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General · 23rd January 2015
Jim Abram
There is a lot going on both at the Regional level and within our own area. So here we go… a small sampling of issues I am dealing with.

UBCM 
I will be leaving for Vancouver tomorrow to present at the Union of BC Municipalities Forum called the Local Government Leadership Academy. This is an annual event but especially important this year due to the large turn over of elected officials in this past general election. I will be part of a panel of “seasoned” elected representatives that will mentor the others that are new to their positions. It should be informative and interesting and is always an opportunity to learn new things and compare notes with other areas of the province. It will also be a great opportunity for me to convince non-coastal folks of the importance of supporting the UBCM Policy paper on BC Ferries. (I just had to mention ferries!)

I would also like to notify you that the UBCM Executive Board had two vacancies to fill due to the last general election and the Past President called me last night to tell me that the Board had voted yesterday to ask me to sit as a Director at Large on the Executive. I accepted, so am now once again on the Executive of the UBCM and in an even better position to deal not only with Ferries but many other issues that effect us provincially.

Federal presentation
On Wednesday the 21st, right after the UBCM Forum, I will be attending and presenting, by invitation, to the BC Caucus of the Federal Conservative Party. This includes all of the MP’s, Ministers and Senators from BC. Can you guess the topic? If you guessed BC Ferries you are right. I have worked with the consultant who did the UBCM paper for us and have come up with a half hour presentation that will possibly be a game changer in this ongoing battle with the provincial government over BCFS. This is an election year for the Federal government and I am trying to maximize on that fact. I came up with this idea on my own and have worked at it for the past many months to bring it to fruition. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 

Meeting with Premier’s Chief of Staff
Hot on the heels of the federal presentation I will be meeting with Dan Doyle, who is the Chief of Staff for the Premier. He is her main advisor and has been in government as long as I can remember. I will be bringing him the results of my federal efforts and outcomes. This once again, could be a game changer in the BCFS battle with the province. Arrangements for this meeting have been ongoing since September! Crazy, how long it takes to get through the gatekeepers! As you know, giving up is not an option for me.

Seniors Survey
By the time you read this the deadline will have passed for turning in the completed survey. It is extremely comprehensive and will give us a great deal of information regarding our next steps in providing for seniors and for other types of housing needs on the island. I sincerely hope that you have filled it out and returned it.

Fire pumps for RD docks
During the last two foot snowfall in Granite Bay, our Park contractor, Mark, took it upon himself to shovel off the 320 foot by 8 foot wide dock at the G. Bay wharf. I talked with ex-ferry personnel about what I remembered as ferry crews blasting off snow with salt water fire pumps and it seemed to work great. So after investigation, I convinced the SRD to contract a local supplier to supply a salt water portable pump for the dock and then to look into supplying them for all of our docks over time. They  will also come in very handy in the event of a fire at the dock or in the surrounding areas. I insisted that they use local suppliers and expertise and they agreed! So a bit of income for Quadra Island business. I do try to keep our tax dollars at home.

BC Ferries meeting re: Schedule changes
In spite of the huge number of complaints that I have gotten since our present schedule was imposed on us, only about three dozen people turned out at the meeting last Wed. night to discuss possible changes to the schedule to make it better for the greatest number of people. Good discussion was had regarding the option that had been discussed by the Ferry Advisory Committee. It was posted  online for people to see prior to the meeting. After much discussion, that option was modified slightly and then sent off to BCFS for implementation. We asked for a Feb. 1st time frame and they said “No”, so we asked for the end of February. They want to wait until April 1st, but we have told them that is not on. We will see what their reaction is very shortly.

SRD Communications
In the interests of openness and transparency, one of our strategic priorities for this past year has been to implement a communications plan. The website has been made more user friendly and just recently we have put in place a newsletter of some of the things going on at the SRD. The contact info for the newsletter is  http://www.strathconard.ca/srd-newsletter  I am sure it will improve with age as we are able to add more information to share with the public. Have a look!

Quathiaski Cove sewer issues - two of them!
The first one that I would like to bring to your attention is an easy one: To consider the adoption of Bylaw No. 212 and 213 which propose to include 2 additional properties located on Pidcock Road into the boundaries of the Quathiaski Cove Sewer Service Extension and authorize a loan authorization amendment. These are on the existing sewer line but not in the district so we had to amend the boundaries. You would think this would be a simple process but staff were getting no cooperation from the Inspector of Municipalities office.. So I called her direct and we had the approval the next day. Gotta love telephones!
The bylaws were given third reading by the Board on November 27 and September 17 respectively. So after all of that it would now be in order for the Board to proceed with final passage and adoption. And we did. So those two properties are now able to join the system.
The second issue was an update that the Quathiaski Cove sewage extension project is now underway
At our first meeting of 2015, the Regional District Board of Directors was updated on the status of the Quathiaski Cove sewage extension project. After a successful Request For Proposal process, staff awarded the engineering services contract to Koers & Associates Engineering Ltd. Koers will be responsible for the engineering design, the construction tender management process and supervision of the construction of approximately 1.5 kilometres of sewage extension, providing sanitary sewer service to an additional 38 properties on Quadra Island.
The engineering design process of the main sewer line has already begun. Koers’ expected work schedule indicates the construction tendering process will take place in March and April, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in May. Hopefully our local contractors will be in touch with the managers to secure some work for local people. This is always a goal of mine.
Regional District staff will work closely with Koers to communicate progress of the work as it moves forward. A project newsletter will be developed and sent to all property owners and interested stakeholders, and will soon be available on a dedicated project web page on the Regional District website. Look for both in the coming weeks under Engineering Services at www.strathconard.ca.
Cook Welcome Poles restoration

The SRD was recognized by the Nyumbalees Cultural Society for its contribution to the restoration of these poles that are now known as the Dick Family Welcome Poles. Areas C (us) and Area B (Cortes) contributed along with several other community partners to support this important legacy project that helped to re-establish the traditional presence of the welcoming poles. The poles are located at the entrance to the Centre and are an important part of the history of this region.


Tidemark Theatre change of hours for US!
We had a presentation from the Tidemark Theatre senior staff to ask for funding for the Theatre. When she showed where their $500,000-plus revenues from ticket sales came from it showed that 3% came from Quadra Island. (that is $15,000.00) I took the opportunity to let the CR side understand a little better what the changes to our Ferry service are doing to the region, not just Quadra. Voila!. $15,000.00 dollars lost in direct revenue and then all of the money possibly spent on dinners out beforehand. With the present schedule it is impossible to stay for an entire performance that people have paid handsomely for. 

Much to my surprise, due to my comments about our unworkable ferry situation, we got this back from the Society:

Dear Strathcona Regional District Directors:  Re: BC Ferries
In order to accommodate our patrons that are on Quadra Island, I have asked staff to research the ferry schedules and give consideration to starting those shows that are presented by the Tidemark Theatre Society at 7 pm.   Our hope is that this will allow our patrons that reside on Quadra to catch the last ferry back at 9:55 pm. 

This not only helps us, but of course, benefits the Society’s revenue. But it is a start in having the people on the CR side realize that this  is not just a Quadra issue.

OK. That has got to be enough for this report… I still have to write my Federal presentation and one for the UBCM Forum tomorrow. So, 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