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General · 9th July 2015
Jim Abram
I am sitting here in the smoke with my house completely closed up so I can breathe, hoping that there are no serious complications for those with compromised respiratory systems, This is awful, but only a small dose of what some of our other provincial neighbours are having to put up with due to the current fires.

Every two weeks I agonize over doing my Director’s Report. Why? Not because I don’t want to keep you informed, but only because it is very difficult for me to go over two weeks of activity in a couple of pages of print and not bore you to death in doing so. Also, it is incredibly frustrating reliving many of the items I report on. But it is all part of the job (vocation!) and I do love it. There is so much going on every day that it is hard to even convey the intensity and quantity of the things I deal with in a day, from my desk, at local or SRD meetings in town, at Provincial meetings in other cities and even in my sleep! I can’t do a job unless I do it well. So, if my reporting is lacking in eloquence, please forgive me! So, in no particular order, here we go!

Library Consultation

Don’t worry, this is not about moving the Library or any such thing. It is about giving feedback to the Vancouver Island Regional Library Board on its next five year strategic plan. Go to virl.bc.ca for more info. I had asked for more hours for our branch but the numbers just came out and we are way up there compared to other libraries so we did not get an increase this round. Next time! Your input will help this happen, so go to the meeting Monday July 13th at the Library from 6:30 to 8:30. Our Library is one of the most successful in the province and our staff is by far the best!

Community Centre Anniversary and Sandy Spearing retirement

What a night! June 26th was the night to celebrate with a delicious potluck dinner, entertainment, speeches, memories and photos. The event was the 30th anniversary of the building of one of our most prized possessions - The Quadra Island Community Centre. It was built with love by Quadra Island and maintained ever since as the centre of our community activity.

The other part that is impossible to untangle from the Community Centre is the retirement of Sandy Spearing, who looked after all aspects of this Centre, under the Direction of the Recreation Society, for the past 30 years. That is phenomenal! You can read all about it in the last issue of the DI and on the Gumboot. I am only going to say that it was a pleasure to work with Sandy for all of these years and to have her accomplishments live on in the Centre. She will be missed. Her replacement, Rebecca Young, will do an admirable job of filling her shoes, I am sure. Happy retirement Sandy! We love you and thank you for all you have done.

Canada Day

While we are on celebrations, I would like to thank all of the people and groups that made this year’s Canada Day such a success. Starting with a scrumptious breakfast at the Fire Hall, through the main event at the Golf Course, the event at South End Winery and ending with the fireworks in Drew Harbour, it was all fantastic and took a great deal of organizing. Thank you to all!

Federation of Canadian Municipalities (Edmonton)

I don’t believe I have had the chance to tell you about the 5 day event comprised of over 2,000 local governments from across the entire nation. I mentioned I was going to it in a previous report. The outcomes were fantastic. I was able to meet not only with my colleagues from across the country but I was also able to meet with the leaders of the parties that will be squaring off in the next Federal election. I was able to get some meaningful face time on numerous occasions and able to bring our “Marine Transportation” issues to the forefront along with our issues around “connectivity”. I was also able to find and meet with the senior policy analysts that will be drafting the platforms for each off the parties. I have found over the years of my experience that sometimes these people are more important than the leaders! If you can convince them that your issue is their issue, you are in the door! I believe I was successful with the NDP and the Liberals. Tom Mulcaire and Justin Trudeau both get it. Now we need them to act upon it. They were both extremely supportive and I was able to point out to them that the FCM has national policy on both issues, in support of my arguments. I was also afforded the opportunity to speak from the floor (to 2000 delegates) on both of these issues. It was a very worthwhile 5 days but extremely exhausting.

Highways meeting

I arranged a meeting and tour with our new Highways manager for this area last week. We talked about the issues and solutions to many of the issues that you call me about often. Her name is Tallina McRae ( Tallina.McRaegov.bc.ca ) and she is now the person that you should contact with Highways issues that are not Emcon daily maintenance issues.

B.C. Hydro truck

So, as I have mentioned in past reports, I have been working on Hydro to supply us with a Hydro truck during fall / winter months, to be kept on the island. The conversations have gone from “no” to “maybe” to “possibly” to “we are going to do it” !!! I just got off the phone with their senior planner and it is all looking like they want to get on with it, and do it now! I will have more details at end of the week. So, a few more hours on the phone with all the parties after I finish my report. Yahoo!

Connectivity

We are finally getting somewhere with this issue. As I mentioned before we have made it a strategic priority at the SRD Board level and our CAO and I have been discussing strategies. The Board will have it on their agenda in the next two weeks, so I can’t tell you too much until the Board decides. I am sure they will be supportive, if for no other reason than to shut me up! We are talking about going for the gold! More to follow.

Heritage Lighstations

As you may have seen in the media: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/metro/Parks+Canada+releases+list+newly+designated+heritage/11183233/story.html
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/a-beacon-of-hope-for-canadas-heritage-lighthouses/article25235100/
The Federal Govt. has finally announced the Lightstations that will be considered Heritage Lights under the Lighthouse Preservation Act, giving them full protection from their destruction by bureaucrats into the future. This is, of course, great news as far as I am concerned. We worked so long to keep staff on the Lights and won that battle in 2011 and now this protection naturally follows. There will be more designated. This is just the first grouping of 74 stations nationally.

Consideration of a dog bylaw

Saved the best for last!. The Quadra Island Safety Council and the RCMP have received a number of requests to have a dog bylaw of some type in place on Quadra so that they can do their job when unfortunate situations crop up. This has always been an unpopular topic with me since I assumed that Quadra would not support such a move. However as time has gone on, more and more complaints have come in and there is no way to deal with them without a bylaw. So, yes, it is being looked at in some minimal form. Dog owners have been supportive. I should say responsible dog owners. There are some people who do not respect the rights of others with regard to dogs. This is not something new. It is only that it has finally come to a point where it at least needs to be looked at. Some of the out of context comments in local media suggested that my comments were totally in support of this and that Quadra has “more dogs than people”. That comment was part of a larger comment that was said tongue-in-cheek to the reporter in CR suggesting that a bylaw would not be popular. Yet, it sparked unfortunate debate. The issue will be looked at and talked about and then decided upon. So, please don’t jump the gun on this one. We are a long way off and it may not even be feasible in our area. Stay tuned.

BREAKING NEWS

We have been fighting hard on Face Book and through other lobbying to get the province to contract the Mars water bombers back in the air. Well, have a look at this: http://www.albernivalleynews.com/news/311789601.html A petition started two days ago. When I signed it there were 3,000 plus sig’s on it. It was at almost 20,000 this morning and the goal was 25,000. I am sure they reached it.

OK.. I am quitting there. I have no idea if you will read all of this. I hope you do. In the meantime, feel free to contact 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