Thursday, August 28, 2008

A "Gentle" Let Down...

Clearly Tourism is down in our sister Provinces, Junes numbers were bad, sunny July was brutal and I expect that when we get our numbers for rainy August they will be equally as bad. We have a beautiful region to visit but we have to focus on upgrading our properties, improving our service levels and be more competitive with our pricing. Maybe it's time for all the Atlantic Provinces to start working together to develop a Regional marketing plan with a very focused strategy and pool our resources so we get the best bang for our buck..... Valerie, we are still waiting for our July numbers....
Nova Scotia sees double-digit drop in July tourist numbers
Thursday, August 28, 2008
CBC News
Nova Scotia had 40,000 fewer visitors in July compared with the same month last year, a drop of 13 per cent.
The provincial government released the latest tourism statistics on Wednesday.
"It's really depressing isn't it, to have July numbers down as opposed to up," said Danny Morton, chairman of the board of directors for the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia.
There were about 273,000 visitors last month, down 13 per cent from July 2007, according to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage.
The number of American tourists was down 26 per cent and there were also fewer visitors from Europe, which tourism officials say is consistent with trends reported across the country.
Visits by road dropped 13 per cent while the number of people who flew into Nova Scotia declined by 12 per cent.
"We want to see the fall turning around," said Morton, who's also general manager of the White Point Beach resort. "We want to be working on access into the province. We want to make it easier for people to come into the province."
The number of people renting hotel rooms or other accommodations remained about the same, which leads Morton to believe that more Nova Scotians are travelling within the province.
There was also a small increase in the number of visitors from Western Canada, though the number from the rest of Canada was down.
"Obviously, I'm not excited by these numbers," said Tourism Minister Bill Dooks. "I had expected some decline in visitors to Nova Scotia. But we've got to look at the positive side of it."

Crazy "Yoyo" Market....

Two days ago the Bank of Nova Scotia reported a minor 2% drop in their profit and their shares fall by about 3% and today the CIBC report a whopping 91% drop in profit and their shares go up over 6%. I wonder if a Bank customer's company dropped their profit by 91% would the Bank recognize that the value of the customer's company would go up in value.... it is certainly a strange stock market going on these days...
Toronto market, CIBC shares surge despite bad news
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
CBC News
Toronto stocks were up as much as 275 points at times Wednesday, lifted partly by a paradoxical enthusiasm for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which reported a 91 per cent drop in quarterly profit.
CIBC shares rose $3.04 or 5.3 per cent to $60.10 even though the bank disclosed more big losses in little-understood markets involving structured credit, special-purpose entities, collateralized debt obligations, asset-backed commercial paper and other financial arcana.
'Yes, it wasn't as bad as expected.'— Dundee Securities bank analyst John Aiken
Despite the bad news, investors seemed relieved.
"Yes, it wasn't as bad as expected," Dundee Securities bank analyst John Aiken told CBC News.
"What it all boils down to with CIBC is the fact that the market was looking for writeoffs from the capital markets to be in the neighbourhood of $1.5 billion or more. They came in at $885 million," he said.
After tax, the $885 million hit cost the bank $596 million or $1.56 a share.
"Although it hurt earnings, it left the balance sheet in much better shape than everyone was expecting," Aiken said.

Service, Service, Service...

In our property development business there are three things that stand out in order to be successful in getting a return on your investment and they are; location, location, location and if you get that right then the rest is easy. I think a similar analogy can be identified for our tourism and retail operators and that is service, service, service. The following survey suggests that most people don't have a lot of patient for poor service and they will usually head for a competitors business. As we all head into a tougher economy I think we all have to start to focus on our service levels to keep our customers coming back...
Survey suggests Canadians tired of waiting in line
By The Canadian Press
TORONTO — A new survey suggests Canadians are so fed up of waiting in line because of slow service at the bank, at the bus stop, at the grocery store and elsewhere that many just walk away. The survey was released Wednesday by marketing research firm, Maritz Research Canada, which says consumers are abandoning their shopping carts and delaying their purchases in record numbers. Maritz says a whopping 86 per cent of participants polled admitted to walking out of a store frustrated with having waited too long for service. The online poll of 1,300 Canadians finds department stores lose the greatest amount of business because of frustrated customers leaving empty-handed. But tolerance for wait times varies. Survey respondents say they would consider leaving a grocery store if they had to wait longer than 15 minutes, but they would stay up to 81 minutes before considering leaving a medical institution. Maritz says customers are also more forgiving and inclined to wait longer if they are greeted with a smile, given an estimate of how much longer they would have to wait — or if they were offered an apology. Maritz president Rob Daniel says retailers should keep in mind that customers frustrated by long waits will go to the competition and are inclined to rant to other people about their experience. But the survey did not directly address issues such as short-staffing or get the views of employees who have to serve impatient customers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Big Shoulders....

It certainly shows the good character of the McCain Family to be forthright with the public and accept the blame themselves. Although it will probably cost them dearly in the short term I'm sure that in the long run their honesty and dedication to fixing the problem with pay off with a stronger brand we can all trust. I won't hesitate to purchase their products in the future and I'm hoping others will as well...
Listeriosis outbreak is for Maple Leaf Foods to fix, president says
By The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The president of Maple Leaf Foods is putting responsibility for an ongoing national outbreak of listeriosis squarely on his company’s shoulders.
The company “violated our accountability in this circumstance,” Michael McCain told a news conference Wednesday in Toronto.
Six deaths have been confirmed as part of the listeriosis outbreak, which has been linked to recalled meat products made by Maple Leaf Foods, while another nine deaths are under investigation.
“This week, it’s our best efforts that failed, not the regulators or the Canadian food safety system,” McCain said.
“I emphasize: this is our accountability and it’s ours to fix, which we are taking on fully. We have and we continue to improve on our action plans.”

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Easy Boys....a real hay maker!!!

Easy Basil on the laughing stock comments as Canada Games visitors are going to be so "in awe" with the new $40,000,000.00 Wellness Centre building that they will never notice the old grandstand building. Call me crazy but didn't the Province just give the Town of Summerside about $5,000,000.00 of PEI taxpayers money for the Wellness Centre to be used for the Canada Games so why didn't they put it into the grandstands if they felt it was in that bad of shape?? I love harness racing... I've been involved as an horse owner and a breeder for years and I think it’s prudent for Government to look at what's best for the whole industry before throwing a bunch more money into a new Grandstand. If the report says one track then we should all work together to make the industry work. Not just build a new grandstand because Basil is going to "threaten" us like a Big Bully... on the other hand if I had Basil chasing me down I'd throw in a Full Casino, Dog Track and maybe 50,000 seat Concert Venue... and why not Basil it's only taxpayers money!!!
Summerside worries raceway could close
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
CBC News
The mayor of P.E.I.'s second city is calling for an emergency meeting with the area's MLAs to find out what the province's plans are for the Summerside Raceway.
The grandstand at the harness-racing venue is in hard shape, Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart said, and in less than a year the Canada Games are due to open at Credit Union Place, the sports complex right next door. Other members of city council share his concern.
"The opening venue as it stands right now will be that dilapidated, leaking building that's falling into the ground," Coun. Brent Gallant said.
"Prince Edward Island will be the laughing stocks of the Canada Games to have hosted such an event with a facility such as that."
The province has been spending big money to build and renovate facilities for the Games, but there is no word yet on any capital spending for the Summerside Raceway. That has led to bigger worries for council, with rumours abounding that the province's new gambling strategy, currently being written, will seek to close down the raceway as a competitive harness-racing track and downgrade it to a training facility.
"If there's a suggestion at the end of the day from that, that this racetrack in Summerside be downgraded from racetrack to a training centre, there will be a blistering fight about it, I'll tell you that. And I'll be right out there in the front of it," Stewart said.
Stewart is resting his hopes that that won't happen on provincial Treasurer Wes Sheridan, the minister responsible for the gambling strategy, who's also the MLA for Kensington-Malpeque, just to the northeast of Summerside.
"Wes is going to make it happen," Stewart said.
Sheridan confirmed a decision on the grandstand is on hold until the gambling strategy is released, but he denied there has been talk about downgrading the Summerside Raceway.
"That hasn't been on the table whatsoever," he said. "In the last nine months of discussions, we haven't even looked at that possibility."
Sheridan said he hopes to have the gambling strategy ready for cabinet approval in the next couple of weeks, and after that he'll turn his attention to the Summerside Raceway's grandstand.

Winners here...

Islanders should be very proud of these two hard working Islanders who gave their 100% in their respective events. Congratulations to both Jared and Kara for making all of us proud. I understand Jared is going to work towards the next Olympics and I'm not 100% but I think Kara and her husband intend to teach and develop a business based out of PEI and I'm sure whatever these two Olympians end up doing it will be excellence at its best.
Olympics over for two Islanders
Friday, August 22, 2008
CBC News
Sprinter Jared Connaughton and his Canadian teammates placed sixth in the men's 4x100 metre relay at the Beijing Olympics, while pentathlete Kara Grant had to settle for a 31st-place finish.
'We've got some work to do, but this team will be back.'— Jared Connaughton
While the Canadian relay team set a seasonal best, it was well back of the winners from Jamaica.
"This would have been an opportunity to just open the steps up and really go for broke, and I think we were just a little bit conservative. And 38.66 in any other given day is a pretty good time, but not in an Olympic final," Connaughton, from P.E.I., told CBC News after the race.
"We've got some work to do, but this team will be back. I'm satisfied we're here, but you know, I'm not satisfied we're not on the podium."
Earlier this week, Connaughton reached the semi-finals in the 200-metre sprint. P.E.I.'s Grant placed 31st in the modern pentathalon with a score of 4,976.
"I have mixed feelings. Obviously, you know, it's great to be here in Beijing competing, and you know I've certainly proved over the years that I am part of a world-class field, but I definitely didn't perform the way that I'd hoped today so, definitely a little bit of disappointment there," Grant said.
This is Grant's second Olympics, and she said she hasn't decided whether she'll attempt to get to the next Games.
The other Canadian in the modern pentathlon, Monica Pinette, finished 27th.
Pentathaletes take part in five events in one day: shooting, fencing, swimming, show jumping and running.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

More Likely A Passion For The Senate....

This is really funny... maybe it'll be a good run up for a Senate seat should Harper get elected and call for Senate elections? Poor Keith's been trying for years to make his way to the Senate but he continues to back the wrong horses. He was on the wrong side of Chrétien and he worked the Kennedy camp, so if Dion should get elected I'd be surprised if they would even take his calls. It's too bad young Henderson wouldn't take a run at Egmont as he would surely be able to win... I'm smelling burnt toast here..
Milligan back in Liberal race
The Guardian
Keith Milligan has once again thrown his name into the hat for the Liberal candidacy in Egmont. He announced officially Wednesday he will seek the nomination when the meeting for nominees is scheduled. The nomination was made necessary when Robert Morrissey, who won the Liberal candidacy last fall, announced he was stepping aside. Milligan, who lost to Morrissey in last fall’s closely fought nomination battle, said he was as shocked as the rest of the Island by Morrissey’s surprise resignation as the Liberal candidate in Egmont. “I went away and started another career, if you will, and didn’t think this opportunity was going to come around again,” he said. “So when (Morrissey) made this announcement I got a tremendous amount of calls and also I’ve made a lot of calls and arrived at this decision.” Milligan said he has carefully considered the decision and has talked extensively with Morrissey about why he chose to leave the race. Morrissey told Milligan his desire to continue in politics had dissipated and he felt he either had to keep running on empty or leave while there was still time for someone else to build a proper campaign. “He told me that when he got out on the campaign trail, the fire just wasn’t there,” Milligan told The Guardian. But he says he hasn’t lost his own fire. “It’s still burning quite brightly. I’ve always had a passion for politics and it’s still with me.” Milligan admitted he has a lot of campaigning to catch up on, should he win the nomination. Gail Shea, the Conservative candidate for the riding, has been going door-to-door for months already. “Gail’s been out and she’s been working and I appreciate that,” he said. “But I’m always pretty confident about what can be accomplished if you work hard.” He said he’ll be focusing on the issues for the area, rather than getting into a finger-pointing, political name-calling game. Prince County’s stagnant economy, fisheries and agriculture are areas of great concern to him. It’s still unknown when the new nomination convention will be called, but Milligan said he is preparing for an election as soon as this fall. The Guardian’s numerous phone calls to Egmont Riding Association president Andrew Campbell went unreturned. But Milligan said he believes the riding is nailing dates down this week and will make an announcement Friday.

Holy Crown Crap.... I think he's right

It's been my experience that most Crown Corps particularly Provincial ones are set up with good intentions but it doesn't take long before they start to sway outside their mandate or terms of reference as is the case with the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation, Summerside Waterfront Development Corporation, etc... and it's time Government took a serious look at winding up quite a few of these dinosaurs and put them back into private hands or close them out and save our taxpayers a ton of money...
Crown corporations: what purpose do they really serve?
This past spring, during the time of the great Non-Clean-Up, I was pedalling my bicycle in my own private 'tour de subdivision'. The trees were bare, no flowers were in blossom, but everywhere I travelled, the one thing that was blooming was a regular riot of those rejection stickers the garbage police must carry by the box-load in their trucks. And seeing these bright blossoms appear again and again as I pedalled, I came to two realizations: first, I realized how profoundly weary I am of the never-ending proliferation of new and more Draconian garbage rules; second, I realized that I can't even complain about it because between me and any possibility of effective action, there lies something called a 'Crown corporation' (IWMC-Island Waste Management Corporation.) Now for those who may be a bit fuzzy as to what a Crown corporation is, a Crown corporation is a phoney imitation of a private business. From the outside, it looks like a private business. It will have a president, vice-president(s), a board of directors and so forth. It will behave like a private business, even down to the rhetoric. (So that, for example, the spokesperson for Canada Post, a Crown corporation, will exult about returning a profit to its 'shareholder' - the Government of Canada, which, according to our theory of popular sovereignty, is the 'people' of Canada, including those rural people Canada Post is currently abusing in order to return that profit.) But it is created by, and loosely tied to, government. What's even more to the point, though, Crown corporations are treated as though they were private businesses by others, including other levels of government. Now, actually calling governments to account, or moving them to do the sensible thing, is difficult at the best of times (the Cornwall Town Hall.) However, governments are bound by laws, regulations and policies, which can be invoked. Private business are far less bound, and this extends to Crown corporations as well. An example of this is presented in my soon-to-be-published study of the City of Charlottetown. In it, a comparison is drawn between the two 'farms' (the Experimental Farm and the Upton Farm) in terms of the public reaction, and the relative success of the groups opposing development of those properties. In the case of the Experimental Farm, the property remained within the jurisdiction of Public Works Canada. Public Works Canada is a government agency, and as far as any disposal of assets goes, it is bound by Treasury Board Policy. This is precisely why, as soon as there was a hint of a Mi'kmaq land claim, the whole process of potential sale and development of the property came to a skidding halt. Treasury Board policy is quite clear as to the priority to be given to aboriginal claims. The situation is different in the case of the Upton Farm. While there is a kind of moratorium on development at the moment, this is more of a temporary concession or courtesy to the opponents of that development. The most that they will be able to bring to bear will be some kind of moral persuasion, and it is questionable as to how far that will carry them in the end. The reason for the difference is this: before any opposition managed to get itself established, the Upton Farm property had been 'sold' to something called the Canada Lands Corporation. This is a federal Crown corporation and as such it is, of course, actually government in business' clothing. But players such as the City of Charlottetown will tend to treat it as no different from any other private developer. That is, its business dealings will be private and protected from public scrutiny, its decisions will not subject to oversight, and it will not be bound - as Public Works was in the case of the Experimental Farm - by policies or laws to which citizens can easily appeal. The opponents of Upton Farm development face a far more difficult fight than confronted the 'Friends of the Farm', and the only reason for this is the involvement of a Crown Corporation. Governments establish Crown corporations for a whole host of reasons. Some, like the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation are noble (extending broadcasting to the whole of the country.) Some fill an economic void (DEVCO in Cape Breton, for example). But a great many Crown corporations are established so that governments can divest themselves of their responsibilities. As in the specific case of solid waste collection, which is a government responsibility (municipal) in all of the rest of Canada. It's time, then, to demand that governments actually be accountable. Time to revisit the whole question of Crown corporations and demand that those which are simply attempts to evade that accountability be dismantled. And an excellent place to start would be the Island Waste Management Corporation.
David Bulger teaches political studies at the University of Prince Edward Island and has conducted municipal research as part of a national and international study.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

IRAC a waste of time...and money!!

Time to send the high priced gang at IRAC home or do we have to "appeal" that. I can't imagine how frustrated the home owners are that have to put up with this kind of crap. Here's what one person who commented to CBC had to say about this situation and how IRAC are handling it... "The Ross's aren't the only parasites that should be ashamed to show their faces in public. The organization known as IRAC should be equally embarrassed. This is yet another example of how ineffectual this group is. As a landlord I have my own experience with this group of politically appointed hacks. They made me jump through a whole series of hoops to try and evict and subsequently recover owed money from deadbeat tenants. By the time I jumped through all these hoops it gave my tenants just enough time to declare bankruptcy to avoid paying the rent they owed. I was left stuck with the unpaid rent for which I never received a nickel. Unfortunately these are common stories. When the owners finally take back possession of their house they're likely to find it trashed by scumbag tenants and they'll be on the hook for the repairs. What is even more amazing is that we have given them (IRAC) the authority to regulate fuel prices. Their track record there is just as abysmal as their tenancy record. Over the last number of years there have been countless unscheduled price increases in gas and heating oil, however since the price of crude has plummeted over the last couple of months, there has been 1 unscheduled price decrease. The last gas decrease was 1 cent per litre. What a joke these clowns are!!!" This pretty much hits the nail on the head as I see it... time to send the boys at IRAC an eviction notice..
Family fighting to wrest home from tenants
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
CBC News
An Illinois couple with a summer home on Prince Edward Island are in a battle with their winter tenants, who refuse to leave.
'At what point are we allowed to get our house back?'— Jennifer Reagan
Jennifer Reagan and her husband Brian Webster live in Illinois, and bought a summer house last year in North Rustico on P.E.I.'s North Shore, where Webster used to spend his summers. The couple want their children to have the same experience.
But so far they haven't spent time in their new home at all, and they don't know when they will.
"Our frustration is at what point are we allowed to get our house back? We haven't even had a chance to stay there overnight at this point," said Reagan.
Reagan and Webster rented their home to Janet and James Ross last winter with a lease date ending April 30. Since then the Ross and Webster families have been battling it out before the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.
Order appealed
IRAC's director of residential property ordered the tenants to leave by Aug. 1, a date the owners had reluctantly agreed to, but now the tenants are appealing that order. They feel the owners don't have the right to use their summer home for a vacation.
The delay means the owners won't get to enjoy the house any time soon.
"It's just frustrating when she has our house in her possession and we're having to wait for a process to tell her that," said Reagan.
Reagan says she and 11 family members had planned to be on the Island by the end of August and to gather at her new summer home. Now they'll have to rent another place. If the Rosses lose their most recent appeal they've threatened to go to the courts. They refused to comment to CBC News on the story.

It's now a waiting game....

Very smart move on the fishers part and hopefully it will pay dividends at the end. When you're dealing with a commodity like fish and potatoes you sometimes have to do this especially when you can't receive your cost of production. It appears the potato farmers are catching on to this and hopefully it works for both industries as it's always great to see our farmers and fishers with money in their pockets for a change. Best of luck guys...
Tuna fishery shuts down until October
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
CBC News
P.E.I.'s tuna fishermen have voted to voluntarily shut the season down until Oct. 6.
The season opened in late July and catches were high, but prices were low, and fishermen have been off the water voluntarily a couple of times since then waiting for them to rebound. On Monday, they decided to wait until fall to reopen.
Last year tuna fishermen also closed down to wait out low prices, but when they went back on the water in mid-September, the tuna had eaten too much herring, which turned the flesh off-colour and lowered its appeal to buyers, driving prices back down. The fishermen are hoping this year's Oct. 6 reopening will come after the tuna have indulged in a more varied diet.
The later opening is risky, because it is more probable that bad weather could keep boats off the water. On the plus side, the fish will be bigger, and it is expected the remaining quota will be caught quickly.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gentle Island Numbers Please....

Whoever is in charge of these "Gentle Island" numbers should come clean on the July numbers? Here we are over 2 weeks into August and we're all curious how the month of July turned out for our tourist operators. If you remember, some creative writing put us ahead in June which I still question. I may be way off again but July sure seemed slow and they can't blame that on the weather as it was near picture perfect. So where are the numbers... how are our parks and golf courses doing??? Surely with all the staff hanging around Golf Links and the Tourism Department they could give us some indications as to how they are doing??? It sure seemed busy around Old Home Week and let's hope it continues for all our operators...

Earl Baby, what a trip...

What an exciting race and what a great tradition for PEI. There were well over 10,000 fans on hand Sunday afternoon to see Earl Smith give the big show drivers a little lesson on how to steer a horse to success. I couldn't have been happier to see a local owner Ian Smith take back the Gold Cup as it's been a long time since it's been back in Island hands. Ian sits next to our box (W G Barbour) and when Earl was driving "Matt" home I thought Ian was going to jump right out of the box. The only thing faster than Matt yesterday was Ian on his way to the well deserved Winners Circle. I was a little stronger than our Lieutenant Governor and braved the "unruly crowd" (straight from the White House) and headed straight across the track to congratulate Ian and Earl. I thought I might be out for the golf season as Earl near crushed my hand when we met and he was very, very proud.... as he and his family should be… A job well done to all those involved in this year’s Old Home Week, a great Island tradition.
Barbara, maybe you could have Earl down to the White House for some tea and lobster sandwiches and I'll spring for lunch?

Big race takes historic Sunday run
Transcontinental Media
Earl Smith drives Pownal Bay Matt down the stretch to the finish line to win the 49th running of the Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer Race Sunday at the CDPEC. He won in 1:53:4. The horse is owned by Ian and Lorna Smith. The race was postponed from Saturday night because heavy rain washed out part of the track. Island-owned Pownal Bay Matt captured the 49th running of the Sobeys Gold Cup and Saucer Sunday afternoon in one of the most thrilling finishes in the storied history of the event at Charlottetown Driving Park. The five-year-old son of Matts Scooter gave veteran driver Earl Smith his first Gold Cup and Saucer victory with a 1:53.4 time for owner Ian Smith of Charlottetown.A huge crowd watched the Maritimes richest and most prestigious race in short-sleeved weather after race officials cancelled the Saturday night program because of unsafe track conditions. A torrential rain that hit the Charlottetown area shortly before the scheduled first post caused flooding in the tarmac area and carved out sections of the racing surface.It was the first time in the 49-year history of the event that the big race had to be called off. “We had to consider the safety of the drivers first, then the safety of the horses,” said Blaine MacPherson, president of Harness Racing P.E.I.After consulting with track officials, the decision was made to postpone the races until Sunday afternoon when weather conditions were favourable.Pownal Bay Matt was parked from the outside Post 8 for the entire mile, but was put in the hunt by Earl Smith at the three-quarter pole and charged home in 28.2 seconds to win by a length.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Some Cheeky Barn Talk...

Last night about 12 thousand of us Gold Cup Groupies were patiently waiting for the "big show" to begin but rain had done some damage to the track so we went into a rain delay. While all the officials were looking over the track a vicious rumour started to circulate around the track that our most Honourable Lieutenant Governor Barbara Hagerman was also refusing to honour the age old tradition of kissing the winning horse. Now I don't profess to know all the rules around these big buck appointments but surely it must be part of the job description. I can't imagine seeing the Guardian Monday morning and not having our most Honourable on the front page with the Gold Cup victor. Maybe the officials got wind of the rumour as they set the race back to Sunday at 1:00 pm and I say they have a delegation down at the "white house" trying to coax her back to the track. Barbara, please come to your senses and go out and put a "half Nelson" around the winner as I'm heading in to cheer you on...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Gas In City Hall....Mr. Tweel

There is probably more chance of City Hall blowing up because of a gas explosion than there would be on Allen Street. Mr. Tweel should just dig into his own pockets and dish out the money for the City to build a new Industrial Park and while he's at it throw in some more to relocate all the businesses. Maybe installing a set of "Grandstands" for him in his Ward would keep him busy and it would be a lot cheaper for us taxpayers...
Move propane facility into industrial park, Tweel says
Toronto explosion stirs debate over businesses being too close to home
The Guardian
After a propane explosion in a Toronto neighbourhood Sunday, Charlottetown city councillor Mitchell Tweel is even more convinced that industrial businesses in the city should be moved to an industrial park outside Charlottetown. Tweel said the issue of the industrial businesses along Allen Street — including the Irving propane storage facility — has been a challenge since he first began representing the area a decade ago. “It’s plagued city residents for a number of years.” The massive explosion in North Toronto forced around 12,000 people from their homes early Sunday morning. About one-quarter could still not return Monday afternoon due to an asbestos threat. The City of Toronto also launched a review Monday of all areas that could be potentially hazardous to nearby residents. There has never been a propane explosion in Charlottetown, but there was a close call in 1996 when Roger Bell, calling himself Loki 7, planted a bomb above one of the propane tanks on Allen Street.It was removed without any damage and Bell was later convicted in connection with that and other pipe bombs. Tweel brought up the idea of a new industrial park outside the city at the last council meeting and said he plans to bring it up again. “I believe the city of Charlottetown now should be very proactive and start to work to create an industrial park. We should be working with industrial owners that are in the heart of the city and do not have to be there from a transportation and location perspective, and a safety and security perspective,” he said. “You’re trying to create a quality of life that exists in the nice new subdivisions that are being built, where the residents would never have to experience or have to live alongside industrial use.” But one business owner across the street from the propane facility isn’t worried about it.over “Their safety record has been very good. I think it depends on the situation, but I don’t foresee a problem, at least I hope not,” said Austin McQuaid, owner of McQuaid’s Trucking and Warehousing. McQuaid doesn’t agree with Tweel’s idea of moving businesses outside of the city, because he thinks his trucking company would be one of them.“We’ve been in the business now for 50 years, and we don’t plan on moving. Unless he comes up with a pile of money,” said McQuaid. McQuaid said he wouldn’t feel safe living near the propane facility, but thinks the nearest houses are far enough away.“I mean, where do you put it? It’s got no houses around where it’s at, and a couple of businesses, so I would think it’s the best spot for it right now unless things grow around it.”The nearest houses to the propane facility are on Walthan Drive and Upper Prince Street to the south and Mount Edward Road to the east. There’s also a house on Allen Street right next to the facility. Some residents in the Upper Prince Street area were planning a petition to remove the facility before the Toronto explosion happened.They are still planning to bring it to city council this fall, said a spokesperson for area residents.Building the propane facility in that area was not a good idea, said Tweel. It was constructed before the city of Charlottetown amalgamated in 1994, and was on the periphery of Charlottetown and Parkdale.“I still call into question the lack of planning, where you had two former municipalities not really communicating,” said Tweel.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

$ 800,000.00 .... say no more!

It must have been all those viewers who watched "The Legends Of Golf" that have been breaking down the doors to get my 6:30 am tee time that got me booted off Crowbush. I remember thinking "where do we come up with these crazy ideas" when the previous Government announced "The Legends" another Government boondoggle. Think about it, they squandered a ton of money on The Legends and where are the results??? Our Provincial courses are down over 15% and it's time for Government to live up to their commitment and Sell, Sell, Sell... Yes we're going to get a lot of "talk" from the golf channel but I've watch more than a few of the Big Break episodes and the only location I can remember is "Kaanapali" and was it the golf I was watching or the ladies??? Do you really think that someone watches the program and hops on a plane and heads to "Ka'anapali"? I'm all for promoting our Island to get more visitors here but it sure seems like a lot of money for questionable returns and Golf Links have already proven this with "The Legends"... good news for the boys and girls at Golf Links as they should be able to garner a few more "trips" out of this deal and the "consultant" should be able to pick up some more "coin" for holding everyone's hand....
P.E.I. signs deal with Golf Channel
Friday, August 8, 2008
CBC News
The P.E.I. government announced a two-year partnership this morning with the U.S.-based Golf Channel on Friday.
The $800,000 deal will showcase P.E.I. golf on several Golf Channel programs, including its top reality show, The Big Break. Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty hopes this new agreement will help drive the lucrative U.S. golf market to the Island.
UPEI's Tourism Research Centre reports U.S. golfers spend about $26.1 billion a year on golf travel.
P.E.I. will be the first Canadian destination to be featured on The Big Break, a 12-part series that at the end of the season gives one talented amateur a chance to compete on the pro circuit.
"We create a series of golf challenges that they compete in, and each show someone gets eliminated," Golf Channel spokeswoman Theresa McCann told CBC News Friday.
"At the end we're ultimately left with one winner, the ultimate prize package will be the break of a lifetime."
Secret location
Earlier this week, the Western Graphic newspaper reported the series will shoot next month at the Mill River Golf Course in West Prince. On Friday Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty wouldn't confirm those details.
"I don't know why they printed that because we certainly haven't confirmed locations yet," said Docherty, noting the province has signed a confidentiality agreement.
"We're not even allowed to talk about it until after the show has been filmed."
Docherty said the exposure P.E.I. will receive on the Golf Channel is well worth the $800,000 investment. Reaching American golfers is a big part of the Island's tourism strategy, and Docherty believes $90 million in annual revenue from American golf travellers is achievable.
In addition to The Big Break feature, P.E.I. will appear as a destination on the Golf With Style series, and Legends of Golf 2006 and 2007 will be presented in edited form.
Earlier this year Docherty cancelled a contract with Legends of Golf, which had brought big names such as Jack Nicklaus and Mike Weir to play on P.E.I. One of the reason Docherty cancelled the event was because it was not being seen in the U.S.

A "Shift" but maybe not green...

I see Bourque News has picked up on the two recent "step downs" and have head lined it as "Ottawa, We Have A Problem" and I think they are putting this on the Dion. A long time ago my grand mother said to me things come in 3's and if another one steps down in the next week then "Dion, We Have A Problem" will be the headlines the media will be jumping all over....
Regina Liberal Party candidate Garry Oledzki steps down
Leader-Post: Thursday, August 07, 2008
REGINA -- A Regina lawyer slated to run for the Liberal Party in the next federal election has stepped out of the race.
Garry Oledzki has resigned as the Liberal candidate in Palliser, a riding that includes southwest Regina and Moose Jaw, according to a brief statement issued by the party Thursday.
"Mr. Oledzki is stepping down for personal and professional reasons. He believes that this course of action is in the best interest of the Party, and my fellow Liberals and I accept his decision," said Doug Ferguson, president of the Liberal Party of Canada.
Oledzki, whose name has been visible on Liberal signs in the riding, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Palliser is currently held by Conservative MP Dave Batters, whose office announced last month that he is on medical leave for an undisclosed health issue.
Morrissey backed out due to Green Shift, Tories charge
The Guardian
Robert Morrissey is clearly feeling the heat on the carbon tax and doesn’t want to campaign on raising the price of gas, home-heating fuel and groceries, says the federal Conservative Party’s director of communications.Ryan Sparrow was reacting Wednesday to the surprise announcement by the star Liberal candidate that he was withdrawing his name as the nominated candidate in Egmont.Morrissey won that nomination in front of a crowd of more than 1,300 last November in Woodstock. He defeated former P.E.I. premier Keith Milligan and Angie Cormier, a Cap-Egmont businesswoman, to win the nod. “The Liberals can deliver their talking points all they want but everyone knows the deal. You don’t win a hotly contested nomination meeting for a long-held Liberal riding and then just quit,’’ Sparrow said from Ottawa. “Morrissey is clearly feeling the heat on the carbon tax and doesn’t want to campaign on raising the price of gas, home heating fuel and groceries.’’But Morrissey said his decision had more to do with the uncertainty over the timing of the next election than Liberal Leader Stephane Dion’s green shift plan. The minority Conservative government could fall at any time, but many political pundits now suggest it may survive its full mandate — and continue to govern until October 2009. In a statement sent to P.E.I. media outlets late Tuesday, Morrissey said “. . . a number of new opportunities have arisen in the private sector which make my continued candidacy untenable, especially given the continued uncertainty over an election date.’’ Morrissey was out of province and could be reached for comment.Last weekend, the former provincial cabinet minister represented the local Liberal MP at the Prince County Exhibition in Alberton, acting every bit the candidate looking for a seat. Morrissey’s friends, and strong Liberal supporters in Egmont, told The Guardian they had no idea Morrissey was going to call it quits. Egmont MP Joe McGuire, who currently holds the seat, said he knew Morrissey was struggling with his decision to continue in his public role or return to the private sector. But Morrissey only told McGuire about his decision to leave Tuesday morning, hours before the statement was issued to the media.“Bobby was an excellent candidate, there’s no question about that. I’m sorry we lost him. He’d have been a heck of an MP,’’ McGuire said.Egmont is considered one of the safest Liberal seats in the country. The Liberals have won 21 out of the past 30 elections in the riding. McGuire scoffs at suggestions Morrissey is running scared from Dion’s green shift.“He certainly wasn’t scared he was going to lose the riding.’’But Rob Moore, the Conservative MP for Fundy Royal, N.B., said Liberal MPs across Atlantic Canada, particularly in rural ridings like Egmont, are having a difficult time selling Dion’s carbon tax. “The prospect of trying to sell a very unpopular carbon tax is probably weighing on many of the candidates,’’ said Moore.The Liberal party is expected to hold another nominating convention in the fall. Brenda Hackett, president of the P.E.I. Liberal Party, described Morrissey’s decision as unfortunate but said her party will elect a new candidate that will represent the party well in the next election. Gail Shea is the Conservative candidate in Egmont.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Big Break...Crapaluia..

Maybe we'll get a "big break" here and the Province will wake up and get out of the golf business??? Surely with another year of losing their shirts they will wake up and sell the courses and get us taxpayers off the hook...
Golf plan, partnership with U.S. television network, to be announced Friday
The Guardian
An announcement about a new partnership agreement with a U.S.-based television network and details about P.E.I.'s two-year golf plan will be made Friday, the province announced earlier today. Tourism Minister Valerie Docherty, Sean Hennessey of the Tourism Research Centre, Barry MacLeod of Golf P.E.I., and Kevin Murphy of the Tourism Advisory Council will be on hand for the announcement. A representative of the U.S. based television network, believed to be the Golf channel, will also be on hand for the announcement, which will made Friday morning at 10 a.m. at the Charlottetown Hotel.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Keep on "shucking" Rodney...

As you may have gathered from some of my previous posts that I am a big oyster lover and a big Rodney Clark fan and I think he's bang on with his observations. Like most consumables there are certainly many variables particularly in wines, cheeses, meats, etc... and it's no different with oysters and I suspect Rodney has a pretty good sense of what the market is looking for and it's unfortunate that some people don't see it this way. Rodney is investing his own money to satisfy what he believes is a demand and I would suggest that others should take him seriously and follow along.
P.E.I. oysters need cultivating, says restaurateur
Thursday, August 7, 2008
CBC News
The owner of one of Canada's biggest oyster restaurants says P.E.I. producers need to work harder to enhance the reputation of the Malpeque oyster.
"It's an all you can eat, buffet in a hotel, or happy hour oyster," Rodney Clark, of Rodney's Oyster House in Toronto, told CBC News this week of the Malpeque's reputation.
Malpeque oysters were once considered the finest in the world, but Clark said they've fallen behind. While many producers in other parts of the world carefully cultivate their oysters for the four or five years it takes to grow from seed to harvest on a specially designed lease, most P.E.I. oysters are left to grow almost entirely in the wild.
A few of the 500 oyster leases on the Island are used to grow from seed, but most Island producers use the grounds for storage. Sometimes the oysters will stay only a few weeks or at the most for a year or two.
With a wild fishery it's very difficult to control quality, said Clark. "They don't know what's underneath there," he said.
"Then you'll hear them say, 'Oh, it's been a great year,' or they'll say 'Oh no, it's been a really poor year for shape, or size isn't there,' and we want to eliminate that."
'They want a product that's coming from a particular place on Earth.'— Rowan Jacobsen, author, A Geography of Oysters
With the relative decline in quality and size of Malpeques, said Clark, only about four per cent of oysters sold at Rodney's Oyster House come from the Island.
Clark is not alone in his assessment of Malpeques. Rowan Jacobsen, author of A Geography of Oysters, said the current taste of connoisseurs conflicts with the practice on P.E.I. of moving oysters around.
"What more people are looking for is the same thing they look for in a wine. They want a product that's coming from a particular place on Earth, and has the characteristics of that place," said Jacobsen.
"If the oysters are just being kept in one place and aren't being moved around, they'll develop, the word that's used with wine, terroir … But if oysters are getting relayed to different spots for different reasons, then it's going to be a more muddled flavour."
Size matters
Jacobsen isn't entirely in agreement with Clark. One of Clark's complaints is the P.E.I. oysters are too small. He's looking for a four-inch oyster, probably another year's growth in P.E.I. waters. But Jacobsen notes a current favourite oyster is the two-inch Kumamoto, grown mostly on the west coast of the U.S.
Size is also a problem for P.E.I. grower Johnny Flynn of Colville Bay Oysters. Flynn grows his oysters from seed on a lease, but doesn't hold on to them until they reach Clark's preferred four inches.
Flynn said he could get a better price growing the oysters another year, but he would lose five to 10 per cent of them to natural die-off — sometimes more. The premium price he would get compared with the three-inch oysters he sends to market would not make up the difference.
But Clark, a former Islander, has not just returned to P.E.I. to talk the industry into changing its ways. He has bought 12 hectares of oyster leases in Nine Mile Creek, west of Charlottetown, to grow his own oysters. He will start with test plots, trying out different seeds, and growing each for at least five years. He hopes this will net him nice round, four-inch oysters, with the characteristics his clients have come to expect.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dundarave is bleeding Red ink...

It was very interesting reading this article where the author compares Dundarave to Southern Dunes a course in Florida that I have played a few times. The author also notes that one of the big differences is that Southern Dunes is surrounded by homes but there are also two other major differences; there are people playing this course and they actually sell memberships both of which are obviously loss on the folks at Golf Links. You would think that with no one playing Dundarave that someone would have enough sense to look at the concept of memberships something that over 90% of the industry use to survive, but what the hell it's only taxpayers money. I will say it over and over, it's time for Government to get out of the golf business. The Binns Government should never have bought this course back from the previous owners and I suspect they would never fetch more than 1/2 of what they paid for it.
With red-sand bunkers and the Brudenell River, Dundarave Golf Course is a rave on Canada's PEI
By Tim McDonald, National Golf Editor
Dundarave Golf Course at the Rodd Brudenell River Resort doesn't have the sea views of some golf courses on Prince Edward Island, but it more than makes up for it with other strengths.
BRUDENELL, Prince Edward Island - Prince Edward Island is a piece of natural, volcanic art that sits atop a bedrock canvas of soft sandstone.
The bedrock produces a fertile soil high in iron oxide - a fancy way of saying "rust" - which is why it's so strikingly red. You see this red as you drive all over the island, contrasted so nicely with the green fields.
You'll also see a ton of it in the 120 bunkers at Dundarave Golf Course. Only in this case, the contrast is even more dramatic because of the velvety smooth, lush green fairways.
Dundarave is reminiscent of another golf course at the opposite end of the continent, Southern Dunes Golf & Country Club in Orlando, Fla. Southern Dunes has 180 red-sand bunkers, the difference being that they had to ship in the sand. Here on the island, all you have to do is dig for it. Also, Southern Dunes is surrounded by homes, whereas Dundarave is blissfully free of manmade structures. You won't find yourself cursing the bunkers at Dundarave - much - because they're such an integral part of the course, defining both strategy and the overall aesthetic. "He must have been good out of the bunkers," Intern Denver MacLeod said of the architect. Actually, there were two designers, Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry.
And whereas the Steve Smyers-designed Southern Dunes is pretty much old-school, Hurdzan and Fry drew up a blend of the traditional and modern.
The bunkering throughout the course is interesting, but there's more to the course than red sand. The fairways are wide and inviting, bordered by pines, fir and beech trees, and the architects slyly used the Brundenell River that slithers through the terrain and is frequently in view.
Dundarave doesn't have the sea views other island courses do. It's a parkland course located in a pristine area close to a provincial park.
Once you get into the course and away from the resort, you enter some deep, Canadian woods with only the cries of wild, island birds. The routing takes you into some silent, isolated coves.
Dundarave Golf Course: The verdict
Dundarave opened in 1999 at the Rodd Brudenell River Resort (Tel. 902-652-2332), which has 45 holes of golf overall. Dundarave is considered the more challenging of the resort's two 18-hole courses, the other being Brudenell River Golf Course.
Both courses were in super condition, at least they were in early June, despite a very wet spring.
Dundarave isn't overly long from the back tees at 6,606 yards, but neither is it a pushover with a slope rating of 135.
Every green is guarded by bunkers of some size or shape, and the greens themselves are large and undulating. The greens have large, well-kept surrounds and some false fronts.
The season is May through October, and green fees range from $56-$80. This is an excellent public course, every bit as good as the more expensive Links at Crowbush Cove on the island.
The resort has the Canadian Golf Academy on the grounds.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Moncton Big Winner...

I was in Moncton last night for the Eagles concert and contrary to popular belief there was no rain just an exciting concert that brought over 55,000 people to Moncton. We arrived around 4:30 pm just in time to catch K.T. Tunstall a Scottish singer song writer (Black Horse and the Cherry Tree) pound out some beautiful tunes on at least a half dozen different guitars. She was followed by John Fogerty of CCR fame (an all time favourite of mine) who "rocked" the audience and then at 9:00 pm the EAGLES set stage to perform one of the best concerts to ever hit Atlantic Canada. Moncton was the big winner and NB Premier Shawn Graham and his wife were fully immersed in the event and you can rest assured that Moncton will be bigger and better next year. It wouldn't hurt for a few people from our Government and some of our City folks to take note of the comments made in the following interview of Donald Tarlton of Donald K. Donald fame particularly as they relate to Government “investing in infrastructure” and the City being "very accommodating and obliging". All the organizers were patting each other on the back, which they should have been, as it was a first class act and I doubt it very much the headlines tomorrow will be about some small group of citizens whining about the noise...
More big-names headed to Moncton!
Saturday August 2nd, 2008
Promoter says improvements to concert site help convince bands to come here
Greg Agnew/Times & Transcript
After more than 40 years of promoting and organizing concerts and musical events across the country, Donald K. Tarlton says he loves Moncton and will do his best to continue bringing big-name acts to the Magnetic Hill Concert Site in the future.
"We love Moncton because it is really easy for people to get here from a lot of different places, and the investments the city and the provincial government have made to this site have done a lot to cut down the costs of producing a show, and it's paying off. The City of Moncton has been very accommodating and obliging," Tarlton said in an interview in front of the huge stage where the Eagles will play tonight.
"You can't do the show without the support of the government."
The city and the province have invested several million dollars into infrastructure improvements at the concert site. This year's improvements included a new electrical box, permanent washrooms, water supply and work on the ground to create gravel pads for the heavy stage and other infrastructure.
He says Metro Moncton put itself on the global concert map three years ago when the city hosted the Rolling Stones in an outdoor show that drew more than 80,000 people. He says the Stones show should be a memorable landmark in music history for the region for the size of the crowd and how well the event went off.
Tarlton also shared a tidbit of information that could add to the legend.
"Mick Jagger actually got dressed up in a disguise and walked around the crowd that day, and went downtown."
Tarlton started promoting events in 1966 and produced thousands of shows featuring some of the biggest names in the business. He also established Aquarius Records and has served on many volunteer boards. He received the Order of Canada in 2000 and in 2007 received the Walt Grealis Special Achievement award from the Canadian music industry.
He says the music industry has changed a lot since the 1960s, when bands like The Who were known for destroying stages, equipment and hotel rooms. He says the music business is much more corporate now and money is much more important to everyone involved.
"But we still try to capture the magic moments of music. We still want fans to experience something that will be with them for the rest of their lives."
He says he doesn't want to create competition between Moncton and Halifax for the best venue, but says Moncton has put its money where its mouth is by putting resources and people into the show. And that's important because it helps promoters convince bands to come here and play, which in turn generates millions of dollars in economic spinoffs and tourism benefits to the region.
Tarlton says he's always looking ahead to the next year and what shows might come here, but won't lay his cards on the table by naming names.
He says rumours that Led Zeppelin would come here are totally unfounded, mainly because he doubts Zeppelin would actually go on tour. If they did, he would definitely to bring them to Canada, and Moncton if possible.
But there are many other acts out there who will be touring next year.
"We can't say who we're going after because other people might try to get them," he says.
"If you close your eyes and fantasize, and imagine who you would like to see on that stage, it will happen."

Gas 35 cents a litre cheaper....but not here???

Yes Loblaw's just lowered gas prices by .35 cents a litre and they didn't have to call those high priced people at IRAC. Unfortunately we mere Islanders can't take advantage of these savings because the rules at IRAC are silly and Companies like Canadian Tire, Sobey's, Wal-Mart, and Loblaws can't get to first base and open a gas bar here because of the silly rules. Competition breeds lower prices and it’s time to abolish IRAC and save Islanders Millions and Millions of dollars.... and let the market dictate the price not a bunch of political appointees. Islanders need to be able to take advantage of these savings.
Loblaw steps up to gas pumps for western Canadians
Limited time gas savings event can save western consumers up to 35 cents a litre
TORONTO, Aug. 1 /CNW/ - A recent report(1) has identified the price of
gas as an important challenge for 72% of Canadian respondents - tied with the
state of the healthcare system! To address this number one issue facing
Canadians today, Loblaw launches a western Canadian gas savings event. From
August 2 through to August 15, 2008, Real Canadian Superstore shoppers in
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba can enjoy savings of up
to 35(2) cents per litre at Superstore Gas Bars.
The Gas Savings Event gives western Real Canadian Superstore shoppers the
opportunity to save up to 35 cents per litre (up to 100 litres) at any
Superstore Gas Bar as followings:
Buy $100(2) in groceries Save 10cents/L
Buy $150(2) in groceries Save 15cents/L
Buy $200(2) in groceries Save 25cents/L
PLUS: Save an additional 10cents/L(2) when you pay at a Superstore Gas
Bar with a President's Choice Financial MasterCard!
"We have listened to our customers - the price of gas has had an impact
on Canadian wallets and Loblaw wants to help ease the burden," says Inge van
den Berg, V.P. Public Affairs and Investor Relations, Loblaw Companies Ltd.
"Superstore has always offered great value to its customers and now the Gas
Savings Event allows our loyal customers to let their groceries drive them
To participate, shoppers must first obtain a coupon from the website or in-store. Between Saturday, August 2 and
Friday, August 15, 2008, customers must make a one-time grocery purchase of at
least $100 at the above noted Real Canadian Superstores. To redeem for gas
savings, customers present a valid Superstore receipt along with the coupon to
the Superstore Gas Bar. Customers can save an additional 10(2) cents per
litre, simply by paying with their PC MasterCard.

Move Over Crowbush...I'm in the record books!!

Well I didn't think it was possible but Crowbush has a new challenger for top spot and that is the newly renovated Green Gables, it’s BEAUTIFUL. I had the good fortune of being one of the invited guests to the official opening of Green Gables and in fact Anthony Warren (our top PEI amateur) and I joined the two German golf writers for a round of golf and we had a great day. From the first hole you could see the wonderful changes the course architect Tom McBroom made to the famous Stanley Thompson course. Every hole seemed to get better and better as we moved along but the closer we got to number 9 the stronger the sense of "great" became and as we moved into the back nine I started fighting with myself to pick a signature hole but I'm going out there now and say it will be number 13 (the par 4 after the tunnel) and I could easily pick three others. It's funny how things go but the last change to course was back in Eighties when the National Park wouldn't let you touch a tree let alone cut one down and quite frankly they nearly ruined the course at that time. Tom McBroom, Island Coastal and the people at Parks Canada should be very proud of the new design and execution of the changes and the respect shown for Lord Stanley Thompson. Back to our game, Anthony who holds the old club record at 63 shot a blistering 69 from the tips (about 7,250 yds) with about 4 balls in the woods and our guests showed up with a good game and enthusiastic conversation, while I posted a 81 (42 - 39) which will be posted beside Anthony's new record which may hold for a long time as we had no wind. I'm going to predict that if the crew at Golf Links continue to run Crowbush and the other courses into the ground that they will be soon garner 5th and 6th spot as Green Gables and the other great courses in the area will soon exceed our Provincial courses as the Place To Play.... I was speaking with Blair MacLauchlan and yes there are going to be memberships next year and I’ll be the first in line for an early tee time…
German writers hit the golf links on P.E.I.

The Guardian
The golfing industry on Prince Edward Island just got ‘Punk’d’.Goetz Schmiedehausen and Jan Langenbein, writers with the German golf magazine Golf Punk, are on the Island doing research for a major feature on golf on P.E.I.They got a chance to see the new Green Gables course on Thursday.“From my point of view, it’s one of the best values for money you can have anywhere in the world,’’ Schmiedehausen said about the golf courses on P.E.I.“Green fees are a very good price for this standard of golf course.’’Golf Punk, a thick magazine with a glossy front cover, looks like just about any large sports magazine found in stores.“We were invited to do one of our bigger travel stories. (The P.E.I. golf feature) will be one of the three biggest travel stories we are doing.’’The two Germans are here at the invitation of Barry MacLeod with Golf P.E.I.Schmiedehausen said there isn’t a doubt in his mind that when the story runs in the German magazine that readers will be calling courses on P.E.I. to book tee times.“Golf Punk is known for having a progressive, modern readership that spends more money on travelling and that’s why it made perfect sense for (Golf P.E.I.) to invite us over here to do the story.’’Schmiedehausen and Langenbein are on the Island for 12 days and will play 11 different courses, including Anderson’s Creek, the Links at Crowbush Cove and Glasgow Hills.“We’ll play everywhere, all the top courses.’’The golf feature, he said, will be at least seven to eight pages.“It’s great,’’ Schmiedehausen said, when asked what his impressions of golf on P.E.I. are so far.

A "Peck" Of Oysters...

I can't remember how young I was when I started eating oysters but every fall my Dad always dragged me along to my Uncle Irving's (Smith Brothers) oyster warehouse in Freeland which faced out to the Conway Narrows in Lot 11. My Uncle would give us free range on the plant floor and sometimes we'd even take a skiff out to one of his many beds but the day always ended with my dad passing along a few of the shucked jewels to me. It didn't take me long to acquire a taste for these juicy Malpeque treats and not too long to go through a "half peck" box. As quick as my Dad could open them they seemed to disappear so it didn't take long for him to teach me how to open them as I was cutting into his feeding time. I can almost remember the day we shucked and ate a whole "peck" of oysters and to this day they are my absolute favourite food even ahead of those red lobster puppies. I went to Dayboat (one of PEI's restaurant jewels) with 8 friends from Ontario this week and I ordered up a half dozen "Colville Bay" treats and quickly swallowed them down. They were so good I had to order another half dozen and as I cleaned up the plate my guests were looking suspiciously at my overindulgence and I kind of chuckled to myself had they ever seem me devour a "Peck" in no time flat. Congratulations "Ian Peck" on a great feat and all the best in the World Championship and I only wish I could match you...
Cape Breton native crowned oyster shucking champion
Transcontinental Media
Ian Peck, a Cape Breton native now living in Vancouver, is the new Canadian oyster shucking champion. He was crowned Friday night at the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival. The three-time runner up was surrounded by family and friends as he hoisted the trophy after posting a time of 1:55, beating out 22 other contestants to win a trip to Galway, Ireland for the World Oyster Shucking Championships.

The "BELL" has rung..

The ads were great but the service lousy and anyone who ever called them for service got to talk to Emily and here's what one customer had to say in response to this story,

Hi, This is Emily, how can I help you?


I am sorry, did you say "Billing"


I think the "BELL" has rung for this company and they are getting their ass kicked by their competitors who are providing better service at a lower price. It's time they answered their phones... don't be surprised when you see their sister company Aliant being scaled down as well...
Bell's beavers bite it
Friday, August 1, 2008
By Peter Nowak CBC News
After cutting a good portion of its middle management, Bell Canada has sent two more employees to the unemployment line: Frank and Gordon.
Montreal-based Bell Canada Inc. is axing the beavers as its mascots and spokesanimals as of Friday. The company made the announcement in full-page newspaper ads across the country.
"It's been a blast," the ads read. "Nature is calling and we have been invited back to the forest to become teachers for a whole new generation of spokecritters."
The decision to get rid of the animals — one of the more divisive ad campaigns in Canadian marketing history — is a symbolic statement by the company that it is under new management, Bell spokesman Mark Langton said.
"It was time for a change. The beavers have served us well, they were very well known and quite popular…. But it's time to move on."
The beavers, originally launched by the Cossette Communication Group in Quebec in 2005 as Jules and Bertrand, expanded nationally as Frank and Gordon a year later. They drew high marks in surveys by ad tracking firm Léger Marketing for awareness and likeability, but were equally reviled in the same surveys.
Bell on Monday announced it was cutting 2,500 middle-management positions, or about six per cent of its total workforce, in an effort to shake up and streamline its operations. The move is expected to save the company $300 million, Bell said.

"Gentle" Slide Down....

Last week the Provincial Government said tourism was up in June but bridge traffic was down, the car ferry was down 13%, and the National Park camp sites were down 28% and just last week Nova Scotia and New Brunswick released their figures for June and they are down 13% so how did our Tourism Department come up with their numbers? I don't think July's numbers are going to be all that good so hopefully August will be a bit better but I'm going to say it again that we have to focus on service and investment in new infrastructure if we expect to push our numbers back up...
Cavendish campgrounds complaining
Friday, August 1, 2008
CBC News
In the wake of conflicting reports over how the tourism season is going on P.E.I., campgrounds in Cavendish are saying July was bad.
Statistics released Wednesday show tourism numbers were up in June, particularly in Cavendish. But operators in the Island's premier resort town had been complaining business was slow in July.
Hennie Hoekstra, owner of Marco Polo Land, P.E.I.'s biggest campground with 527 sites, says June was a relatively good month, but that doesn't mean much to her.
"You can be up, but if you are only, say, normally 35 per cent full and now you are 40 per cent full, that's not a big increase," said Hoekstra.
"July was really bad."
It's difficult to know if private campgrounds across P.E.I. are also seeing fewer campers because the province didn't include those figures in the June statistics.
The government says not enough campground owners sent in their occupancy reports, and it needs 95 per cent compliance before it can file. The government does expect to release June campground numbers next week.
The report does offer numbers for the campgrounds at the Island's national parks, Stanhope and Cavendish. These statistics show their numbers are down 28 per cent for June. But again, Parks Canada is not concerned about June numbers.
"It's not historically one of the busier months we have in tourism either at the national parks or anywhere else out there," said Parks Canada spokeswoman Judy Trainor.
Trainor hopes that when the numbers for July come in, they will show an improvement at the national park campgrounds.