Island News & Views
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General · 19th June 2018
Jim Abram
Unfortunately, I was unable to post a report last time since I was at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Meeting in Halifax. The FCM is the national body of local governments and is over 2,000 local governments strong. With the Federal Election coming up in 2019 it is very important to make sure that our local government agenda is on their radar. Much of the grant funding and ongoing program funding that we receive as local governments comes from the Feds. It was a very intense five days but very productive. It is amazing how similar many of our issues are right across the country and it is always interesting to find out creative ways that others have solved those same issues.

Public Hearings
By the time you read this report there will have been three public hearings in a row - June 19, Quadra Links; June 20, Swanson and also June 20, Mallice. All of them have been advertised prior to this and we will make decisions based on all of the information received, in the following weeks and I will keep you informed.

Campbell River news coverage
In reading the past two issues of the Mirror, I cannot believe the amount of accurate coverage they have been giving Area C issues and SRD issues in general. A new reporter has been assigned to the SRD and I was really impressed to see all the coverage! The thing that really struck me was how busy we really are in our area. I know that as your director, but when you read it from a third party it seems to really hit home. So If you miss anything in our local media, have a quick look at the Mirror just to catch up on issues. You will always get the best coverage locally, of course!

Stuart Island Community Association AGM
I will be attending this group's Annual General Meeting June 21st, to discuss the latest progress on our acquisition of the School District parcel that they are divesting. The Community Association wants it and we have been working for a very long time to make this happen. We are almost there! We have jumped through all the hoops and are just awaiting the final documentation to arrive. We are also seeking transfer of the water lease to the SRD that adjoins the upland property. This will be a wonderful addition to the Stuart Island Community and I am looking forward to it finally being finished. Fingers crossed!

Surge Narrows water lease and upland property
Another issue that has been working its way through the provincial bureaucracy is the expansion of the water lease at Surge Narrows on Read Island. This area is needed to expand the public dock area at Surge Narrows The community is growing and this is good! We are also in the process of negotiating for the purchase of the upland property, but since this is a property purchase it is in confidence and I can’t give you any more than that at this time. The two acquisitions will be very beneficial to the community and its future.

Connect to Innovate
I posted the new website in the last issue ( www.connectedcoast.ca) and hope that you are following the progress. We are all-consumed with the this project to bring high speed fibre optic services to all of our communities. It has become an essential service and it has taken us a long time to convince the government of this fact.
We are in the process right now of setting up the corporation and the details, all of which are confidential at this time. But I think it is safe to say that it is happening. You have been asking for it and I have been working on it for decades and we are finally there. Your help has been invaluable. Lobbying for change at this scale is not easy, especially when there are major corporate giants that don’t really want to see change that could effect their service provision. But with your help, the lobby effort has ben successful. Check out that website for any new developments.

Some confusion
There were two issues that seemed to get a bit of play in the media and at the Board all due to miscommunication. The Fire Smart Grant that we were successful in getting from the Union of BC Municipalities and the communications tower on Heriot Bay Ridge. I believe it has all been straightened out. The Fire Smart issue was just a mater of how the money was going to be spent and there seemed to be too many cooks in the kitchen on that one. We now know that there will be ample programs to cover both the north and south of Quadra. As far as the communications tower was concerned, the confusion was around was it one or two towers. In the end it was all straightened out and it is clearly the same tower we have ben talking about all along for the past year. One tower, one location!.

Dog Bylaw
Finally! We have a date set for all of the involved parties to sit and meet in the same room to discuss what makes sense for Quadra and how can we make it work. The date is June 22nd in CR. I will let you know how that works out. It will still need to go to the people at a future date. This will be the preliminary meeting to try and set up a service.

Ferry news!
Hopefully you will have heard the latest from BC Ferries by now. Right now we are waiting on confirmation on one of the issues that we have been working on for far too long: getting our old schedule back! It looks like it might just happen! Also we should be hearing about whether it is one or two vessels for Quadra. TBA!!!! I guess I don’t really need to say how happy this makes me feel. Our lobbying at the BCFS level has been very effective and they have listened to our Ferry Advisory Committee and our local government. We are still working on the after hours sailings for medical emergencies and winning on that one also. We are the little community that could! As I have always said, local control of local issues and local involvement by the community are what is needed to get what we want.

Medical Clinic retention meeting
One last item. As you will have read in the last report and other articles, we are facing a crisis with our Quadra island Medical Clinic closing (not to be confused with Harbourside medical clinic). The public meeting was held on May 24th and work has been continuous since then by the ad hoc committee and myself. My part is to be contacting the senior managers at Island health and also the Minister and the ministry senior officials. Our combined task is to find a solution to keep our Nurse Practitioner and our Lab services and Our Mental Health services, along with replacement doctors if possible. The other doctors on the island are unable to take any more new patients and are working from a very small space. I am confident we will find a solution, but if asked to help out, please lend a hand as possible.

I am going to leave it there for now. 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