Surge Narrows store

Surge Narrows Store revitalization project

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative

The old Surge Narrows Store, on Read Island, closed its doors in 2007. A Strathcona Regional District staff report sates, “since that time the building and its associated boardwalk, floating dock and fuel shed have been left in a state of disrepair.” Last November, the SRD board applied for a $2.2 million grant to revitalize the property and was turned down. Now it looks the Surge Narrows Store Revitalization project is going forward. 

Meeting with the Minister

BC’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, Selina Robinson, recently met with representatives from the SRD.

Regional Director Jim Abram wrote, in the September 2020 issue of Surge Currents, “This year staff and the Chair of the Board had three topics for the Board to consider and vote on as the topics to be discussed. I read them prior to the meeting and noticed that there wasn’t a single Rural Area issue on the list! Very upsetting since this IS our local government. So, I did the research and came up with one that I felt needed to go forward and it was directly related to this Minister’s portfolio.”

The Minister subsequently agreed that the Surge Narrows store project should go forward. 

So did the Federal Ministry. 

SRD Meetings

In the minutes of the September 16th Electoral Areas Services Committee meeting, we read:

starts at 1:09:56

Read Island ‘already has the grant’

According to Abram (1:10:52), Read Island ‘already has’ the grant, “This is just the board endorsing it.” 

In Surge Currents, he wrote, “The grant is for $2.2 Million for the Surge Narrows revitalization project which includes an additional wharf and dock, a rebuild of the Surge Narrows Store historic property and dozens of other wonderful projects within the property that we purchased a year or so ago. It will also look at a small seniors’ village to accommodate the aging population that does not want to leave: Aging in place!” 

Director Abram’s account in Surge Currents

(taken from “Some really good news!” in the Regional Director’s Report, Sept 2020 issue of Surge Currents. The board meeting Director Abram refers to took place on July 22, 2020.)

“At our SRD Board meeting the 22nd there were a number of very important topics on the agenda.”

“The Union of BC Municipalities annual general meeting is coming up mid-September. I will only be attending the very important meetings with Ministers where we get to ask for things for our area! Our Minister of Municipal Affairs only allows each RD one meeting with up to three topics. We must be very selective in what we bring to her. Well this year staff and the Chair of the Board had three topics for the Board to consider and vote on as the topics to be discussed. I read them prior to the meeting and noticed that there wasn’t a single Rural Area issue on the list! Very upsetting since this IS our local government. So, I did the research and came up with one that I felt needed to go forward and it was directly related to this Minister’s portfolio.”

“The topic was a Fed./ Prov. Grant program called Rural and Northern Communities. We applied to it last November and were declined in January. The grant is for $2.2 Million for the Surge Narrows revitalization project which includes an additional wharf and dock, a rebuild of the Surge Narrows Store historic property and dozens of other wonderful projects within the property that we purchased a year or so ago. It will also look at a small seniors’ village to accommodate the aging population that does not want to leave: Aging in place!”

“I have been working with the Federal and Provincial Ministries and Ministers to reapply and to be successful this time. That work has paid off and a few months ago the head of the program was assigned to work with me and with staff to make sure our application was impeccable. We are now ready to be evaluated in the next months. However, this is when the political pressure needs to be applied and this is all a long winded way of saying that I was successful in convincing the SRD Board to substitute our RNC grant program for one of the other topics they had chosen. The Board voted and I am in!”

“So hopefully I can be persuasive and get that $2.2 M . This will be a real boon to the outer islands and all of Area C.”

Read Island by Andrea_44 via Flickr (CC By SA, 2.0 License) 

3 thoughts on “Surge Narrows Store revitalization project”

  1. I think this is a great idea. I’m a past resident of this area. I work in construction, and would welcome opportunity to help with projects.
    I’ve known this port since I was very small. I worked on Logan Center, the Surge Narrows gymnasium/ community hall. I also worked on the Surge Narrows School. My daughter did 8 years of Elementary schooling there. I’m a long term ,( and ageing), resident of the Hoskyn Channel area, and I think this could be a good use for this property!

  2. Cortes Currents…. it would be nice if you could get your stories straight and not out of context
    Your info is not correct.
    I encourage the outer island community to read my Discovery Islander report for the correct info.
    Thanks. Jim

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