Let’s see how many times I write “2015”. It usually takes some getting used to when a new year begins!
We have a number of issues that will be dealt with this year and are already in the work plan for the SRD.
Q. Cove Sewer expansion
This issue has been going on for the past couple of years and we had one failed attempt at a Request for Proposals that had to go out to the contracting world to get bids on the job. When I say “failed”, what I mean is that the contractors on the “big island” were all working and consequently put in very high bids, none of which were acceptable to the the SRD. I had asked the SRD all along to try and keep the work local (Quadra Island) and they have now accepted that direction and are working with a consortium of our local contractors and will be reviewing their proposal very soon. If it is accepted, the work will begin in early spring and will provide not only sewer services to 38 new properties but will provide much needed work for our residents.
During our most recent series of extreme weather events that brought an incredible amount of rain, wind and lots of snow, many concerns were expressed to me about the care we were receiving from the Ministry of Transportation and their contractor, Emcon Services. I was fielding calls and emails all through the event. I was also passing them on to the appropriate people and went out and drove all over our island to see for myself what the situation was like. It was indeed bad. Our local workers were doing their best to keep up but with limited staff they really had no chance of staying ahead of the snowfall. I know they tried, because I was out there talking to them. I sent emails to the top Emcon supervisors in Cumberland and to our area manager for the Ministry of Transportation. My day started today with return calls from those people to try and explain what we should be willing to accept under the circumstances. After hours on the phone with the two of them, some changes will be suggested at both Highways and at Emcon that may help out the next time. In the meantime I want all of you to know, that I am always here for you no matter whose actual jurisdiction the issue belongs to. However there are some things you can do to help us all. Please contact the parties that are also really responsible and tell them what the problem is.
Firstly, for any road issues, call the toll free number that will get your call directly to the workers, relayed by radio. It is: 1-866-353-3136 According to Emcon, this is the number they want everyone to use.
Secondly, you can call the General Manager in Cumberland, Stuart, at: 1-250-336-8897- ext.246, or you can call our Quadra works yard at 250-285-3524
Thirdly, you can call our Area Manager for the Ministry of Transportation in Courtenay at: 1- (250) 334-6951 or email her at Tallina.McRaegov.bc.ca
Lastly, you can contact our local MLA at Claire.trevena.mlaleg.bc.ca or by phone in the Campbell River office: 250 287 5100 or toll free at 1 866 387 5100. It is her role to approach the Provincial government and let them know that the funding for Highways on the North Island is woefully inadequate. Highways only has so much money in their budget to get our work done locally. They need more. I too will be approaching the Minister to make the same request.
School District surplus properties.
The School District is looking at divesting itself of some surplus pieces of land that will no longer be used for school purposes. As the SRD we have been in discussions for the past few years over a very small piece on Stuart Island that will be a great addition to our community facilities there. Our negotiations were unsuccessful in the past due to provincial policies regarding asking price. I have formally requested of the School District senior staff that they meet with me and our staff to reopen these discussions. There is also a piece in Heriot Bay that we would like to look at. it is my opinion that we need to keep as much property in the public domain as possible. Those meetings are being arranged as we “speak”.
Dog Bylaw discussions
This issue has been before us for the past couple of years supported by the Q. I. Safety council and two successive Corporals at the RCMP. It was my wish to draw up a very minimalist bylaw to address mainly the issues around vicious dogs and to give the RCMP the tools they were requesting to deal with these dogs. This issue came from the community and has come from so many individuals that have been victims of attacks on their pets, livestock or themselves, that it seemed reasonable to investigate the possibility. The staff drew up a very comprehensive bylaw which I did not feel was necessary for our area. They have now come up with a very modest approach that will deal with the issue and will not be overkill. I have requested, through staff, that we meet with the providers of the service in Campbell River so we can do this on a fee for service basis and keep it cheap and only when needed. So that will be coming up in the next months. I had always thought that no one on Quadra wanted a dog bylaw, but the requests to have one are coming from pet owners: people who love dogs and others. So, this will be back before you again.
I am continuing to work with the parks planners at the SRD and with the Ministry to map the beach accesses on our island. Once mapped, we will be looking at if any of them need to be marked so people will know where to access the water. Quite a few are in daily use and are even maintained by Emcon in their regular maintenance. This will be a true asset to Quadra and will make it clear where people should and should not go to access the water, so as to avoid conflicts in the future. We are surrounded by water, have accesses in place, but people just don’t know where they are! Hopefully this will help.
So ends my first report for 2016! 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!