Island News & Views
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General · 9th October 2018
Jim Abram
I am pleased to have this time to work on issues for all of you rather than spending it campaigning. Thanks again for your support for me as your Director for the next four years. There’s plenty to do!

Seismic upgrade

As you already know we have been waiting for the seismic upgrades to be started at the QI Community Centre. I have said it before and I will continue to say it, we need to hire locally to make sure we have good jobs for Quadra Islanders. Well, The SRD just awarded the bid to do the seismic upgrading to J. Toelle Construction to do the work. I am very pleased and congratulate Marshall and Matt on their successful bid. The money to pay for it came from a grant from the Province that I secured two years ago, so it is not being funded from property taxes. And it is finally getting done! There will be more phases to follow.

Library
I was really pleased to have a conversation with our wonderful staff at the Quadra Island library about their suggestions and needs for better service for our public. I took those concerns to our Regional Board representative at the next SRD Board meeting and requested that we get Monday added as an “open" day. The suggested hours were 10am to 5pm. Our rep., Brenda Leigh, was open to the suggestion and took it to the Library Board meeting the following weekend. It is now officially requested and in their hands to decide. We pay a lot of taxes to the Vancouver Island Regional Library system and I want to see those taxes continually come back to our community. I am sure we will hear within the next month.

Esplanade Park
After lobbying to get the strip of land along the shoreline from the Heriot Bay wharf along the water to the west for many more years than I have been your Director and ever since then, we secured the lease from the Ministry of Transportation five years ago. We have been continually upgrading it and maintaining it as the Regional District and our five year lease was about to expire. We were offered another five years lease, which we accepted at last week’s Board meeting, but I want more! If the province can give out 30 year leases to commercial enterprises all over our region, I felt that we should get the same if not better as a local government, for the good of the people. I have requested that this be looked into and staff are dealing with it.

Connect to Innovate
As I have spoken about this topic many times in previous reports, I will just give you the quick update here.

The SRD needed to form a corporate body with its own Board to be able to operate this new entity. We have been working on that for months and it has all come together with the latest being that we have received our articles of incorporation and are now ready to seek out the best possible directors to run the corporation. This will in turn allow us to get busy and actually build the fibre optic undersea backbone cable that will connect to all of our communities. For me, this is a 20 year battle coming to fruition. We still have a way to go, but it is actually happening.

Telus service degradation
As I reported last report, we suddenly had even worse service than usual from Telus. I made my inquiries to the top manager in Victoria and he jumped right on it! After three visits to Quadra by their tech. teams, my contact in Victoria gave it the acid test and called me on my cell phone. The result: garbled voice and then (as if on cue) the call dropped. How timely was that!. So he sent up an antennae crew that climbed the Cantel tower to check the equipment. Minor tweaks were made. The next test that was made with my Victoria contact was marginally better. He then sent up another tower crew and they “found” some irregularities. They made adjustments and my next test with Victoria was perfect. I put out a call to some of the other people that had troubles and they also noticed the improvement. We are still investigating hoping that others will come forward with more info so I can pass it along. I am amazed and thankful at the level of service given to me by the District Manager. This is way below his pay grade, yet he took it on personally. We’ll see how things go into the future.

Senior staff meeting
I have arranged to have our Chief Administrative Officer come over to Quadra to meet with me on at least a dozen high-level projects that we have on the go that seem to have stalled due to staff changes and other reasons. I need to have our CAO understand the issues and insure that they are dealt with promptly. I hope to accomplish this on this coming Wednesday and get it all in writing.

Surge Narrows Community Assoc. AGM
I attended the AGM held on Read Island on Sept. 21st. Approx. sixty people were in attendance and we had a multi-hour discussion about all things related to the outer islands. I was able to deliver a number of good news stories regarding property purchase for park (community) purposes, a much needed water lease next to their current wharf, the preservation of the historic Surge Narrows Store and the Hoskyn Channel dock at the end of the road on Quadra. Lunch was provided and it was a very productive (and long) day.

Evens Bay Park Wharf
I have mentioned it before, but this is the official word: We finally cut the ribbon and had a mini-celebration with the community. I hope that everyone will at some time take the time to visit the wharf. It is an incredible facility which was paid for by Community Works Funds (gas tax) and Federal funds that were transferred when the old facility was divested by Transport Canada to the SRD. This was money well spent and I can’t thank the Read Island Access Society enough for all the work they put into this and all the volunteer hours by many people also.

OK.. That’s it for today! Feel free to contact me between the hours of 8:30 am and 4:30 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! Emails and phone messages received over the weekends or on holidays will be returned promptly in the next day or so afterward.

Respectfully submitted,

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