Jim Abram, Regional Director for the Strathcona Regional District, has been honoured with the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ (UBCM) Long-Service Recipient Award in recognition of his 25 years of service in local government office.
The award was presented during a ceremony at the organization’s annual conference in Vancouver on September 19.
Abram has served continuously in his elected position since 1988, representing an extremely large Electoral Area in the Discovery Islands – Mainland Inlets, including the main population centre of Quadra Island.
He initiated one of the first shoreline zoning bylaws in B.C. for his entire electoral area so as to bring more local control to land use decisions that were then being made exclusively by the province. His belief in local control and community involvement have always been at the forefront of his actions.
He has become well-known over the years as the leader of the opposition to federal programs to de-staff Canada’s staffed lightstations. He has faced four attempts by the Canadian Coast Guard bureaucracy to de-staff and has been successful each time, with the latest victory in 2011. His collaborative work with the Senate, MPs and Ministers paid off and has saved 51 staffed lightstations on both coasts of Canada.
For this, along with other community work, he was recognized as a recipient of the Canada 125 medal and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for making a significant contribution to Canada, to his community and to fellow Canadians.
Abram has served on many key committees at the local, regional, provincial and national levels. He has represented the Regional District on most of the planning processes that have taken place in the province over the past 25 years. He continues to represent his constituents and his region on three major marine planning processes at this time.
For 25 years, Abram has been a major voice for coastal communities regarding the BC Ferry system and the fight to keep fares affordable and service consistent. He is currently a representative on a group consisting of all of the chairs of the coastal regional districts and the Islands Trust, representing more than 70 per cent of the population of B.C.
He is the current Vice Chair of the Strathcona Regional District and served as Chair of the Comox- Strathcona Regional District for four years.
He was the electoral representative on the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities for two years, served on the UBCM executive for 10 years and was the UBCM President for one year in 2000/2001.
During his time on UBCM Executive he worked on the Environment Committee, the Aboriginal Affairs Committee and was a key player in establishing the very successful Community to Community Forums both provincially and regionally along with the First Nations Summit working group. He was a member of the Community Charter Council which wrote the current Community Charter for municipalities.
“I am honoured by this award from one of the most prestigious local government organizations in BC. I have always been and will always feel privileged to represent the people of such an incredible portion of this province. We live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and I will continue through my work and involvement to do my best to keep it that way. I look forward to completing the many projects that are so important to the people in this area in the upcoming years.”