Saturday, May 31, 2008

Richard, "Innovation not Intervention"

Please give us a break, this is not the end of the world and we shouldn't be thinking it is. Taxpayers aren't interested in the Government running another business. Let the marketplace take care of the problem and if there is any value left in Woodleigh Replicas then someone will come forward at the sale. UPEI just released a study that said the average spend of a heritage type tourist is $57 a day and I would suggest that most golfers would spend that on a sleeve of balls during a round. I don't agree with Mr. Brown on his thinking and attitude towards golf as this type of tourist leaves a lot of money here on PEI. High end golf was here long before Woodleigh and most other Island attractions and with 30 courses averaging 15,000 rounds each a year there is considerable spin off in jobs and investment by our golf course visitors as well as Island golfers. Green Gables opened in 1937 and brought some of the first high end golfers to Cavendish some of whom built cottages in the area and today over three generations of their families continue to make Cavendish their summer home. If the Minister is not happy with golf and his Premier wants to get out of the business, then they should live up to their commitment and sell the courses. A group from Crowbush met with the Tourism Minister and her Deputy last week and it appears that they haven't got the message as they told the meeting that if the Province can get the courses back in the black (fat chance) then the Government may continue to operate them. Play a round at the "Bush" and "we'll" give you a free ticket to visit Woodleigh!!! and if that doesn't work how about a tour of our meat plant?? Richard, your new department is Innovation not Intervention.
Cavendish requires a fresh start, says Innovation minister
A mortgage sale at Woodleigh Replicas and Gardens is a wakeup call that P.E.I.’s north shore needs help, says Innovation Minister Richard Brown.Brown said he’s working on a major redevelopment plan for Cavendish. He said much of the infrastructure there was built in the 1970s and needs an infusion of cash to refresh and modernize. 'We're very concerned about this closure. This has been an institution. It's been around for many, many years. My parents took us to it,' Brown said, in an interview with The Guardian. 'There's a whole issue about the Cavendish area, the north shore area. Some major upgrading has to occur. We’re going to have to look at that.' Brown said funding will come from both the federal and provincial governments. The costs of the redevelopment plan is not known. As his government turns its focus back on family tourism — as oppose to the previous government’s focus on high-end golfers —Cavendish will play a renewed focus in the industry, Brown added. 'We're going to be sitting down with the tourism department and saying ‘What kind of infrastructure needs are required?' 'What kind of program can we set up to renew the infrastructure requirements on the north shore?' he said. Matthew Jelley, president of the Cavendish Beach and the Dune Shores Tourist Association, said investment is needed on the north shore. He said the federal government, through Parks Canada, should also be a player.'The focus recently on increased dollars for Charlottetown has moved dollars around in P.E.I. but it has not attracted new visitors,' said Jelley. 'There has been unprecedented investment, whether it's cruise ship ports, rumoured convention centres, festivals and events centered on Charlottetown, but we've shown no growth in tourism. 'Where the real growth comes in tourism is from a destination such as Cavendish that can drawn visitors from all over the world.' Jelley said if there is no owner for Woodleigh from the private sector the provincial government should operate it this year. 'I'm a strong believer that the most successful enterprises are private operators,' he said. 'But if the province is going to own it, I would prefer they keep it open rather than moth ball it.' Brown said he's asked officials at P.E.I. Business Development to look at the possibility of the P.E.I. government operating Woodleigh. But it's his hope it will be purchased by the private sector. He is not ruling out additional financial help for a potential new owner. 'We have talked to other people about it. It’s going to be a challenge to get it back open this year. We're hoping someone could come in and buy it right away and get it going right away but I'm not sure that's going to happen.'

We're still waiting for that free lobster??

Ed Frenette, you had a great press release earlier in the season about giving away free lobster at the that there are lots, we're still waiting?
Lobster catches are getting better
Prices, however, remain low
The Guardian SOURIS — With the 2008 lobster season half over, catches remain high in some place and low in others, but fishers say it’s better than they expected after the poor start.Earlier this month, catches were so low in some south side areas fishers stopped going fishing every day in order to save on fuel costs, and some even laid off their hired men.That changed as waters warmed, and north side ports saw excellent landings, particularly towards the eastern end. Ed Frenette, executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association, said the story is somewhat different on the south side of the Island where they are down somewhat in the central part of the Northumberland Strait, while the eastern part of the strait appears to be holding steady. Prices, however, are different matter. They remain at basement level as they have been since the beginning. Depending on the buyer, they are coming down at $4 or $4.50 for smaller canner lobster and $4.50 or $5 for larger markets.Fishermen are hoping increasing water temperatures will continue to improve catches. As for prices, no one has found a solution for that. The PEIFA continues to push for action on the part of the provincial government in relation to what fishermen call blatant price fixing on the part of processors.

Sell, Sell, Sell, Sell...we might even make some money!!

There now appears to be lots of private enterprise operators prepared to take the risk of investing in and operating wind farms so it would be a great opportunity for the Province to shed the risk now and sell, sell, sell,... before all the our components fail...I understand why Governments initially invest in new ventures in order prove to the marketplace that there is opportunity here but I never understand why they don't know when to get out? If we sold now we (Islanders) may even make some money for a change.... there are just too many things that can go wrong so let others take the risk.
Strong gusts slowing wind turbine repairs
Thursday, May 29, 2008
CBC News
High winds are making it difficult to repair wind turbines at East Point in Prince Edward Island.
'Once in a while you get a component failure, and we've obviously got six of them.'— Energy Minister George Webster
Six of 10 turbines on the site were shut down recently when problems developed in their gearboxes. One turbine has been repaired, but strong winds are making it difficult to work on the other five. The axis of the turbine is about 50 metres above ground, and a special crane had to be transported to the site to assist the work.
The wind farm is owned and operated by a provincial Crown corporation, but the repairs are being fully covered by Vestas, the manufacturer of the turbines. Despite the early trouble with the turbines, which have been operating less than a year, Energy Minister George Webster expressed confidence in the technology.
"They have a 25-year life expectancy easily, with just changing the oil in the gearboxes," said Webster.
"Once in a while you get a component failure, and we've obviously got six of them. The Vestas company that builds these are a very reliable company."
Webster said the goal is to have the turbines back in operation by the end of June.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Woodleigh, Past Its Time...

This doesn't surprise me...the market for heritage related tourism has pasted with a new generation of visitors. In fact I golfed with a gentleman from New York last year who had been to PEI 30 years earlier with his parents. They had taken him to Woodleigh Replicas as a kid and he couldn't wait to take his 8 year old son there. Unfortunately his much anticipated visit didn't meet his memory expectations as his son was "very bored" and he hadn't remembered "how damp and small" the buildings were. Many of our old "standards" like our lobster suppers haven't changed that much in 30 years and the tourism marketplace is bypassing them. I can remember when a family of 4 could take in a lobster supper for $50 and now you would be hard pressed to get out of there for under $200...and in most cases you're still sitting on the same stacking chairs. Like most businesses, tourism is rapidly changing and the customers have more unique demands. If we are going to succeed with this new tourist generation we all have to get ready for change through new investment and new ideas...and the cheapest investment, with the greatest return, will always be "service and hospitality" something our neighbouring competitors have caught on too. I feel bad for the Steele's as they are "proven" hard working folks that own a "dated" attraction that doesn't draw the interests of our visitors today...
Woodleigh theme park up for sale
Owner walks into P.E.I. Lending Agency and 'surrenders' the keys to the site
A British theme park in the heart of Prince Edward Island is being sold after the owner turned over the keys to the P.E.I. government, saying he could no longer operate the 40-acre site.For five decades, Woodleigh Replicas and Gardens has welcomed visitors to tour more than 30 replicas of the most spectacular castles and cathedrals of the British Isles. The theme park features replicas of St. Paul’s cathedral, Anne Hathaway’s cottage and Shakespeare’s birthplace. Peter Wilson, CEO of the P.E.I. Lending Agency, says the owner of Woodleigh simply walked into his office and surrendered the keys. He said the owner, 71-year-old Peter Steele of Burlington, is not in default of his loan.In fact, Steele’s payments are fully up-to-date. “While the loan was not in default, the current owner, citing health reasons, decline in sales, chose not to reopen the facility,” Wilson told The Guardian. “He’s been unable to sell it. He’s been trying for three years to sell it. There’s been no buyers. So he basically surrendered the keys.”.The province is not saying how much is still outstanding in its loans to Woodleigh. It is also not saying what it will do with the property if it doesn’t sell at the mortgage sale next month. This marks the third major theme park to close in the province, following Fairy Land near Charlottetown and Rainbow Valley in Cavendish.

Great Work Jonathan...lucky number 27

It is very exciting that a young man from Cornwall, PEI has made it this far in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. and I'm sure he has worked very hard in doing so, but I would guess that in the background there has been a lot help from his parents, friends, teachers and his sponsor, the Charlottetown Guardian. Keep up the great work Jonathan as you should be very proud to even get to this amazing level. When I was younger, Frank Maholovich was # 27 for the Leafs and he was my favourite player and when he moved to the Canadians and took the number with him I couldn't believe how "lucky" I was that he left the Leafs. Since then I have always considered # 27 as my lucky number and I see this is the number they have given Jonathon and I hope it is as good to him as its been to me. To see Jonathon's results go to
Best of Luck Jonathon.

P.E.I. speller makes it to quarterfinals at Scripps bee in Washington
The Guardian
Jonathan Schut P.E.I. spelling champion Jonathan Schut of Cornwall has advanced to the quarterfinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.Jonathan and 287 other spellers began round two of the preliminaries early today but the number of spellers is now down to 90.The quarterfinals will be held later today, followed by the semifinals on Friday and the final round on Friday evening.Jonathan is part of a strong showing by the Canadian spellers at the Scripps bee. He will be joined by 12 other Canadian spellers in the quarterfinals. Jonathan captured the CanWest CanSpell regional spelling bee sponsored by The Guardian at UPEI on March 1. That earned him the right to attend the Canadian spelling bee in Ottawa in April and the Scripps bee in Washington.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sticks and Stone's will break...

The old expression 'sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you' obviously isn't an expression that the Chinese understand as a few words hit them like a Stone...
Sharon Stone: Was China quake `bad karma?'
May 28th
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Sharon Stone's "karma" comment is having an instant effect on her movie-star status in China.
The 50-year-old actress suggested last week that the devastating May 12 earthquake in China could have been the result of bad karma over the government's treatment of Tibet. That prompted the founder of one of China's biggest cinema chains to say his company would not show her films in his theaters, according to a story in The Hollywood Reporter.
"I'm not happy about the way the Chinese are treating the Tibetans because I don't think anyone should be unkind to anyone else," Stone said Thursday during a Cannes Film Festival red-carpet interview with Hong Kong's Cable Entertainment News. "And then this earthquake and all this stuff happened, and then I thought, is that karma? When you're not nice that the bad things happen to you?"
Ng See-Yuen, founder of the UME Cineplex chain and the chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, called Stone's comments "inappropriate," adding that actors should not bring personal politics to comments about a natural disaster that has left five million Chinese homeless, according to the Reporter. UME has branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou, China's biggest urban movie markets. During the brief interview, which has also surfaced on YouTube, Stone also said she cried when she received a letter from the Tibetan Foundation asking her to help quake victims. "They wanted to go and be helpful, and that made me cry," she said. "It was a big lesson to me that sometimes you have to learn to put your head down and be of service even to people who aren't nice to you." Stone's words created a swell of anger on the Internet, including at least one Chinese Web site devoted solely to disparaging her comments. "To Sharon Stone's comment, it's unlikely that we will respond," said a woman who answered the phone at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing. She refused to give her name or position.
After-hours phone calls and email to a representative for Stone were not immediately returned Tuesday night. According to the Web-based database, Stone has at least four movies coming up between now and 2010, including "Streets of Blood,""Five Dollars a Day" and "The Year of Getting to Know Us."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yes It's Me...can't you tell by all the grammer mistakes!!

I was at my usual noon digs "the Urban Eatery" when a young man approached me today and asked if I (Tim Banks) really wrote this blog...when I confirmed that I was the one and only he seemed surprised...but added that he enjoyed the writing which kind of surprised me. His first clue that I was the writer should have been a close observation to my improper grammar and if it wasn't for the spell check I'd would have pleaded guilty a long time ago. To tell the truth I didn't really know much about a "blog" 45 days ago, other than a "blogger" took some pictures of my Porsche in a no parking zone that seemed to interest a lot of people. I have always strived to be ahead of the curve and it seemed this blogging thing was really catching on with the young people so I thought the only way to learn was go feet first. I don't know exactly why I decided to try this new media and I don't know how long I'll stick with it but I won't easily give up as that is not necessarily in my vocabulary. The important thing is I really do care about keeping our talented youth here on PEI and if I can develop this tool to help send the message that PEI is a great place to work, stay, play and invest then I'll feel like I'm contributing....I'm starting to get some feedback on my comments and if I am overly offending anyone in some way, please email me directly, and I will reconsider my comments...the other thing is it keeps me busy and that seems fine by my wife as I'm not bothering her...thanks for your comments.

Congratulations Everyone

Sometimes we don't give enough credit to the people who do the tireless work in the background and when something goes awry we Islanders seem to be the first ones to be critical. I made a point of getting home from Halifax yesterday to exercise my vote,(even though my kids are no longer in our school system) 1. Because our representative Gael MacEachern had worked hard in the past and deserved to be reinstated. 2. It's important to pay attention to how our children are educated (the educators may not like it) and the best feedback usually comes from parents through their school board representative. 3. If I didn't vote then I wouldn't feel like I could speak out about the School Board if some policy came out that I wasn't in favour of. There wasn't a large turnout for the school board election and hopefully we, as Islanders, will start to pay more attention to the importance of this role if we want to strengthen the caliber and quality of students we educate. Congratulations everyone for putting your name forward for these important responsibilities and all the best.
Clow returns for fourth term as school district trustee
The Guardian
Bob Clow is back in for a fourth term as school trustee of Zone 10 in the Eastern School District. Clow is the past chair of the board. He defeated nearest rival Gordie Noye by 35 votes. Elections were held Monday in a number of school zones across the province but many had only one candidate who won by acclamation.
CLICK for RESULTSEastern school boardWestern school boardFrench Language school board

What About Covering The Bicycle Paths?

What About Covering The Bicycle Paths? I'm almost scared to suggest this as someone on Stratford Council may think I'm serious and head out and implement a "study" to determine the cost of this and then "do it". Wouldn't it just make a lot of sense for parents of the kids using the Parks and other Park users to be responsible themselves to see that they have "UV" protection? I was listening to the radio interview about this, when someone from Council said, "they weren't going to worry about the cost (forget the taxpayer) they were just going to get the shading done"..... I was going to walk down to KFC for lunch today but not only don't they have a sidewalk, they don't have it covered (what about my bald head), as they are too busy planning "Downtown Disney". It never ceases to amaze me that most of these silly ideas seem to pop out of the most influential communities taking away from the basic needs like sidewalks, etc..?
P.E.I. park has it made in the shade
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 27, 2008
CBC News
Tea Hill Park in Stratford has become the first park in P.E.I. to be designated as sun safe by the Canadian Cancer Society.
A volunteer from the Canadian Cancer Society conducted a shade audit of Tea Hill Park, and the town is implementing recommendations so there is adequate protection from the sun.
"Add more usable shade in the form of hardwoods; soccer fields in particular need some kind of portable structure," said volunteer Heather Wilson.
"Cleaning out around [the trees in] the beach area so that you could put picnic tables under there and people could use that shade. Because that shade down by the beach area is actually quite nice, if it was just cleaned out a little bit."
All parks audited
Stratford is looking at all 30 of its parks.
"There's been some tree planting here in Tea Hill Park, along with some other parks," said Coun. Gary Clow.
"We're evaluating the other ball diamonds and soccer fields to see if we need portable shade areas that we could provide."
P.E.I.'s skin cancer rates are among the highest in Canada: nearly double the national average. The cancer society hopes all communities will conduct shade audits of parks as a part of bringing those rates down.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Nice Going Rodney...One of PEI's great promoters

Rodney is truly one of Prince Edward Island's greatest promoters...some Islanders may not know him but if you mention Rodney's name in Toronto or some of our other Cities, not only do they know him, they will probably be able to tell you a great story about him. Rodney grew up in Summerside as the son of another great Island promoter J. Arthur Clark, who owned and operated a large number of businesses, including MAPCO a Maritime based building supply distributor. His dad died many years ago but the family still owns Holman's Island off Summerside harbour and Rodney has owned a cottage in MacCallum's Point for many, many years. Lots of times when I'm in Toronto on business I'll run into Rodney's crew, at the very "best" business functions, and there is simply nothing that is not Top Notch about these catering spreads or his restaurant. Rodney and his staff are ALWAYS promoting our Island and our products. Congratulations Rodney, you're a great example of what can be done through hard work and the oyster fishers of PEI and all Islanders should be proud of you. Best of luck in this new venture as Bill Hogg and I are hoping you make a little more coin, so you might be able to buy a "pacer" and we'll see you at the CDP.
Clark shells out for oyster depot
The Guardian
A native Islander who has been shucking with success for years in Toronto is set to take a big plunge into the oyster industry in P.E.I. Rodney Clark, who for 20 years has been running Rodney’s Oyster House in downtown Toronto’s financial district, is building a major oyster depot plant at the wharf in Nine Mile Creek. Construction of the 345- sq. metre plant is expected to be complete by the end of August. The facility, called The Rodney’s Oyster Depot, will buy, grow, grade, package and ship oysters to customers throughout North America and internationally. The facility will include an oyster tasting room, retail, and an oyster interpretive centre. Clark, in a statement, said he has a vision for the P.E.I. oyster industry. He sees a future when the Island’s reputation for producing quality oysters is enhanced, when the oyster industry is stable, self-sustaining, and profitable for growers. “I see a future where P.E.I. growers can take pride in producing the world’s best for oyster aficionados within Canada and internationally,’’ he said. Clark has made his mark at Rodney’s Oyster House, drawing oyster lovers from all over the world. In addition to the fine seafood offered at the restaurant, the establishment also operates a wholesale business and catering service. His new plant in Nine Mile Creek will be environmentally friendly, utilizing geo-thermal and solar energy as well as other green technologies. “I am a supporter of environmental causes, and I believe that current and future oyster consumers will embrace products handled in this manner,’’ he said. Clark has hired Dale Small as general manager and Dean MacEachern as plant manager. Both are from Rice Point. Clark describes Small as one of the key developers of the Island’s aquaculture industry over the past 30 years.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Here's Your Chance...

One of my great regrets was not having the opportunity to finish any kind of formal education, in fact I dropped out of school in grade 10 to run my Dad's service station as he was sick and died within the year. After being out of school for a few years I got a big break and got to attend Holland College as a mature student and if I were a little younger I would certainly jump at this opportunity. I don't think there is anything more important than to get as much education as you can, as it'll never hurt you and likely open a lot of doors for you in the future. I spend a lot of time trying to encourage youth to stay in school and take advantage of what they have in front of them, even if it means taking on some debt. A degree won't give you a license to print money but I think it will give you some self confidence and help you secure some stepping stones along life's path. So if you're out there and you're got some extra time on your hands, then this may be an opportunity for you that you're employer may support, so think about it. One of our staff is heading into a MBA program and we're fully supporting them as I believe what they get out of it will come back to our workplace. Kudos to UPEI for developing such an initiative.
UPEI offers mature student degree
Friday, May 23, 2008 CBC News
The University of Prince Edward Island is offering a new bachelor of integrated studies, designed for students who bring a significant amount of life experience to their studies.

'We thought that we would get like 20 people show up, and we had 120.'
— dean of arts Richard KurialStudents can complete the new program with 30 credits, instead of the usual 40, and study courses in arts, sciences or business. They can also apply to receive credit for work experience. Only people out of high school for seven years or more can apply.

Dean of arts Richard Kurial told CBC News Friday there is already a demonstrated interest in the program.

"Other universities offer an integrated studies or a general studies degree so it's not an uncommon thing," said Kurial.

"We weren't sure on P.E.I., so basically we went out and put on some seminars, just information seminars at [the Department of Veterans Affairs] and the provincial government, saying, 'Would anybody be interested?' And the first one we did I think was at DVA and we thought that we would get like 20 people show up, and we had 120 come by."

Only about 19 per cent of undergraduate students at UPEI are more than 25 years old, which is well below the national average of 30 per cent. This degree is expected to boost those numbers.

The new program begins in the fall.

Give Harper's Government Credit...good move

This is a great idea and should help establish not only the great products we have here in Canada but be a big help to our producers as we all can look for our Canadian brand and support Canadian products.
Farm groups welcome 'made in Canada' plan
CBC News
A proposed change in federal rules to clarify what a "made in Canada" label means on agricultural products is a step in the right direction, say two major farm groups on P.E.I.

'They're buying apple juice that's labelled "product of Canada" but the concentrate probably came from China or somewhere else.'
— Raymond Loo, Certified Organic Producers Co-opUnder the proposed change, announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday, the designation — either "made in Canada" or "product of Canada" — would only apply to food grown or produced in Canada. Currently, anything can bear that label as long as 51 per cent of the cost of creating it is spent in Canada.

The government plans to consult with key stakeholders over the proposed rule change.

Ian MacIsaac, executive director of the P.E.I. Federation of Agriculture, said Canadian food products must meet high standards and Canadians deserve to know what they're buying.

"It's a very positive move for our members and for consumers in general," said MacIsaac.

"We're very pleased that the federal government has recognized the need to clear up what exactly a 'product of Canada' label really means, and what it does mean to have a product that's made in Canada."

Raymond Loo, past president of the P.E.I. Certified Organic Producers Co-op, said Canadians are making more of an effort to buy Canadian-grown food, and the change would make it easier.

"It is one of the complaints that the agriculture community, whether it be organic or conventional, has had for a long, long time," said Loo.

"It's very confusing for consumers when they're buying apple juice that's labelled 'product of Canada' but the concentrate probably came from China or somewhere else."

Loo would like the policy to go a step further, with rules about what can be labelled locally grown or produced.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Jazz..Big Price, But Great Service...

Last night I wasn't feeling very well so I had to bail on my flight to Toronto as I didn't want to treat the passengers to my upset stomach. So I rearranged my flight for noon today at Air Canada Jazz, at a staggering cost of $660 one way, but I had commitments I had to make so I had no choice. I also had to rearrange 30 lobsters and 20 lbs of mussels that were travelling with me for a dinner I am putting on tomorrow night in Georgian Bay and maybe a little business golf with it. I must say that Troy Warren the Air Canada Manager in Charlottetown went out of his way to insure that I got my lobsters traveling with me on Air Cargo. I booked the front seat 1C thinking that would put me near a washroom in case my stomach acted up but once I got on I realized the only washroom was at the back. I had the good fortune of an attractive young purser who took notice that I wasn't having anything to eat or drink. So later in the flight she offered up some of her lunch (carrots and a cranberry citrus oak crunch cookie) which was greatly appreciated as I was starting to feel better and it hit the spot. We had a few bumps while landing in Toronto as it was pretty windy but the lobsters and I were fine thanks to all the great staff at Jazz. I picked up the lobsters at Air Cargo and made my way to Collingwood to meet some friends for golf and business tomorrow. I promise I'll represent our Island Hospitality at its best when I'm cooking up the mussels and the red puppies tomorrow night and when a few of these Ontarian's get a taste I'm hoping our Island fisherman will be getting a bigger price when they see how good our products are. So again thanks to everyone at Air Jazz, even if the price was high, the service was excellent.

Magnolia Trees on Rochford St.

I have often admired these trees when traveling in the States but had no idea they could survive the harsh climate here in Canada. So checking with the city, this is what I found out.

From: McMinn, Nancy []
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 9:41 AM
Subject: magnolia trees on Rochford St.

The City of Charlottetown planted aprox 125 magnolia trees about three years ago. The species blooming now is Doctor Merrill, a magnolia suited for northern climates. The trees’ white blossoms are spectacular because of their size and because the flowers bloom before the trees leaf out. These trees prefer to be planted where they get full sun, in south and west facing locations, protected from wind.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Are We Getting Crazier Here on PEI...

Our farmers can hardly afford to put a potato in the ground let alone get enough of a price to dig it out and this "business group?" want the Province to sink a bunch of money into an interpretation museum to look at a replica...think about it for a moment...what possible business sense would this make. Any spare money the Province has should be invested in trying to develop more sustainable farming and fishing initiatives for our primary industries and hopefully this business group will help focus on ideas related to this. "Clearly" Mr. Scott needs to take some of his retirement time and look around at the dire shape some of our Island farm families are having and understand that socially and economically we need to make this the "centerpiece" of our Government's focus.
Groups wondering why whale must go
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 21, 2008
CBC News
A business group and the P.E.I museum foundation say the provincial government made a mistake when it allowed a beached blue whale to be dug up for display in British Columbia.
'I look at it as two different things. Do I look at whale bones or do I look at jobs for citizens of P.E.I.?'— Environment Minister George Webster
The whale washed up on the shore near Tignish in November 1987. It was buried, and a team from the University of British Columbia is now recovering it for display in a new museum in Vancouver.
"I'm just disappointed that such a valuable asset is leaving Prince Edward Island without any compensation to the province," Anne Arsenault, general manager of Tignish Initiatives, a local business development group, told CBC News Tuesday.Anne Arsenault is surprised the province is letting a valuable asset go for nothing. (CBC)
Arsenault said she has a letter from the province, sent five years ago, which shows that the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto was interested in the bones and in return for them was willing to provide the province with a replica, at an estimated value of $250,000. But the ROM struggled to raise enough money, and UBC has since taken over the project.
Arsenault wants to know why the province didn't negotiate a similar deal again.
"It would have been really nice to at least have the full scale replica and the interpretation to go with it, so at least the story would have stayed here and we'd still have that claim to fame," she said.
Environment Minister George Webster said he didn't know about the ROM's offer, but whether a replica is provided or not isn't the issue. The problem is the cost of a facility large enough to house it, which Webster said would be about $6 million.
"I look at it as two different things. Do I look at whale bones or do I look at jobs for citizens of P.E.I.?" said Webster, noting he would rather see the money go toward job creation on the Island.
Officials at the P.E.I. Museums and Heritage Foundation are calling the packing off of the blue whale skeleton to British Columbia a significant loss to the Island's natural heritage. They hope future governments will ensure that it won't happen again.
"Clearly we should have something like this as the centrepiece of our telling the story of Prince Edward Island," said Ian Scott, retired executive director of the museum foundation.
"A natural-history mandate has clearly been given to the museum and heritage foundation, 25 years ago."
The team from UBC says their priority is to ensure the bones are preserved for all Canadians, regardless of where they're exhibited.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

We Need More Competition

One of the easiest ways to help Islanders get lower gas prices is to change the regulations at IRAC which would allow more competition at the pump. Canadian Tire, Loblaws, Sobeys and Wal-Mart would probably all consider building gas bars on PEI if they could get thru the red tape at IRAC. The jobs and investment these new service centres could create would be welcome news to our Community not to mention the lower prices for Islanders.
Opec says oil could hit $200
By Carola Hoyos in London
Published: April 28 2008 13:56
Opec’s president on Monday warned oil prices could hit $200 a barrel and there would be little the cartel could do to help.
The comments made by Chakib Khelil, Algeria’s energy minister, came as oil prices hit a historic peak close to $120 a barrel, putting further pressure on global economies.

Try The Sears Mall Parking's free

Ed, if you're giving away free lobster you're welcome to use our mall parking lot at Sears for free. Just give me a call and we'll help you get it set up.
Lobster giveaway postponed
The Guardian
SOURIS – The free lobster give-away planned for Wednesday afternoon has been put on hold after fishermen were unable to secure the use of the Charlottetown Mall parking lot for the event. Fishermen from the Eastern Kings region spearheaded the action in protest of the low prices they are receiving for their catches at a time when costs of fishing have skyrocketed to an all time high."Prices this year are the lowest in years, causing serious financial burden to many fishers in the province," says Ed Frenette executive director of the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association. He said the lobster men had suggested the give away as a means of attracting public support for their efforts to attain higher prices. "Fishermen are certainly in a bind and need the public’s support," he said."Low shore prices affect every part of our rural economy and touch every Islander in one way or another, and public pressure on large processors to pay a fair price can help everyone," he said. What future actions may take place is now under discussion, said Frenette.

The Tourists Are Here, let's keep them...

It appears our Tourism industry is going to be in for a bit of trouble this summer with the price of gas and less US visitors so I think it's important for all of us to bear down and be very service orientated to any visitors we may come across. What's important to understand is the harder we all work together to go that extra mile to show people our true Island hospitality the easier it is to get the "word of mouth" working in our favour to restore our tourism industry. My wife and I were in Rustico tonight and we had an excellent meal at "By The Bay Restaurant". While there we met a middle age couple who were here from Florida that rented a Rustico cottage over the internet. The cottage owners, who were getting a coffee at the restaurant, ran into their guests and politely asked them if there was anything further they could do for them or help them with. They answered a few questions for their guests and before leaving they came back over and continued to offer any help they could. I overheard the guests commenting that the accommodations were exactly as described on the internet and how accommodating the cottage owners were. We seen quite a few tourists in the area but not a lot of businesses open so if you happen along some of these travellers please try and be as helpful as these Rustico operators were.
Travel to Canada hits record low for fifth straight month in March
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Travel to Canada hit a record low for the fifth straight month in March, following big declines in both same-day car trips from the United States and the number of visitors from overseas nations.Statistics Canada reports foreign visitors made 2.3 million trips to Canada in March, the lowest since record keeping started in 1972.That’s a one per cent decline from February, and a 12.4 per cent drop from a year earlier.Meanwhile, the number of Canadian trips abroad rose 1.4 per cent to almost 4.5 million, the vast majority (85 per cent) to the United States.U.S. residents made only 730,000 same-day car trips to Canada in March, down 2.5 per cent from the previous month.Same-day car travel to Canada has fallen by 41.1 per cent in two years.Overseas travellers to Canada made 384,000 trips in March, down three per cent.Travel declined in eight of Canada’s top 12 overseas markets, with the strongest decreases in travel from Mexico, Germany and Hong Kong.There were gains in visitors from India, Italy and the Netherlands.Overall, Canadians made 3.8 million trips to the United States in March, up 1.6 per cent from February. Canadian travel to the United States in the past six months has been the highest since 1998.Same-day car travel to the United States increased 1.5 per cent to 2.1 million trips, while overnight car travel rose 1.9 per cent to 991,000 trips.Overnight plane trips to the United States set a new record high for the fourth straight month.Canadian travel to countries other than the United States increased 0.4 per cent to a record 670,000 — the 10th month in the past year in which a new record high was set.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Guardian out scoops CBC

I was told by a reliable source that the person who tipped off the Webster story to the local media had first called the CBC but they were all "off for the weekend" so they called the Guardian who pounced all over the story and CBC still has nothing on their web site??? They were probably too tired from the can pop and bus explosion that they "beat to death" the previous week. I posted the url link of the Guardian's story (good work) on Webster below as the content is sick! Keep him locked up!!!

Webster in U.S. jail on charges
The Guardian


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sell, Sell, Sell...I need to get back on!!!

Please Robert - I beg of you, sell, sell,'s just not the same, I had to play at Eagles Glenn yesterday as I was booted off Crybush. It was 41 degrees, with a cold mist blowing in my face and I shot an easy "80" and if this continues it may go to my head and I'll be thinking that crowd at Golf Links PEI will be trying to sign me up with Tiger for the "Legends of Golf". Now had I been at Crybush I would have thrown one in the woods on number 1 hole, taken a "6" on number 8, and I would have tried to mark a "5" on number 11, when that roving reporter Billy McGuire would sneak up amongst the mosquitoes and say "take a 9 there Banks". Now if the sun would rise tomorrow and the course was privatized I could buy my way back to Paradise...sounds like the same old tune...
Too little too late on golf sale, Liberals worry
Updated: Friday, November 17, 2006
CBC News
A suggestion in the throne speech that the P.E.I. government might get out of the golf business is too late, says Opposition leader Robert Ghiz, and he worries it will get out for too little.
'Do I trust this crew that's in power now to sell the golf courses?'- Liberal Leader Robert Ghiz
The government owns four golf courses: Mill River, Crowbush Cove, Brudenell and Dundarave. Premier Pat Binns said the government has not yet decided what to do with them.
"We've certainly seen an increase in rounds played this year," said Binns.
"Whether it's the best time to be selling or not, I guess we're still considering. But we're putting out a signal that we're ready to look at that seriously."
Binns said he'll only sell the courses if he gets a good price. Ghiz worries the government won't make a fair deal.
"I think selling the golf courses is long past due," said Ghiz. "But at the same time, do I trust this crew that's in power now to sell the golf courses without doing it politically, without Islanders taking a bath on it? No, I don't."
NDP Leader Dean Constable agrees it's time to get out.
"We've lost quite a bit of money in the game of golf, and owning golf. And I'm still not sure why we ever bought golf courses in the first place," said Constable.
"We need to be looking at providing public services. The government has a lot of things to keep them busy, and investing in the private sector in the way they have in purchasing golf courses was a bad idea in the first place."
Thursday's throne speech said buying into golf was important for supporting the development of the industry on the Island.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bring Those Tories was great the old way

I received the following email today which I was very sad to see,

From: Golf Links PEI []
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2008 1:50 PM
To: Tim Banks
Subject: Season Opening... (but you're not invited Tim)

For many years I had it made, I would buy a "full" membership to Crowbush and I would also buy a "corporate" membership (not cheap) and this would allow me to pre-book an early Saturday morning tee time. Fully sanctioned by those Tories!!!

I would invite a few friends and we would have the time of our lives, cheating, lying, telling tales and the odd bit of golf. I had so much fun that I have been luring loads of friends and business people "to and fro" and spending big doe (not to mention many lost wagers). It all came to a grinding halt this week when one of the many financial and planning wizards of the great golf paradise at Golf Links PEI decided in their good wisdom that I was somehow breaking the "rules" (not just with the foot putter). The simple fact that my friends had now shelled up the big bucks to become members, we somehow were not taking out "corporate guests" in our little 6:30 am frolics, even though I had shelled out the corporate membership again. Bringing loads of guests during the week wasn't enough!!

Apparently there is some great accounting formula whereby the good folks at Golf Links PEI figured out they could make more money by kicking me off and replacing me with "who" as there is hardly anyone ever at the 6:40 am tee spot? I guess someone forgot to factor in the "f" factor which means "finished" and they no longer get my business and whatever I brought with it. Sort of like the pork plant and the meat plant, when they finally don't have enough customers they will start paying people to show up, but hardly me, as I'm a big Liberal with loads of money and to close to the Premier!!!

I had many great times there, I made a lot of great friends in the staff and membership, and I dearly enjoyed every moment. I'm really going to miss it all, but I didn't get where I am by trying to kiss someones ass politically to force them into some common sense and let me back to my old Tory ways.

I'd go to bed but I can't sleep, knowing someone else is getting ahead of me, enjoying our Island Paradise at its best, early when the sun rises.

When I fall asleep tonight, in my dreams I can only hope that my good friend Mike Currie will stand in the House and plead with Robert for my sanity and let me back on. In the meantime I'm hoping some course somewhere will put up with me and take my money. Maybe Mom will buy it for me....

Blair MacLauchlan is involved in the ownership of at least 4 premier golf courses and if you ask him how many people worked "off site" year round promoting his golf courses he would more than likely "scoff at the idea" or "laugh" as it would be so silly.....I haven't been able to find out the total number of people looking after our Provincial courses but when you account for the wages, travel, expenses, must be in the many hundreds of here are only a few on our Provincial golf payroll,

Ron MacNeill, Director of Development

Greg Dukart, General Manager

Beecher D Gillis, Senior Golf Accountant, Golf Links

Terri L Campbell, Secretary, Golf Links

Terry Hamilton, Golf Shop Supervisor

Jim Scott, Golf Clerk, Golf Links

Should They Get A Medal?

I can't even imagine who dreamed up this notion and to then turn around and raise it in the House??? The Natural and Organic Food Group had floated a financing prospectus around looking to raise $11,000,000 but when I read through it I learned they were planning on building a new plant but were not committed to building it on PEI but somewhere in the Maritimes or Quebec. The following comes out of their business plan they had sent to investors.

"New Value-added Processing Facility
In order to process the value-added ready-to-eat pork and chicken products, NOFG plans to build a dedicated processing facility. Construction is planned to start in early 2008 for completion towards the end of the year. The design and pre-engineering of this 35,000 sq. ft. facility has been completed. Cost estimates are as follows:

Building $4 million
Equipment $4 million
Working capital $2 million
Total $10 million

The location for this facility will be either in the Canadian Maritimes or Quebec."

These guys were running around trying to get money out of our Government but it appears as soon as they were going to raise some funds it was splitsville??

Whoever had the good sense to back away from these operators until they invested their own money should get a metal.

Ghiz accused of swinging deal on hog plant
Last Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2008
CBC News
Premier Robert Ghiz was accused in question period Tuesday of letting P.E.I.'s hog plant die in favour of Nova Scotia's, so that province would support the Island's beef plant.
Olive Crane focused all her attention on the hog plant.(CBC)
Opposition leader Olive Crane was the only Progressive Conservative to pose questions, and focused all her attention on the government's role in the closure of the Island's hog plant.
Crane accused Ghiz and his chief of staff Chris LeClair of brokering a backroom deal with the Nova Scotia government.
Crane believes Ghiz promised to close the Charlottetown hog plant in exchange for money from Nova Scotia for the Island's beef plant. P.E.I. reached a deal with the other two Maritime provinces to fund the beef plant in December.
Ghiz flatly denied the allegation.
He complimented Crane on having a great imagination, but said there was never any discussion with Nova Scotia about doing one thing in exchange for another.
The Natural and Organic Food Group facility closed last month after government refused to continue funding it.

"No, No, No, I want my marbles back."

Clifford sticks his head in the sand again!!
Clifford, what "courtesy" is there in meeting someone to discuss something when you already have your little mind made up???

Capital mayor won't reverse move to leave municipal body
The Guardian
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee says he is willing to listen to the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities’ plea for the capital city to remain a member of the federation.Sitting down to a meeting, however, will only be out of courtesy.The City of Charlottetown has no intention of reversing its decision, reached late last week and announced Monday, to pull out of the federation, Lee told The Guardian Thursday.“Do I see an opportunity for the City of Charlottetown to reverse its decision? No, I don’t,’’ he said.Bruce MacDougall, the federation’s president, said he is penning a letter to request a meeting with the City of Charlottetown.“I just want to sit down with them,’’ he said.“I know there have been a few issues have come out. I would just like to have a heart-to-heart with them and see what the real issues are.’’MacDougall said he is hopeful the municipality will reconsider its decision.He said Charlottetown has benefitted well from its membership, most recently in the federation successfully lobbying the provincial government to stop charging an administration fee to assess properties and collect property taxes. MacDougall said the move saved Charlottetown hundreds of thousands of dollars.Lee gives the federation credit for that lobby effort, but was quick to add that the federation has also swayed government to make changes that have benefited other Island municipalities at the expense of Charlottetown. He also reiterated his view that the city can bargain on its own behalf with the province more effectively than the federation.On Monday, Lee announced that the city unanimously supported a decision to end its membership with the federation. He said Thursday the decision was reached after he called a meeting of the whole last week and held a discussion with councillors and senior administration. Councillors Cecil Villard and Terry Bernard were absent due to prior commitments.“The consensus of council was the City of Charlottetown should serve notice,’’ he said.The municipality informed the federation it would no longer be a member as of June 30.A spokesperson with the Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour said the federation has indicated it will seek assistance from the province to help offset lost dues resulting from Charlottetown pulling out. The capital city has been paying an annual fee of more than $40,000 to belong to the federation.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ghost Busters

Tim Banks says, "Here they go again booting me off that Islander list as I am not anxious to know who the mechanic is.....surely there are more important issues to ask about in the House?'
Opposition on the hunt for 'mysterious mechanic'
The Guardian
The Conservative opposition is still on the hunt for the mechanic at the centre of last week's bus scare.Conservative Mike Currie says everybody wants to know who the mysterious mechanic was who discovered a serious corrosion problem on a bus. The find prompted the Island government to pull every single school bus off Island roads Thursday and Friday of last week."Would the minister please share with the House the name of the mechanic that found the rust?" Currie asked during question period yesterday. Education Minister Gerard Greenan said he doesn't know who the mechanic is but he said if he can find out who it is, he'll let Currie know today. "All Islanders are anxious to know who this mysterious mechanic is," Curried added.

"By George" Government by Petition

Tim Banks says, 'I'm not pretending I know anything about the "transmission" issue but I do know that I was sitting at the farmers market on Saturday when a lady asked the group at our table to sign the petition in question. One person signed and four refused to. When I queried the person who signed the petition, why he was in favor of stopping the project, it was quite obvious he was less informed than I. Are Petitions really worth anything or they just a tool to spook Government? and economics work !!!!'
West P.E.I. power corridor not fixed: Webster
Last Updated: Wednesday, May 14, 2008
CBC News
The route for Maritime Electric's high-voltage transmission line through West Prince is not a done deal, says Energy Minister George Webster.Energy Minister George Webster is still open to other proposed routes. (CBC)
The utility has applied to the province to build a 138,000-volt transmission line to carry wind power generated at the West Cape wind farm. A group has formed to oppose the route for the line, which would connect the O'Leary substation to the Sherbrooke station outside of Summerside. In addition, voltage on a new line from the wind farm to O'Leary is due to be increased from 69,000 to 138,000 volts.
Islanders for the Safe Transmission of Power says the line poses a health risk by passing too closely to homes. Tuesday night, it presented a 3,000-name petition at the P.E.I. legislature, demanding a 450-foot (137 metres) buffer zones between the line and homes, schools, parks, and sensitive use areas.
The group is concerned about the health risks associated with high voltage.
Webster noted Maritime Electric has not yet been granted permission to build on the route it is proposing.
"The actual corridor that was identified earlier is certainly not carved in stone, I want to make that extremely clear," he said.
"It's on the table for discussion as well as some other routes, Obviously, my opinion of this would be if we could find a route that has less risk, if there is risk, certainly I would be open for those suggestions."
Maritime Electric has to get approval from the province before it can proceed with its planned route.
The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission recently ruled against people from the area who had filed a complaint about the proposed power line based on health fears.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Poor Idea

Tim Banks says, 'Cliff's mad because he thinks he owns the franchise on making no sense at the microphone. Suck it up Clifford or you'll have no one left to whine about.'
Charlottetown quits municipalities federation
Last Updated: Monday, May 12, 2008
CBC News
The City of Charlottetown is pulling out of the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities, and taking a quarter of the group's budget with it.
Mayor Clifford Lee said he and his city are tired of other members of the group expressing resentment toward Charlottetown. Lee announced the decision Monday morning, making reference to an incident at last month's meeting in Summerside.
"A representative from Ellerslie-Bedeford stood at the microphone and applauded the province for taking money away from the City of Charlottetown," said Lee.
"Why are you a member of an organization that thinks it's great news for the City of Charlottetown to lose money? Makes no sense."
The Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities represents 40 Island cities, towns, villages and communities. The smallest — Victoria — has 77 residents, but each member gets an equal voice in federation resolutions.
Until Monday, the largest member of the federation was the City of Charlottetown. Charlottetown paid the highest dues — $40,000 a year— a quarter of the federation's budget.
Equalization a sore point
Provincial Treasurer Wes Sheridan said he's disappointed the city has pulled out.
"I think there's strength in numbers. I think that voice has been a consistent voice for 50-plus years," said Sheridan.
Lee's first order of business going solo with the provincial government is its new equalization formula, which Lee believes will cost Charlottetown citizens $100,000 a year. Because other municipalities will benefit, Lee felt it was unlikely the federation would take a strong stand.
Sheridan maintains the government's new equalization formula will benefit all P.E.I. municipalities, including Charlottetown.

Great Idea

Tim Banks says, 'It's such a great idea I'd be prepared to buy Clifford a bike to get around with and save the City some expenses.'
Charlottetown working up bicycle routes
Monday, May 12, 2008
CBC News
Charlottetown city council has struck an ad hoc committee to make recommendations on setting up bicycle routes throughout city.
Mayor Clifford Lee would like to see more people on bicycles in Charlottetown. (CBC)
Mayor Clifford Lee said the priority for the bicycle lanes will be the safety of the cyclists.
"We're looking at what streets, what areas of the city we can actually create designated bicycle lanes," said Lee.
"Bicycling has become a mode of transportation. There is a lot of people in our community that would use bicycles to get back and forth from one end of the city to the other as long as they didn't have to compete with motor vehicle traffic."
Deputy Mayor Stu MacFadyen will chair the committee. Also on the committee are parks, recreation and leisure activities chair Mitchell Tweel and public works, public property and street lighting chair Terry Bernard.
The committee has 45 days to report back to council.

Nice Gesture Ms. Miller

Tim Banks says, 'Nice gesture Ms. Miller, I'm sure it will be greatly appreciated.'
Woman donates shopping spree to food bank
Monday, May 12, 2008
CBC News
A woman who won a shopping spree at a Charlottetown grocery store has donated the results to the city's food bank.
Catherine Miller pulled $1,200 worth of groceries off the shelves during the spree and donated every item to the Upper Room soup kitchen and food bank .
"[I] had a little bit of a wish list from the food bank because I called them and told them that I was going to do this," said Miller.
"I kind of had a heads-up as to what they were looking for. Peanut butter is always a big one for food banks and children and such, diapers."
Officials at the Upper Room are thrilled with the donation.
"I thought it was a very generous idea and we certainly appreciate what she has done for us. And just the thought that somebody wants to help us like that is so wonderful," said supervisor Judy Campbell.
Miller said she has a small family and felt others needed the winnings more than they did.
Campbell said as far as she knows, this is the first shopping spree the Upper Room has received as a donation.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Like The Eveready Battery, It keeps On Losing

Tim Banks says, 'It would probably make more sense to close the plant and pass over the cash losses directly to the farmers as the money would more than likely go a lot farther. Why does every Government think they should be able to run a business cheaper than private enterprise?'
P.E.I. beef plant losses increasing again
Last Updated: Thursday, May 8, 2008
CBC News
The Atlantic Beef Products plant in Albany, P.E.I. lost $550,000 in April, and has lost $3.5 million since last June.
Losses at the plant had been improving. Early last year it was losing $500,000 a month, but by late summer those losses had been cut in half.
The Opposition said it's time the government did something to stop the growing tide of red ink. He was also concerned about beef farmers who are waiting up to six weeks to get paid.
"They have to go out and get a manager and bring somebody in that's capable of running the plant," Progressive Conservative MLA Jim Bagnall told CBC News Wednesday.
"If it means you have to spend a lot of money or whatever then they have to do it, but you can't sit for six months without a manager."
The plant has been without a manager since a restructuring in December. With that restructuring came $12 million from the three Maritime provinces and ACOA to keep the plant going while it found a way to turn a profit.
Bagnall accused government of playing favorites in the agriculture industry. He wondered why the government is willing to support massive losses at the beef plant even after it put P.E.I.'s hog plant into receivership when it was losing far less money.
Bagnall said he wants both sectors supported.
Agriculture Minister Neil LeClair admitted the money provided to the beef plant is being quickly eroded. He said he's meeting Thursday with the advisory group that's running the plant.
"I'm going to be asking for their future outlook for this, where they think it's going to go, if it can be achieved and how long it's going to take," said LeClair.
"We've got to have to look at all those areas we have to take a serious look at where the industry is."
LeClair said he still thinks there's hope to turn the plant around.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Island's Adopted Son

Tim Banks says "A Great Canadian recognizes a great Island and its people. It never hurts having someone like Frank McKenna singing our praises."
McKenna sings P.E.I.'s praises
The Guardian
Well known politician and business leader Frank McKenna had nothing but good things to say about Prince Edward Island during his address at the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce annual president's luncheon Monday.McKenna praised the over 400 business and political leaders and entrepreneurs for their work in growing the P.E.I. economy. As a past Canadian ambassador to the United States and in his current role as deputy chair of TD Bank Financial, McKenna said he is usually exposed to more negative market economies.'In the life that I lead, all I get is doom and gloom every day,' he said. 'Banks are in the hole by tens of millions of dollars, industries are closing down — it's just misery.' Coming to P.E.I. is a welcome change, he said. 'You drive into Prince Edward Island and everything is fresh and the sun is shining and everybody’s so happy and the economy’s good, unlike the rest of Atlantic Canada, you're actually growing your population base. It's just so positive.' McKenna, who also served 10 years as premier of New Brunswick, also had some anecdotes to amuse the crowd. He said coming across the Confederation Bridge always makes him sore. 'It reminds me one more time just how much Catherine Callbeck ripped us off when they did that bridge,' he joked. 'Now there's not a damned thing on the New Brunswick side, everything is in Prince Edward Island — you even have to pay to get off the Island, you don't have to pay to get on it. 'The only thing we made a little money on over the years was selling a few cans of pop to Islanders. Now that’s gone.' The crowd loved it, as did Premier Robert Ghiz.Ghiz said his decision to run for leadership of the Liberal Party in 2002 was partly due to some advice he received from McKenna. 'For anybody here who perhaps is not to happy with myself being premier today, you can blame part of it on Frank McKenna,' Ghiz said. With little experience in the political arena and a lot of pressure to run, Ghiz said he turned to some old friends of his father's for advice, including McKenna. 'Robert, it's a no-brainer,' McKenna had told Ghiz.'You’ll either lose the leadership in an election and you'll go on to do great things and learn from the experience — or in five years time, you'll be premier of the province of Prince Edward Island. 'Ghiz then thanked McKenna for this advice.'Because five years later, I'm standing here.'

Great Appointment

Tim Banks says "Pat Mella is a very capable and conscientious lady who certainly has the credentials to deliver an equitable and unbiased report back to Government that all stakeholders should be happy with."
Kindergarten integration study assigned to former minister
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 6, 2008
CBC News
A former Progressive Conservative provincial cabinet minister has been appointed to write a report on how to integrate P.E.I.'s kindergarten into the public school system.
Pat Mella, a former teacher who was also provincial treasurer for a time in the Pat Binns government, will take on the job for the current Liberal administration. As public kindergarten commissioner, she has been charged to recommend how the government can best integrate kindergarten into the school system by September 2010.
Kindergartens are currently run by private operators using a provincial curriculum. Students join the public schools in Grade 1.
Mella's mandate covers all aspects of the question:
Possible changes to the curriculum.
Qualifications required for kindergarten teachers.
Making space in the schools.
The effect on existing early childhood educators.
Her final report is due back to government in June 2009.
Mella was provincial treasurer when kindergarten was first publicly funded in 2000.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Save Your Money...

Tim Banks says 'I like your spunk... but save your money. Get in line, as there are more Towns in Canada with the same problem you have than there are people in Alberton. When you look at the demographics for the area you would be hard pressed to support a 7-11 store let alone a Hotel and Convention Centre. Don't get me wrong, I want to be a large supporter (investor) of your area. I've spent a lot of door knocking time in Toronto trying to convince investors that there is a market in West Prince. It seems every time I get someone interested, they visit the area, and they come away with the impression there are 4 little markets that are jealous of each other. They think if they invested in one, the others wouldn't support them. Maybe using this money to call all the Communities together and call for an attitude truce would be a good start. Rebrand the whole area "West Prince", while still retaining the Towns as neighbourhoods, this would probably give investors a stronger sense that there is a working community and the area may see more new investment. Why does Alberton want a hotel when there is a beautiful resort in Mill River that everyone should work together to support and revitalize not compete against? I believe there are lots of great opportunities for this beautiful area of the Province and I think working together as one Community is the first step. The last place a real investor looks for an opportunity is in a newspaper advertisement, just ask Summerside about their futile attempt to build a Hotel next to the new Wellness Centre. Save your money and I'm always willing to give some advice for free, for what it's worth.'
Alberton goes after national investment
Last Updated: Friday, May 2, 2008 10:26 AM
CBC News
The western P.E.I. town of Alberton is going nationwide in its search for new investment in the community.

Mayor Perry Morrell is preparing a newspaper ad for the Globe and Mail to let the entire country know his town is open for business.
"We're trying to improve the quality of living, and whether it be the seniors or the young people, we need investment in the community to have a good standard of living," Morrell told CBC News on Thursday. Morrell has already looked closer to home for investment opportunities, but said anyone with money already has it committed elsewhere, so he's expanding his search.
"There are things the community needs such as a nice motel, convention centre, other businesses to attract people to the community. If the cost of transportation keeps on rising, then the community is going to need all these things to sustain itself," he said.
Alberton needs new investment for the future, says the mayor. (CBC)
Morrell hasn't decided how large an ad to take out. The smallest would be an eighth of a page at a cost of $9,000; a full-page ad would cost $39,000.
Local retailer Bonnie Murphy is pleased to hear the mayor is making efforts to bring the town to national attention. The town has a lot to offer, she said.
"We've got a lot of good people around. We draw from all of West Prince and even from communities beyond," she said.
The advertisement will be a one-shot deal to see whether anyone is interested in relocating to western P.E.I. and willing to take a chance to invest in the small Island town.
Alberton: Quick Facts
Median age44.8
Median family income$42,051
Largest employerAgriculture and other resource-based industries
Distance to nearest citySummerside, 66 km

Loadem up, Headem out, the can drive is on!!!

Tim Banks says "The sky is Falling.... hard to believe that my kids will finally be able to legally sit an empty can on our driveway and squash it with their foot and leave it behind for someone to pick up.... I was thinking if they didn't soon get to do that they may have "crush can syndrome"... forget the environment and think of all the heath care benefits!!!
The wait is over
The Guardian
Psssssssst.Islanders will be enjoying that sound today as tabs pop open on a number of carbonated beverages purchased on P.E.I. for the first time in decades.Canned pop will be sold here today for the first time since March 1, 1984. And beer can be bought in cans after 35 years of being sold on the Island in bottles only.That well-worn Island tradition of stocking up with canned beer and canned pop on the drive home from the mainland will finally grind to a halt. Sales of canned pop at Allen’s Petro-Can & Grocery in Timber River, N.B., long the last stop for many homebound Island motorists before hitting Confederation Bridge, are bound to plummet.Consumer demand finally forced the government’s hand. The ban on the sale of carbonated beverages in non-refillable containers is officially lifted as of today.A survey conducted for Coca-Cola in 2002 said 70 per cent of Islanders would support change to allow the sale of carbonated beverages in aluminum cans and plastic bottles.While consumers benefit with the convenience of being able to make purchases at local stores rather than during a trip across the Northumberland Strait, the provincial government will be the big fiscal benefactor of the Beverage Container Act introduced in the legislature last week.A study way back in 1998, conducted by UPEI, suggested P.E.I. loses more than $4 million annually because of the ban on canned pop alone.Pepsi and Coca-Cola have been moving fast and furious to stock Island shelves with their products as consumers are expected to flood stores across the province looking for their favourite carbonated beverages now packaged here in cans and plastic.“We’ve been working round the clock to support retailers across P.E.I.,’’ said Steve Chiasson of Pepsi Bottling Group.“We expect to have good product distribution across the Island by (today) when stores open.’’Jeff Brown, general manager for the Maritimes with Coca-Cola Bottling Company, says close to 70 sales people, drivers and merchandisers are in P.E.I. this week looking after the logistics of the major shift.“It’s a big deal. It’s a lot of work with the customers,’’ said Brown. “We think it will take three or four weeks to get everything done to adjust our customers coolers and make everything available.’’Brown estimates the canned Coca Cola products will take one to two weeks to get into all of the Island stores seeking to sell them.“It’s our goal to get to as many places as we can,’’ he said. “We are working feverishly through the night.’’Red Bull was busy marketing their product on the Island Friday by handing out free samples of the energy drink in cans.“Starting Saturday, Islanders wanting to purchase Red Bull should be able to find it in almost all grocery and convenience stores, as well as their favourite restaurants and bars,’’ said a spokesperson with the company.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Let's Hope The Charlottetown Store Survives

Tim Banks says "It's too bad for the employees and hopefully the Charlottetown store will stay open as I understand their Canadian operation has a good chance of surviving."

Linens 'n Things files for bankruptcy protection
Home-furnishings merchant succumbs to consumer-spending slowdown
updated 9:30 a.m. ET May 2, 2008
NEW YORK - Bedding- and home-furnishing retailer Linens 'n Things on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the latest major retailer to succumb to the difficult consumer environment.
The company's parent, Linens Holding Co., filed a petition in bankruptcy court in Delaware.
The company named Michael Gries of the restructuring firm Conway Del Genio Gries & Co. as chief restructuring officer and interim chief executive. Current CEO Robert DiNicola will become executive chairman. It also said it will close 120 stores, almost a quarter of them in California.
In the filing, Linens 'n Things said it has less than 50 creditors and said funds will be available for distribution to unsecured creditors. It has arranged $700 million in debtor-in-possession financing, mainly from General Electric Capital Corp.
Linens 'n Things, bought by investment firm Apollo Management in 2006, has been struggling with profitability. In March it reported a fiscal 2007 loss of $242.1 million.
The Clifton, N.J.-based company said external economic factors, including the decline in the housing market, tightening credit markets, and a downturn in consumer discretionary spending, particularly in the housewares and home furnishings sector, led to a "precipitous decline" in profitability and liquidity.
The factors worsened in the first quarter of 2008, the company said.
Linens 'n Things, which operates about 589 retail stores in 47 states, is the latest retailer to be hit by the weakening retail environment as consumers cut back. Sharper Image Corp. and Lillian Vernon Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in February.
Filing for Chapter 11 under the bankruptcy code frees a company from the threat of creditor lawsuits while it reorganizes its finances.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Congratulations Wayne, well done

UPEI will confer four honorary degrees at convocation on May 10
April 7, 2008
The University of Prince Edward Island will confer honorary degrees on four outstanding citizens, Wayne D. Gray, Nona Macdonald Heaslip, James Carter and Joe Ng, at two convocations on Saturday, May 10, in the Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre.
Carter and Gray will receive their honorary degrees during the morning ceremony, which will start at 10 a.m. Macdonald Heaslip and Ng will be awarded their degrees during the afternoon ceremony, which will begin at 2:30 p.m. Gray will deliver the convocation address in the morning, and Macdonald Heaslip in the afternoon. About 600 undergraduate and graduate students will receive their degrees during the convocation ceremonies.
Wayne D. Gray is the power behind the Vogue Optical chain, with 55 stores in Atlantic Canada, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and over 250 employees. He and his late wife Doreen Gray established Vogue Optical in 1979. Gray’s desire to own the buildings housing the optical stores created the need for a property development and management company. This company's holdings have grown to over 40 properties with more than 100 tenants. Gray and his companies are strong supporters of the Queen Elizabeth, Prince County and IWK hospitals, the Children's Wish Foundation and many other causes. In 2000 he created the Doreen Gray Memorial Endowment Fund in memory of his wife. Wayne and Doreen Gray were inducted into the P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame in 2006.

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom and the neighbourhood showed up

Tim Banks says "I tried to go commercial with this site but once I heard the opposition from the Community I knew it was time to withdraw our application and that is exactly what we did." Steve may have to do the same if he wants customers?
Developer proposes Mazda car dealership for corner of bypass
The Guardian

Of all possible commercial developments, a car dealership has one of the lowest effects on neighbours, says Stephen MacIsaac, but residents packed into Charlottetown council chambers Wednesday did not agree.
MacIsaac wants to take close to 4.5 acres at the northeast corner of the Upton Road and Charlottetown bypass highway intersection and make it into a new “state-of-the-art, image-compliant, 10,000 square-foot glass front” Mazda car dealership. The subject land and the area around it is currently zoned R-1L for family homes and must be rezoned for the car dealership proposal.
“(It would have) very low impact as far as retail in that there is limited traffic associated with an automobile dealership, probably less than what would go in and out if you had it developed into single family lots,” said MacIsaac at the public meeting. “It’s as low impact as it gets.”
Car dealerships are brightly lit all night for security reasons, leading to light pollution at night combined with noise pollution during the day, said resident Kate Marshall in opposition to the rezoning request.
MacIsaac said modern lighting can be highly focused and the intent is to have no leaking light.
Marshall and many others said they bought property and settled in the area, secure in the knowledge that surrounding land was zoned for single dwellings as reflected in the official plan.
“We were aware when we purchased our property that an application for rezoning had previously been rejected so we felt safe in our purchase, that we wouldn’t have to go through this,” said Marshall.
She said the area of Upton Road north of the bypass is single-family, detached dwellings, farms and parkland and should remain that way.
Marshall and others said the city has plenty of other areas already zoned commercial so here is no need for this rezoning.
A decision on the rezoning is expected at the next monthly meeting of Charlottetown City Council.
Dennis Williams said he and his wife are adamantly opposed to any commercial rezoning of the property.
“We bought this property in 1984 and we have seen several zoning applications for this property over the years,” said Williams.
They were all rejected and the area remains single-family residential with some 200 new homes plus a new elementary school in the past 10 years.
“Residents in this area are weary of this never-ending struggle to protect their investment against the parade of developers whose primary motivation is monetary gain,” said Williams.
Graeme Linkletter called the rezoning the “thin edge of the wedge.”
“You are not just looking at this application tonight as a standalone,” said Linkletter.
“It is going to be a very popular corner in the future as the bypass gets extended sometime. The pressure will be on to develop the other three corners into commercial, especially when you have one anchor there.”
The application also included a separate but nearby area to be rezoned to allow three “high-end, user-occupied” townhouses with units costing up to $160,000 but developer Warren Doiron withdrew that aspect of the application after hearing concerns from
residents at the meeting.
Doiron owns the land where MacIsaac wants to put the car dealership.
He said the land may now be zoned for single-family detached dwelling but that does not reflect reality.
“That’s on the arterial highway, for Pete’s sake,” said Doiron.