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General · 10th October 2015
Jim Abram
Another beautiful, sunny fall day to get some winter chores done prior to the possible rains. I will keep this short since I am already late getting it in.

Community Garden Potluck

Wendy and I attended the Community Garden lunch yesterday to spend some time with the wonderful people who are making our community garden so successful. It is so great to see all of the produce that they have grown and to see how far along the garden has come with only volunteer help to make it happen. It is a pleasure to tell other communities how we have done it on Quadra when I am at functions around the province. My sincere thanks and appreciation to all of the people who have made this happen over the past few years.

Quathiaski Cove sewer expansion

i wrote the following words last issue out of frustration with the failure of the Request for Proposals that took place over the past month. I said, "I am hoping that a consortium of Quadra companies will come together and make this project work. We need to get this done and over with and it is only going to happen if Quadra Islanders make it happen. So, I am throwing the idea out there and hope that it will take hold within the contractor community. I am certain that it can be done and will be glad to facilitate a meeting if that is desired. The start time has now been moved to the spring since we missed the Sept. / Oct. window due to the unforeseen hold-ups. So, let’s just say it has not been a happy time for me as your Director. However, I am confident Quadra Island businesses will come through as they always do.”

I said this in the hope that we might get this work done locally without the nonsense we had to go through with the “bigger” companies on the big island. A meeting was arranged with some of our local contractors last Friday and we all met to discuss how we might proceed from here. I am pleased to see that there is a keen interest in making this happen. I left the meeting with a list of issues that I need to sort out with our staff at the SRD. I have already had the initial conversation and my comments were well received. I will now await the answers which I am hoping I will have by next week. We can then meet again (the locals) and start to formulate a plan. So I am feeling much better about the process and the possible outcome. This will be a major achievement for all of us if we can pull it off.

Union of BC Municipalities convention

The convention was busier than ever and I was attending as you Area C Director, The Chair of the Board and a UBCM Executive member. I also had to run again in the annual election of the Executive. So, I am sure you can imagine that there was never a dull moment.

I met with the representative of the Premier (she didn’t show up!) along with Minister Todd Stone and the Coastal Regional District Chairs Group. Our purpose was to try and get some idea where they are headed with our ferry issue, province wide. As was expected, they didn’t have a lot to tell us that was what we wanted to hear. In the end we did get a commitment from the Minister to form a working group with our group so as to try and find the solution that works for them while, at the same time giving us what we need: Reduced fares; restored service and re-introduction of ferries into the Ministry of Transportation!

As many of you may know, the Federal NDP issued a press release this afternoon saying that they will make ferries a federal election issue. I have spoken with other parties that are also going to do the same. As MP’s-in-waiting, it is their duty to bring our concerns to Ottawa.

Back to UBCM, i was able to meet I the Ministry of Health to discuss the needs of our seniors and bring them up to speed on our Local Area Plan and our “village concept” for the Cove, which will provide multi-generational housing for the island and “aging in place” for many seniors who have no desire to leave the island in their later years. I went over all of the documents I brought with me and left them with a pile of information to study and get back to me. My main request of them was for money! That is what we need right now to make all of this happen. So the conversation is begun and I will continue to hound them to help us get what we need.

Connectivity is on everyone’s agenda and many sessions were about this topic. We will hear about a new program this Wednesday at our Board meeting and will hopefully be able to apply for funding to get on with this. I will be meeting in Victoria in the near future with our Chief Administrative Officer and the appropriate parties to continue the dialogue that I have been having for a number of years. This is an SRD strategic priority now, so it will get some traction (I hope).

And, in case you didn’t see the press release, I did get re-elected to the Director at Large position on the UBCM Executive.

Seniors meeting/seminar

I had the pleasure of meeting with the two seniors groups on the island along with our two consultants to discuss the issues around getting the seniors (and other) housing implemented. We went on a tour of a number of properties to see the possibilities. We then met over a period of two days at the Fire Hall to discuss the needs and the possibilities and the next steps. This is an extremely major project and is taking up a lot of people’s time but in the end it will be well worth it. I am very excited by the energy and enthusiasm of the group. We are now exploring options that were discussed including how the SRD can continue to help out. More to follow.

Federal Election

I attended the federal election all-candidates meeting last Saturday night. It was good to see a packed Community Centre with people lined up at the mic to ask questions on a variety of topics. It was informative but far too short! We needed more time to be able to touch on so many subjects. It was a good exercise anyway and people did get a flavour of what each candidate was like and what their party’s views are. This is the last report prior to the actual election, so I want to wholeheartedly encourage everyone to get out and vote. Last election about 38% of the voters came out and they decided who would run this country. We need to do better than that folks! First time voters please take advantage of your democratic right to elect your government. That goes for everyone else also. I’ll see you there!

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