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General · 13th March 2018
Jim Abram
This beautiful, sunny day (Saturday the 10th) has given me new energy and focus. This might be a long report (like the last one), but there is a lot to tell you about, so hopefully you will bear with me.

Sewer project update (tease)
I might as well start this with something to pique your interest! I am not allowed to divulge the details yet, but I can tell you that the Q. Cove sewer area folks are going to be very happy in the coming weeks. More to follow for sure!

Integrated Community Sustainability Plan for Area C (ICSP)
You will see elsewhere, in the pages that follow, a press release from the SRD about the above. Right now in Area C we have an excellent Official Community Plan for Quadra Island along with a zoning bylaw over the land and the water, but that is about it. There is a Rural Land Use Plan from the early ’ 0's that covers a large portion of the Outer Islands and parts of coastal Area C along the mainland inlets, but only blanket zoning that covers the rest of the area. The creation and implementation of this Area C ICSP will be the first plan to focus on the entirety of the area. This living plan will focus on the community’s values, identify specific community goals and guide future activities to sustain social, economic, and environmental values. The first step in the development of the plan will be to engage with Area C residents.
We will be engaging with residents and community associations across Electoral Area C to ensure we are developing a plan that is right for the region now, and well into the future. The plan will not only identify and set goals and provide strategies to achieve these goals, it will set measurable targets and methods for tracking results to celebrate progress and identify opportunities for improvement.

Due to previous funding constraints,this will be the first opportunity we have had to undertake such a project. I applaud the SRD staff for their work in applying for this money and following through with it. Now the work will begin and I believe it will be a $70,000 grant well spent.

School District properties divestiture update
As mentioned in numerous previous reports, we are applying for two properties no longer needed for school purpose, to be used for community purposes. One is on Stuart Island and is home to the Community Association building and wharf. The other is on Quadra and was the pre-school property and is currently vacant. We will be asking for a sponsored free crown grant for both pieces.

The process has been slow and has included two visits to three Ministers in Victoria and numerous calls and emails between their staff and myself and SRD staff. I believe we are pretty much nearing the end of the back and forth process and I am looking forward to a successful conclusion.

Related, but not actually part of the same process, is the water lease at Stuart Island associated with the upland SD property. The BC Govt. decided to change the classification of the tenure from “community / institutional” to “commercial”. The nominal rent status of $500 per year jumped to $18,000 per year. I have gone through the criteria documents and feel that the change was unjustified. They meet every single criteria. It is now being reviewed at the district and Minister’s level at my request. I hope for a satisfactory outcome in the way of a reversal of the classification.

Surge Narrows water lot lease update
The water lease immediately adjacent to the SRD community wharf has been suspended and the upland property is for sale. I have been involved in negotiations with the ministry of Forest, Lands and natural Resource Operations and Resource Development (FLNRORD) and our staff and the Minister’s office to try and secure this much needed lease so we will have room for expansion of the already stressed wharf at Surge Narrows. The community is growing and needs the room to do so. We are looking at subdividing a portion of the upland for the purposes of meeting the requirements of the lease. It can only be allocated to the upland owner. So that needs to be the SRD. The land owners and the SRD staff and legal will be meeting with me on the 19th to try and get this all settled. It is extremely convoluted.

Community pathway along Harper Rd.
This project is alive and well! It took a really long time for staff to get agreement from each of the property owners along the route which will go from the Q. Cove Centre all the way to Aroma and will be off of the road on the east side of the ditch, will allow for safe transit by foot, bike, stroller or whatever! It will have a compact surface and will be landscaped. We have had a generous offer from one of our long time contractors on the island to clear out the path and I am still in conversation with some of the rock products suppliers to see what we can work out in the way of supply of materials to build up the path to the desired level. We also have funding in place from the SRD to complete the project. This was identified as a very important item in the Q. Cove Village Plan and we are going to see it through.

Mt. Seymour Recreation Area proposal
We received the long awaited report on this proposal to create some sort of recreation area in the Mt. Seymour area. We received a $10,000 planning grant to hire a consultant to work with staff and the community to study the idea and come forward with recommendations. I am attaching a link for you to go to if you wish to read the short staff report and the full consultant’s report. it is too long to include here. Depending on community wishes we will decide on a direction to proceed (or not). Here is the link to the SRD specific site: https://agenda.strathconard.ca/SRDAttachments/SRDCommittees/Open/EAS/07-Mar-18/20180301-Mt-Seymour-Recreation-Area---Scoping-Plan.pdf

Swanson family proposed re-designation and re-zoning
The Swanson family has proposed to subdivide their property next to and across from Camp Homewood due to a road (West Rd.) cutting a piece of it off on the east side of the road.

The Executive summary as presented to us at the SRD Committee is as follows:

The 3.60-hectare subject parcel (shown on Map 1 attached) is located at 1277 West Road, on Quadra Island, with the road physically separating the parcel into two portions. The applicant proposes to use this physical separation line to create two separate titles as shown on the proposed subdivision plan (attached):
a proposed Lot 1, which is the small, vacant portion, located on the east side of West Road.

a proposed remainder, which is the larger portion to the west of West Road that will accommodate the two existing houses, shop and barn.

The subject parcel is currently split-designated Rural/Silviculture and zoned Rural One (RU-1). To facilitate the proposed subdivision and allow for the construction of a single-family dwelling (for a family member) on the proposed Lot 1, the applicant applied for the following bylaw map amendments:

• Re-designate the subject parcel from Silviculture to Country Residential for Proposed Lot 1 and from Rural to Rural Residential for the proposed remainder

Rezone the subject parcel from Rural One (RU-i) to Country Residential Two (CR-2) for Proposed Lot i and from Rural One (RU-i) to Rural Two (RU-2) for the proposed remainder.

This will, of course, require the usual community input and a public hearing. (Date to be determined). I will keep you informed.

Residential Subdivision next to the Golf Course
The SRD received a request for a refund of the fees paid for the Quadra Links previous proposal. Due to the fact that there were some difficulties with being able to process the application due to conflicting opinions between staff and our lawyer, the proposal ended up being defeated as presented. Quadra Links were told that they would be required to apply for an OCP amendment and and zoning amendment in order to have the proposal considered by the community. They had already paid $4,500 for the first application which did not proceed and it was felt by the staff and directors that since some of the problems were due to the SRD handling of the application, that the fees should be refunded and a new set of fees paid for the new application which now meets all requirements of the process. The motion passed and they will receive a refund and they have already paid for the new application.

The two bylaws will now be considered concurrently, as is the usual practice, and be brought forward for further readings, at least one, if not more, public engagement sessions and ultimately to public hearing.

Please be clear that although this application is being proposed by the owners of the golf course, it has nothing to do with the golf course and has been properly cut off from that property and zoning by a subdivision application. This is an application for a residential subdivision with appropriate amenities for consideration of the community. It will be at least a couple of months before it will be considered for public hearing.

The full staff report dealing with the proposal and the consultation process that the Board must follow is attached here: https://agenda.strathconard.ca/SRDAttachments/SRDCommittees/Open/EAS/07-Mar-18/20180226-Bylaws-No_-350-_-306-Consultation-Process-_Quadra-Links_.pdf

BC Ferries good news
As has been mentioned in previous reports, I have been meeting with the CEO of BC Ferries in Victoria along with some of his senior staff regarding reinstatement of after-hours ambulance runs, crewing issues and a return to our old schedule. Due to those meetings, the BC Ferries Board has met with the The BC Ambulance Board and with their senior ship’s crews and have announced at our Ferry Advisor Committee(FAC) just yesterday that they have come to a solution and are 95% sure that it will be in place by the end of this month (the ambulance run re-instatement). This is a huge benefit to this community and no longer deter people form moving to Quadra due to limited medical care at night. As you can imagine, I am extremely pleased and have to commend the BCFS staff for taking our issue seriously. The FAC has also been pushing for these same issues for some time. The scheduling issue is still being discussed and I am providing them rationale for the return to our old schedule.

One of the other issues that we spent a lot of time on at the FAC level was the un-listing of the phone number for the Campbell River toll Booth. This has been there as long as I have lived on Quadra and it is used sparingly by people needing important information. The explanation had to do with “standardization of policies” and not bothering the staff in the booth. I can understand the latter, but there are many simple solutions to that problem. I cannot understand the former. One size does not fit all. Our terminal and our needs are unique as all of the other islands are unique and that should be recognized by BCFS in my opinion and that of the FAC.

On another note regarding BCFS, I will be traveling to Victoria tomorrow for the presentation of the 16,000+ signature petition to the Premier and the Legislature asking that BCFS be returned to the Ministry of Transportation, where it first came from, and that it be considered part of the transportation infrastructure and funded accordingly. This petition started a few days before Christmas and has certainly done well in a very short time. It will be presented by Adam Olsen on behalf of the Green Party caucus. Their election platform supported this direction. We will do media afterwards. I assume that it will be well received by Govt. since both the Premier and our MLA supported the premise during the election.

SRD Budget and others!
We are nearing the final adoption of our annual budget (financial plan) and I can tell you that we should see a reduction in taxation for the SRD portion of the taxes. I have not yet seen a breakdown of what will happen with your Fire protection taxes (not within the SRD amount) nor can I give you the final breakdown of the Comox Valley Waste Management taxes (which I voted against), nor the Hospital District taxes (which I voted against). The SRD has no control over Fire Protection and I voted against the Waste Management and Hospital proposals due to the fact that I felt they were excessive. I will hopefully have the final breakdowns by next report. Tax bills are always so difficult to predict. It depends on assessments. If your assessments went up, so will your taxes. If they went down, so will your taxes. That is the general rule, but even it is not infallible. We will have a better read on this by the end of the month.

External appointments of the Board
I have attended a two day forum on Marine Protected Areas held by the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans in Vancouver and also the Marine Area Planning Process two day meeting in Campbell River. Both were incredibly productive and reports will follow at a later date. I will also be attending a two day meeting of the Oceans Protection Planning process for two days near the end of the month. This is the $1.5 Billion dollar plan to improve services on our coast.

Senate hearings - upcoming
I have been invited by the Senate to testify on Search and Rescue and other safety related issues in Ottawa. I was more than willing to do this but the time commitment was unreasonable for a two hour meeting. I asked if they would consider a video conference and they were more than willing to allow the appearance electronically. So, I am pleased that I will not have to miss this opportunity to improve services on our coast for our mariners and aviators.

Last but not least
The SRD was facing the end of their lease for the building that we occupy in Campbell River. Through much negotiation, staff were able to actually purchase the building at a lower cost than continuing to lease space and there was money left over to do some much needed renovations to the first floor. We will retain the second floor clients as revenue generation and create a great new space on the first floor for our Board room, which is extremely lacking. With possible new First Nations members joining the Board we are basically out of room where we are now. The new room will accommodate more seating for Directors and staff, more seating in the gallery and webcasting of all of our meetings to keep the public better informed.

In conclusion….
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!

Respectfully submitted,

Jim Abram
Director, Discovery Islands-Mainland inlets, Area C, SRD