who deal with us on Quadra Island regarding the solutions that need to take place immediately concerning the slide above Heriot Bay Rd. along Drew Harbour and extending to the properties on Schooner Rd. We will be meeting and touring on the 18th and geotechnical studies are being done in addition to the one I managed to get them to do on the beach side to deal with the sloughing away of the road surface. That issue seems insignificant compared to the slide / slump that happened, but are all interconnected. I intend to go for the whole enchilada on Heriot Bay Road. By that I mean, immediately attend to the up-side of the road to protect the houses that might be in danger and to also attend to the beach side of the road as all one package and that of course will include resurfacing (rebuilding) the road along the harbour with enough room for bikes, strollers, walkers and, imagine that, two cars at the same time!

I will inform you of the outcome of the meeting in upcoming reports and hopefully everything will get fixed and improved. I’ll do my best.

Ferries trivia
I will also be meeting with BCFS and our FAC chair next Monday at the Campbell River parking lot to discuss two issues that I have been hounding them on for quite some time. The first one is for a row of shade trees along the sidewalk fence line to allow people trapped in their cars in the line up, especially with small children and babies, to have a bit of respite from the glaring sun on those frequent hot days. (you can tell I have been at this for awhile since winter approaches). So far they are being less than cooperative, but at least looking at it or alternatives.

The second issue is regarding a secure parking lot for people who want to leave their car in town overnight but have no safe place to do so. I have suggested that the first entry lot have a roll out gate so it can be secured at night and people could leave their car there and go home and come back in the morning and pick it up. Once again, lots of resistance, but at least we are going to walk it together and then they can tell me why it can’t be done (not that I am being cynical or anything!). Perhaps this will save some commuters some ferry fares for their vehicle anyway.

Lastly, check out my Facebook page if you want the latest on ferry issues. I post often and there are links to 3 other pages also. All the latest media is there in one place. I would also like to let you know that we have kept this ferry issue alive for almost exactly one full year since the Minister made his stupid decision to raise fares and cut service. So, Happy Anniversary to all of us for keeping an issue alive in the media (daily) for a full year! Congratulations!

OK.. I have taken up enough of your time. 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