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General · 11th April 2019
Jim Abram
Hello to everyone on this howling April day! Quite the wind, with power outages and rain and ferry sailing cancellations. I guess we were due after all of that superb March weather.

Timber West meeting
I had the pleasure of meeting with three of the T-W Executive team, our Chief Administrative Officer and our Manager of Development Services on Thursday April 4th at the SRD office. The topic of our meeting was the possibility of removing a small portion of a proposed cut-block from their logging plan to be used as an addition to our Granite Bay Park land. It is right on the corner of Granite Bay Rd. and Kanish View Drive and across from our road into our Park (Wharf/dock and Boat ramp facilities) and adjacent to the salmon stream that volunteers have spent so many years bringing back to life! As far as I am concerned this is a very worthy effort for park, environmental and aesthetic purposes. It is far more valuable for those reasons than for timber value (which would not be great in the first place).

The meeting was incredibly productive and T-W is actually willing to consider donation or sale of the piece which is only about one to two hectares in size and sits on the infamous “Quadra Sands”. Geologically this make it extremely important that it not be disturbed so as to preserve the salmon stream and the main road into the Park and Kanish View Estates.

I was very impressed with the willingness of T-W to engage in such an open and frank discussion and show some genuine concern for the social aspects of their business. This all started with conversations I had with a previous manager many months ago and has taken this long to finally get to a meeting due to our shared meeting conflicts and busy schedules. But we did it and we are going to follow up with a half day "on the ground" look at exactly what we want to achieve. We will conduct that tour in mid-May and I really look forward to it. If there is money involved it will come out of Parks Reserve funds which were collected under Local Govt. Act provisions from developers over the years. The area will remain as undeveloped park.

Integrated Community Sustainability Plan
I have mentioned this many times now, but I can now say that at our Board meeting this Wednesday we will be hiring the consulting group that will carry out this much needed planning process for all of Area C. I am going to leave it at that until I have all the details. I just wanted you to be aware that it is finally happening!

Local housing developments
Well, I have to admit it has been a very frustrating few weeks dealing with the bureaucracies that have the power to allow us to proceed or not with the implementation of our Q. Cove Local Area Plan. Most of you are aware of some of the developments that are trying to get off the ground in the Cove and have probably heard some of uncertainty around what people are actually being allowed to do.

The major stumbling block is Island Health (IH) (used to be called VIHA - Vanc. Isl. Health Authority). They are the folks that deal with environmental health, such as sewer and water issues. Ministry of Transportation deals with the subdivision aspects and the SRD deals with the zoning and Development permits. The SRD is totally fine with the proposals and the Ministry of Transportation has issued Preliminary Approval (The eight unit lot in the Cove) but they cannot do the final sign off on it until IH puts their stamp on it.

So, as a quick recap, IH did make suggestions on what was needed to get that final stamp and the developer did as asked. Then more stipulations were asked for and the developer complied. Huge gaps in correspondence ensued, holding up the project indefinitely. I have intervened with the highest approval officer and had him come out to the site and it seemed like progress was being made. Think again. More stalling.

As of yesterday I was notified (late on a Friday) that a meeting will be held in CR at the IH office with seven of their very senior people, with me, and our planner. I found this to be extremely rude that they did not even ask if we were available on that date. We were not even told the topic of the meeting so I can only assume it has to do with this topic. I have agreed to meet and by the time you read this the meeting will have taken place.

My concern is not only for one or two developers that have been extremely inconvenienced but for the integrity of our five year long Local Area Planning process and Official Community Plan amendment process. This agency had an opportunity to comment during that process and we officially referred them. They replied, stating little concern. Yet now, our shortage of housing and the viability of our community is being held up by one agency.

As you can probably tell, I am not happy. I am also really holding back on my true feelings about this issue. I am extremely sympathetic to the land owners that put their money where their values are and are now being unduly held up. And we a a community are being denied smaller lots with smaller houses that people are so desperately in need of.

I have called the Chief Executive Officer of Island Health and expect a call back before the meeting takes place. If the result is unsuccessful in getting this resolved, I will be going directly to our Minister. Extreme situations require extreme measures.

Too many people put too much effort and time into the planning process to bring this Village Plan to fruition to even consider not fighting for it.

I’ll let you know how it goes in future reports

Other issues
There are many other “major issues” to be discussed, but due to limited time and space, I am going to need to leave them for a future report. My apologies!

Time off
I will be away from April 12th until May 2nd for a much needed break. The following paragraph with my contact info will not apply during those days. Please contact me when I return.

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… You can read occasional updates on issues that i will post on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JimAbram, but please do not use this medium as a way to communicate regarding SRD business. 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