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General · 3rd December 2015
Jim Abram
Shipping Container Bylaw (Not)
The moment you have all been waiting for! I can speak! The Public Hearing on shipping containers has been dealt with by the Board and is now public knowledge, so I can talk about it. It was brought before the Board after the Public hearing in the standard format to give it third reading and final adoption. It is then up to the Directors to decide how to vote on those recommendations. It was pretty clear from the public input that the only vote was a NO vote to giving it third reading and that is what it got. It was defeated. Dead! So once this happens the final adoption recommendation just disappears. So the issue is dead. There will be no prohibition in the proposed zones. There will still be a requirement as there always was, for a siting permit for the larger containers on any property to insure they do not interfere with other requirements of the zone. Any use as a dwelling will require Building Code requirements just like we are all required to follow at this time. Other than that, I was pleased to see a very respectful, constructive public hearing and thank you for that. Your voices were heard and the system does work.

School District issues
There has been a lot of media and email traffic about the plans that the School District has released to the public. Unfortunately, the notification was very late in the process and the time period for comment was very short. This was due to School District timing that they needed to meet, but in hindsight it is my opinion, that is what caused most of the current situation. As you have demonstrated many times as a community, you want to be consulted. The plan that was released seemed to have very little input but possibly a very large impact on our area. Hence the huge response. I am sure that most of you have read something about the issue in the media and know that there is a phased approach to school reorganization, for lack of a better word. Phase one basically concerned Campbell River schools, but Phase Two was to look at all aspects of “rural schools” (Quadra, Surge Narrows, Cortes and Sayward). People felt that there was a serious lack of consultation built into the rural plan and they reacted. I am not going to try and recount it all here, but will hit a couple of highlights. The Parent Advisory Council (PAC) met and had a discussion and then met with me and we had more discussion and by the time you read this will have met again for more discussion with the broader community. They have also met with our School Trustee. I have taken the issue to the SRD Board and written to the School Board to ask that they defer the decision on any recommendations until the beginning of January. I have now also written to the School Board to ask an even more moderate request that they amend the recommendations to include comprehensive consultation with the communities and the local govt. That will be considered at their Dec. 8th meeting which many people plan to attend. If they adopt that direction then I think that our community will be fine and we will lose nothing and the School District will gain from the input of constituents. So it could be a win / win situation. I am hoping so. We are one community and we all have the best interests of our kids and our community in mind. I know that I will do my best to make things work as will our trustee, Susan Wilson and the PAC. So let’s see what happens on Dec. 8th and go from there.

End-of-year SRD Chair’s Report
As the Chair of the Board, it is incumbent on me to report back to the Board and the regional community what I have done in the past year on everyone’s behalf. I presented that report at the Nov. 26th Board meeting and I am attaching it to this report for your information. (Click on 'attachments' at the end of the article.)

I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of leading this organization for the past two years. Advocacy is what I do, whether it be for Area C or for the entire SRD. Media was also high on the priority list and pretty much went on all year. Whether I am elected Chair for another term at our December meeting is yet to be determined. Either way, my goal is to work as hard as I can on behalf of my constituents, locally, provincially and federally.

I have an incredible number of people to meet with before Christmas to try and get some things done that need doing, locally, provincially and federally! These are exciting times. I have formed a couple of really good relationships at the provincial level that have committed to advancing some of our projects and I have also had the pleasure of working with some of the new Liberal MP’s on issues of importance to the coast. I will be telling you all about that in the new year.

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