Although I am writing this on the last day of 2018, it is the first report for the 2019 year, just due early for the publication deadline.
So, Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a great holiday season with family and friends and are ready for an eventful new year. The issues have been piling up over the holidays. I have dealt with all of the time sensitive ones, but left some for later this week. I needed a break, just like the rest of you. The SRD office was closed from Dec. 21st until Jan. 2nd, so I had no access to most staff anyway. I am looking forward to all of the exciting projects that we will be working on together in the next year and beyond.Highways issues
This one never seems to go away, even though it is not the jurisdiction of Local Government. This is Provincial jurisdiction (MLA and Minister) but I advocate on your part and collaborate with the Ministry offices in Courtenay and with the contractor, Mainroad Services, on an all too regular basis. I will continue to do so regarding safe roads, shoulders, pathways, crosswalks, signage and much more.
The most recent seasonal issue is of course, icy roads, and possibly snow clearing in the near future. I have received more comments than I can count on the conditions of the roads in the past week. They have been icy. It has been forecast to freeze. The salting and sanding (if you can call it sand... small rocks) have been applied at the wrong times and not in the right places according to the majority of the comments. I have experienced it myself. We can call Mainroad on Quadra or Mainroad in Campbell River but if you want action call their Operations Centre (Kelowna?):
They have a 24-hour hotline number which is answered by a real person: 1.877.215.7122. This is the main number to call. The complaint gets recorded and the operator has the ability to contact the road crew directly. USE IT!
The following are the contact numbers/emails I have so far (I haven’t received all of them yet, some are still pending):
Quadra Island: 250.285.3524. They may not have an answering machine set up yet.
Campbell River: Pending (if you can believe that!)
Damian Girard (the same person that led Emcon before!) was successful in obtaining the road manager position for the Campbell River/Islands area – dgirardmainroad.ca
The new Operations Manager for the north island is Leon Bohmer and his email is lbohmermainroad.ca
This is the top person at Mainroad for our area.
Your other avenue, which is very effective, is calling the Courtenay office of the Ministry of Transportation directly. They manage and monitor the Mainroad contract. The people there are wonderful to work with and deal with issues immediately. I will be meeting with them by the end of the month. Their contact info is as follows:
Alycia Traas, Alycia.Traasgov.bc.ca
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Ashley Cousens, Area Manager
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Vancouver Island District, Courtenay Area Office 250.334.6955
Both of these women are excellent to deal with and extremely patient!Development issues
I informed you of at least four exciting “works in progress” in the last report and at this time all I can say is that they are proceeding! This makes me very happy since the provision of available and hopefully affordable housing for all generations on the island is a prime goal of mine over the next few years. There is a lot to be done and the bureaucratic hurdles are many at all levels. I am doing my part at the SRD level to make sure that nothing gets needlessly held up. All I can do at the other levels is advocate for the lofty goals of these projects.
Liveable wage, island jobs
I have mentioned this before and I will continue to work on it. If we want our younger generation to be able to afford to stay on the island and contribute to our community, then we had better find ways to help create jobs that pay well. It is not cheap to live on Quadra. Many of the jobs of today are created by individuals and with the coming of exceptional internet service, this is becoming more and more possible.
The other possibility is for our tradespeople to come together with me and discuss how we can somehow teach our youth the skills that they need to provide the services that we need and are often having to get from the big island at a higher price. This is a project that I am taking on and will be hoping for some expertise to join in and make it work. If you are interested or have any constructive suggestions, please let me know. This needs to happen sooner than later.Outer Islands
So many things have been taking place concurrently in the outer islands that it is going to be difficult to even separate them into issues. For this report I am going to just say that the Stuart Island property divestiture from the Province has been all but completed. The water lease is an ongoing issue that is being studied at the highest levels. I am expecting a positive outcome very soon.
The Surge Narrows property purchase and water lease reassignment next to our existing wharf and docks is awaiting final subdivision approval by the Ministry. We are assured it is all in order. The water lease has been reassigned to the SRD. Clean up is proceeding in stages and is being done mostly by the generous participation of the local community. The uses for this property are being discussed with the community and could even include a small scale village type plan. I have to commend our Planner, Aniko Nelson, for putting in time over the holiday to apply for a huge grant from the Province for many of the items mentioned above. They gave a deadline of Dec. 31st and we got notice of its existence two weeks ago!
Owen Bay is going through some growing pains and is being redrawn to fit the needs of the community.
Hoskyn Channel Wharf Park is getting some steel pilings driven in to the bottom to secure the dock well into the future without the current use of anchors. This job is being awarded locally so will provide more work for a local business.
We are also looking at a unified bylaw system that will work for all of our wharves and keep things in order and stop some of the damage from happening that has happened due to not having common sense rules in place.
I will update you on each of these issues in more detail as I have more information.Pathways
All I can say about this one, is that the beautiful SRD path along Harper Road, that we have planned for and budgeted for is still being held up by the approval of one land owner for the statutory Right of Way across the edge of their property. Once we have that it is a work in progress! I do hope to be working with the Pathways and the Trails committee on integration and collaboration on all of the wonderful paths and trails on this island.
If anyone wants to help as an unsupervised volunteer on any of these projects, I would welcome the assistance! Many hands make light work, “they” say.
Okay. I am already tired and it is the first week of 2019! Yikes! And this is only the tip of iceberg!
So once again, I wish everyone the best of the new year 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 weekend or on holidays will be returned promptly on the next regular work day.
– Respectfully submitted,
Jim Abram Director, Discovery Islands-Mainland inlets, Area C, SRD