This will be my last report before Christmas, so I will take this opportunity to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday Season and a very great New Year! I hope that you get to spend time with family and friends and enjoy the time together when all else seems to slow down a bit.
I am looking forward to an extremely busy and productive new year with a number of long time projects being finally realized and some very exciting new ones coming up. It is going to be a great year! And we are going to make it happen together!Highways issues (some of them)
I know that Highways, etc., are the jurisdiction of the Province and your MLA, but I have been working closely with community members and with the Ministry of Transportation in Courtenay and have some success to report. The crossing at the school has become a real issue with people speeding, not stopping when kids and adults are in the crosswalk and running the two stop signs at Harper and Heriot Bay and West and Heriot Bay. This is just completely unacceptable and I went straight to the Managers at Highways in Courtenay. They are so very, very helpful. They sent up an engineer on Dec. 4th to assess the situation and I have been notified that they will be doing some immediate signage work and looking at a couple of options for the cross walk. I wanted you to know this and that Highways in Courtenay is cooperating fully. They deserve “kudos” from our community! And don’t think that I have not continued my lobby for proper shoulders and pathways. All in the works!Developments!
So, it has been a very exciting few weeks with a number of things taking place in the Q. Cove Village Plan Area and near Open Bay. I’ll list separately below.Q. Cove
I had a wonderful meeting with the land owner that just did the selective logging on Heriot Bay Rd. across from the West Road intersection. It is about six and one half acres and is in the Plan Area and the owner is very enthusiastic about putting some of the Plan ideas into practice. He also has a very cooperative neighbour that may also get involved. So, why am I excited about this? Well, we went through about 3 to 5 years of planning how to “densify" the Cove and provide some available and affordable housing and lots for both purchase and year-round rental. The proponent has hired Rob Wood to do some of the preliminary “visioning” (Rob worked tirelessly on our Village Plan, so knows it well) that will be needed to see how we can maximize the benefit to the community of Quadra Island. We will be meeting again very soon to discuss more details. Finally, after all the years of work that our community group, the SRD and myself put into this work and it is coming to fruition!Q. Cove South
So now lets move on to the property at the south end of the commercial area (the plaza), to the 26 treed acres at that end. I have been in discussion with the owners about moving forward on all the great ideas that they have to bring creativity, expertise, innovation and good planning to this area in phases. The details are to follow as they are still in discussion. I just wanted you to know that there is movement.
There is also the Oswald property that was so creatively planned for a total of, I believe eight “small homes” near the corner of Green RD. and Ferry Rd. It has hit bureaucratic walls at the Island Health level which I am doing everything I can to help break down. The subdivision has been approved by the SRD but cannot be complete without the Island Health stamp of approval. This is very frustrating for me and even more so for the owner since she went out on a limb as the first one to develop under the new Q. Cove Plan. Bureaucratic hurdles; my worst enemy!Open Bay south east
I was approached by a prospective purchaser of land along Open Bay, that had run into a problem with a new Timber-West logging plan that directly affected him and whether he would continue with moving his operation to Quadra Island. The organization he represents was just too good to be true and I didn’t want to see opportunity lost for Quadra that could create meaningful local jobs and also bring in international expertise to the scientific and artistic community, all based right here on Quadra. The Group is called the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is an international arts and sciences expeditionary residency program with over a decade of high-Arctic working expeditions. www.thearcticcircle.org
They are now setting their sites on a headquarters here on Quadra, to develop a centre for research for international artists, scientists and innovators. How good can it get! We have the Tula Foundation just a stones throw away from this property and the new dedication of the protected area lands in between.
I suggested to the representative that we meet with T-W immediately as the real estate deal was reaching a critical stage. The buyer, seller, agent and T-W met a few days later and had an multi-hour conversation that resulted in them having a better understanding of the situation and going away to think about it. In less than twenty four hours later they replied that they (T-W) have removed that particular cut-block from their immediate plans. This allowed the proposal to proceed. So we can look forward to some international attention and possibly some good jobs on Quadra to go along with all of that new housing I have mentioned!Appointments of the Board
At our Dec. 6th meeting of the SRD Board we had the appointments of the Board announced by the Chair and ratified by the entire Board. These were both "standing committees" of the Board ( the ones that meet monthly) and the "external appointments” to outside processes that effect us (Fisheries and Oceans, Transport, Environment, all the Marine Planning processes, First Nations, UBCM Aquaculture and more). I will be representing the Chair and the Board on these external appointments. I will just give you the simple list below:
* BC Ferries Regional District Chairs Committee (each RD is represented on this group)
* Marine area Planning Partnership (MaPP) (Province, First Nations. local government and stakeholders from all sectors)
* Integrated Ocean Advisory Committee (Feds., Province, First Nations, stakeholders and all Regional Districts)
* Marine Protected Areas Committee (Feds., Province, First Nations, stakeholders and all Regional Districts)
* Oceans Protection Plan (this is the $1.5 Billion dollar program (BC share) that was announced by the Prime Minister to improve services on our coast)
* Board appointee to the We Wai Kai Treaty Advisory committee (the four levels of govt. meet to discuss treaty issues including land and financial compensation)
SRD Board internal:
* First Nations Committee
* Electoral Area Services Committee
* Governance Select Committee
* Comox Valley Regional District Solid Waste Committee
* Alternate Energy Committee
* Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District Board
What have I done! I hope I can find enough days in the month! Don’t worry, I love it and will fit it all in! After the Holidays!
So once again, I wish alL of you all the best of the Season and look forward to all of us participating in the work that needs to be done to keep our island and area vibrant into the future!
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 on the next regular work day.
Jim AbramDirector, Discovery
Islands-Mainland inlets, Area C, SRD