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General · 21st January 2016
Jim Abram
I am going to jump right in today as this is a UBCM week of meetings and I still have hundreds of pages to read in the next day. But first of all, I hope that all of you will take a break today to remember the amazing man that stood up in a tumultuous time and said "I have a dream!".. Martin Luther King. Don't ever forget what he has done for our world.

One topic that has monopolized my time almost as much as BC Ferries is connectivity: Internet, cell, data, etc.  It has been a royal pain in the back side. I’ll tell ya!..Well, pasted in for your action is a website with a short survey from the CRTC (the regulating body for all of the above). Please take a few minutes to fill out the survey and let them know that Govt. needs to step up to the plate and give us the same level of service that our urban neighbours get, without limits and at lower costs. This is your chance, so please just do it! The link is below along with the article.

Do you have an opinion about internet speed and pricing in Canada? Canada's telecom regulator wants to hear it.
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission is asking Canadians to  fill out a short online questionnaire on their use of telecommunications services, especially internet services, and their views on its regulation as part of its ongoing review of basic telecommunications services, it said in a news release today.
The review, launched in April 2015, is intended to determine:
• Which telecommunications services Canadians require to "participate meaningfully in the digital economy."
• What the CRTC's role should be in ensuring the availability of those basic services.
"As we look to the future of Canada's telecommunications needs, we are interested in hearing the views of Canadians from across the country, and especially those who do not have access to the technology they need in this digital era," said Jean-Pierre Blais, chairman and CEO of the CRTC, in a statement.
Some of the things the CRTC is interested in finding out about Canadians via the survey are:
• What telecom services do you have and which do you use the most? Do you expect that to change in five years?
• What kinds of activities do you use the internet for?
• What kinds of devices do you use to access the internet?
• How satisfied are you with your service?
• What factors are limiting your use of the internet?
• Do you think the government, market forces, or both should be responsible for ensuring a minimum standard for internet service?
• How similar should telecommunications prices be in urban and rural areas?
'Basic' doesn't include broadband yet
In addition to the survey, the CRTC is inviting people to submit comments online. It has already received 25,000.
You also have the option to request to appear at a public hearing on April 11 in Gatineau, Que.
The CRTC's current definition of basic services doesn't include broadband or high-speed internet, but does include an internet connection "via low-speed data transmission at local rates," along with:
• Touch-tone phone service.
• Access to calling features such as emergency services, voicemail, long distance calling and directory assistance and privacy protection features.
• A printed copy of the local phone book on request.
Its basic telecommunications services policy was established in 1999 and last reviewed in 2011.

Other issues (in no particular order)

So, I already mentioned that I have UBCM meetings this week for three days. Extremely intense but also extremely valuable to all of us as residents of this province. Dozens of issues will be discussed and  recommendations will be made. I can’t list any of it right now as it is confidential until the Executive has considered each one. More to follow….

The Dog Bylaw came before our committee last Wednesday and I asked for a deferral so that I can negotiate directly with the service provider for a very cheap price as opposed to what was proposed! I had my first conversation with the provider today and will meet in about a week. I’ll let you know how it looks after that.

The following week I will be attending the UBCM Electoral Area Directors Forum in Richmond and I will be presenting on issues of interest to our rural areas. Lots going on. 

We are in the process of selecting our new Chief Administrative Officer for the SRD and I chair the committee that is doing the selection. Interviews start next week. All highly confidential at this point. Hopefully we will get the right fit!

We just had a really ugly Comox Valley Regional District Solid Waste meeting to discuss the budget. Things are totally out of hand and I voted against all items on principal. The budget will pass anyway, since the CVRD directors “outweigh” us in voting power. Ain’t democracy grand! So that means an increase on your tax bills to pay for the landfill closures and the construction of new landfills in Campbell River and Comox Valley. It was not a fun day, I’ll tell you!

I am sorry to be so brief this report, but I am holding up production! 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  or by mail at Box 278 in the Cove, V0P 1N0… or on Facebook at…. 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