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General · 3rd August 2016
Jim Abram
Hello to everyone on this beautiful July day! What a weird summer it has been so far with mixed showers, wind, cloud and sun! I am in a bit of a bind trying to write this report as I have hurt a disk in my my lower back… To the Doc’s tomorrow… So this really is a laptop report, since I cannot sit at a desk…. What I am going to d is just try and hit on the topics and fill in the details a bit later. (or you can just make them up and write my report for me !)

I just returned from 5 days in Vancouver at the Union of BC Municipalities meetings where we pretty much put together the upcoming convention in September and also the “Election Strategy” for the Provincial election in May. This is going to be where we get what we need for our ferry system or not. It is on the UBCM radar.

So, here we go:

Recycling is the first that comes to mind since you will probably see a news release in this same issue. The Comox Valley Regional district Solid Waste Committee, made up of both the SRD and CVRD, runs the program. I am totally unhappy with the direction but the SRD was unable to persuade the whole board to not make the changes that are coming. The contractors will be doing things differently. I managed to keep Mike Windrim employed, since he does such an incredible job for next to nothing, but one big change you will see region wide is they are not going to pick up glass. Stupidest thing I ever heard of when we are trying to reduce the amount of material that goes into the landfill. Your glass now either has to go to the depot in CR or it goes into the landfill in your bags that you pay for. We used to crush it and use it as cover material at the landfill. Ashes to ashes (sand to sand) and all that.. but not anymore. Plus they insist on mixing the loads of clean sorted items from Quadra, taking them south and resorting them by hand. Another really stupid choice by the contractor. This was one issue that I felt needed a bit of expansion. I have battled with them for at least two years and kept things the same, but now they are just going ahead with the program. Please send any comments you might have to "Debra Oakman, CAO, Comox Valley RD" . She is he Chief Administrative Officer for the CVRD.

Another great idea by some of my colleagues: We seem to have lost the battle with the Minister over pay parking at the new hospitals (for now !). Some of my creative colleagues have suggested just putting it on taxes! (which I am adamantly opposed to). I mean, why not tax us to pay our 40% of the total cost of the hospitals for the “construction, operation and maintenance” and then TAX us again in the amount of about one million dollars to maintain the parking lots! Absurd.

And speaking of parking, I guess you noticed that the parking at the Cove in the Harbour Authority parking lot is now three dollars instead of two dollars. The Harbour Authority would be your contact on that one. They raised it and are in charge of it.

And let’s not leave out the other “parking” issue on the CR side. The Tyee Plaza was built on filled Crown Foreshore many yeas ago and the legal documents are very clear that the covenant says it is for “public parking”. But, no, the owners of the Discovery Inn want most of it to develop some more ugly buildings in CR right in front of the Art Gallery and Spirit Square and they want the covenant removed and the public use out the window. So ferry users, beware! Amazing what money and greed and connections can get one!

The Q. Cove Sewer issue is finally finished to the point that we can issue a Request for Proposals and have it functioning by next spring. I met with the minister and his top staff last week about the grant money we have applied for. It is looking good! Forty three more properties paying into the annual operating fund means less per user. That is what I have been working towards.

On the connectivity front, I have had meetings with both Telus and Shaw on the issue. Due to confidentiality I cannot discuss at this time, but we are moving along and I appreciate your patience (and mine!… I have terrible service!)

The Dog Bylaw is coming up soon, with only some minor details to be finalized by staff. Then it comes to us.

The Beach Access sign issue has had a few concerns from a few people but seems in general to be welcomed. It will be done tastefully and respectfully with your input.

Heriot Bay Road from the Spit to H. Bay continues to be a pain in the you-know-what. I have been working with the community, Emcon and the one with the jurisdiction, the Ministry of Transportation. We are looking at improvements to make it safer and this is coming from you, the public. I am the person facilitating the process.

I have had our Highways supervisor over a number of times to look at the condition of our roads. She is assessing what to do about it. More to come. Highways is also doing work on Read Island, North Rendezvous and possibly Sonora and Stuart Island.

We are getting closer to dealing with the purchase of the old school property on Stuart Island and have met with what seem to be very willing partners from the Province.

We have held Public Hearings at Surge Narrows and at Stuart Island in the last weeks

Still having lots of problems with the docks at Owen Bay (had a meeting on the dock with a huge contingent of the community and myself and our staff), Evans Bay and now Surge Narrows. Much of the grief revolves around Crown Lease issues on the water lots. Much confusion with records that are old and needs changing over time. It will all work out.

A huge gravel pit is proposed just outside our boundaries in Homfray Channel on the mainland. This will seriously impact our multi-million, eco-tourism, yachting tourism and aquaculture industries and is proposed by the same company that we can thank for the huge holes in Texada Island and Sechelt. And to top it off, none of the gravel is for our domestic use. So we get a huge scar on our landscape, the decimation of the local ecosystem, the destruction of our well established local industries and no jobs or product from the proposal. Here is the File number and the website info for you to look at: Here is the link to the public Crown Land file: http://arfd.gov.bc.ca/ApplicationPosting/viewpost.jsp?PostID=50037 Lehigh Hanson Homfray Channel #2411606

I have been looking at an area wide fire ban that would match our great fire department’s work in putting fire bans on and lifting them when safe. This was brought to my attention a couple of years ago when the province lifted its ban when the danger was still extreme! So hopefully we can get that in place asap so that the provincial regulations will be as stringent as our own.

Last but not least there has been a lot of “he said / she said” going on about the plans for this years Quadrapalooza Music Festival at the Community Centre. NEVER a dull moment. We are trying to work out a solution that works for everyone

Ok! So for a short report, that covers a lot of territory! This is what it is like all the time in local government these days, not to mention dealing with the dynamics at our actual Board table, which are not always good! I know I have mentioned some of these issues before, but they go on and on and evolve and I want to keep you up to date… So this is a portion of the work that comes before me, but it should give you a good overview of “a day in the life”.

I am stopping there.. Lots more to mention but I am sure I am starting to lose people. So more to follow next time…. Feel free to contact me between the hours of 8:30 am and 7:00 pm, Monday through Friday (please, not on weekends or holidays, 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