Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Any Group Interested In A Community Gardens?

The Nature Conservancy of Canada each year purchase and donate a parcel of land for conservation under a "Gifts To Canadians Campaign" which has been quite successful... so I was thinking that we own some excess farm land on the corner of the Brackley Point Road and the Union Road next to MacLean Construction that is not being currently used... so why couldn't we lease the land for $1. a year to a non profit group to run an Organic Community Gardens for public use... there is probably 25 acres close to the City and it's a shame that it's not in production and since we don't have any immediate use for it then why not let some organization use it for free... our staff could help with some plans, fencing, water and infrastructure and hopefully the end-users would donate some of what they harvest to the local food bank or some other needy organization... this could be one of our "Gifts To Our Community" and we would be more than happy to entertain any reasonable proposals from any groups interested in setting something up along the lines that I have described... it may be a little late this year to start something but we would try if possible or at least get a good start on something for next year... if you know someone that may be interested in taking us up on this offer than please contact me directly...

Happy Canada Day... from everyone at APM...

Celebrations started early today at APM with a staff barbeque at noon today and one of the girls (Jody) was so excited about Canada Day that she took a "flight" around our new building while Heather Campbell and Wendy Quinn looked on in amazement... the girls at APM are real Wonder Women...

Samuel Andrawis Ibrahim our new graphic designer from Egypt and his wife Mary and new born Andrew are spending their first Canada Day in Charlottetown and to celebrate Samuel developed a new Canada Day "flash" on our APM web site..
www.apm.ca Have a great Canada Day...

Let the "light" shine... and the computers work...

Back when I first proposed building our new head office I was asking our engineering and information technology staff whether we should consider a major generator for the building as I felt there seemed to be more and more "storm" outages.... as it was a big ticket item staff kept saying we probably wouldn't get our payback... so in the end I convinced them to put all the electrical infrastructure into the electrical room and pre-wire for a future generator in the event we ever decided we needed one... all our offices in Halifax, Toronto, Calgary and our jobsites across the Country are somehow linked to our head office in Charlottetown and if we’re down so are they... and as we all know we have had about three recent outages in West Royalty that weren't even related to storms... so it was no surprise to me that a few weeks ago I noticed work being done to the back of our building and low and behold a "new" generator showed up yesterday... I guess those guys in engineering and our IT got the message... "there will be light"... and we'll be able to communicate with the rest of the world instead of twiddling our thumbs during a power outage like last night....

Maybe Someday.... soon hopefully....

About six weeks ago the City showed up with a crew to do some work in front of our new building and proceeded to dump some topsoil in front of our property... it's been sitting there for over 5 weeks and they soon won't have to seed it as there is grass starting to grow on the piles of dirt.... I'm sure they have some great excuses but it certainly wasn't the weather as last week would have been a perfect opportunity to finish the work... I even mentioned it to the Mayor and I also followed up with Paul Johnston over a week ago but still nothing has happened... I even asked in my email to at least give us a timetable... I guess we don't pay enough taxes.... "maybe someday" soon we can have an election and get someone new into office that can manage our City.... UPDATE: Thurs. July 2nd...Thanks to Paul Johnston and the City we had work crews here early this morning fixing up the area...

From: Tim Banks
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 3:42 PM
To: pjohnston@city.charlottetown.pe.ca
Cc: Cecil Villard (cfvillard@gov.pe.ca); Don Poole (dpoole@city.charlottetown.pe.ca)
Subject: Unfinished Work At 3 Lower Malpeque Road


About three weeks ago there was a bunch of fill and topsoil dropped off in front of our new building by the City that seems to be unfinished or abandon. We are trying to run a number of businesses out of this location that we like to present to our customers as neat and professional. Could you please see that whatever work you are doing there is finished in the near future and give us a timetable for the completion.

Your co-operation is greatly appreciated.


Tim Banks CEO • APM
APM Place, 3 Lower Malpeque Rd

Charlottetown, PE, Canada
C1E 1R4

Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 Order of PEI Recipients Announced...

In case you missed it like I did the 2009 recipients of the Order of Prince Edward Island were announced on Friday and in my view were well deserving Islanders... in fact I sat next to one of them Friday night at "Disco Cirque" (a great show) and she never mentioned a thing about this great honour... and that is part of the strengths of all these individuals... they are not afraid to "step up and step out" for many great causes and although they are "out there" speaking up they are never talking about themselves just about the many charities and causes they support... I have no idea who the Judges were but they certainly picked the cream of our Island crop... congratulations, Wilma, Elmer and Frank....
June 26, 2009
For immediate release
Order of Prince Edward Island Recipients Announced by Lieutenant Governor's Office
The 2009 recipients of the Order of Prince Edward Island were announced today by the Chancellor of the Order, the Honourable Barbara A. Hagerman, Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island and Mr. Maitland MacIsaac, Chair of the Order of Prince Edward Island Advisory Council.
The three Islanders selected to receive the honour are:
Ms. Wilma Hambly of Charlottetown
Mr. Elmer MacDonald of Augustine Cove
Mr. Frank Zakem of Charlottetown
These three individuals were selected from a total of 34 Islanders nominated to receive the award this year.
The honour was first conferred in 1996 with six individuals invested at that time; since then there have been three Islanders invested each year. The 2008 inductees into the Order were Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island, Mr. Garnet Buell of Murray River, and Ms. Nancy Hamill of Mill River East.
The honour is awarded as a means of recognizing those Islanders who have shown individual excellence or outstanding leadership in their community and in their chosen occupation or profession. It is the highest honour that can be accorded to a citizen of the Province. It is awarded annually following a public nomination process with not more than three recipients being selected by an independent nine-person Advisory Council each year. Insignia of the Order will be presented by Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor at a special investiture ceremony on October 1 at Government House, Charlottetown. For more on the recipients please click http://www.gov.pe.ca/index.php3?number=news&newsnumber=6391&dept=&lang=E

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Congratulations Diane, Doug and Linda....

I felt bad today that I couldn't attend this event as I would have liked to have been there to personally thank Diane Griffin, Doug Deacon and NCC's Regional VP Linda Stephenson of the Nature Conservancy of Canada for their tireless work of driving forward building a bigger blueprint for Conservation here on PEI. Both Diane and Doug along with others were heavily involved in the "Greenwich" file when they were with Island Nature Trust and were responsible for saving what is now part of our National Park. I understand Hon. Gail Shea was there on behalf of the Federal Government and Sonny Gallant MLA for the area was representing the Province, both of whom have been excellent partners of NCC (thanks)... congratulations everyone involved for all your support...
Nature Conservancy protects P.E.I. salt water marsh
The Guardian
The Nature Conservancy of Canada announced Thursday that a precious wetland along P.E.I.’s Northumberland Strait is saved for the enjoyment of future generations. The 31-acre (12.5 hectare) property at Abram-Village contains an almost pristine salt marsh. Despite being an island, the P.E.I. coastline has relatively few salt marshes, making the Abram-Village marsh a crucial area for protection. By protecting the land from development, this pristine habitat will continue to serve as an important refuge for migratory birds, thus, ultimately contributing to the sustainability of waterfowl populations in Prince Edward Island and throughout the Atlantic Flyway. NCC’s partners for this land acquisition at Abram-Village include the Eastern Habitat Joint Venture, Government of Canada and various individuals. This announcement is part of NCC's eighth annual Gifts to Canadians celebration. In the lead-up to Canada Day, events will be held from coast to coast to celebrate this lasting natural legacy for all Canadians. Together the 10 gifts to Canadians total just over 556 square kilometres — that’s an area slightly bigger than the Island of Montreal. This important land acquisition was achieved with the help of concerned individuals, corporations, foundations and conservation organizations. This unique public-private partnership helps non-profit non-government organizations secure ecologically sensitive lands to ensure the protection of our country’s diverse ecosystems, wildlife and habitat. Land surrounding this property is owned mostly by the government of Prince Edward Island. In the early 1990s, the Abram-Village area was designated a priority area for conservation by the P.E.I. Eastern Habitat Joint Venture and the provincial government. In the shallow waters of the estuary, birds such as the Great Blue Heron, Greater Yellowlegs, Common Tern, Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, and Belted Kingfisher feed. In the salt marsh, the Black Duck, Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow, Spotted Sandpiper, and the Belted Kingfisher are often spotted feeding. NCC's work in Prince Edward Island is made possible by the support of APM Group, Amalgamated Dairies, Maritime Electric, PEI Mutual Insurance Company, Rodd Hotels and many individuals.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Not The Doctor We're Looking For....

I find it hard to believe that I'm agreeing with Mitch Tweel but he's right in this case. Charlottetown could probably use a few Doctors but a "Spin Doctor" is the last thing taxpayers want to see. Back when the City amalgamated with Sherwood, Parkdale and West Royalty probably would have been a good time to put someone out there in a position like this but that is not what they did... they took the managers from each and gave them each a position in the new City. Had it been a private business merging three operations then they would have appointed one manager and gave the other two a package. The new manager would have developed a business plan that probably would have included a role for someone in the administration such as the economic development officer to deal with “communications”. But as it stands the City is already top heavy and out of control on its administrative costs and they should just give these duties to someone currently on staff without adding any expense. Hiring someone new for this position without someone stepping down from the current hierarchy is a total waste of taxpayers’ money and it's time for people to call their Councillors and tell them to focus more on reducing administrative expenses then worrying whether the City needs a new spokesperson.... now I could probably make a case that there are a few Councillors that might need a Doctor but I don't think a "Spin Doctor" is what I had in mind....
New communications officer concerns councillor

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
CBC News
Charlottetown city Coun. Mitch Tweel opposes the city's plan to hire a communications officer, and says he will continue to speak for himself.
'It's authentic, it's unedited, and it's real.'— Coun. Mitch Tweel
"A communications director will not be speaking for me," Tweel told CBC News Tuesday.
Despite Tweel's opposition, interviews are about to take place to hire someone for the job.
Tweel, one of the more outspoken councillors in Charlottetown, opposed the idea of hiring a new communications officer when it was first raised earlier this year. The job description for the new position states the winning applicant will "recommend whether to initiate communications on potentially controversial issues … and then manage these processes to ensure consistency of the message."
Department managers are more than capable of doing that job, said Tweel, as he is capable of delivering his own message.
"I feel very confident myself in representing my constituents," he said.
"To me that's grassroots democracy. It's authentic, it's unedited, and it's real."
A consistent message
Coun. David MacDonald also said he will continue to speak his mind publicly, but MacDonald adds he's in favour of the new position because it's important the public hears one message from the city.
"Anytime that we can have some consistency in the messages that go out it would help all of us," said MacDonald.
"Clarity and consistency and making sure the right message gets conveyed the first time has the potential of saving us a lot [of] the need to do followup messages for clarification."
The new communications officer will cost city taxpayers between $41,000 and $49,000 a year.

Maybe he's getting ready... for the Blue ticket...

Kenny used to teach at West Kent School in his earlier days and was highly regarded as an excellent teacher before moving on to another school as a vice-principal. He has a passion for sports and did an superb job as the coach of the Western Capitals and that would be no easy chore as I had a lot of experience working the hockey wars in Summerside. I could be wrong here but I think he's Vince Mulligan's nephew so the hockey coaching probably comes with it. So what's the real deal here and my guess from a few rumours that I've been hearing is that Kenny is interested in taking a run at the Tory side of the ticket in District 6 Kinlock - Stratford against Cynthia Dunsford as a lot of well healed Tories believe her win was just a fluke and I guess time will only tell....
Coach leaves Western Capitals
Kenny MacDougall steps down due to family and work commitments
SUMMERSIDE — The Summerside Western Capitals will have a new bench boss for the 2009-10 Maritime Junior A Hockey League season.
General manager Gabe Keough announced Tuesday night that head coach and director of hockey operations Kenny MacDougall of Stratford will not be returning for a second season due to family and work commitments.
“I really enjoyed my time in Summerside,” said MacDougall. “I enjoyed working with the players we had and was certainly looking forward to perhaps working with that same group and maybe building towards a RBC Cup.”
Summerside and Thunder Bay are the two finalists to host the 2011 Canadian junior A hockey championship tournament. A decision is expected sometime in the fall.
Assistant coach Scott Bridges said he wants to take some more time to make a decision on his future.
Under MacDougall, who is vice-principal at East Wiltshire Intermediate School in Cornwall, the Capitals posted a 39-13-0-2 record in the regular season.
They won the MJAHL’s Kent Cup, Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian championship and went 1-3, failing to qualify for the semifinals, at the RBC Cup in Victoria, B.C.
“The whole experience is going to make me a better coach,” reflected MacDougall. “We had a highly-successful year. . . Any time you’re involved with a group of people and you win something significant, you learn from that in terms of how to do it again.”
MacDougall, who is married and is the father of two young children, says he would love to return to the Caps.
But extensive travel and time commitment while working full-time make it difficult.
“I love coaching and want to stay involved,” said MacDougall. “It is sad to not be going back because you put your whole heart and effort into it for a year.
“I’d love to be able to continue on and do it.”
It’s a situation Keough understands.
“Family and livelihood have to come first, and coaching in the Maritime Junior A?Hockey League has become more than a part-time position,” said Keough. “It is getting more difficult each year to expect to fill this position on a seasonal basis. We will be in the hunt for a replacement without delay.”
While he has no set timeline, Keough added he would like to have a new head coach in place by mid-July.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Greed.. the key word here...

No surprise here.... with either the small award or the fact that he's still whining... obviously this guy doesn't get it and he probably should have got his first clue when his original lawyer David W Hooley, QC passed the file back to one of the juniors. What I can't figure out was where was his legal advice when they offered him $59,000.00 and he turned them down... obviously greed paid a big part in his decision to pass up a gift horse in the mouth...
Ex-government worker gets $8,000 for political discrimination

Monday, June 22, 2009
CBC News
A P.E.I. government worker who was not rehired for summer work following an election in 1996 has been awarded $8,000 for political discrimination.
John MacTavish, a Liberal supporter, worked as asphalt raker for 10 weeks a year from 1988 to 1996 for the P.E.I. government. When the Progressive Conservative party took over the government after the 1996 election, MacTavish was among 800 casual workers not rehired.
Virtually all of those workers settled out of court, but MacTavish hung on to fight against a government plan to put a cap on individual payouts in political discrimination cases.
Both sides previously agreed that this ruling by the P.E.I. Supreme Court would be binding with no right of appeal.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

"One Stone, Three Birds"... smart work...

Although I wasn't able to make it to the announcement on Friday afternoon I did get a report from a couple of our staff who had attended and their comments were that the Premier looked and acted very Statesman like in announcing this great project. In looking at the mainstream media's take on the project the CBC ran with their typical story of "greenspace, the price of development" with no mention of the jobs the project will create while the Guardian pretty much stuck to the Government script with respect to the jobs and investment. When I had first heard of this project back a year ago I was a little suspect that we may be in for another "Atlantic Technology Centre" where the Government heads out with a big dream to lure high tech firms "from away" into the building but the moment it starts to falter they start filling the space with coffee shops, radio stations, cell phone companies, etc... and start competing against private enterprises landlords which is exactly what they've done.... it appears to be different here as there seems to be a bigger vision coming from Michael Mayne and the Premier and they certainly started on the right foot. They originally intended to try and locate the Bio-Commons on the Sisters of St. Martha's land next to the University but couldn't finish off a deal with the nuns and personally I think they would have had serious trouble with the "cell" phone neighbours... I among others tried offering them some alternate commercial parcels but they stuck to their guns which was the right thing to do and they developed a scheme to get the best use out of Upton Farms.... and insiders tell me that this came "straight from the Premier"... we've all heard the old expression "two birds with one stone" which may have originated from an old Chinese expression translated as "one stone, two birds" but in this case the Premier hit a home run with "one stone, three birds".... 1. a 150 acre preservation greenspace in the form of a "trust" which is quite clever as it keeps the "Save Upton Group" as partners while they proceed with the balance of development.. 2. a 65 acre business park for bioscience research and development, manufacturing and support service facilities which they promise won't compete with private enterprises... and 3. fifteen acres has been identified as the future site of a new provincial long-term care facility to replace the Prince Edward Home..... in fact it's more than a "home run" it's a genius real estate deal as they get their "Bio-Commons Industrial Park" and have the advantage of having friends and seniors on their side as they push forward and all Islanders get the benefits of the jobs, investment and choice that come with it. At $2,375,000.00 the Province should be charged with robbery but they did get Canada Lands off the hook for land they couldn't figure out how to get "past go" with. Kudos to all those involved including the "Feds" for stepping up to the plate and supporting the project... great "vision", great price and great news...
Major project gets unveiled BioCommons facility expected to employ 500, pump millions into economy
The Guardian
Details of the $30-million BioCommons Research Park announced by the province over a year ago were finally unveiled Friday in Charlottetown.
After a year of negotiation and consultations with industry, government and community stakeholders, the province purchased the 275-acre Upton Farm property in West Royalty from Canada Lands for $2.375 million.
The farmland across from the West Royalty Industrial Park will soon house a 65-acre BioCommons, which will consist of several labs and building structures, reminiscent of a university campus. These will become home to bioscience research and development companies, as well as businesses specializing in manufacturing and support services.
The heart of the commons will be a state-of-the-art biotechnology incubator for companies to use for commercializing their products.
This $30-million mega-project was a cornerstone of the province’s $200-million Island Prosperity Strategy, which focuses on four key economic sectors: bioscience, information technology, aerospace and renewable energy.
Premier Robert Ghiz says the BioCommons will become a key piece of infrastructure that will attract leading bioscience companies to P.E.I.
This means well-paid jobs for Islanders, Ghiz said. By its fifth year, the BioCommons is expected to employ 500 people with an annual payroll exceeding $25 million, and generate sales of up to $90 million a year in exports.
“This will put P.E.I. on the world bioscience map,” Ghiz said during a press conference in Charlottetown Friday.
Micheal Mayne, deputy minister of Innovation and Advanced Learning, explained how a key mandate of the BioCommons will be to help the farming and fisheries sectors thrive on P.E.I. as well.
Bioscientific research is leading to discoveries of new uses for fish, livestock and produce products. For example, bioscience experts have recently discovered healing properties in blue mussels, Mayne said.
“Mussels are typically seen of as food… but our Island blue mussels have an oil in them that’s very good as an anti-inflammatory. This means that it’s good for people with arthritis,” he said.
“There’s a tremendous opportunity for us to explore. This oil has already sold in Europe for $50 million a year, and that market is growing.”
This is just one example of many that could be developed to serve not only biotechnology companies, but Island farmers and fishers as well, Ghiz said.
“A key mandate of the BioCommons is to connect our primary sectors to the modern tools of biotechnology so that P.E.I. can further optimize and benefit from our primary resources.”
Denis Kay, chief science officer for a P.E.I.-based bioscience company called Neurodyn, said the BioCommons will be a major attraction for companies like his with products that have been through initial testing and need a bigger space for expansion and commercialization.
“This is the most difficult phase for a biotechnology company to take their technology platform out of the research lab and into a commercial environment and this business accelerator and commercialization space will allow us to do this with a much greater probability of success,” Kay said.
The BioCommons will be governed by an industry-led board made up of experts in the bioscience field.
It will receive transitional funding from the province to cover the early stage costs and is expected to become self-sufficient by year five.
Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2010 with an official opening in the fall of 2011

Friday, June 19, 2009

If I Only Had A Pen...

Yesterday I showed up at the PGI (Peter Gzowski Invitational’s) for Literacy at Anderson Creek Golf Course just in time to be greeted by the Guardian's crack team of media golfers, Gary MacDougall, Jim Day, Alan Holman and Publisher Don Brander who were there for this great cause.... and they couldn't help but throw a few digs at my attempt to get my credentials as a media member at the Legislature... funny thing is they had registered as "golfers" yet again a half ass "hacker" like myself took home 1st prize... maybe I should get my PGA card... and by the way I wonder what it would cost to buy that Guardian "rag" (a term commonly used in England) and maybe I could write a column if I only had a pen... as I'm sure I could find the money...
Are Bloggers “Media?” by Todd Defren a principal at SHIFT Communications http://www.shiftcomm.com/
Are bloggers members of the “media?” That’s a tough question.
The blogging trend is still fairly new (in the grand scheme), and bloggers are as often considered “snarks in bunnyslippers” as they are legitimate information sources.
In a recent tweet, Paul Gillin (who has the credentials to know) made a compelling distinction: “Most bloggers know more about a topic than reporters, who switch beats all the time. Reporters are resourceful; bloggers are knowledgeable.”
Geoff Livingston agreed: “Bloggers are not media, and should be treated differently. Different goals, readership, rules.”
In other words: the question of whether bloggers are media is moot.
Bloggers are DIFFERENT from the mainstream media. They are smart, expert, passionate, independent, talented, and cantankerous. They have their own agenda, whereas journalists (while they share many of the traits listed above) are beholden to a publisher’s agenda.
More to the point: whatever else ya call them, bloggers are influential.
We’ve evolved (quickly!) from a situation in which the mainstream media complained about having their content “scavenged” by bloggers, to an era in which reporters look to the blogosphere to vet the facts, themes & memes of their own prospective stories.
A so-called “hit” in a blog is often as valuable as a “hit” in a mainstream publication. (In fact, we recently placed a client story in a national morning show AND in the Perez Hilton blog, and consumer response to the latter outstripped traffic gains from the “big” hit in the mainstream outlet!)
So – no, most bloggers are not media. (I would argue, however, that blogs like TechCrunch, Huffington Post, etc. do meet that gold standard.) But, they are just as important as media. From PR pros, bloggers deserve and require different approaches that are more creative and respectful than anything that’s gone before.
The most common area where this “bloggers as media” question comes up is at trade shows. Do you give ‘em a press badge?
Yea, you set some minimum requirements for longevity and authority, but you do give them a press badge. They have knowledge, enthusiasm, a publication (of sorts) and readers. Those characteristics alone may not make them “press” in the traditional sense, but these are untraditional times: rather than penalize someone for not fitting established norms, why not encourage their passion and creativity, which only help promote the industry and the event?
Are bloggers media? Maybe not. Maybe they’re better.
Blogging businessman denied media rights at committee
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
CBC News
Prominent P.E.I. businessman and active blogger Tim Banks was not allowed to videotape his appearance before a legislative committee Tuesday.
Banks, owner of the property development company APM, was appearing before a committee looking into the role of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission. For more than a year, he has been commenting on Island issues on his blog and he asked permission to videotape the committee proceedings so he could post them.
That permission was denied, and Banks doesn't believe that's fair.
"I'm out there to send a message to Islanders, and to people that live and invest and work here, that things are happening and if you speak out somebody's going to listen," he said.
Charles MacKay, the clerk of the legislature, said only accredited media are allowed to tape proceedings. MacKay said media must make an application to the legislature and be granted security credentials.
He did not rule out bloggers getting accreditation, but he said the legislature was going to need to set some rules to define who qualifies as a member of the media and who does not.
"There's no set criteria, and that's the problem," said MacKay.
"That's exactly what we'll be required, I think the members [of the legislature] themselves. And the media, to be quite frank with you, should have a role to play in determining who is accredited media at the legislative assembly."
Banks said he does plan to apply for accreditation.

He's Got Big Boots To Fill... and they may not be rubber..

When I first heard about a Commission on Land Use I was a little suspect at what it could accomplish and after making some inquiries about the Chairman Judge Ralph Thompson I was a little more suspect as I was told he was a bit of a "rural rubber booter" whatever the hell that is... so like a lot of Islanders I didn't pay much attention as I thought it was going to be like a lot of the recent Standing Committees which really haven't shown any "guts" but more a mouthpiece for whichever Government they serve... so with the deadline of meetings looming I decided if I wanted to be a "critic" then I'd better put my big mouth forward and throw in my two cents... so I quickly registered with the Commission office to make an appearance and shortly thereafter I was asked if I was going to make a written submission (which was my intentions) and could I get that to the Commissioner prior to the presentation?... so I thinking here we go again another bureaucratic process... I was even more shocked when I was out golfing to get an email from Judge Thompson confirming my scheduled time and again asking if I had a written brief could I please forward it before the meeting... (I was sure I found the bureaucrat)... as things go I got a little busy (contrary to popular belief) and around 4:00 pm on the evening I was to speak one of my staff called the Commission on my behalf just to find out about the timing.... a couple of moments later I was talking to the Judge himself who seemed rather pleasant and cooperative and he even suggested I could be a little late as there were speakers before me... so I bore down and perused the Commission's web site and found a lot of the previous presenters presentations which I had looked over and agreed with most of the comments.... in fact I found a few like Cavendish Farms very interesting... so around 8:30 pm Wednesday night I showed up late enough that I had missed the City of Charlottetown's presentation by Mayor Lee and Mayor Jenkins was just finishing off the one for Stratford so I don't know if it was my good fortune or not but I'll be able to read their presentations on line soon before I make my judgement... although there was a small crowd and “no reporters” there were some good presentations and also one from UPEI done by a few "Dr's" that was Greek to me and I couldn't help thinking as they presented that my old golf buddy Harry MacLauchlan would be up in Heaven "shaking his head" wondering what they were talking about... the Tourism Association, the Chamber of Commerce, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Frank Zakem, and a young guy on Sustainable Energy (who made some good points) all made great presentations and there could have been a few more but I was busy trying to figure out what to say... so when it was my turn I suggested it was a "monumental task" as PEI is "Over Governed" and "Over Regulated" http://timbanks.ca/pics/overgoverned.jpg and maybe we should get away from the "rural" and "urban" split and think of ourselves as “One Island” that we all love so dearly... I even suggested maybe 2 Cities, a few Towns and 3 Municipal districts (Prince, Queens and Kings) and abandon the 75 Fiefdoms we have now... create consistent standards and a little less red tape... that said I guess the biggest thing I learned that evening was that Judge Thompson was a very laid back guy who was not being a typical bureaucrat and asking for something because these were the requirements... he actually wanted the "written briefs" because he reads them, thinks about them and then has the good sense to ask you how you might achieve your recommendations... he looked you in the eye when you spoke probably something a good Judge learns and he was extremely courteous and I was quite impressed... I even offered to help in whatever way I can for what’s that worth... I'm not going to "stereotype" him anymore and I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he is taking this job very serious and it's the following quote from the Judge in the story below that really hits the nail on the head...“The government has not had sufficient political courage to act. Perhaps the government’s recent grasping of school closures is an encouraging sign that it will have the courage to act in land use matters that its predecessors have lacked.” .... Land Use and Governance are not very "sexy" issues but in my mind they are the most important challenges we have ahead of us here on Prince Edward Island... Godspeed Mr. Thompson and hopefully more people will show up this coming Wednesday night at the Farm Centre or go on line at http://www.gov.pe.ca/landandlocalgovernance/... See also http://timbanks.ca/2009/06/fiefdoms-galore-our-island-way.html
Tackling land use big undertaking
The Guardian
The judge presiding over the province’s Commission on Land and Local Governance says big changes are needed on P.E.I., but they will not come without political courage and will. Judge Ralph Thompson has spent the past eight months dealing with the laws over land use and municipalities on P.E.I. He has been poring over numerous reports and recommendations made to governments for the past several decades on the issue, which Premier Robert Ghiz has asked him to explore. Thompson has been tasked to review all this material and meet with the public to eventually compile a new report with recommendations on the best solutions for change to land and local governance on P.E.I. It is a momentous task. The issues he must take into account range from environmental concerns over buffer zones and protected lands to provincial-municipal relations and agreements — and everything in between. In the end, there are strong suggestions he could recommend government transform the Island’s numerous incorporated municipalities into one large municipality, or perhaps a few larger regional ones. But he isn’t commenting on that yet. Thompson is still in the midst of public consultations, which have been poorly covered by media and sparsely attended, despite the huge implications of potential outcome.“I guess the bottom line is the public hasn’t been as involved because the media hasn’t been covering us,” Thompson said in a sit-down interview with The Guardian Thursday. “It’s not as interesting to some and perhaps not as interesting to others until they start to realize it’s going to have an impact on them.” But despite the lack of general interest, the commission has indeed received numerous submissions and phone calls. As well, many individuals and groups have presented at the seven public meetings held over the past month. Thompson said there have been many intelligent and well thought-out responses to the terms of reference set out by government to focus his research. In the end, the government wants recommendations for change in areas of land use planning and municipal governance in order to better protect land, water resources and local governments. The province also wants guidance on how to respond to things like climate change, viewscape protection and urban-rural conflicts.This is a huge task with many different aspects to consider. But Thomspon is dealing with each issue one at a time, very methodically.He attempts to remain eternally fair through the process. He chose his centrally-located office in Hunter River so as not to upset the eastern and the western ends of the province. His commission website has pictures of viewscapes from each county in the province. In all, Thompson is determined to find the best solution for all incorporated and non-incorporated areas of P.E.I. “We’re trying to gather information, we’re trying to find out what people’s opinions are that have opinions,” Thompson said. And after hearing from numerous groups and citizens, Thompson said the strongest concern identified has been with the Municipalities Act. “It’s basically considered to be a paternalistic statute that the province passed a lot of years ago,” Thompson said. Some towns and cities are looking for more autonomy in local governance, while others are merely struggling to survive with small population and smaller tax bases. But the main thing needed is an overall, comprehensive land use on P.E.I., Thompson said. This would eliminate various “ribbon communities” that have developed. “In my view a key factor that is lacking in the vision for the future, because our government lacks or has lacked for many years, a well thought-out vision from which flow goals, we’ve gotten ourselves into our present difficulties to cover a broad spectrum,” he said. “The government has not had sufficient political courage to act. Perhaps the government’s recent grasping of school closures is an encouraging sign that it will have the courage to act in land use matters that its predecessors have lacked.” The last public meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 24, at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another One Bites The Dust... time to invest...

Back in December 08 I gave one of my very rare stock marketing tips on this Blog...http://timbanks.ca/2008/12/oil-that-is-black-gold-texas-tea.html and had you bought Petro-Canada then in the low $20 area you would have easily doubled your money as it was as high as $49.70 in the last week... so here's my next tip "Gap" Inc. the clothing company trading on the NYSE as GPS at around $16 and why GAP do you say.... especially when retailers like Eddie Bauer are going broke and the US retail industry is in the toilet... well it's like this... Glenn Murphy who I worked with when he was the Atlantic Regional VP for Loblaws before he went back to Toronto to be VP Operations for Loblaws is now at the helm of the Gap... after leaving Loblaws he went to Chapters for a small stint until Indigo bought them out.... then he headed to Shoppers Drug Mart where he performed a miracle turning them around and freshening up their stores... Glenn is a retailer's retailer and he made a lot of people money on the upswing of Shoppers including himself taking away about $22 million personally when he exited Shoppers as Chairman nearly two years ago... after a little time off GAP came after him and appointed him Chairman and CEO of GAP Worldwide... he has been there a little over a year doing the things he does best which is getting the Company ready to Rock and Roll... he's been closing stores, playing with the brand, remerchandising, setting up new teams, etc...he's also hired some of his familiar "marketing" talent to boost the brands... getting the company ready to assault the market... and with $1,400,000,000.00 cash in the bank and no debt GAP is soon going to cut loose... CASH IS KING and Glenn has it on his side and he's going to squeeze his suppliers, hammer his landlords, hire the marketing talent and in a tough economy he's going to offer style at a competitive price... now don't go out and trade the farm for GAP shares but my guess is they could be a good long term buy and sometime in the near future Glenn will "hit the ball out of the park"...(remember, I'm not your broker and you don't get to sue me if I'm not right)... "Youie, order me up another 1,000" as I like Glenn's style....
Clothing retailer Eddie Bauer files for bankruptcy protection
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Clothing retailer Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday, the latest retail casualty of the recession. The New York-based retailer said CCMP Capital Advisors LLC has bid for its assets. Other buyers may also make bids while the company is under court protection. The company said in its filing that it is seeking court protection because its financial position was creating uncertainty among vendors that supply its inventory and because its cash flow problems “could severely impede” its operations. Eddie Bauer said it might not be able to comply with some covenants in its US$225 million senior debt or have the cash under its line of credit to make vendor payments in the future. Eddie Bauer considered refinancing of all or some of its debt, and it considered a reorganization, sale or liquidation through Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as well as continued operation on a modified business plan. It now hopes to be sold. “All of the company’s operations are open and conducting business as usual, including in Canada,” said Wendi Kopsick, a spokeswoman for Eddie Bauer.However, the company does not have a domestic subsidiary, and operates out of Seattle, she added. The outdoorsy clothing retailer had $476.1 million in assets and $426.7 million in debt at the time of the filing Wednesday with the United States Bankruptcy Court of the District of Delaware.Bankruptcy rumours had been swirling as Bellevue, Wash.-based Eddie Bauer struggled with slumping sales amid the recession. It reported a loss for the first quarter of $44.5 million.Eddie Bauer joins Circuit City, Linens ’N Things, Mervyns and other U.S.-based retail chains that have filed for bankruptcy court protection as consumer spending fell and the recession continued. Peter J. Solomon Co. has been named financial adviser for the company and Alvarez & Marsal was named restructuring adviser. Eddie Bauer and CCMP did not immediately return calls for comment.The company (Nasdaq:EBHI), which trades on the Nasdaq stock market, fell 6.6 cents to US16.4 cents, a drop of nearly 29 per cent. Eddie Bauer has about 1,100 employees and operates about 370 stores in the United States and Canada. In Canada, the company operates 36 retail stores, 14 of them in Ontario. The company also has a distribution centre north of Toronto that employs 23 people and a call centre in Saint John, N.B.For the last three years, Eddie Bauer’s Canadian retail operations generated annual revenues of US$91.9 million in fiscal 2008, $94.2 million in fiscal 2007 and $80.6 million in fiscal 2006, respectively.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Letter To Mr. MacKay... why not....

From: Tim Banks
Sent: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 12:40 PM
To: 'chmackay@gov.pe.ca'Cc: 'Robert Henderson'; pjbiggar@gov.pe.ca; 'Sonny Gallant'; 'Cynthia Dunsford'; Pat Murphy (pwmurphy@assembly.pe.ca); 'Janice Sherry'; 'Jim Bagnall'
Subject: Media Accreditation

Mr. MacKay,

I am a social media blogger focusing on political and business events on Prince Edward Island for the last year and have a daily reading in the order of 2,000 viewers at
www.timbanks.ca . I receive an income for advertising on my media which I donate to Island charities. I was disappointed yesterday when the members of the Standing Committee on Community Affairs and Economic Development would not allow me to tape a public presentation unless I was an accredited member of the media. All members of the committee are fully aware of my media yet only Mr. Currie (voted in favour) understood the importance of our “new social electronic media” in today’s society and it’s use by our younger generation who demand instant news. How are we ever going to get this generation of our youth involved in the issues surrounding them if we don’t allow them in? I think it was very short sighted of Mr. Henderson and his other Committee members as they had a great opportunity to reach out to today’s youth who are suspect of Government because their views are being shut out. We need our youth here and we have to involve them in our debate.

Although I believe the practice of accrediting journalists to the P.E.I. legislature may be an infringement of s.2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms I would like to take the necessary steps to do so. Jim Banks and Bryce Elsley will be contacting you shortly on my behalf to undertake whatever application is required to have me accredited for the future.


Blogging businessman denied media rights at committee
Last Updated: Wednesday, June 17, 2009
CBC News
Prominent P.E.I. businessman and active blogger Tim Banks was not allowed to videotape his appearance before a legislative committee Tuesday.
Banks, owner of the property development company APM, was appearing before a committee looking into the role of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission. For more than a year, he has been commenting on Island issues on his blog and he asked permission to videotape the committee proceedings so he could post them.
That permission was denied, and Banks doesn't believe that's fair.
"I'm out there to send a message to Islanders, and to people that live and invest and work here, that things are happening and if you speak out somebody's going to listen," he said.
Charles MacKay, the clerk of the legislature, said only accredited media are allowed to tape proceedings. MacKay said media must make an application to the legislature and be granted security credentials.
He did not rule out bloggers getting accreditation, but he said the legislature was going to need to set some rules to define who qualifies as a member of the media and who does not.
"There's no set criteria, and that's the problem," said MacKay.
"That's exactly what we'll be required, I think the members [of the legislature] themselves. And the media, to be quite frank with you, should have a role to play in determining who is accredited media at the legislative assembly."
Banks said he does plan to apply for accreditation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Speaking Notes To The Standing Committee on Community Affairs and Economic Development

Thank the Committee for allowing me the opportunity to speak
(Hand out Loblaw application for gas dealers license 3 full binders)
(Click on the AIMS Guzzling Gas Regulation Gauge and leave it live on the screen http://www.aims.ca/gasregulation.asp?cmPageID=481)
My name is Tim Banks
Lifelong resident of Prince Edward Island and quite proud of that
Spend about 6 months a year in Tracadie Beach and the other 6 months in Charlottetown
CEO of the APM a Canada-wide construction and development company with our head office in Prince Edward Island
As such I have completed 1,000’s of projects, in 100’s of Communities, in excess of a billion dollars
Today I would like to speak as a private citizen who is concerned about where the direction of our Island is going
I would like to speak about Jobs, Investment and Choice for Islanders
My first paid job was a “service station attendant” or gas pump jockey at age 10 at our family business Bob’s Fina Service Station
At age 14 I travelled with my Dad to a PEI Gas Dealers Association meeting in Charlottetown so I had a small insight into this association
There was a Summerside chapter and it controlled who opened on week nights and the weekends on a 3 week rotation
At age 15 my Dad entered Camp Hill Hospital with terminal cancer and I quit school in grade 9 to run our family business with my Mom and one other employee
I was only 15 when Les Fitzgerald a customer and prominent contractor call me at home on a Sunday needing gas “to catch a boat”
I ran down, opened up and filled him and a few other cars in the span of 20 minutes and then headed home
The next morning two of the “dealer’s” showed up and “threatened and intimidated” a 15 year old for not telling our customer to go elsewhere
That situation “ended” my relationship with the status quo as I abandon all their “rules” and opened late every day and night as a “free enterprise”
Every single car that showed up at our tanks, I washed their windows, I checked their tires, oil, fan belt, etc... service was the top priority
With more hours our business flourished, we hired more people and we created enough value to sell the business and I found my way back to school
It was a great job and I still have fond memories of “pumping” gas and all the experiences that go along with it including my passion for cars
My parents always drilled home the notion of “service – trust – value” something that has followed me along my way
But where have all these jobs gone? .... I believe they have gone to “regulation”... (price control over service)
I believe that not knowingly IRAC are responsible for a big part of that job loss...
I believe that not knowingly IRAC are responsible for a significant loss in tax investment with far too often the closings of “service stations”...
I believe that not knowingly IRAC are responsible for a significant loss in new tax investment for not allowing new gas bars to be developed...
I believe that not knowingly IRAC are responsible for not allowing “choice” for Island consumers...
For example on a number of occasions I have acted for Companies trying to open new gas bars here but I can’t get past “go” due to the regulatory process...
Not long ago I acted for Loblaws to build a gas bar in Summerside... with plans for 3 others,
Sobeys, Canadian Tire, Walmart also had interests.... Sobey’s even formally applied for Stratford...
Meeting with Don Southerland we were told the “climate is right” but follow process...
Application process cost roughly $30,000...
During that process the Premier’s executive offered to sell his license...
After a six month process we didn’t meet the “test”...
We didn’t get to “invest” $1,000,000.00 in Summerside...
We didn’t get to create the new “jobs” that go with the operation...
We didn’t get to offer inducements or rebates back to food customers to lower their weekly living expenses...
We didn’t get to create the construction “jobs” in building the facility...
We didn’t get to offer the consumer the “choice” of new products and services...
We didn’t get to provide an annual tax base to the City of Summerside who gave us a permit...
We didn’t get to prove to National Companies that PEI is “open for business”...
The only real opposition to our application was the gas dealers association and with a declining membership why wouldn’t they want new members?
We were turned down again... in spite of what IRAC’s officials had lead us to believe...
IRAC ruled that the application did not properly address the legislative test of “public interest, convenience and necessity”...
Public interest... Superstore wars... (expand on comment) I was the only one at the hearing but yet when the Superstore opened it broke "shopping records"....
Looking for an explanation I set up a meeting with Premier Binns with the hope of some directional changes to IRAC...
He gave me the same old song and dance his three predecessors gave me... “this could put the little rural stations out of business..”
Earlier I told you I live 6 months in “rural” PEI... Tracadie Beach for the last 20 years....
I would like to bring the following slide to your attention... (review the slide)
Six stations are closed, the jobs gone, the investment are gone and the choices are gone...
And guess what Premier Binns and your predecessors “the little rural stations are going out of business anyway”...
IRAC couldn’t save them... and I believe their “rules” buried them...
An example would be “self serve” (use Howatt’s Tourist Mart)... the loss of jobs and choice... the setting of prices
Why can’t Howatt’s send someone out to the pump to “service” the customer without running afoul to “silly” rules...
An example would be “price regulating”... why couldn’t MacMillan’s Clover Farm sell gas at cost to attract customers to his store as a lost leader...
Because IRAC and its Red Tape Regime diminish the general principals of “free enterprise” and stifle Islanders from moving ahead in their everyday lives... that is why..
A person can make the biggest commitment of their lives the act of marriage and all they require is a license a one page document and they don’t have to prove “public interest, convenience and necessity”... although it seems to be a reasonable test for a marriage but “not a gas bar”..
I’m not going to get into why I believe a bunch of political appointments at IRAC have no more control over the price of West Texas Intermediate on the New York Mercantile than I have at changing the weather... but every couple of weeks Islanders get the brunt of their wisdom something that might be better off coming from an Ouija Board...
I’m not going to get into why I believe a bunch of political appointments at IRAC have no business interfering into routine transfers of ownerships of commercial and private property... but every day they put Islanders through the test and expense of such silliness...
I’m not going to get into why I believe a bunch of political appointments at IRAC have none of the right qualifications to deal with planning and zoning regulations... but every day they’re “used” as a stop measure by mostly frivolous groups to prevent progress at the expense of someone trying to do something...
I’m not going to get into why I believe a bunch of political appointments at IRAC have no experience and qualifications for the tasks in which they are charged to carry out... I can’t imagine how a lay group of ladies and gentlemen qualify to rule on such sophisticated issues and I could go on but in essence how did they qualify for the job... politically, no other way... so whose interest do they have in mind Islanders or the Governing parties?
I’m concerned about PEI’s economic future,
I’m concerned about over regulation and how it impacts our economy,
Introduce the “over governed” slide (Cape Breton vs. PEI) see http://timbanks.ca/pics/overgoverned.jpg
IRAC have had their day.... you as commission members are charged with bringing some new ideas and changes to our Community Affairs and Economic Development something that IRAC fails to do and their excuse is always they are doing what is directed at them.... it’s time for a change, a change to fresh ideas, and a time to step up and make it easier and cheaper for Islanders to get along in their everyday lives....
- Spend less time on policing things we can’t control like the price of gas..
- Send a message that PEI is “Open for Business”
- Relax the “regulations and red tape” in Islanders everyday lives
- Develop a business plan with an “open mind” of moving forward
- Develop a “free enterprise spirit” and let Islanders decide the market
Mr. Chairman is there any questions your committee would like to address?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity of presenting my views as I have the most heartfelt passion in helping every Islander young and old to pursue their dreams here on Prince Edward Island the place I love...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tough Business, Tough Times... but a Tough Guy...

Locally we have all heard of "Homburg" through their investment in the Confederation Mall, Dyne Holdings, Dundee Arms, etc... to name a few and now we are watching as they move forward in Charlottetown with a new 8 story office building presently under construction and also a new 80 unit major boutique hotel in the Downtown... it may seem a little strange to some that in this type of climate a developer would commence such a significant project in our market when the economy seems to be in a bit of a crises and particularly when money and stock values are so volatile... Homburg's stock has been all over the place from a high of $40.70 to a low of $3.99 this year and closed Friday at $9.01 with an announcement of no dividend for 2009... now this might alarm some people but the development business is a tough business and if you don't believe me just ask your local banker and he'll tell you that "developers" are at the bottom of the banker's interest these days... but it's been my experience watching Richard Homburg that in "tough times" is when he shines and in fact I've seen him here before.... and just when the naysayers are at their best he'll pull a rabbit out of the hat... and that's what I like about him... he's not afraid to take a little risk but at the same time he bears down and always finds a way to make it happen... a number of years ago he had a medical condition that put him out of commission flat on his back for almost a year and a lot of people speculated that this might end his reign supreme... not this guy, as most hadn't understood that Richard had developed a solid Board and a strong management team that confidently managed the Company in his absence... and he “pushed back” on all the medical experts and beat himself back into excellent health.... he's a tough flamboyant guy with a big heart, a big development appetite and a plan to go forward... and we’re lucky to have him here...

Shares issued: Class A - 16,666,320 Class B - 3,148,739
Halifax, Nova Scotia, June 12, 2009 –
Richard Homburg, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Homburg Invest Inc. today announced on behalf of the Company, a new strategic direction to focus the Company’s activities exclusively on income producing properties. Homburg Invest has appointed a special committee to consider a plan to spin off the Company’s development and other non-income producing properties to its shareholders. As part of the new strategic direction, the special committee will also consider a plan to reorganize Homburg’s equity structure by creating a single class of common shares, each with a single vote and equal dividend rights. The terms of the share reorganization proposal, including the share exchange ratio, which will be subject to shareholder approval, will beannounced in the coming months.
Homburg also announced that no dividend will be payable in 2009. In future years, as
previously announced, the Company will declare an annual dividend based on the Company’s
performance and market conditions. Dividends will be declared in June and paid in July.
Planned initiatives
Under its new strategy, Homburg Invest will hold income-producing properties. The Company
will be a growing real estate investment company with strong cash flows that will, subject of
course to market conditions, pay healthy annual dividends to its shareholders. Homburg Invest
will target a 50% to 60% ratio of debt to total equity. To achieve this, as previously
announced, the Company will make greater use of strategic alliances and partnerships. The
Company will continue to be listed on both the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and on NYSE
The new spun out entity will hold assets projected for future development. This entity will
strive to have no long-term debt. Development projects will begin again once financial markets
have stabilized. It is anticipated that the assessment process will be completed by autumn
Homburg will continue to issue Homburg Capital Security instruments to raise additional
capital as part of its debt management strategy. The Homburg Capital Security A is a 9.5%,
99-year bond that is to be listed on NYSE Amsterdam. The issue of HCSAs permits the
Company to reduce its debt-to-equity ratio, as 80% of all outstanding HCSAs are considered
equity for accounting purposes. Homburg Invest is considering offering holders of Homburg
bonds the opportunity to exchange their holdings for HCSA.
“Our financial position is solid,” said Richard Homburg. “We are profitable and funds from
operations remain healthy. These initiatives will enable Homburg to build our cash position,
further strengthen our balance sheet and create greater certainty and stability for our
shareholders in these difficult economic times. Under this new strategic direction, we will be in
an excellent position to build value for shareholders and to take advantage of the best
opportunities that present themselves in the months and years ahead,” Richard Homburg
“The creation of a single class of voting shares will benefit all our shareholders. Indeed, we are
taking this initiative because we believe strongly that we own high quality assets, the value of
which is not reflected in our shares. We believe in the ability of markets to discover that
Homburg Invest will provide more details on the various elements of its strategic initiatives as
they become available.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How Do You Spell Monopoly....with an OC...

Out of the goodness of their hearts Ocean Choice are prepared to "revisit" their Monopoly... so that's Jack's spin... but the big question is what is this "revisit" going to cost taxpayers... how much money is Ocean Choice looking to get off their existing loans... I said it before http://timbanks.ca/2008/07/whoever-made-ocean-choice-deal-should.html and I'll say it again... "whoever signed the original Ocean Choice exclusivity deal should be charged for squandering the right to free enterprise."... the bottom line Jack is that it is all well and good to talk about what Ocean Choice did but if there hadn't been an " exclusivity " in place there may have been more jobs and income paid out to fishers, employees and suppliers... it would surprise me that all the while Ocean Choice was doing all these great things you blow their horn about they were probably also "making money during this period" but now that's there is no market they're prepared to give something up... "but at what cost?" ....markets come and go and I experienced that at our plant in Pooles Corner... at one point we were doing over $10,000,000.00 a year with 120 people working and paying lots of taxes but the US dollar took a beating and shortly thereafter so did we... the Government who had graciously lent us money came looking for it back and we had to "toni" up and pay it back... but we didn't say "give us an exclusivity on cabinet making and the industry will be fixed" as nothing like that ever works in a free enterprise system... we had to go back to our roots, scale back and focus on what we do best and wait until the market improves... in a free enterprise system Companies create jobs everyday and they get rewarded with profits when they do a good job and when times get tough there are circumstances when Governments need to assist but not with "exclusivities"... and we shouldn't have to pay to give one up... so Jack if you're going to create the "spin" tell us the rest of the story....
Ocean Choice to reopen books on deal for Polar
The Guardian
MONTAGUE — Complaints by fishermen and the government alike over a perceived “sweetheart” deal for P.E.I.’s largest lobster processing operation has prompted the company to throw open the books and deal again. “The agreement will be on the table for a revisit,’’ said Blaine Sullivan, chief operating officer with Ocean Choice International. Sullivan contacted provincial Fisheries Minister Neil LeClair and Development Minister Allan Campbell about the proposal on Monday. The deal would allow both parties to re-visit the sales agreement by which Ocean Choice acquired the assets of Polar Foods five years ago and is now taking considerable criticism over the lobster crisis. Both fishermen and the government representatives have suggested the agreement was harming the lobster industry on P.E.I. “We want to examine ways we might get rid of the clause regarding the issuance of processing licences, which has become such a contentious matter with Island fishermen and the P.E.I. Fishermen’s Association,’’ said Sullivan. When OCI acquired Polar assets from the former Pat Binns government, the deal included no further processing licences would be granted as a way to stabilize the takeover for OCI. That has drawn considerable rancour from some sectors who say OCI has cornered the entire marketplace. OCI may process the most lobster, but is one of many Island operations. “I am not convinced that more processing licences will have the beneficial effect on prices paid for their catch that fishermen envision, but in the interests of harmony and good will, I am willing to give it a try; provided we can come to an equitable agreement with the provincial government.” Sullivan said he’ll sit down with government to negotiate a solution since the province has stated it would like to be in a position to issue additional licences. “We are very conscious of the global marketing situation and the effect it has had on many aspects of our economy. Like every other processor we are trying to work our way through this situation. But when the market for a product shrinks and demand slackens off, those repercussions are felt all along the chain of supply from goods in the marketplace back to those who provide the raw product. That’s simply the way the free market works.” Company spokesman Jack MacAndrew says Ocean Choice has made a considerable contribution to the economy of Souris, eastern Kings County and the provincial economy since its purchase of Polar Foods. “Ocean Choice has invested more than $40 million in its P.E.I. operations since acquiring the assets of Polar Foods five years ago. The company is now the second largest employer in the province, buying and processing about 20 per cent of the lobsters landed by P.E.I. fishermen.” MacAndrew said the company has paid out in excess of $120 million to P.E.I. fishermen for their catch. Ocean Choice has also spent over $50 million on payroll to plant production and administrative staff; has paid about $1 million in provincial and municipal taxes; and has purchased over $20 million in supplies from local and provincial suppliers. The company provides about nine months employment for its production line employees. A clause requested by the government of the day five years ago also requires the company to process every lobster it buys elsewhere in the Maritimes in its P.E.I. facilities.

Well Deserved Guys... and very gracious as always

Liz Rigney, guest master of ceremonies, welcomes the 2009 inductees into the P.E.I. Business Hall of Fame, including, from left, Ray Murphy of Murphy’s Pharmacies, Donald Smith, president of Metro Building Supplies, and James Casey of Padinox Inc. The induction banquet was held Monday at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown. Guardian photo

Excerpts from the Guardian...

“Be prepared,” said Smith, moving to his second suggestion. “It doesn’t matter if you are preparing for an exam, looking for financing for a project or maybe even trying to impress your future mother- or father-in-law, you better be prepared because for some things in life you get a second chance but you never get a second chance to make that first impression.

Casey too, is full of praise for the people who helped make Padinox a success. “You don’t do anything by yourself — it’s all a partnership of all and many people involved, right from the suppliers to the customers, including the people that make it, the people that sell and the people that buy it,” he said before his induction began.

“I am certainly excited and I am humbled and honoured,” said Murphy of his induction into the Business Hall of Fame. “I am with two great gentlemen and their families but as well there are some great names on the wall there. There is a lot of history involved, a lot of people have put great efforts into various aspects of their life so to be put into that situation myself, and my family and my group, I am excited.”
for the full story click http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/index.cfm?sid=258988&sc=98

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"an, equal, level, playing field..." in Charlottetown!!!

"PLEASE" someone give me a "clue" where this guy comes up with these ideas... I could write a book on reasonable changes to the City Bylaws and the very last change would be "sidewalk cafes thoughout the municipality"... although one would be nice in front of Charlottetown Bottle and Metal on MacAleer Drive...
Charlottetown councillor looking for more street cafes
Thursday, June 4, 2009
CBC News
Coun. Mitch Tweel is setting the goal of marketing Charlottetown as a café mecca for Atlantic Canada.
Tweel wants changes made to a city bylaw that would allow sidewalk cafés throughout the municipality.
There are a number of sidewalk cafes along Victoria Row, behind Confederation Centre, a street that is closed to traffic in the summer months. Restaurants not on that street must apply to council for special permission if they want a sidewalk patio.
Tweel believes the street vendors bylaw should be rewritten to let everyone have the same opportunity.
"I don't believe that, you know, one part of the city should be able to experience the economic and social and cultural benefits for tourism at the expense of other parts of the city," he said.
"I think it should be an equal, level, playing field and that's why I'm proposing that we expand the boundaries and the borders. I mean let's take down these superficial boundaries and borders and let the entire city flourish with these outdoor cafés."
Tweel is lobbying the city's planning department. He believes an increase in outdoor cafés would be a huge tourism boost for the city.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Very Sad Story...

Back when the City first built the Civic Centre I fought against the location, size and design but my pleadings feel on deaf ears... when the City had the 2nd opportunity (Cari Complex) to build a proper facility I went to numerous public meetings and I publicly promoted (complete with plans) a "Regional Complex" in a Retail location away from the University with a 5,000 seat arena.... and again City Council most of who still are elected wouldn't listen and wouldn't stand up to the Governments of the day and "demand" to do the right thing... the sad part of this whole story is now we're burdened with two money bleeding Complexes and in our current economy we can't afford to build what should have been done the first time around... City Council and the administration continue to lack leadership and vision and the proof is in the fact they are paying for a report that everyone knows what the outcome would have been... the report is nothing more than an excuse for Mayor Lee to try and find a scheme to build a bigger monument than Basil got in Summerside... what we need now is a report on how to streamline the City to run more efficiently and help ease the burden on our City taxes.... the saddest part of this will be watching the City’s continued lack of leadership on this issue.... and if you wanted to see an example of that you should have attended the “public meeting” on planning issues the City hosted on Tuesday night as it was quite a “Sad” show...
New report condemns Civic Centre A new multi-use sports and entertainment centre should include a maximum of 5,000 fixed seats within the arena bowl
The Guardian
The Charlottetown Civic Centre is a poorly designed, money-bleeding facility in need of replacement, urges a new report. “The opportunity exists for a new multi-use sports and entertainment centre (MUSEC) to serve the needs of the city and province as a whole,’’ IBI Group recommended in its report released on Monday. “The facility should include a maximum of 5,000 fixed seats within the arena bowl.’’ The estimated cost of such a facility, assuming a “moderately-high level of quality and functionality,’’ is $40 million excluding land. The report was commissioned by the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (CADC) to undertake an assessment of the existing and prospective market for the Charlottetown Civic Centre (CCC) acting as a multi-use sports, entertainment and trade show venue. The report determined the existing arena has a number of deficiencies and the main drivers of revenue will continue to be jeopardized without significant capital investment in the facility. With municipal and provincial subsidy, the arena and trade centre create a deficit of over $600,000, excluding any debt payments. The report concludes that investment into the CCC is required. Adopting the status quo is not an option. “Our analysis suggests very strongly that maintenance of the facility in its current condition, with no plan of action in place to develop the strategic asset of the CCC, and the Civic Centre Arena in particular, is an option which undervalues the potential associated with the facility,’’ according to the 16-page executive summary. The report offered as alternative to building a new $40 million facility several options for major renovation/expansion of the existing Civic Centre Arena with costs ranging from $25 million to $34.4 million depending on the option. Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee doesn’t anticipate council to be in a big hurry to pump money into any option put forward in the report. He says council needs to sit down and discuss the report. He hopes the report doesn’t gather dust. He would like to see a business plan developed among partners like the CADC, Tourism Charlottetown, and provincial and federal government. “I think there are a lot of questions that need to be answered,’’ he said. Lee says he would need assurances that a major investment into a new multi-use sports and entertainment centre would pay dividends for the city. He did concede that the Charlottetown Civic Centre falls short on several “We are looking on this exercise as one of the exciting pieces of a puzzle that eventually will become a redeveloped gateway for the eastern end of the city and the eastern anchor for ongoing development of the city’s waterfront,’’ he said. “I hope this report, and the information it contains, will generate some positive stakeholder and public discussion that will continue to inform the ongoing planning process.’

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Fiefdoms Galore... our Island way...

We have 465 elected officials in 75 Municipalities (2 Cities, 7 Towns, 66 Municipalities) for a population of 134,000 people which is absolutely crazy. ... that gives us 8 Mayors, 8 Deputy Mayors, 357 Councillors, 67 Chairpersons, 26 Vice Chairpersons and to top that off we have 72 Chief Administrative Officers that are officially hired in some form of capacity.... Now add to this our Elected Provincial Government members, our Federal MP's and Senators and this my friends is how you spell "Fiefdoms" and no one seems to want to give up their fiefdoms just like our schools. So it's refreshing to see some ideas coming forward at the Commission on Land Use and Local Governance Hearings because under the current governance system PEI is heading for a crises. When the final report is delivered to the Premier my instincts are that there are going to be some major changes coming forward.... and again the Premier and his Government will have to stand-up like they did on the school closings and make some hard decisions, which I believe they can and they should... it's funny but when I grew up here I always thought Farming, Fishing and Tourism were PEI's biggest industries but now that I try and develop here I know that they don't hold a candle to the "Industry of Government".....
Head of O’Leary council wants all the Island incorporated
Transcontinental Media
ELMSDALE – The chair of the O’Leary Community Council, made a pitch this week to have all of P.E.I. incorporated. “I would like to see the up-west section of Western P.E.I. divided into the three larger municipalities of O’Leary, Alberton and Tignish,” Nancy Wallace told commissioner Ralph Thompson during the first public hearing of the Commission on Land Use and Local Governance. She suggested boundaries could be established similar to fire districts. Wallace said community facilties like arenas “are paid for by our residents but are used mostly by non-residents so we feel the residents of O’Leary are being taxed unfairly.” If outlying areas were incorporated, “we’d have to have a tiered tax rate,” she said, because outlying residents would not have access to such municipal services as the sewer utility. The mayor of Alberton, Perry Morrell, submitting a presentation as a private citizen, also made a pitch for a larger municipal footprint and a regional approach to services to eliminate the duplication of some major equipment and allow for purchase of more advanced equipment. Wallace stressed total incorporation would not only benefit existing municipalities, the entire region would benefit from increased gas tax revenue and greater political clout. With municipalities’ residential properties in close proximity to farms, Wallace suggested legislation is needed to address things like odour problems and water protection.

Monday, June 1, 2009

A New "Spin" On The Gentle Island....

Since I first got a look at today's Guardian and seen the new Tourism Ad http://timbanks.ca/tourismad.jpg I've been trying to think of something creative to say.... but I've been staring at this blank screen for 20 minutes and I just don't know what to say... it's either the excitement of Valerie in Leathers or thinking of maybe a "seal skin" bikini that has rendered me speechless... hard to believe but either way.... I should be able to get a job with the "Scheme Team at Tourism"....just to get a crack at the "lattes" they're drinking or maybe just hanging around the Kool-Aid dispenser would be enough to stir my creative juices...it really must be a "Love-In" and I'm missing it... I may not have the depth and cunning instincts that surround Canada's Cutest but I could go toe to toe with them in the "make-up" department... surely there must be something for me to do to pick up a big cheque for helping waste some taxpayer money... how about an "ad" with me taking a "spin" in the Porsche (with the hood down) driving down a "gentle" PEI highway and Ronnie in the background talking about "paving our way to paradise"... I could even get MacAndrew back to produce a video.... I'd better head to Rita's Style for a hair piece and maybe, just maybe, if I wear it Wednesday night to the Big Liberal Soiree at the Delta then Valerie might give me a "Big Break" and help me with some clothing tips....

Landslide in Nova Scotia.... for Darrell Dexter...

John Savage was the last Premier of Nova Scotia to win a landslide election when he defeated Donald Cameron with 40 (liberal) seats in the 52 seat legislature with 49% of the popular vote.... the Tories got 9 seats and the NDP only 3 seats.... well things change and it appears from CRA's recent poll that in this current election Darrell Dexter's NDP are going to garner 50% of the popular vote which will give them a "landslide" majority.... the Liberals will probably run 2nd and the ruling Tories a distant third... Dexter had an awkward moment today when the NDP campaign had to acknowledge that they will be returning a $45,000.00 donation from the building trades union that violates the election act but I doubt this will have much impact at this point in time... the NDP has certainly made significant gains in Nova Scotia since back in Alexa McDonough's and John Holmes' era... but hard work always pays off (and a number of screw ups from the ruling Tories don't hurt) and it appears to have here...

Stratford To Get New School....

My guess is that when Marty Murphy and her group meet with Minister Greenan and the Premier this morning the only real answer she will get is there is going to be a new school built in Stratford... the bottom line is the Eastern School Board went through a process for the closings, which some might say was flawed, but they did proceed with the "process" according to the School Act and I'd be shocked if the Premier would waiver from the Board's recommendation... in fact it wouldn't surprise me if Cabinet revisits the St. Jean's recommendation and close it as there doesn't appear to be any real support there... to sum it up there will be at least 8 schools closed and a new one for Stratford so get the shovels ready....
Final say on schools now up to province
The Guardian
The Eastern School District has recommended eight schools for closure, but it is now for government to decide whether to permanently shut those schools at the end of this month.On Friday, the district’s 10 trustees and the board chair voted on superintendent Sandy MacDonald’s controversial permanent school reorganization plan, which proposed closure of 11 of the district’s 43 schools. The trustees debated for hours Friday night on the merits of each school and whether MacDonald’s report was proper and complete. In the end, three schools were saved, but eight received majority votes recommending closure. But school boards do not have the final say and that decision is made by cabinet. Premier Robert Ghiz has said numerous times government likely will not second guess the district’s decisions. “We know that the previous government said they wouldn’t close any schools whatsoever,” Ghiz told The Guardian in a previous interview. “We want to make sure we work cohesively together with the Eastern School District. We’ll take those recommendations and most likely we’ll approve them.” But there are many advocates firmly opposed to the Eastern School District’s closure process. They believe government should not merely rubber stamp the board’s recommendations. Martie Murphy, president of the Grand Tracadie Home and School Association and member of the Rural Alliance Coalition for Education (R.A.C.E.), said she expects cabinet to recognize gaps that many identified in MacDonald’s report, including some of the trustees themselves. “I think when you see a split board of trustees — five for and five against (closures) and it ends up being up to the chairman to decide, I just don’t think that’s good enough.” She and the other heads of RACE have finally secured a meeting with the premier and Education Minister Gerard Greenan this morning to discuss their concerns with proposed closures. Murphy said she intends to make them aware of the intense and often heated difference of opinion on the schools and MacDonald’s closure report that became clear with the trustees’ debates on Friday night. The female trustees spoke at length about how they felt the entire process was rushed and that major issues of transportation, school rezoning, kindergarten implementation in schools next year and the coming influx of immigrant families are all things that have not been properly addressed. All five female trustees voted against all closures. The men, however, said they felt the educational opportunities for students are in jeopardy in some of these schools since many of them are in split-grade classrooms and have limited access to special resources such as reading recovery. All five men voted mostly in favour of closure, except in the cases of the three schools saved. Board chair Bob Clow broke all ties by voting in favour of closure. This shows there are many lingering concerns that need to be addressed before any schools in the province can close, Murphy said.She and the other members of RACE hope government will halt the closure process to look at those issues in more depth. “We just want the opportunity for it to be credible and to do it right so I’m really hoping that the integrity of this government can prevail on this issue and that we’re going to have the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and do something really good for education on this Island,” Murphy said. “Whether we close schools, keep schools open — we just need all of the facts on the table.”