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General · 5th March 2016
Jim Abram
A Leap Year Report.. maybe the first one I have ever done! Lots on the go and I will try to keep it short so as to not bore you with the details. At the end of every report I post all of my contact info and yet I still get many calls every week on my home phone from people that say they couldn’t find my contacts. So how about if we try this; I will post the usual ending of my report right here! "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!”

I hope you will still read my report! Riveting news from Area C!

Incomplete news from SRD

My first item has to do with senior staff at the SRD speaking to the media about items on our agendas that are really big issues in our area. They are speaking from a staff perspective with their reports in front of them without the benefit of having the political information they need to complete the story. I mentioned in my last report that I would be meeting with Peter Fassbender, our Minister responsible for local government. This meeting was arranged to deal with our ferry issues along with those of my colleagues on the Coastal Regional District Chairs Group, on which I am the SRD representative. I also talked with the Minister about some of the advocacy issues I would like him to take on as our advocate to other Ministers and Cabinet. Well, the two issues reported in the CR Mirror about the Q. Cove Sewer grant and the Seismic Upgrade grant for our Community Centre were both incomplete in the quotes given since my meeting had not taken place yet.

I can tell you that the Minister and his most senior staff met with me and agreed that those two grants needed a second look as they seemed to fit the criteria perfectly. So we will be re-applying for both, hopefully with better results this time.Both are extremely beneficial to us and very important in order to move these projects along… There, I got that off my chest!

Connectivity

While on the topic of the meeting with the Minister, I will mention that we had a great discussion on the topic. He knows the same people whom I have been dealing with at places like Telus and Network BC and has agreed to give them a nudge regarding all of our issues and his staff will be looking into it on our behalf.

Ferries

Same meeting, one of the main topics!. Our Chairs group agreed a month ago to form a working group with the Minister of Transportation, Todd Stone, to try and solve our ferry “dilemma” (fiasco?). In the mean time I went with two of the Chairs to meet with the full assembly of the First Nations Summit and, as I have already reported before, passed a resolution to work together on issues of mutual concern.Well, this will be one of them. We will be inviting them to join us at the table of the working group. Surprise, Minister Stone! The interesting part of the recent discussion was that Minister Fassbender thought that this movement by Min. Todd Stone was a very positive step and showed that they are looking for solutions. Well, we have those (solutions) and have stated them loudly and clearly for at least two years and they are still in the media almost daily. Fassbender encouraged us to take part and make the most of it and agreed that he knows Min. Stone well and will do his best to advocate our position to him regarding the effects on our communities. He will also being applying that friendly “nudge” in this situation. This meeting could not have gone better

Sewer, Local Area Plan and Seniors Housing

All of these topics were talked about together since they all have a common thread because they are located in the Cove. I made copies of all reports on all of the above topics to leave with the Minister and staff. They were quite impressed with the preparation. Hope it means something in the end! I explained what we are trying to do with the Local Area Plan and the Seniors and other age groups with regard to housing, sustainable communities, walkable communities, etc. It was very invigorating to say all the things that our community has done in the past few years and to let them know that we are almost there and just need some extra support. I was shameless in my requests for help, guidance and funding! I had their ear and I was not going to waste the opportunity.

Community Centre Seismic Issue

No one was more surprised than I was when we did not receive our grant for the Seismic upgrade that the Province was requiring! It was targeted to community buildings that are large capacity and are also designated as the Emergency Reception Centre for the area. Seemed like a perfect fit but we didn’t get it. So, another crusade became necessary! And it went right to this meeting that I have been talking about. Due to the meeting, the staff are going to accept our re-application and give it some more serious consideration. This grant was through the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, so it does not surprise me that we might have been overlooked since they also deal with ferries! Hmmmmm!

So, now on to other topics outside of the meeting with Minister Fassbender.

Meeting with Minister Stone

Our Coastal Chairs Group has been notified that we will get our meeting with the Minister before the end of this month. We are negotiating on a date that we can all make. Everyone’s calendar is so full that it is getting to be nearly impossible to squeeze in anything else. It seems that the more technology we embrace, the less time we have and the faster we are required to go. And I do mean required. You snooze, you lose!

Shoreline Accesses

As I stated in a number of reports, 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 whether 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.

The interesting thing that I have to report, is that now we not only have a person back on staff to deal with the last bit of work that needs to be done, but she was previously our Highways Area Manager! Her first assignment is to complete the shoreline accesses for Area C! This will be a true asset to Quadra. We are surrounded by water, have accesses in place, but people just don’t know where they are! This work was slowed by the shuffling of staff at the SRD office and is now back on track and will hopefully be completed very soon.

Dog Bylaw update

I updated you last report and will not repeat what I said then. I will just note that I have received many phone calls and emails from people in support of this initiative and they have been encouraging me to get on with it. The SRD is doing just that and I will keep you informed as they move along.

Budget and Work Plan

As reported in past reports, we are continuing the many months-long process of planning for the next five years, with the concentration on the next year. The budget gets reviewed annually and can change from year to year even though it is a five year plan by legislation. I will say that we are the busiest electoral area in the region and have many projects on the go and proposed. As they are finalized in the planning processes you will see them listed on our website. Every day is exciting. I get ideas coming at me from the community and I put forward the things that I know need doing. Never a dull moment. Our staff are struggling to keep up, but are doing their best. I am not even going to try and list the projects at this time. Maybe next report!

Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) selection

As you must all know, our CAO left the SRD for a higher profile job with the Islands Trust based in Victoria. So the Board selected a committee of which I am the Chair, to work with a consultant to go through the process of reviewing all of the applications (around 50) for the position and to come up with a shortlist of six and then narrow it down to one to present to the Board. We have had about six or eight meetings and have selected a person for the job. We are in the final process of getting him in place and then hopefully we can get back to business and move forward. It was very unfortunate timing as budget was proceeding and a number of projects (like Q.Cove sewer) were left hanging. So, onward!

Other meetings / issues

Our Ferry Advisory Committee had another frustrating meeting with the staff from BCFS concerning ferry shut downs due to “staff shortages” and of course our ongoing issue of lack of after hour (night) emergency sailings. Was anything resolved? Well, everything got put on the table. Will BCFS do anything about it? We’ll see.

I have done numerous media interviews on radio and in print regarding ferries and pay parking at our hospitals, which I adamantly oppose. More on that as we get more answers. I have put motions through our Board and the Hospital Board to the Ministers responsible, our MLA, our MP, the Health Authority, etc, etc.

I have got to stop here. If you have not stopped reading by now, you should have! And now I will repeat my usual closing just in case you missed it up top of this report. Happy Leap 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,