Hope you all had a great Remembrance Day this past Saturday – to honour those that gave their lives for us in the past so that we may have the present that we are enjoying.Frederick Arm clean up
I am sure that many of you have already seen the coverage of this in our SRD news release and in the ad placed by Rupert Gale (formerly of Quadra!) in local media.
This was such an incredible act of collaboration by so many parties including two Regional Districts, a Provincial Ministry, the community of Stuart Island and many, many business people and others. I cannot thank Rupert Gale enough for all that he did to rally his friends on Stuart Island to donate and put in a lot of in-kind time and equipment. I would also like to thank Dan Smallacombe of the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) for the support he and his ministry gave, both financially and otherwise. This was a massive undertaking involving removing over 600 tons of debris from the marine and foreshore environment of our beloved Area C. I was glad to be able to help and am very proud of my community for taking this on.Minister’s meetings in Victoria
I have just returned from three days of intensive lobbying on your behalf in Victoria and two more days of representing you at the DFO forum on the Oceans Implementation Plan meeting in Vancouver. This is the plan that is dealing with, amongst other things, derelict vessels! We will actually have somewhere to go to deal with one of our favourite topics! They are admitting some responsibility and are willing to throw some of that $1.5 Billion dollars that the Feds gave to this coast earlier this year at this problem. Yahoo!
The Minister meetings went on from Monday through Wednesday and were basically back to back. I now know the Legislature even better than I did before and climbed the many, many stairways many times during my visit. I not only met with Ministers but I met with MLA’s of all party stripes to ensure that they are aware of our program to “Connect to Innovate” so that we can get the province to vote together to make this work. The Feds are on board, the Province is on board and the CRTC is being very positive. Now we just need the bucks so we can get started with the most innovative internet and cell service in the province. Of course they all got “The Ferry” briefing also!
I met with the Minster of Transportation (and our MLA) to talk about the ferries and roads. You know, our abysmal roads that most everyone has called me about at some time or other.???? I also brought three new points to Claire's list of ferry asks, being: bring back our old schedule to its original form, extend the seniors' discount days to seven days per week so seniors will stop being discriminated against and lastly, to bring in some sort of discount for our young people who are having a hard enough time living as it is without being gouged by BC Ferries. I am sure it can be done if there is a will to do it.
I met with our Minister for Municipal Affairs, Selina Robinson, to make sure that she is willing to provide a sponsored “free’ Crown Grant for the two school properties that we have been trying to get for so many years. One is on Stuart Island and one is on Quadra Island. She is ready to sign as soon as the paper is put in front of her. The second part of that is that I am trying to get a water lease on Read island (which is also Crown Land) and adjoins our Surge Narrows Community dock. This would give us way more room for moorage and save the heritage store on the shoreline. Once again, she said, give her the paper and she would sign it. All for free, mind you.
Now these two items that I just mentioned have to go through two other Ministries and Ministers prior to being passed on. So I went and met with the Minister of Education, Rob Fleming, and his staff to ensure that he would be passing along the recommendation on the first two school properties. He awaits with pen in hand ready to sign.
The third ministry and Minster involved in this long process is FLNRO and Minister Doug Donaldson. So I made an appointment after three days of trying and got two meetings with him, one of them with the Minister of Education invited in to the meeting. And once again, he is just waiting for the paper work to get passed along. I have since then had emails and calls from his staff making sure that I have the right forms and offering any assistance that might be needed. This was all so incredible.
And as I mentioned I met with other MLA’s, on all sides of the house to insure that they support our initiatives when they come up. One of them was Nicholas Simons, from the Sunshine Coast. He has been an adamant defender of our ferry wishes and he is ready to do his part. I also met with Adam Olsen, one of the three Green Party members who are helping to form this Government. He is extremely onside with us.
The Opposition MLA’s whom I met with were all people I have known for many years and were willing to support the Government in these initiatives. Just thought a little back up could never hurt.
As you can imagine, this was so fast and furious that I was exhausted by the end of the third day but it was so worth it. In person is always so much better, plus I got to meet the staff that keep these folks working at our issues. That is always a golden opportunity.
I am going to cut it short at this point. More news in my next report. Stay tuned.
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!
Director, Discovery Islands-Mainland inlets, Area C, SRD