What a beautiful snowy start to the day! It has been quite the week with some very productive meetings pretty much every day since my last report!
I mentioned in my last report that I was contacted by a Senator asking for help in the way of writing a brief describing the gaps in safety services on our coast. “Piece of cake”, I thought!. I finally stopped myself 21 pages later and sent it off to her that night. She delivered it to the House the next day and will now be seeking approval to bring a Senate Committee to the west coast to see the situation for herself. This is what happened a few months before we won the Lightstation battle in 2011 !
In the meantime I got word that Triangle Light at the entrance to Prince Rupert Harbour was about to be destaffed by CCG bureaucrats. I went straight to the top (the PM, a number of Ministers, etc.) and started a campaign to stop this insanity. I also used social media to spread the word and get people to write. The Govt. was flooded! Thank you for the hundreds of responses including those from many people from this area… The very next day I got an email and then a call from the Assistant Deputy Minister letting me know that the CCG would not be allowed to do any destaffing (translation: “Please call off the dogs!”). So within 3 days, things were back to normal and your lightstations are once again safe from their employers (CCG)!
I mentioned going to Nanaimo to get funding for the seismic upgrade to the Quadra Island Community Centre since it is our Emergency Response Reception Centre. The Minister had gathered his team from Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo and we had a great meeting. While I did not walk out the door holding the large cardboard cheque for half a million dollars, I did get the assurance that there will be more money coming in the spring and we will be “on the list”… So let’s see how that works out.
One of the meetings I organized with the Ministry of Forestry, Lands and Natural Resource Operations staff and the communities from Stuart Island and Surge Narrows along with the senior staff of the SRD had to do with a “derelict structure” (hard to describe it so I have included the photo below). It is at the mouth of Frederick Arm, near some Protected Areas, a great tourism area and not far from the community on Stuart Island.
We had a great three hour meeting on a stormy day at the QICC with everyone leaving with a plan in their heads as how to move forward.
We also met at that same meeting on topic number two which is the lease at Surge Narrows adjacent to the SRD lease that is the Surge Narrows Wharf on Read Island. This too went very well with super cooperation from the ministry. I must say, I am not used to getting such incredible cooperation from the province, but the officer that was there is extremely savvy and understanding.
The third part of the meeting was to do with the Park at Hoskyn Channel and the facilities that are there (wharf, ramp, float and road end.) There has been some confusion over who does what at this facility since we have all new staff at the SRD since its inception. So those of us attending who were also there when it was built had to bring staff up to speed and agree upon a Memorandum of Understanding to take care of the facility at next to no cost to anyone! Lots of volunteer time and labour went into this facility and continue to at this time. That needed to be recognized and the fact that “govt.” doesn’t just need to go out and spend money on things when the community is capable of providing the service.
Another meeting on another day about a topic that has plagued us for the past two years is the work that needs doing (the ramp) at the Evans Bay Wharf. We met at the Cape Mudge Band office with the manager of the boat works, the senior SRD staff and members of the Read Island Access Society. We went over all of the problems, the delays, the restrictions and finally arrived at an agreement that will allow us to move ahead. In fact I just heard today that the contract has been modified, permission given and work begun! Now that is progress! Part two of this will follow in the near future (the float).
I will be meeting very soon with the Chief and Council of the Cape Mudge Band to discuss interest in joining the Q.Cove sewer system.This is all just a preliminary conversation but would be a boon to the Band and to the people that are paying the annual operating fee.. the more people on the system, the lower the annual cost.
The Request for Proposals will be issued before Christmas for the Q. Cove Sewer Expansion project. Then it will be about a month before it is awarded and then as soon as the weather allows it, the work will start!…
We are in the process of budget setting right now and one of the items was the annual user fee for the sewer. It was looking like it might have to go up but I asked senior staff to go through it line by line and see what items could be pulled out and funded through other means. They found two items that amounted to about $20,000 which was a sight for my sore eyes (that is a big % in this budget). That amendment will happen this Thursday at our Board meeting. I am relieved and proud of staff for doing as asked.
So, all in all, it has been a pretty good two weeks. Better stop here before something bad happens! Please follow me on FaceBook for information between reports. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It takes up so much of my time! Anyway, feel free to contact me between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 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!