Jim Abram

ELECTION 2014: With acclamation in hand, Abram sets about Area C business

Jim Abram will officially be acclaimed to the position of Strathcona Regional District director for Area C

While the civic election is still more than two weeks away, it’s already been decided on Quadra Island.

Jim Abram will officially be acclaimed to the position of Strathcona Regional District director for Area C (Discovery Islands-Mainland Inlets) after no one came forward in opposition.

Abram, who was first elected to the position of director in 1988, said it’s a relief to be able to carry on with his work representing an area that geographically makes up more than 50 per cent of the Strathcona Regional District.

“It was wonderful to be acclaimed,” Abram said. “I’ll be able to spend the time from (now) until Nov. 15 (election day) actually doing my job as director. It gives me more time to focus, because the work doesn’t stop even though there’s an election.”

Abram, who has committed himself full-time to his job in public office – even abandoning plans to start a full-time excavating business on Quadra Island – said he has several projects he wants to see come to fruition over his next term.

Top of mind is working to creating affordable housing.

“What I intend to do over the next four years is work with two seniors groups that have organized on the island, as well as young families and others who need housing,” Abram said. “We have a serious situation on Quadra Island where people can’t afford to buy a house, with the situation on the island with BC Ferries fares and schedules, it’s driving people off the island. People can’t afford to live here anymore and use the ferry unless they make really good money.”

Abram said in particular, Quadra is losing a large chunk of its senior population – people who are key members of the community – because many seniors aren’t able to take care of their properties anymore and are having to downsize. With the cost of housing and expensive ferry fares, Abram said many are being drive off the island.

Abram said his solution is to work to establish a “fully-functional assisted living premises” for seniors on the island as well as affordable independent living facilities for seniors and young families.

Abram said he also intends to look into providing housing for all those who come to Quadra Island to work during the summer so that they can avoid having to take the ferry across every day.

Abram said he’s committed to seeing the issues surrounding BC Ferries through, to try and alleviate the cost burden on islanders’ shoulders.

“It’s not a pleasant situation to have to deal with but I will continue to fight this corporation and this government until we solve the problem,” Abram said.

Also on Abram’s list is working with the Cape Mudge band to resolve road access issues which he said are getting worse because of extreme weather events.

Also on the list is sewer and water issues.

A referendum passed during the summer to expand sewer service to properties in Quathiaski Cove.

“These are things we can work together as a community to make them cost efficient for everybody,” Abram said. “There’s so much to do.”

The regional district will be taking over ownership and operation of public federal wharfs that have, up until now, been under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

The three wharfs – located at Owen Bay on Sonora Island, Surge Narrows on Read Island and Port Neville on Johnstone Strait – are all within Abram’s area.

Plus, the Quathiaski sewer project needs to be complete.

But despite the heavy work load, Abram said he has enjoyed representing and working for his community over the last 26 years.

“The job is phenomenal. It’s far more than a one-person job but I wanted it, and I got it,” said Abram who admits his wife Wendy helps out a lot with his job. “It’s a continual learning experience, there’s always something new.

“I can’t express in words how much this area means to me,” Abram added. “I hope people here feel that they’re being well-served.”