Sunday, September 28, 2008

Whoa Up there Jimmy could be investigating your own people..

Jimmy boy, did you ever hear the old expression, "be careful what you wish for" as the bulk of these PNP's were given out under your own Government's watch to some well connected Tories using Tory lawyers and Tory accountants. The other thing Jim is these PNP's actually work and have been good for PEI Business, creating jobs and investment. Another benefit of the program is the increase of immigrants into our Province which is long overdue. We used the program (approved then by your Tory Government) when we set up Central Truss in Cornwall and without the support of the program I doubt it if we would still be operating as this time. Yes there will always be a few bad apples in the pie but do we need to be grand standing on an issue that the RCMP will deal with in an orderly fashion. Maybe if our legislators would spend more time thinking about going forward as opposed to always pointing the finger at the other party maybe people would start to show some respect for their Politicians.
Tory MLA wants legislature committee to probe provincial immigrant program
The Guardian
A provincial government immigrant program that aimed to connect foreign money to P.E.I. businesses should be probed by the public accounts committee, says committee chair Jim Bagnall. A complaint filed with the RCMP by a local business owner alleging fraud took place in the Provincial Nominee Program has raised questions about the program. The complaint to the RCMP, coupled with internal rumours of possible discrepancies in the way the government corporation approved businesses for eligibility in this program, makes it an issue public accounts should look at, Bagnall said. “Any time there’s talk of public funds being mishandled, then it should be an issue for public accounts to look into,” he told The Guardian on Friday. “We’re talking $200-$400 million and there’s a lot of questions going around right now as to the way this money was being handled. So my concern is that it may be something that public accounts would want to have a look at.” But that decision will have to made by the committee as a whole. The P.E.I. Provincial Nominee Program was put in place for immigrants to have their Canadian visa applications expedited if they could offer some business or employment benefit to a province. The program has several aspects, one of which involves a partnership agreement struck between immigrants and local businesses. The immigrant agrees to purchase $200,000 worth of shares in local company. Some of that money is paid back to the immigrant after a period of time, a portion of it goes to legal and broker’s fees and some of the money stays within the local company. Last year over 800 immigrants utilized this program. This year, 1,877 immigrants came to P.E.I. through this program, and as a result over $280 million was retained by local businesses until Sept. 2 when the federal government ended the Provincial Nominee Program. Bagnall said he believes the program will likely be discussed during the public accounts committee meeting on Tuesday. “I’m seeing a lot of controversy spinning around in the last few days so it’s probably going to be a topic of discussion at our committee,” Bagnall said. “The committee does have the power to ask the auditor general for an investigation to have it be looked into. So that could happen.” Auditor General Colin Younker said he’s not currently investigating the program but added that could change. “We’re always doing ongoing planning so we may and probably will at some point in time,” he said. He said he would be keeping an eye on comments and concerns raised publicly about this issue. “We always look at what the comments are if programs might have interest to the legislature and to the public,” Younker said. “It’s what goes into consideration as part of our planning.” When asked if any concerns have been raised with him about the nominee program, Younker replied: “I’m not going to answer that question. There is one in front of the RCMP.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

No worries here...but some hard work left.

When the campaign started I said no problem with MacAulay and Murphy, closer in Malpeque and a race in Egmont. Thanks to the Tory Minister's faux pas on Wayne Easter and the smart way Wayne handled it that race is over in favour of Wayne. The race in Egmont is still close but I understand Keith is working hard and it is interesting that the most recent Provincial poll showed strong Liberal Provincial support in the West and this may carry over for the Liberals. This seat will be decided on what voters really think the inevitable results will be Nationally and if they smell a Tory majority for Harper then the seat may go blue. Big name visits won't really make any difference here on PEI but hard work will... best of luck to all the candidates..
Lack of big names not worrying P.E.I. Liberals
The Guardian
Although P.E.I. hasn’t seen any big-name Liberals since the federal election was called, the Island’s four Liberal candidates aren’t worried. For one thing, some big names are on their way.Former Liberal leadership hopeful and hockey great Ken Dryden is set to come to the Island next Tuesday, and leader Stéphane Dion is also supposed to visit next week, party officials say. But in the three weeks since the election was called, the Conservatives have already sent a steady parade of national candidates to P.E.I.Government House Leader Peter Van Loan and former Environment Minister Rona Ambrose have come to rally support for local candidates. Industry Minister Jim Prentice is scheduled to visit Friday. Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper came for a night — and is rumoured to be back again in the final week of the campaign. But Malpeque MP Wayne Easter says the fact Harper didn’t take questions from the media or the public while here took all virtue out of his visit. “Why did he bother coming? Does he think Prince Edward Islanders haven’t got questions for him?” And other national Conservatives brought here to glad-hand with local Tory hopefuls over the past few weeks are unknown to Islanders, Easter added. “Most of them are cabinet ministers, but who’s ever heard of them before?”Charlottetown Liberal MP Shawn Murphy agreed. “The Conservatives might be bringing people here, but no one here knows who they are,” Murphy said.Nonetheless, the fact that more high-profile Liberal candidates haven’t been here has been making a number of coffee shop speculators curious.It’s simply due to scheduling difficulties and does not mean P.E.I. is being ignored by the national party, local party organizers told The Guardian. For example, Dion was scheduled to fly into P.E.I. last Monday. But when former premier Bennett Campbell’s funeral occurred on the same day, Dion’s tour to the Island’s wind turbines was cancelled. But even with the impending national visits, all four local Liberals say they’re not looking to the big names to get themselves elected. They’re focusing on the doorsteps. “Certainly they’re welcome to come and I appreciate that they give us that effort, but I always to get to as many doors as I can and that’s always the No. 1 priority,” said Egmont Liberal candidate Keith Milligan. “Things like rallies and gatherings are secondary in importance on the campaign trail because people want to see you, they want to talk to you and they want to discuss the issues.” Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay agreed, adding the practice of flying well-known candidates around the country is relatively new. “What I have to do in an election is campaign on what I did and what I hope to be able to do — they’re voting for me, not them.” “Besides,” Murphy joked, “we’re high-profile enough, don’t you think?”

A cheesie story... Good Work ADL

As a young boy growing up in Summerside I was very aware of ADL and the positive impact they played in our community. In fact I can remember every summer going with my great Uncle Jim from Boston over to the cheese factory to pick up a "wheel" of aged cheddar and always getting a tour of the plant. My Uncle claimed it was the "best cheese in the world" and I was always amazed at the pride you could see in the plant employees when they showed us around the plant. Over the years I've watched this Company continue to prosper and today’s announcement is proof again that they are always working hard to keep pace with their customers and continuing to grow and invest in our Community... Kudos to the staff, directors and farmers who make us all proud of this great Island Company...
Organic cheese production begins on P.E.I.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
CBC News
Amalgamated Dairies Ltd. in Summerside processed its first vat of organic cheese this week.
It is the first commercial organic cheese in the Maritimes. ADL director of finance Chad Mann said the company is still in the preliminary stages of developing the new product. It will take a few weeks for the cheese to age so it can be tested for flavour and texture.
"We have three or four varieties that we have in mind that we'd like to make with this milk, but we just haven't decided yet which would be the best, depending on the milk characteristics," said Mann.
Mann said the company is also exploring markets for the cheese.
"A lot of it might be into markets that are outside of P.E.I., because you know the demographics here and the consumer base is very limited."
The milk comes from four organic dairy operations, and is collected in a separate truck. It passes through the ADL processing line before the conventional milk.
The four organic dairy farmers are getting a premium for the milk they produce.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Time To Give IRAC notice...

For years I've been preaching to send these guys packing...IRAC costs Millions of taxpayers’ dollars to run and what do we all get for it...nothing. Free enterprise works the best and will always keep prices lower. Premier Binns told me he wouldn't touch IRAC as he was afraid that all the small rural gas stations would close if IRAC was disbanded...well they are closing anyway and the silly rules that IRAC have prevent new ones from opening. I know if the Government would make it easier for Companies like Loblaws, Sobeys, Canadian Tire, and Wal-Mart to invest in some new gas bars then they would ultimately drive down prices through competition. New investment would put pressure on the existing operators to provide more service...what could possibly be wrong with having a half dozen new gas bars at $1,000,000.00 a pop be bad for PEI? Think of the construction jobs, the property taxes they would have to pay, and the employment they would create +++ plus lower gas prices... It's time the Ghiz Government relaxed the regulations and red tape that Islanders have to put up with and a good start would be by winding up IRAC....
IRAC cancels eight hour advisory on gas prices
Transcontinental Media
The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC) will no longer be issuing news releases at 4 p.m. letting Islanders know what the price of various types of fuel will be eight hours later. That’s the word from Moe Rodgerson, IRAC’s chairman. Regular price adjustments will still be made every two weeks, but only retailers will know in advance of the change. Rodgerson said the system was “unfair” to gas station operators and anyone selling fuel, including heating oil. Situations have arisen where retailers would buy their supplies on the mainland at a higher price a short time earlier, only to find out prices would be going down at the pumps. Customers, who knew of the impending cuts, would hold off their purchases until the new prices were posted, cutting into retailers’ revenues. Home fuel companies have complained about customers who would time their order based on the eight hour difference, and often many distributors would be faced with irate callers, angry they couldn’t get fuel deliveries within hours, just before the lower price change. Earlier the P.E.I. Petroleum Marketers Association had approached IRAC seeking to change the system to weekly pricing. That request was denied. The number of businesses selling gas on the Island is 98, down from 135 in 2000.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Big Move...

Well the big move over to our new head office took place on Friday afternoon and unfortunately I had the daunting task of having to defend our trophy winning spree at the annual PEI Construction Association golf tournament. It appears the move went well as I noticed some pictures on facebook (click to open) that should give everyone a sneak preview of the new space. The golf didn't go as smooth even though we were 11 under it was only good for 2nd. The new space is very bright and everyone seems very excited about the space as it has a beautiful lunch room, gym and is quite a bit closer to home for a lot of the staff. It's too bad I missed all the heavy lifting but I guess I'll be unpacking boxes Monday...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Who Got The Money...

Please tell me that when you find out that they actually only sold about 2,500 tickets surely the Province will ask for 75% of our taxpayers money back. What kind of experience did these promoters have and who are they that the Government would just hand over $100,000.00 to them with no performance criteria on the numbers? Here's a few comments from CBC viewers,

"Just out of curiosity, wouldn’t you know right away exactly how many tickets were were they sold if they can't seem to come up with the exact count? Something is not right, if you invested $100,000 dollars in a Business venture with an Organization you must have had a lot of faith in them??"

"The question which really should be asked is how many tickets were sold, not how many attended. Many of those in attendance were there on complimentary tickets passed out either by the organizers or one suspects by government officials looking to ensure a larger crowd."

P.E.I. undecided on Alanis investment
Thursday, September 18, 2008
CBC News
The P.E.I. government is waiting to see the final results from the Summerset Festival in Alexandra to decide if it was a good deal for taxpayers. The province invested $100,000 in the concert, which featured Alanis Morissette. Organizers first said they expected to sell about 10,000 tickets, but say in the end only about 5,000 attended. Deputy minister of tourism Melissa MacEachern said the province is waiting for a final accounting from festival organizers."Our position has been going into it, and the rationale around supporting an event like a fall music festival, was to shore up the fall season," said MacEachern. "We begin the season, for instance, with the Festival of Lights, which has over the years become quite successful. We're looking for something in the fall season that will become eventually successful. So it will be both a qualitative and quantitative analysis. "MacEachern said the government is still waiting for concert organizers to tell them exactly how many tickets were sold, and how many of those were to people from off-Island.

Rodd's Deal, inching forward....

A lot of people ask me nearly every day "what's happening with the Rodd's deal" and I don't think anyone has a good answer, even the Rodd group. As most people following the deal know the Rodd's publicly announced last November they were putting their business up for sale. Ernest Young were engaged by the Rodd family to find a buyer and this spring after working out some issues with the Province they put together a small prospective for potential buyers. Unfortunately we were interested in buy the Company through the purchase of shares with us assuming the debt but the consultants were also giving potential buyers the option of bidding on individual properties or the whole lot. We declined to bid as we didn't want to waste a lot of energy trying to figure out what the company was worth and then find out that a few of the properties might be severed from the assets. Sort of like saving up to buy a bicycle when you were young and finally getting there with the money only to find out the wheels were missing? I do understand they received some proposals at the end of August but they are a long way from getting a deal done. One of the big issues standing in the way will be financing as the credit markets have all gone underground (dried up) particularly with anything related to tourism. The Rodd portfolio has great potential but they do need some upgrades and a stronger international branding if they expect to increase their occupancy. The relationship with the neighbouring golf courses and the hotel will be an integral part of making the sale happen. The Province has committed to calling for proposals this fall to lease or sell the courses and the quicker the Province get this process underway the more likely we’ll hear there is finally deal for Rodd's. A number of years ago there was talk that David Rodd was inches away from doing a deal with a REIT (real estate investment trust) but the timing was at the end of the big "reit hay day" and it didn't happen and I'm afraid if the Rodd's and the Province can't find a suitor to close the deal by January 2009 then they will miss another timing opportunity. These are my own comments... "timing is the thing that deals are made on" and if this deal isn't done soon then "hold the eggs" there will be no one for breakfast....

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

$800,000.00 Golf Giveaway...give us a Break..

I still don't believe after the failure of The Legends of Golf that the good people at Golf Links PEI would have got the green light from the Minister to sign up a $800,000.00 subsidy to a US Golf Promotional Company. Now add on to this the lost revenue and exposure of the course coupled with the staff travel and accompanying TV ads and we're sure to blow a cool million bucks on promoting something 76 % of all Islanders want us to get the hell out of...sure seems like a vote getting scheme to me...
Film crew teeing up Television series set to shoot at Mill River golf course
Transcontinental Media
MILL RIVER — Looking to play a round of golf? Don’t bother trying the Mill River Provincial Golf Course. It’s currently closed to the public from September 14 to 29."It’s shut down for a television series," Julie Whitlock, communications officer for Tourism P.E.I., said in response to a media enquiry Monday. But no one wants to say what type of series is being shot at the public course."It’s a closed set," Whitlock indicated.Rocket science isn’t needed to figure it out, though. In July the Province announced a deal with the Golf Channel which included filming of its popular reality TV show, Big Break on a P.E.I. course. Government has refused to indicate when and where the show will be shot, but Mill River was thought to be the likely spot. The show’s opening sequence, Big Break, in big block letters, as if carved in rock, was set up Monday near the driving range on the Mill River course. It is not known whether the reality show’s contestants who will be vying for exemptions into professional tour events, have arrived yet. The only action on the course Monday seemed to be coming from maintenance personnel and equipment. Signage indicates the course, the par-3 practice greens and the Rodd Mill River Resort and dining room are closed to the public from September 14 to 29. The signage does not indicate why.

No Surprise Here...Liberals calling Tories liars

It's hard to take politicians seriously when they start calling each other liars. Mr. Easter implies that Harper spent millions on ads here on PEI and that the majority of us bought into it but I'm thinking that most of us just downright find it hard to understand how the "green shift" effects our pocket books. Most people don't believe that if you pay a tax that at some point you're going to get more back. This is the serious flaw in Dion's plan and as good as it may be unfortunately it's a hard sell here on PEI and I suspect elsewhere.
P.E.I. really down on green shift: poll
The Guardian
There is less support for the Liberal party’s green shift plan in Prince Edward Island than any other province in Atlantic Canada, according to a Corporate Research Associates poll. Pollsters asked 1,507 Atlantic Canadians if they were in favour or opposed to the plan.Only 22 per cent of Islanders said they were in favour of green shift, the lowest in the region. About 26 per cent of Atlantic Canadians support the plan. Meanwhile, 49 per cent of Islanders are against it. That’s tied with New Brunswick for the highest level of opposition in the region. It’s also higher than the regional average.About 43 per cent of Atlantic Canadians were against green shift. Don Mills, president of Corporate Research Associates, says the Conservatives have thus far successfully defined the Liberals’ green shift plan as another level of taxation. “I’m not saying this is a bad plan, personally, by any means,” Mills told The Guardian. “But the Liberals have done a horrid job at trying to educate people to what the policy is all about.” The Liberals’ problem, said Mills, is one of credibility. “They keep saying ‘we’ll raise your taxes over here, but we’re going to lower them over there and everything is going to be fine.’ There’s not many people who will buy that argument from a politician.” Timing is also bad for the Liberals, as they party tries to sell a plan that’s going to raise the price of diesel and home heating oil when both are already at record prices. The Liberals maintain that there will be millions of dollars in tax cuts to offset those increases. “We just had a big bump up in energy prices and now you want to talk about adding more on to that at this moment - not good timing for the Liberals, obviously.” Malpeque MP Wayne Easter says green shift is a package of tax reductions. He said the problem is the Liberals have to do a better job of selling its plan, which he said will put more money into the pockets of Islanders — not less. “Keep in mind the Conservatives spent millions of dollars of their own party money on ads over the summer. They spent probably hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ money with those papers coming into everybody’s kitchen lying about the program, lying about what green shift is,” said Easter. “Canadians and Prince Edward Islanders have been misled by Stephen Harper and his Harperites. The Corporate Research Associates poll of 1,507 residents was conducted Aug. 5-28. It is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.5 per cent 95 times out of 100.

Great Work Everyone...

It takes a lot of work by everyone to be the tops at anything and in this case every Islander seems to be helping out but I suspect that some people at the Department of Environment, Superior Sanitation, and all our retailers are a huge part of our success. Kudos to everyone for helping out with our environment...
PEI leads Canada with highest plastic bag recycling rate in North America
The Guardian (September 16, 2008) – Prince Edward Island has the highest plastic bag recycling rate in North America - 57 per cent, says a press release from Inteplast, the largest plastic bag manufacturer in Atlantic Canada.“Today, All other provinces are now scrambling to catch up,” said the release.In 1988, Inteplast introduced an experimental, closed-loop bag-to-bag recycling program, said the release.Inteplast's recycling system sees Inteplast-made plastic shopping bags used, and then collected from retailers. They are then sent back to Inteplast where they are remade into new plastic shopping bags and returned to retailers for use. “The bag-to-bag program has been an outstanding success in dramatically decreasing the number of bags going to landfill,” says the company. “Since 1988, 100 MILLION POUNDS OF PLASTIC have been recycled in Inteplast's closed-loop bag recycling system. That's about 6 million pounds in PEI.”"This closed-loop recycling system is environmental stewardship at its finest," said Terry Ricketts of Inteplast.. "From just a handful of stores participating in 1988, we now have the cooperation of all of the major grocery retailers in the Region - Atlantic Wholesalers, Co-op Atlantic Stores and Sobey's. Some 200 stores across Atlantic Canada, including 17 in PEI, now offer at-store bag recycling.” Other provinces in Canada have followed Atlantic Canada's lead. In the early 1990s, British Columbia put in place a network of progressive retailers willing to participate. Over the next 15 years, other provinces have followed suit with Ontario only now beginning to introduce the program."The people of PEI can take considerable pride in that they lead the country on plastic bag product stewardship," said Duncan Cross, Environment and Plastics Industry Council (EPIC) Municipal Representative. "Those who are uninformed claim that these bags are used once and then end up in landfill. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Do We Get Our Money Back?

Taxpayers gave the organizers $100,000.00 to deliver 10,000 people from out of Province and now the organizers say they had 5,000 but most people I've talked to say 2,500. In any event the organizers didn't deliver what they pitched to the Province so are they going to come clean and return back some of taxpayers’ money? The other outstanding question is who are the organizers and what credentials did they have that our Government turned over $100,000.00 to them without some guarantees on attendance? I'm all for tourism promotion but why $100,000.00 to a private promoter????
Small crowd at P.E.I.'s Alanis concert
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
CBC News
About half as many concertgoers as expected turned out for the Alanis Morissette concert in P.E.I. Saturday, but both fans and organizers were still happy with the event.
Organizers were hoping for 10,000 at the event, but say there was only 5,000. They are blaming short notice for the low ticket sales, but said it was a good test of the new concert site at Vista Bay in Alexandra, east of Charlottetown.
"It's the first year, it's a big site and you know you're selling tickets right up to showtime really," said organizer Mark Carr-Rollitt.
"We've seen that the Vista Bay site is a fabulous site for a concert."
Carr-Rollit said the site could hold up to 50,000 people.
Saturday's show featured Metric, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Good Charlotte and Haywire along with headliner Alanis Morissette. The site was originally proposed for the Black Eyed Peas concert in 2006, but it was moved to Charlottetown when local residents complained about the disruption. Locals were given free tickets as a goodwill gesture this time around.
Eighty-two-year-old Wanda MacLennan said she enjoyed having a concert down the road.
"We enjoyed every minute of it and I hope it happens again next year," said MacLennan.
Fan Patrick Flanagan also enjoyed having some space to move around.
"I went to the Stones a few years ago in Halifax, there was like 57,000 people there. I couldn't even move then, so this is a little more freedom," he said.
The organizers would like to stage a regular fall festival on the site and the province likes the potential. It provided $100,000 to support Saturday's show. Tourism PEI said it's looking for a fall festival to build on because it brings in visitors at a slow time.
"I think there's a ton to build on," said Carr-Rollitt. "We've proven that it can be done."
Organizers don't expect to make any money this year.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Blue Majority Maybe....

These aren't very good numbers for Dion and he'll have to step it up if he expects to give the Tories a race. Simply put the debate will now be one of the last opportunities for Dion to turn his image around for the average Joe. If he can't prove to Canadians during the debate that he has what it takes to run the Country then I think he'll have a hard road ahead. Dion has to figure out how to relate to the average Canadian with less of an academic approach and talk about the economics of one’s pocketbook. Although our environment is important there are many other issues particularly the economy that have our electorates attention and he should focus on this in layman’s terms showing some confidence in how he would approach the weathering financial storms ahead. It’s funny how timing is but I think if we had Mr. Martin leading the Liberals this time around they would have a chance...on the local front I hear there were only 65 people at Wayne Easter's kickoff rally which seems very low...also the Tories are convinced they have Egmont sewn up and I'm not disagreeing at this point..
Poll suggests leadership emerging as challenge for Dion
The Canadian Press OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Stephane Dion’s failure to connect with Canadians is emerging as a critical factor in the federal election and a key challenge for the Liberals entering the second week of the campaign, a new poll suggests. A week’s worth of media exposure coupled with TV ads designed to replace Dion’s cool professorial persona with that of a hockey-loving outdoorsman appear to have made little difference, a new Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll suggests. The Liberal effort may have made Dion even less likable to Canadians. The gap between his popularity and that of Prime Minister Stephen Harper — or even NDP Leader Jack Layton — is wider than ever.And in an apparent acknowledgment of declining Liberal fortunes, a senior Tory campaign official said the Conservatives will be shifting their focus more on the NDP, and to a lesser extent the Green party, in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. “The challenge for the Liberals appears to rest squarely on Mr. Dion,” Harris-Decima president Bruce Anderson said Sunday. “If he continues to be the only leading voice of the Liberal party, aside from (his) team, the choice for him is between whether or not to go negative and take the fight to Stephen Harper, or ... improve his likability.” The Conservatives believe Dion’s personal numbers are “driving down overall Liberal ballot support.” The poll, a survey of 1,393 adults across Canada conducted Sept. 10 through Sept. 13, found Dion’s negatives increasing slightly during the first week of campaigning, with little corresponding uptick in positives. In the case of Harper, the survey suggests precisely the opposite: that Canadians ended the week with more positive impressions of the prime minister than negative ones — a sign that a barrage of sweater-clad television ads designed to soften the Conservative leader’s sharp edges have largely worked. At week’s end, 52 per cent of respondents said they had a positive feeling about Harper, compared to 34 per cent for Dion. Fifty-five per cent reported negative feelings about Dion, compared to 40 per cent for Harper. The poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

$100,000.00 FLOP!!!

On one of my last Department of Tourism blog rants I had made a comment..."Houston, we've got a problem" and now it has come home to roost! Someone down at Tourism gave away $100,000.00 of taxpayers' money to a rock promoter to lure 10,000 off Island fans to PEI. This quote is straight from PEI Tourism's press release "the tourism department believes if 10,000 concert-goers eat, sleep, and drink on P.E.I., the province's investment will pay off ". Well folks only 3,000 fans showed up and I have my doubts if 500 of them came from out of Province so how do you spell "FLOP"... Gentle Island, Big Break, Big Flop... time for a shake up there Robert....see my previous blog
Good Charlotte rocks Summerset
The Guardian
American rock band Good Charlotte from Waldorf, Maryland rocked the Summerset Music Festival Saturday night in Alexandra while approximately 3,000 fans loved it. The band was among five groups that opened for headliner Canadian Alanis Morissette. One of the bands on the bill was Haywire of Prince Edward Island who made a name for themselves in earlier times. (Guardian photo by Brian McInnis)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Big Red Herring...cheque with the Mayor?

I think this is quite a neat trick by our Mayor Clifford Lee and his City Mismanager. They blame the Liberals for not having money the Tories promised them. There’s an old saying “don’t spend what you don’t have” and Cliff and his posse should have thought about that before they spent it. Clifford wants to put it all on our Police Department but I think if there should be any review of how our tax money is squandered at City Hall it should be in the Mayor's office. So how many plum jobs in the recreation dept and public works dept go through the Mayor's office and at what cost? Why did the Mayor sell the land so cheap next to City Hall, as by my estimate alone, he squandered away $1,000.000.00 in missed revenue that taxpayers could have used? What goes on behind the Mayor's closed door? I don't know but I suspect ... yes a FULL REVIEW of the Mayor's office should be done! Some free advice Council, raise our taxes and I’m sure they’ll boot you out…
Here's what one person's comments about this were;
Research what happened in Newfoundland in 1998-02 with provincial members under Premier Brian Tobin - no Auditor General, no accountability. Secret monies were being funneled into the pockets of high ranking gov't officials and politiicians. CharlieTown's City Council is no different, no Auditor General, no accountability.Council runs a $40 million annual budget with public money and NO one is watching or reporting on best practises.And 'important' meetings are held in secret... it smells like the fish on my fingers!!
Charlottetown police to undergo major review
The Guardian
By Teresa Wright
The City of Charlottetown is commissioning a full review of the Charlottetown Police Department in an effort to deal with growing demands for more police services, Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee announced Friday. With so many new concerts and special events now being held in the city, tremendous demands are being placed on existing police services, Lee said in a press conference at City Hall Friday morning. “We realize there are ongoing issues in the community with regards to policing that need to be addressed now,” Lee said. “The concerns range from late night disturbances, highway traffic act enforcements, visibility of our police department in all neighbourhoods — these are major issues and trust me when I say city council does take these issues seriously.” An independent, external consulting firm will be hired to conduct the review. It will focus on operational, facility, management, administrative and governance issues, Lee said. It will also look at the financial issues impacting service delivery in the city.Because, despite increased demand for police services, the city cannot afford to hire more police officers, Lee said. In fact, the city of Charlottetown has fewer revenues than it budgeted for. Earlier this week, council met with a group of the province’s MLAs and was told the province would not be granting the city an outstanding sum of $230,000 the mayor says was promised to the city by the Pat Binns government in 2007. This financial loss will not only affect policing, it will affect all the city’s resources, Lee said. “The reality is the city is facing financial challenges across the board,” he said. “They will affect every department with the (city) corporation.” That’s why this police review is being done. It’s one of a number of reviews the city is planning for a many of its other departments over the coming years, Lee said. Coun. Danny Redmond, who chairs the city’s police services committee, said this police review is long overdue. “It has been over 16 years —since the department has been examined,” Redmond said. “We want to find areas of improvement and find positive ways and means to bring about those improvements.” Police Chief Paul Smith said the Charlottetown police department is always looking at ways to provide better services, and he’s looking forward to what this review will find. “This review will help us identify are there things that we’re doing that maybe we can do better or do in a more efficient manner, or are there things that we were doing that maybe we don’t do anymore?” Smith reflected. The review will look at visibility of the police force in town, staffing issues, as well as a big drop in speeding tickets issued this year. In 2008, about half as many speeding tickets were issued as there were to this date in 2007. This in turn, has reduced the income for the city that comes from those tickets, Lee said. “That’s one of the issues that will be looked at through the consultant’s report.” The police review will incorporate interviews with elected officials, civic administration, employees of the police department, the attorney general’s office, the Crown prosecutor’s office, and senior members of the RCMP. The city is putting out a request for proposals for a consulting firm to conduct this review. A draft report, complete with a list of recommendations for council, is expected within three months of the consultant being hired.

Boston Tea Party..."only in Summerside."

I'm kind of on Mr. Reid's side here and I suspect he's right that the Town hasn't got a right to enforce this tax but I'm sure most people in Town would know who is bullying him by threatening to cut off his power. We don't need any more taxes shoved down the throats of our tourists and surely not to pay for the big white $40,000,000.00 elephant.
Mulberry Motel won’t charge tax
Owner says history backs him up
Transcontinental Media SUMMERSIDE – Accommodation owners and operators in Summerside are questioning the legalities of the city driven two per cent room tax levy implemented in April of this year. Don Reid, owner/operator of the Mulberry Motel said the history behind the levy bylaw shows it is the industry that collects and spends the levy fees — and not the municipality. Reid describes himself as a “non participant” in the two per cent tax levy and has not collected the fee since it came into effect in April.Reid said eight years ago, the Charlottetown-based P.E.I. Hotel Association looked for support for a room tax levy. Two years later, the Province contracted consultant Gerry Gallant to undertake a study into a two per cent accommodation levy. “He said, in a virtual one-liner, for the tourism industry to implement a two per cent levy would be detrimental to the industry,” Reid said.Reid said since that time the P.E.I. Hotel Association has been able to amalgamate several individual tourism-related groups to form Tourism Charlottetown. He said now there was a vehicle in place to bring the City of Charlottetown online to create the levy bylaw. The Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. came on board and the Province passed legislation empowering the P.E.I. Hotel Association to move on the levy. Other areas of the Province, including Summerside, were included in this process.Reid said the big difference between Summerside and Charlottetown is the City of Summerside collects the tax and spends it on the new Credit Union Place whereas in Charlottetown the industry collects the levy and uses it for tourism promotion. Reid pointed to Ontario as having a system of room levies that could work in Summerside. He said the province had an eight per cent sales tax on accommodations which was used for marketing. The province forgave that eight per cent and allowed the industry to collect a three per cent levy, which they merge with other funding sources to promote tourism. He said this move is giving tourists a five per cent reduction on the room taxes they pay when visiting that province. He said on Prince Edward Island, the total room levy is 17.7 per cent — five per cent federal, ten per cent provincial and now the two per cent municipal tax. Reid said if the province would forgive the 10 per cent provincial tax and allow the local industry to promote tourism, it could be accomplished at a rate of five per cent, lowering the overall tax rate to 12.7 per cent and giving tourists a five per cent reduction in room costs.The city is not taking Reid’s decision lightly and is threatening to cut off the water and electricity to Mulberry Motel on Sept. 19 unless he complies with the bylaw. Reid said he has support from other accommodations operators and the group is looking for a meeting with the city to resolve this issue.

Monday, September 8, 2008

You May Not...but Larry might...

Well Miss May if you can't get on the big stage with the "old boys" we have Larry McGuire down here who I'm sure would love to stage a debate with you or anyone who'll listen. In fact the two of you would be quite entertaining and maybe we could start up "Political Idol" and get you both some free press... keep up the great work Miss May, keep threatening to sue, stick it to the man, and keep up the name calling as it's lends creditability to your cause???
Green party leader excluded from TV debates
The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Green party Leader Elizabeth May has been shut out of the televised election debates after every party but the Liberals shunned her inclusion. TV network officials hinted that one or more of the other party leaders would otherwise pull out of the showcase election event, set for Ottawa on Oct. 1 and 2. “The (network) consortium approached the parties to explore the possibility of including the Green party in all or part of the leaders’ debates,” spokesman Jason MacDonald said. “However, three parties opposed its inclusion and it became clear that if the Green party were included, there would be no leaders’ debates. “In the interest of Canadians, the consortium has determined that it is better to broadcast the debates with the four major party leaders, rather than not at all.” The nationally televised event is run by Canada’s private networks as an umbrella group that decides who takes part. The consortium includes CBC, Radio Canada, CTV, Global and TVA. Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has said he would welcome the chance to debate May on TV. But Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday that May’s inclusion would in essence allow a second Liberal candidate to participate. He said May’s platform is similar to Dion’s and that she will ultimately endorse the Liberals. “Elizabeth May is not an opponent of Stephane Dion,” Harper said at a campaign event in Richmond, B.C. “She is his candidate in (the Nova Scotia riding of) Central Nova, and I think it would be fundamentally unfair to have two candidates who are essentially running on the same platform in the debate.” May threatened to go to court over Monday’s decision, accusing the TV networks of “old boy” tactics as she squarely blamed Harper for her exclusion. “I think Mr. Harper’s role was determinative,” she said in an interview. “He was the only one making the (public) case that I was not allowed to participate. “In the interest of fairness ... and a full and fair election, the Green party will seek the guidance of the Federal Court in terms of ... how manipulated the public airwaves can be by the objection of a prime minister who doesn’t want to face me in the debate.” In the past, the courts and federal radio-television regulator have washed their hands of the matter, saying it’s up to the broadcasters to decide who can participate in an event that can change the course of election campaigns. The Green leader has stepped up pressure on the networks ever since an Independent MP joined the party, giving the Greens a temporary toehold in the House of Commons. “I believe the consortium has been overly influenced by hints, and threats without actually having public statements on the record from any national party political leader that they would actually refuse to participate in the debates if I was included,” May said. NDP Leader Jack Layton was hustled away by handlers when reporters tried to clarify if he had threatened to pull out. “I’m looking forward to debating the prime minister,” was his only comment. A statement from Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe stressed that he would attend the debates with or without May, although his preference is to limit participation to the four major parties represented in the Commons. Most Canadians will find her exclusion “deeply anti-democratic, whether they plan to vote Green or not,” May fumed. Especially galling, she said, is the fact Duceppe is allowed in even though voters outside Quebec can’t vote for his party.“They can vote for the Green party in all 306 ridings across Canada. They want to know where we stand.” She says Harper’s bid to freeze her out has more to do with concern that the Greens could eat into Conservative support. It’s also the latest in a string of actions that suggest Harper’s distaste for women’s full equality and a dislike of feminists in particular, she charged.

Larry, Larry, Quite Contrary...

Teresa, I think Larry told you a bold face lie...Larry thought Lawrence should have worked for him against Robert Ghiz and now he is simply trying to get back at Lawrence... and if anything, this foolish stunt by Larry will probably get Lawrence more votes. Poor Larry just doesn’t get it and he'll probably lose his deposit...but entertain a lot of folks in the process. Does this mean Larry will be looking to get in on the National TV debate???
McGuire running in Cardigan as independent
The Guardian
A familiar face in Island politics will soon be joining the federal race in Cardigan.Larry McGuire, a retired teacher and brother of Egmont MP Joe McGuire, plans to run as an independent federal candidate in Cardigan.Once he registers as an official candidate, McGuire will face off at the polls against 20-year veteran Liberal MP Lawrence MacAulay and political newcomer Sid McMullin, running for the Conservatives. McGuire said he wanted to join the race after hearing the many concerns of Cardigan riding residents. “People are concerned in Cardigan about rural P.E.I. to a great extent,” he said.“I didn’t jump into this lightly. I’ve been quite active since the last provincial election and I really want to take a stand again and do what I can to stop the bleeding in rural P.E.I.”McGuire created a firestorm of controversy during a Liberal nomination convention in which he was running in 2006, when he suggested that “fat-cat, well-heeled Tories” would be moved out of their provincial government jobs and Liberals put at the top of the list if a Liberal government was elected in P.E.I.After this public statement, Liberal Leader and now Premier Robert Ghiz refused to sign his Liberal nomination papers for District 7. So, he ran as an independent in Morell-Mermaid. McGuire says he believes his experience in last year’s provincial election helped him gain an understanding of the issues facing rural P.E.I. But he said the main reason he decided to throw his hat into this race was the Liberal green shift proposal. “The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was this proposed carbon tax by the Dion Liberals,” he said.“People who are the most vulnerable are the ones being taxed, and taxing home heating fuel was just - well, I couldn’t stand by and have this tax go unchallenged.” McGuire said he’s got a campaign team almost in place and he plans to unveil his platform of policy initiatives over the coming weeks. He refuted any suggestion he was running merely to unseat long-time MP MacAulay out of bitterness for MacAulay not having supported his provincial campaign. “No, you can’t take politics personally. I’ve moved on from that years ago it seems,” he said. “I think the people in Cardigan are looking for a choice. The Conservative candidate has had a year and a half to campaign and he’s still invisible. Lawrence has had 20 years in and I think he’s lost touch with the people.“I’m in this to win it,” McGuire said.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Another's what I think

I'm hoping we get a Majority one way or the other as our Government has to start focusing on their agendas not spending all their time trying to keep themselves in power. Harper and Layton had great outdoor backdrops for their first comments on the election while Dion's comments were held inside a building on a very beautiful sunny day in Ottawa which didn't seem to be a very good setting for someone pushing a clean environment? On PEI I'm thinking MacAulay and Murphy are easy Liberal wins ... Easter's seat will be a little closer this time and Egmont will depend on how the National campaign looks nearing the end. I concur with Harper that it's going to be a tough fight and I expect we're going to see some US style ads in both print and the electronic media. The Liberals have to shift away from the "green shift" as no one understands it and they have to focus on what they can do for Canadians....
Vote set for Oct. 14th Harper expects tight, tough election

Federal election day after Thanksgiving is 3rd in just over 4 years
CBC News
Canadians will head to the polls in a general election on Oct. 14, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday in Ottawa after meeting with the Governor General.
Harper made the announcement outside Rideau Hall after his conversation with Michaëlle Jean.
"Her Excellency, the Governor General, has seen fit to dissolve Parliament," he said.
The vote will take place one day after the Thanksgiving holiday.Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion says the Oct. 14 election may be the most 'crucial' campaign in election history. (CBC)
"Between now and Oct. 14, Canadians will choose a government to look out for their interests at a time of global economic trouble," Harper said.
When asked about what the outcome might be, the Conservative leader said, "We believe it is going to be a tough election. We believe it will be a tight election. And, yes, we believe in all likelihood it will be a minority."
Before taking questions, Harper paused briefly to praise Canada as the "best country in the world," and said serving as prime minister has been an honour.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

No Headline Here...maybe a minor change

Not much of a drop here and I don't expect it should worry Liberals but I'd say the Tories have their hands full until they find a new leader and even then Islanders are unlikely to toss out a Premier after his first term. We might see a minor change in cabinet before the New Year but other than that I expect the Premier will carry on business as usual... I understand Olive Crane's recognition numbers are below 30% so I doubt she'll have a chance in any race.
Ghiz government's support takes drop in latest CRA poll
The Guardian
A new poll suggests satisfaction levels in Premier Robert Ghiz’s Liberal government are slipping, just over a year after being elected to office. The Corporate Research Associates poll indicates about 62 per cent of Islanders say they are satisfied with the overall performance of the provincial government. That’s the third poll in a row that satisfaction levels have dropped — down from 69 per cent in May and 77 per cent in February. But it’s still much stronger than satisfaction levels in neighbouring provinces. In New Brunswick, 53 per cent say they are satisfied with the government there. That compared to only 49 per cent who say they are satisfied with the performance of their provincial government in Nova Scotia. Don Mills, the president and CEO of Corporate Research Associates, says the provincial Liberals have nothing to worry about — yet. He said it’s hard for a government to sustain the satisfaction levels that come with a newly minted and untarnished government. “Most successful governments, if they are in the 60s on a regular basis, they are doing very well,’’ said Mills.“But if they continue to slip down, then it means people are losing some satisfaction with the government and we’ll pay closer attention to that. But it normally settles out after a while.’’ The Liberals remain far and away the most popular choice in provincial politics. The Liberals have the support of 63 per cent of decided voters, up two percentage points from May. The Progressive Conservatives lost ground, dropping to 25 per cent in August, from 27 per cent in May. The Island New Democrats and the Green party are now tied with six per cent support. That’s down one percentage point for the Island New Democrats and up two percentage points for the Green party. Those who do not plan to vote, refused to say, don’t know or are undecided climbed to 41 per cent — up from 28 per cent in May. The poll’s results are based on a sample of 601 Islanders. It was conducted Aug. 14 to Sept. 3. The results are considered accurate within plus or minus four per cent 95 times out of 100.The premier’s personal popularity also dropped in August. He has the support of 45 per cent of decided voters. That’s down five percentage points. In May, Ghiz had the support of 50 per cent of decided voters. Green Leader Sharon Labchuk has the support of six per cent, up one per cent. Both the Progressive Conservative party and the Island New Democrats have interim leaders.The next leader of the PC party has the support of 15 per cent of Islanders, down from 18 per cent in May. The next leader of the Island New Democrats is supported by five per cent of Islanders, unchanged from May. Six per cent prefer none of these leaders.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Bye, Bye, Billy....hello big time losses

My guess is the Summerside Wellness Centre is in big trouble... Billy was lured back to Summerside to try and make some sense of this big white elephant but even with his excellent skill set as a manager/promoter he probably seen the writing on the wall and baled. Someone may have offered him the big cheesy job of City Manager if and when he could turn the Titanic around but there are just some things that can't be done... a couple of the events have already gone bust and it would be really interesting to see how $80.00 tickets to an NHL exhibition game in Summerside are going to sell or are they going to give half them away? How did a Town this small ever get to spend so much taxpayers money... over $35,000,000.00 and they're still spending. I don't like to knock things as I think it was a great idea when it was originally budgeted at $12,000,000.00 but who was in charge and where were the controls? In any event it's too bad Billy couldn't stay as he would have been a great asset for the Town...
Bill Schurman leaving Summerside post
Transcontinental Media SUMMERSIDE
- The roar of the Wildcats has lured Bill Schurman back to Moncton. Summerside's community services director confirmed his return as general manager of Moncton's Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team effective Oct. 1. The 53-year-old said the opportunity, one he didn't see coming, left him with a difficult decision that he pondered for weeks. "I would be very dishonest if I didn't say my heart and head weren't at odds," said Schurman. "But I've got to find a way to find a little better balance in my life. I've got to find a way not to be on guard 24/7 and I think that having the Wildcats having one focus, having one person to answer to, is something that allows me to have a little bit more fun." Last year Schurman left Moncton to take on the job, feeling "a strong sense of community to come back" to help get Credit Union Place off the ground. Schurman admitted, "I felt a lot of pressure. I still do everyday. There's a tremendous pressure in a town this size to perform, but there's pressure in every job." Schurman helped secure a partnership with Consolidated Credit Union to rename the complex, landed the New York Islanders Blue and White game, P.E.I.'s first NHL exhibition game and various other events. He's quick to say he didn't do it alone, adding he had a good team behind him. He'll work with his replacement to make for an easy transition. Does he have any advice for his successor? "You have to have a thick skin. Work with your team. Encourage them to fly as high as they can fly and don't be fearful of making mistakes."
Here's a comment posted by someone in the Journal Pioneer - "Kenny Rogers Fan from PEI writes: CBC radio reported this morning that Bill Schurman has been rehired by the Moncton Wildcats effective Oct 1. As Kenny Rogers would say: You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, Know when to walk away and know when to run."
The Moncton Wildcats will be welcoming a familiar face back to the team this year but he doesn’t wear skates.
Moncton , NB
“I am pleased to announce that Bill Schurman will be returning to the Moncton Wildcats as General Manager,” said Robert Irving , president of the hockey team. “Bill has five years experience with our organization which gives him the ability to step right in to the role,” Mr. Irving said.
Schurman, who took over as General Manager in 2002 left at the end of the 2007 season to return to his native Summerside to manage the City’s Community Services Department, including the new Credit Union Place.
“Bill’s greatest strength is his understanding of the community and the important role that plays in the Wildcats success in Greater Moncton,” Mr. Irving said. “He is the face of the Wildcats in our community and has been a big part of our success in the past and will continue to be into the future.”

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Beating A Dead Horse"....with a golf club!

On August 13th I received a written response to my July 10th offer to buy Crowbush from the Deputy Minister of Tourism and in a nut shell she said they were going to run it for 2008 under an improved strategy and in the fall access whether they were going to be sold or leased. In their words "improve the cash position" whatever that means??? Valerie, I'm going to give you some free're "beating a dead horse". The courses are losing their shirts... and every day that goes by that Golf Links runs this operation PEI Taxpayers are paying for it... you don't have to wait for the end of October to find out that the number of rounds are down dramatically. Don’t let a bunch of golf academics hoodwink you into believing that your "cash position" has improved because you "wrote off" a bunch of debt that was on the books from the previous administration (that PEI taxpayers are now paying for)... just check the income and you'll find out it's down big-time... I expect this summer alone that the Provincial course have depreciated by at least 20% in value and are only going to get worst... the Premier said “sell, sell, sell” and you should get at it before they are worth nothing…

Silk purse out of a sow's ear....

Valarie, it took someone in your department over a month to come up with this crappy press release??? Surely your high priced help must know that an 18% increase in nothing equals nothing as it relates to air traffic but a 22% decrease in bridge traffic during a sunny July must send shivers up the bone. Come clean and get your staff working on some creative ideas for tourism and not spending their time on creative writing... Houston, we've got a problem...
Air travellers to P.E.I. fail to save July tourism
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
CBC News
Tourism on P.E.I. was down considerably in July compared to last year, despite continued strength in visitors arriving via the Charlottetown Airport.
Overall, room nights sold were down 6.5 per cent over July 2007, despite an 18 per cent jump in air traffic, according to a report released Wednesday by the provincial government.
The jump in air traffic was erased by a 22 per cent decrease in Confederation Bridge traffic, and an 11 per cent drop in people taking the ferry.
In a news release accompanying the report, the Department of Tourism saw some hopeful signs. With the increase in air passengers came more overseas visitors, with room nights sold to those tourists up almost six per cent. Cruise ship traffic is up 102 per cent on the year, and the fall cruise schedule will continue to improve those numbers.
"The decline in numbers is of concern, knowing how important the tourism industry is to the economy of the province," said Minister of Tourism Valerie Docherty.
"However, we need to realize when looking at year-to-date figures, visitation is down only one per cent overall. There have been national concerns raised over decreased tourism and we are feeling those effects as well.
"Tourism PEI, along with its industry partners, must continue to work aggressively to attract visitors through strategically planning to build those numbers."
The bad numbers were not shared evenly across the province.
The south shore district, around Charlottetown, was down just 1.4 per cent, and is virtually unchanged for the year to date. The east was hardest hit, with 16.5 per cent fewer room nights sold.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Houston, we've got a problem!!!!

What are they smoking down on Rochford Street, $800,000.00 for a golf "big break" and now $100,000.00 to some rock music promoters, surely they only get the money if they deliver the 10,000 fans from out of Province. I can't imagine that there would be more than a few hundred people from "off Island" that would even bother to attend this event. Who are the people that are sitting around the table making these decisions with our taxpayers money...
Tourism department providing $100,000 for Alanis concert
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
CBC News
P.E.I.'s Department of Tourism is putting up $100,000 to help pay for an Alanis Morissette concert near Charlottetown on Sept. 13.
Promoters are hoping to sell 10,000 tickets for the Vista Bay concert, which will feature the Joel Plaskett Emergency, Good Charlotte and Haywire in addition to Morissette.
Deputy tourism minister Melissa MacEachern told CBC News Monday that tourism in the province needed a boost.
"Projections around what room-nights sold would look like in early September aren't as high as we'd like to see them, so in a competitive environment you have to take action, and that's really what we did," said MacEachern.
"What we're looking at is to help shore up the early part of our September season."
Based on surveys from previous concerts that size, said MacEachern, the tourism department believes if 10,000 concert-goers eat, sleep, and drink on P.E.I., the province's investment will pay off.
MacEachern said the Summerset Music Festival organizers are still working with regulatory agencies in the province to ensure the concert site will meet all the necessary standards.
"We certainly discussed the venue and safety, security, health issues. Obviously they all have to be approved by the various regulatory agencies before we would ever agree to continue," she said.
"They're going through all that process, in terms of the number of attendees."
The $100,000 is a grant to the organizers, who are assuming all the risks associated with the music festival.
Event organizers will not say how many tickets have been sold so far.

Rain, rain, go away...and come back another day..

Not necessarily the record we're looking for as it has a big impact on our tourism industry. I'm impressed that the Federal Environment people were out with the August numbers so early as we're all still patiently waiting for the Province to release the July visitor numbers??? Hopefully the weather will take a turn for better times ahead and we'll get a few tourists back and our farmers will get their crops in without too much grief. I was on one of our sites today in Halifax and although the building is nearly finished inside we are about two weeks behind on the roof and our tenants are moving in next Friday and we'll probably be still on the roof with a large crew trying to finish up.
Soaking wet August sets record for rainfall
The Guardian
It’s official, August was the wettest month ever recorded on Prince Edward Island. The weather office at the Charlottetown Airport reports that 15 mm. of rain fell on Sunday, the last day of August, to bring the month’s total precipitation to 238.8 mm.Prior to the weekend, P.E.I. had already set an all-time record rainfall for August. Rainfall for the month as of midday Friday was 223.8 mm, up from the previous high of 209.6 mm which fell in August 1991. The normal rainfall for August is 87.3 mm. The other record left was for the wettest month ever and that was easily shattered with Sunday’s rainfall. Just over four millimetres of rain was needed to come down for the province to surpass the 227.9 mm all-time record monthly rainfall of July 1979. Rainfall records have been kept since 1943. Rain fell like never before during August, said senior climatologist David Phillips of Environment Canada. Temperatures were about normal this month with an average daily high of 18.1 C. There were 20 days of rain this month, including seven with “significant’’ accummulation. Typically, P.E.I. has 11 days of rain in August.

Keep Them Coming....

Great news for our tourism industry as I'm sure a few of the 4,299 passengers and crew will get a little "teaser" of our great Province and come back and stay a little longer on another vacation. It's too bad the mall was closed but I'm sure that the merchants will catch on that these visitors are potential customers and we'll likely see the mall open in the future. Kudos to all the people involved in luring these ships to Charlottetown and let's all work hard to keep them coming back.
Massive liner docks in capital
The Guardian
It was a busy day at Charlottetown’s harbour as the largest cruise ship to ever visit the city docked Sunday. Gary and Linda Sherwood were two of the passengers who disembarked to see Charlottetown and visit some of the Island’s attractions. Gary said they decided to take the cruise because they had been to the Caribbean before and wanted to see some Atlantic ports this time.“We’re not really warm weather people.’’ The ship and its 3,114 passengers left New Jersey Aug. 28 and will return on Sept. 6 after stops in Quebec and Nova Scotia. It was the first of four visits to the city for the Explorer of the Seas, with the others set for Sept. 14 and 28 and Oct. 12. Although it was not their first cruise, it was the first time the Sherwoods had been on a ship that big and Gary said it was easy to get lost onboard. “This one is huge.’’Linda said one of the big attractions for the couple was the ship’s stop in P.E.I. because they had never been here before. “We’ve always wanted to come.’’ The Sherwoods were headed to Cavendish for an inn and lobster tour that Linda said was the only lobster event they could get on because all of the others were sold out. “Everybody loves lobster,’’ she said. Gary said the cruise gave them a chance to go to different places without having to worry about packing and unpacking luggage and added they like to get off the ship for shore excursions every chance they get.“We like to get off and see the place.’’ Graham Kent and his wife Valerie drove from Kitchener to New York to catch the ship because they had never been to Atlantic Canada either. Kent said they hadn’t met anyone under 30 onboard and there was less excitement than other cruises they’ve taken because most of the passengers go to bed early. “It’s still a lot of fun.’’ What sold this cruise for the Kents was the onboard skating rink and the couple brought their own skates, even though Kent said it was a little strange thinking about skating on the Atlantic Ocean. “As long as it’s smooth it’s no different.’’ It was the couple’s third cruise and Kent said they liked having their transportation, accommodations and food included in the price. “The price is pretty good for that.’’ Gary said there was a downside to the cruise and its all-inclusive food. “One of the negatives of the cruise is you always leave heavier than you went on.’’

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bring Your Teens Here...and save some taxes.

I think for the most part everyone wants to spend their dollars here and I agree that if they do it has a great impact in our local economy. But I wouldn't hold out waiting for a big spree on the back to school market as a lot of kids especially the older ones are very focused on our environment and are into recycling and wearing used (vintage) cloths. Couple that with a major drop in student enrolment, then it is reasonable to expect back to school sales will be down and retailers are going to have to find new products to entice these consumers into their stores. As most people know it's pretty hard to change a teenagers mind particularly when it comes to fashion and throw in their belief that the grass is greener (M0ncton) on the other side and we have our work cut out. It might be the right time to look at some new marketing partnerships with our local retailers and hotels putting shopping packages out to places like Moncton, Fredericton and Halifax luring more families with teenagers here to shop and save their sales tax on clothing, something that will appeal to the parents...
Chamber urges people to shop on Island

Friday, August 29, 2008
CBC News
The Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce is encouraging people to shop on the Island, following reports from local stores that back-to-school sales are down.
"It comes down to education of the people, parents and kids … it does a great service to Islanders when you do buy on P.E.I. We just have to keep getting that message out," said Doug Coles, president of the chamber.
But many teens prefer to shop off-Island for back to school clothes. Mitchell MacLean, a Charlottetown teen, said he does half of his shopping in Halifax.
"There's a lot of stores over there we don't have here," he explained.
Tiffany Morrison, from Charlottetown, said she does most of her shopping in Moncton, N.B., because they have a better variety of stores.
Philip Tweel, the owner of Charlottetown's Island Active Wear, said his store carries the same products as the stores in Moncton and Halifax.
"They know we have it, but they think they're going to get more over there," he said.
The Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce is planning to launch radio and print ads as Christmas approaches, urging people to buy their gifts from local stores.