Thursday, July 30, 2009

July Down 20%.... "just ask the operators"

According to the article below July and August represents 50% of the tourism room sales... well if you ask around most operators will tell you they are off by about 20% in July and their bookings for August are off a similar amount... now it's one thing to be "cautiously optimistic" but we have to be realistic as well... our whole "tourism product" probably needs a re-think and a good start would be a bigger push on our "beaches"... Frank McKenna tells the story when he was first Premier of New Brunswick he spent his first term trying to get people to stay in New Brunswick as they travelled to PEI so they promoted a bunch of local attractions and it didn't work... so they sent people to the PEI “ferry terminal” and surveyed to find out why people were choosing to go to PEI and the answer was the "beaches"... so the following year New Brunswick drove a lot of their advertising into promoting what little beaches they had and according to Frank it worked... I hosted a conference here last year and the group had a night off so I offered up theatre passes and dinner reservations and only 15 % took me up on the offer... the next day I asked the whole meeting what everyone else did and over 50% said they "went to the beach and dipped their feet in the water"... they told me they had dinner and theatre at home but "no beaches"... my guess is had we spent the money promoting our "beaches" rather than the golf courses we would have got a better return... advertising works if you have the product and we have to follow it up with "over the top" service... in any event let's all hope that the rest of the season shapes up a little better for our tourist operators...
P.E.I. tourism down 13.6% in June
Thursday, July 30, 2009
CBC News
Room nights sold were down significantly on P.E.I. in June compared to last year, but the province's director of strategy said it's too early to panic.
A Wednesday news release showed room sales down 13.6 per cent, but Chris Jones, Tourism PEI director of strategy, evaluation and industry investment, said June only represents about 11 per cent of the year's room sales.
"It's still very early in the season to draw any conclusions, as the next few months can typically be busy ones for the tourism industry," said Jones.
"We are not alone in our challenges, as the tourism industry across Canada is facing similar situations at the moment. We remain cautiously optimistic; with all the activities, festivals and events in the upcoming months, P.E.I. will continue to attract visitation."
Airport traffic, which had been propping up tourism for the last few years with regular increases, fell 10 per cent. Traffic over the Confederation Bridge and on Northumberland Ferries were up marginally.
The province's North Shore, known as the Green Gables region, took the worst hit, with room nights sold down 24.8 per cent.
Visitation from the Maritimes accounted for the bulk of the drop in sales. Sales to people from Ontario actually rose.
The months of July and August typically account for close to half of tourism room sales on the Island.

Leadership... Yes or No

I don't know about you but I get the sense our City needs some new leadership and accountability in the Mayor's chair... I could be dead wrong.... so I just hosted a new survey "poll" to the top left of this blog that asks this simple question and I would certainly appreciate it if you'd take a moment to "voice" your opinion...

Monday, July 27, 2009

What Can I Say....

Seriously... what can I say... I'm at a true loss for words...
Tweel goes global
Charlottetown politician ready to give his views on climate change to the rest of the world
JIM DAY The Guardian
A Charlottetown city councillor’s views on climate change will be given a world stage.
Mitchell Tweel was selected as one of 100 Canadians to participate in a nation-wide public consultation on this forefront global issue.
The project is part of the first-ever world citizen consultation in preparation for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December.
Led by University of Calgary professor Edna Einsiedel, a consultation will be held Sept. 26 in Calgary.
Tweel, along with 99 other participants, will learn about key policy issues on climate change and then deliberate and vote on some of the same questions that will be negotiated by politicians and other decision makers at the Copenhagen UN conference.
The Canadian discussions will result in a summary of citizen recommendations that will be presented at the UN Climate Change Conference to brief delegates and provide a snapshot of Canadian perspectives on the issues.
Tweel told The Guardian Thursday he considers the chance to participate in the conference a honour and privilege.
“If you look at what has happened over the last number of years, such a tremendous emphasis on global warming, the whole issue of the Kyoto Protocol,’’ he said.
“There is no doubt about it that we as a community, as a nation, as an international community, we are going to have to adopt new strategies, new policies, new philosophies.’’
Tweel says he wants to see Prince Edward Island, along with the rest of the world, become a cleaner place to live.
“I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’m an expert (on climate change), ‘’ he said. “I’m certainly not, but I want to work and I want to participate and I want to make a valuable contribution.’’
The event will be held in unison with public consultations in 45 other countries around the world as part of the Danish-led initiative, World Wide
Views on Global Warming. Results from all
participating countries will also be compiled to provide an understanding of the variety of global
perspectives on climate policy.’’

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Crappy" Response... from Atlantic Lottery...

What a joke... I got this "bull****" response today from Atlantic Lottery Corporation regarding the name change at the CDP and I quote... "We also talked to employees, players, and Islanders when we were trying to come up with a new name…..".... but they never bothered to talk to the thousands of harness racing fans, drivers, trainers and visitors that support this industry. Apparently "ALC" are heading to Charlottetown today and are making a presentation on the full marketing plan to the PEI Harness Racing Industry Association "after the fact" as they are already changing the signs. Where were our PEI directors Pat Mella and Paul Jelley when this "silly" name change was being discussed (it's time for Wes to step in)... the only solution now to save face is to use either "The Red Shores Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park" or "Charlottetown Driving Park and the Red Shores Casino"... the President and CEO of Atlantic Lottery Michelle Carinci considers herself "under paid" but with decisions like this I agree with all the politicians who continue to take swipes at her that she may well be "over paid"....

The following is an email I received this morning from Atlantic Lottery Corporation to my "objection" to the name change:

From: Customer Support Services [mailto:info@ALC.ca]
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2009 8:41 AM
To: Tim Banks
Subject: Atlantic Lottery: General Comments/no reply needed

Good morning,
We couldn’t be more excited about this new chapter in Island harness racing and entertainment. That said, we understand there may be some individuals who would prefer to keep the old names. We respect that. The names CDPEC and Summerside Raceway are part of Island harness racing history. I assure you, we didn’t take this change lightly.
We made this decision as part of a long-term marketing plan. And the goal of this plan is simple: to deliver a competitive, attractive destination entertainment experience in the face of increasingly vigorous competition. We also talked to employees, players, and Islanders when we were trying to come up with a new name…..and we think Red Shores hits the mark! It embodies the essence of the Island and celebrates the contribution of harness racing. It also reflects the entertainment experiences our venues offer.
We champion the past of this great sport at our properties by educating our visitors and customers of the heritage of Prince Edward Island. We are very proud of our history and our properties. In fact, many of the landmarks remain on site and the legendary names of these properties will still be displayed on the backstretch.
If you have any additional inquiries, please feel free to contact us.

Renee L.
Atlantic Lottery Corporation 1-800-561-3942

Thursday, July 23, 2009

and if you Don't Believe Me... have a look..

One of my beef's with the City of Charlottetown is they have no overall Development Plan and no Development Arm... they may try and defend themselves by saying "well what about the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation (CADC)" but until now this agency has really only been a property developer that has "only" focused on the Downtown and the Airport and competes against real developers rather than work with them... our City is a lot "Larger" than the Downtown and what we need is a "partnership" to help entice new and existing enterprises to develop and flourish in our great City... take a couple of moments and search around the web sites of these two competing Cities and see how they do it...

Saint John, NB...
http://www.enterprisesj.com

Halifax, NS...
http://www.greaterhalifax.com

Now have a look at Charlottetown's current web site under "doing business"


http://www.city.charlottetown.pe.ca/business/corporate_profile.cfm

'The report is bang on'
DAVE STEWART
The Guardian
Charlottetown businessman Tim Banks is calling on the province’s auditor general to look into the capital city’s affairs in light of Maclean’s magazine survey on Canada’s best- and worst-run cities. Charlottetown stands 29th out of 31 cities, ahead of Laval, Que., and Victoria, B.C., but only because Maclean’s indicates it had incomplete data on the two cities. That drops the P.E.I. capital into last place. The magazine looked at which cities provide the best services per taxpayer’s buck to gauge the effectiveness of municipalities across the country. “It was no surprise to me, none whatsoever, particularly on the economic development side of it,’’ Banks said Wednesday. “We don’t even have a business plan and we don’t have a concept. The report is bang on, that they’re dead last.’’ The Maclean’s survey was conducted by Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS), a public policy think tank. AIMS based the ranking on tracking performance in areas such as socio-economic status, crime, fire services, transportation, road and sewer conditions, economic development, recreational spending along with things like voter turnout and library use. “It is much more difficult to start a business in Charlottetown . . . or get bang for your bucks paid in municipal taxes or to find a park — or anyone who takes the bus,’’ the Maclean’s article states. “Charlottetown had the highest per capita economic development and infrastructure costs in the country.’’ AIMS gives the city an F in terms of immigration population and takes issue with the city’s vacancy problem, stating “there are 45 vacant buildings in Charlottetown’s downtown core.” Former city councillor and businessman Ken Gillis tells Maclean’s: “If people want to do something business wise that is a little different, they have to jump through City Hall hoops to get anything done.’’ Mayor Clifford Lee said the city remains receptive to comparisons and statistical information. “We will endeavour to learn as much as we can from the data produced in the AIMS study to improve city operations, provide value to our citizens and realize the maximum potential in our community.’’ Charlottetown is doing some things right, according to the survey — garbage collection and snow removal get good grades and it lists the Island capital as the safest city in the country and one of the most environmentally friendly. Still, Banks is critical of the city’s focus on things like traffic circles on Mount Edward Road instead of widening University Avenue, allowing CGI to move to Stratford, allowing the federal government to get away with not putting a parking garage underneath the Jean Canfield Building or failing to send its top politicians to news conferences such as the millions of dollars the Homburg company is pouring into the downtown, be it with the major new hotel currently under construction on Grafton Street or with the recent contribution to the Confederation Centre of the Arts. “I believe the city is an administrative mess . . . we don’t welcome business here,’’ Banks said. “The whole city is being mismanaged as it relates to transportation, to our capital expenditures.’’

A Good Start... but more change

I've always believed that a good Government gets out and listens to the people... the Ghiz Government is now a little over two years into its mandate and it's time to get "out and about" and listen to some concerns of everyday Islanders in order to prepare for the next election... the Premier's polling numbers have been trailing his Government which is a bit unusual but the notion of a "one term" Government is “ridiculous” and only Tory talk trying to "rub" the grassroots... going into the last election the Tory talk was that Robert was "too young" to be elected Premier and that obviously didn't work... now he has some experience on his side, he's married, raising a family and he's proven he’s a leader who can make tough decisions... and like any new young Government with a young team they've made a few mistakes but none so bad that Islanders will toss them out for... the Premier is working hard and is passionate for our Island and it's people... he's a competitive guy with a lot of street smarts and I expect he'll start using them leading up to the next election... just last week there was a bit of a change in the administration (not enough in my opinion)... and I wouldn't be surprised if the Premier is looking at possibly three Cabinet changes in early September... and maybe some changes in the deputies... but my guess is he'll be taking "notes" while he's travelling the Island this summer.... and he's going to find out that it's always "meat and potato" issues here on PEI and how you deal with them that will affect the next election...
Liberals head west on Friday
BY STAFF
The Guardian
WEST POINT – Development and tourism opportunities in western Prince Edward Island will top the agenda as the Liberal caucus meets in West Prince on Friday, says Government House Leader Rob Vessey. “The summer is a great opportunity for the caucus to travel the Island and hear suggestions and concerns from communities,” Vessey said. “Many members of the caucus will spend the entire day in the region - touring local businesses and hearing ideas for the future.” The caucus will meet with representatives of the O’Leary Development Corporation and the West Point Development Corporation in a joint meeting before taking part in tours of local businesses, events and attractions.

A Great Canadian Company...

Here is a picture of new Canadian Tire that APM just built in Tantallon, N.S. that officially opened today and it's a very impressive store for smaller communities. It appears there will be quite a few of these new models opening in smaller markets and they will certainly be giving their competitors a run for their money. It's great to see a Canadian company continuing to invest in our smaller Communities providing Jobs, Investment and Choice but more importantly they show the rest of the retail marketplace that there is opportunity in the Communities they build in. I can remember back in the early 60's heading to Central Street in Summerside to buy a new "Supercycle" bike from “CTC” as they were commonly know then. I had been looking at this bike in their "catalogue" since Xmas so I saved my money from working at my Dad's gas station and I gathered up as much Canadian Tire money as I could find and I headed down there early one summer day to pick it up. The bike was near worn out from all the previous visits I had done “looking the bike over” so when I finally got it out the door I don't think I got off the bike for 8 hours as I was that excited to finally own something new. The old store on Central St. was very “eclectic” and in the early 70's they moved into a new building on Water St. were I worked on the "footings" as a labourer during a summer job at Fitzgerald and Snow. During the early 8o's they expanded this store again and then back in the late 90's they bought a piece of land from me on North Granville Street where they continue to operate a great business there today. It's no secret that they have bought land from us in Montague and I'm sure everyone there is looking forward to a new store there sometime soon. Canadian Tire are truly a Canadian Icon and their continued growth across this Country is very impressive and a "great Canadian story"...let’s hope we get some of their gas bars here on PEI soon... thanks CTC for letting us be a part of your growth and a special thanks our talented staff at APM for delivering this great project... for more pictures of the Tantallon store click here.. http://apm.ca/ctc.tantallon.html
From CTC’s website,
Founded in 1922, Canadian Tire Corporation is a growing network of interrelated businesses with more than 1,100 general merchandise and apparel retail stores and gas stations in addition to a major financial services provider and a federally chartered bank. With a top-60 listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange, the company has market capitalization of over $3.6 billion, near-universal brand awareness and is one of Canada’s most respected companies.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Seeing "Red"... a silly change..

Most of my friends know I'm a big "red" supporter and usually willing to make changes when they make sense.... but I'm sticking with the liberals, Habs and Ferrari’s... so when I heard the news about the CDP name change to Red Shores I thought about it for a second... and it "stinks"... I've always loved the track and as a small boy spent a good deal of time at the Summerside Raceway where my Dad had a few horses and I couldn't wait until I could get in the game myself... in fact one of my "mentors" W. G. Barbour or "Wendell", as he liked to be called, once said to me... "don't buy a horse until you can afford ten of them" and as usual he was bang on... so over the last dozen years I go involved in buying and breeding Atlantic Sire Stakes horses and true to Wendell's advice it's money to burn.... so as a horse owner and supporter of this industry, built on tradition, I like a lot of other racing fans want to lodge my protest of the name change.... and you can bet that tomorrow I'll be firing off a letter to Atlantic Lottery and Minister Sheridan objecting to the name change and I'm only hoping they see "red" over this issue....
P.E.I. horsemen fight track name changes
Monday, July 20, 2009
CBC News
Atlantic Lotto's plan to change the name of the Charlottetown Driving Park is running into opposition from the harness racing industry.
Last week Atlantic Lotto announced the facility will soon be known as Red Shores Racetrack and Casino. The Summerside Raceway will share the new name, becoming Red Shores at Summerside.
Many P.E.I. horsemen don't like the new names and have begun a lobby to keep things as they are.
"We've heard from an awful lot of folks over the last three or four days and, to be honest, most of it has been in the way of concern," Tom Clark, president of the Prince Edward Island Horseowners Association, told CBC News on Monday.
"Most [concerns] seem to centre around the tradition and the heritage and the history of racing on Prince Edward Island, which is almost approaching, I think, 150 years there. I do believe that there is a sense, almost, of infringement on that name, just to wipe it away."
A poll over the weekend on the Standardbred Canada website asked readers if they gave the name change a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. Almost 1,300 votes had come in by late Monday afternoon, with 75 per cent against the name change.
Clark expects there were will be plenty of discussion in the days ahead with Atlantic Lotto on efforts to persuade it to keep the traditional names.

"A Home Run".... Partnerships That Work...

I've waited a full week before commenting on the Cavendish Beach Music Festival as I wanted to hear some of the opinions of others before throwing out my two cents.... Jeff Squires, Al Stewart, Kevin Murphy, Scott Linkletter, and a host of others including the PEI Department of Tourism (yes, Valerie and her crew) and ACOA have hit a "home run" with this event and we Islanders owe them a big "thank you" for having the fortitude and initiative to create this event... simply put this was one of the most organized outdoor concerts I've ever attended and although I only made it to the Saturday and Sunday evening shows.... I did talk to a lot of people young and old on site who had stayed the full three days and they had a blast... there were lots of tourists and lots of families and I can't help thinking that this is the type of crowd that fits our tourist marketplace... the thing that stood out the most for me was the quality of the staff, the volunteers and the vendors who were "friendly" and "service orientated" which seemed to be the theme of the whole event... security and crowd control was at the forefront and certainly was a big part of the success... they had about 40,000 in total attendance which probably equates to about 20,000 visitors and my guess is that next year they will easily add another 10,000 to these numbers as there were a lot of sceptics going into the event... and there are still a few whiners out there shooting the mouths off that Government gave them too much money which is nonsense when you compare it to what competitive venues like Moncton and Halifax have received for infrastructure and promotion... in fact our Government should assist them more for policing, traffic control, promotion and possible grandstands as this is a "winner" for PEI tourism.... yesterday I was in Antigonish picking up my son who attended the "Evolve Festival" http://www.evolvefestival.com and on the way I drove by the Riverside Speedway http://www.riversidespeedway.ca where about 5,000 fans were attending one of the weekly events.... and on the way back I meet a load of people on the boat who were coming back from the "Kiss" concert that had 50,000 fans.... last week Halifax had 50,000 at the McCartney Concert and Halifax expects to have about 100,000 people attend the Tall Ships http://www.tallshipsnovascotia.com over the next week and I could go on and on... the regional tourist industry has become very competitive and it seems that the big events draw the crowds and the customers and if PEI is going to compete in that market then we need to continue Partnerships like the Cavendish Beach Music Festival to keep PEI on the Atlantic tourism map.... the people that attended our concert spent a lot of money in the Cavendish marketplace and it will eventually make its way around our Community.... and the practice of public and experienced private partnerships is certainly the way to go... congratulations to everyone involved in the Cavendish Beach Music Festival for a job well done.... and how about Keith Urban for next year..... on another note I posted a blog or should I say a "rant" at the Guardian last week on their initial coverage of the Concert and I must say that their follow up reports on Monday were much more positive and in keeping with "good news" reporting...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

and "Guess" where Charlottetown is...

I can almost hear Mayor Lee stuttering when he tries to explain these results to the media... "surely the new roundabout should fix everything up"... there are absolutely no surprises here in this survey and if you don't believe me just look at your tax bill and think of what the City does for you... I continue to believe the Government should force the Auditor General on all City Corporations as they don’t currently have a watchdog....
Canada’s best and worst run cities
MacLean's Magazine
Canada - Written by Andrew Coyne on Thursday, July 16, 2009
Get all the numbers behind our exclusive survey. And see where your city ranks
http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/07/16/canadas-best-and-worst-run-cities/
This survey, the first of its kind in Canada, provides citizens in 31 cities across the country with comparative data on how well—or poorly—their city is run, measured by the cost and quality of the public services it delivers. (Why 31? We took the 30 largest cities in Canada, added whatever provincial capitals were not on the list, then subtracted a few cities from the Greater Toronto Area for better regional balance. Somehow that left 31.)
Though the overall results—Burnaby, Saskatoon and Surrey, B.C. lead the pack; Charlottetown, Kingston, Ont., and Fredericton trail—will be of particular interest, they are less important than the process this is intended to kick off. We aim not merely to start some good barroom arguments, but to help voters to hold their representatives to better account, and indeed to help city governments themselves. For without some sort of yardstick to measure their performance, either against other cities or against their own past record, how can they hope to know whether they are succeeding?
To compile the survey, Maclean’s commissioned the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, expanding on the institute’s earlier work measuring the performance of municipalities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Unlike other studies, this does not try to measure quality of life, or which city is the “best place to live.” Rather, it focuses on the contribution of local governments to this end.
This survey looks at a city’s efficiency—the cost of producing results—and the effectiveness of its services, including how well each city does when it comes to things like maintaining roads and parks, picking up garbage and putting out fires. Click below to see how the numbers break down. http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/07/16/canadas-best-and-worst-run-cities/

Friday, July 17, 2009

"Sir Richard"..... big time thanks

I was eagerly on hand last night when this exciting major announcement was made and I couldn't help but think that this just might be the TSN Turning Point.... Katherine Hennessey and her band of merry "nimby's" http://www.timbanks.ca/2009/03/catherine-and-rent-crowd.html were nowhere in sight other than Kim Devine quietly not knowing what to say... God love her but Katherine had been out for months badmouthing Mr. Homburg and his "projects" and stepped it up again this week going door to door but she couldn't find any real support... simply put the National Board of Directors of the Centre a unique group of individuals like the Hon. John Crosbie and Thomas Symons (founder of Trent University) and many others "UNAMINOUSLY APPROVED" this donation, the pedway and the 10 year naming of the "Homburg Theatre".... these Directors are very capable individuals who have been put in charge of the Confederation Centre and they have it's best interests at hand as they have shown here... Mr. Homburg and his Company have made significant investments in our City over the years and now during these tough economic times they have even stepped up their investments even further... and I don't get why Katherine believes she has some God given license to go out and knock Mr. Homburg as if he's the devil... in my opinion he should be "knighted" or at the very least receive the Order of Prince Edward Island.... on another note where was the Mayor and all those City folks who should have been there congratulating Mr Homburg.... Kudos to you Mr. Homburg...
Homburg donates $2 million to Confederation Centre
NIGEL ARMSTRONG
The Guardian
Richard Homburg, left, Premier Robert Ghiz and Wayne Hambly, chair of the board of the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust, climb stairs after unveiling the new name of the Confederation Centre mainstage. Homburg donated $2 million to the trust, of which $1 million will go to modernizing the theatre. Guardian photo
Richard Homburg donated $2 million of his own money to the Fathers of Confederation Buildings Trust Thursday and got the mainstage named in his honour and funding for an underground pedway to link to his new hotel. The donation was hailed as “a monumental decision’’ by Wayne Hambly, chair of the board of the centre, during an announcement at the centre’s upper foyer. “This is the largest individual gift ever in the Confederation Centre’s 45-year history,” said Hambly. The donation will be split two ways, $1 million being paid by the centre for a part-share of a $2.1-million pedway across Grafton street to Homburg’s new hotel. The other $1 million will go to update the theatre. “The theatre is showing its age,” said Hambly. Design proposals are now being sought for a new layout to improve sight-lines and improve acoustics, including removing the “diapers” on the roof, as artistic director Anne Allan calls the fiberglass triangles. There will also be new audio technology that might include translation services to guests. Improving the seating is also on the program. Hambly said that Homburg has a personal philanthropic mission. “In addition to being a business mogul, he is firm believer in giving back to the communities in which he works,” said Hambly. “I first met Richard about 25 years ago and since then I have witnessed his profound business finesse, his passion for the arts, his dedication to health and fitness and more recently, his love of the landscape and people of Prince Edward Island.” The meeting was told the Homburg family has a home in Charlottetown Homburg said his research shows that the germ of the Confederation Centre started in 1949, the same year that Homburg was born.“I really believe that the centre here is something for all Canadians but the thing is, it cannot always wait for handouts from governments,” he said. “That is why I believe in private and public partnerships. Governments will continue to fund and they have to continue to fund over the years but also private enterprise should do its share.” Homburg said the centre must do a lot more promotion as a national institution but it needs updating and maintenance work to bring it “into the 21st century.” He said many people have complained to him about the design of the centre, but Homburg said it was the modern style around the world in the early 1960s. “At that time everyone thought that was beautiful,” he said. Homburg called on others to follow his lead and make major donations to keep the centre viable. Hambley briefly reviewed Homburg’s history, saying that he arrived in Atlantic Canada from the Netherlands in 1972 to visit relatives and decided to stay. Now his Halifax-based company employs more than 3,000 people across Canada, said Hambley. His real estate holdings span the globe. To get government funding for the pedway, the project needed to meet the strict qualification requirements of the Building Canada fund which does not support private developments. The fund does, however, support tourism-related infrastructure so the Confederation Centre could and did apply to help pay for the pedway. In March, Gail Shea was on the Island to say that the federal government will contribute $525,000, the P.E.I. government will do the same and the rest will come from Confederation Centre, thanks to Homburg’s donation. Premier Robert Ghiz and Richard Brown, who represents the district around the centre, were in attendance for the province. Coun. Kim Devine was on hand for the city. “As everyone here knows, Mr. Homburg is playing an increasingly important role in the life of our province today,” said Ghiz. “His donation is truly a breathtaking act of generosity. “I have noticed that Mr. Homburg, every meeting I have with him, he likes to think big and I like to think big as well and I think it is going to make for a great working relationship.” Also attending Thursday’s announcement was John Crosbie, who last year became the lieutenant governor of Newfoundland and Labrador, and is a member of the centre’s board of directors, as is Homburg himself, joining just over one year ago.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

IRAC ....has a new "tune"...

Obviously Ghiz didn't listen to me when you look at the appointment of Allan Rankin to IRAC... my complaint with IRAC has always been with the Commissioners being political appointments rather than qualified candidates and that is exactly the case here...and that's what I had told the Commission Hearings on IRAC a few weeks ago... so even before the Commission's report has been received the Government goes ahead and makes another "political" appointment... but on the other hand a lot of people felt that Allan was a bit of a "socialist" and that things may now improve around the Premier's office.... but IRAC could be singing an "old tune"...
Ghiz shuffles senior provincial officials
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
CBC News
The retirement of P.E.I.'s deputy provincial treasurer and a move by a provincial official to Veterans Affairs have prompted a series of moves of senior provincial officials by Premier Robert Ghiz.
The changes announced Tuesday include:
Doug Clow replaces Paul Jelley as deputy provincial treasurer.
Allan Rankin has been appointed vice-chairman of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, following the decision by Brian McKenna to serve with Veterans Affairs Canada.
Rory Beck takes Rankin's position as clerk of executive council and secretary to cabinet.
Jim Ferguson is appointed executive director of the Population Secretariat.
Aidan Sheridan replaces Ferguson as chief executive officer of the Public Service Commission.
Neil Stewart has appointed as chief executive officer of Innovation PEI, where he has been serving on an interim basis.

Problem Solved... "Captian Lee"...

Now here's a novel idea to help "salvage" the "Festival of Lights" poor performance... bring in "Theodore Tugboat"... the show got cancelled in 2001 and the "boat" got repossessed by the Bank in 2006... so now that the boat has been "re-salvaged" bring it to Charlottetown for some harbour tours... I'm sure the planning department are busy checking out the noise of that "fog horn" as we don't want to wake Kim and her friends up... and what about those "fog lights" washing up on the skies over all the neighbours.... and what about that "diaper run-off" on the sidewalks and the “Kool-Aid” spills... seriously, it's always a treat getting up and reading the "news" and seeing how our taxpayers dollars are being spent... now how about that "Captain’s" hat...
Theodore Tugboat coming to Charlottetown
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
CBC News
Children living in and visiting Charlottetown will have a chance to ride a life-size replica of the TV character Theodore Tugboat during a festival in August.
The boat is permanently berthed in Halifax Harbour, but a last-minute opportunity presented itself last week to bring the tugboat to Charlottetown for two days in August. Mayor Clifford Lee told CBC News Tuesday details of the festival, scheduled for Aug. 2-3, are still being worked out.
"It's a new festival here and it's one that we've tried to get for a number of years here and this year the opportunity presented itself very quickly," said Lee.
"It's a great opportunity to bring some kids into downtown Charlottetown — a real family orientated event."
The plans are for children to be able to take free tours of the tugboat as well as trips around the harbour.
Lee says he's hoping some Charlottetown businesses will hop on board to become sponsors of the inaugural event. Charlottetown taxpayers are paying $10,000 to bring Theodore Tugboat to the capital.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another Waste of Taxpayer's Money...

My guess is there are a lot more issues with traffic in Charlottetown than spending $1,500,000.00 for a roundabout on Mt. Edward Road when $200,000.00 could widen the lanes and fix most of the problems.... the $1,300,000.00 savings could be used to widen University Ave. to help free up the numerous traffic congestion problems and ease traffic getting to the Downtown... I wonder what would happen if someone showed up at the Supreme Court looking for a Judicial Review of Council's decision based on "no public input" would turn out... why not have a public meeting... they certainly seem gung ho to have everyone else go through the public process....
Straight path to roundabout for Charlottetown
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
CBC News
Charlottetown city council voted down a motion Monday night to hold a public meeting to discuss the city's first roundabout.
Council voted last month to build the roundabout at the intersection of Mt. Edward Road and Allen Street. Coun. Mitch Tweel, one of two councillors to vote in favour of the meeting, said there are concerns from some business owners at the intersection, in particular regarding the safety of pedestrians.
Terry Bernard, chair of the public works committee, said traffic engineers have advised council that a roundabout is a safer option than traffic lights for both pedestrians and vehicles, and that it will improve traffic flow.
Bernard noted there are also some misconceptions in the public regarding the cost of the project.
He said the $3 million price tag includes $1.5 million for a storm sewer upgrade. He added the work has to be done by the end of the year to take advantage of federal infrastructure money.

1.2% of "nothing" equals nothing...

The following story is hardly worth talking about when you think about what impact this number may have on our tourism industry..... when you compare the number of tourists that travel by car to PEI against the number by air then I'd say the 1.2 % gain would hardly amount to an hour’s traffic on the bridge... I went to lunch today at the Urban Eatery and I couldn't help but notice that there were hardly any tourists in the mall. I then drove down Queen Street to attend a meeting on Water Street and I started looking at the license plates of the vehicles parked on Queen and if I had to guess I'd say 80% of them were Island cars and the bulk of the balance were shared between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. What was most striking was there were no U.S. vehicles in any of the parking stalls and as I drove back to the office I could hardly find a U. S. plate... I talked to a lot of tourist operators at the "concert" the other night and even though they were quite excited to see the concert's success they all tell me they are down 25 to 35% already... the golf operators tell me they are down about 20% and a lot of our local retailers are experiencing similar trends... thank God we had the "Big Break" otherwise we'd have nothing....
Traffic up at airport despite economic downturn
BY STAFF
The Guardian
Passenger traffic at the Charlottetown Airport was up 1.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the same period in 2008, reports the Charlottetown Airport Authority. Year-to-date passenger traffic to the end of June is also up 3.3 per cent compared to the same period as last year. “We are pleased to see the traffic at the Charlottetown Airport is holding strong,” noted Airport CEO Doug Newson. “The economy has impacted air traffic both nationally and regionally, so it is encouraging to see positive year to date results for the Island.”

Monday, July 13, 2009

Where was the Guardian Editor....

Where was the Guardian Editor Friday when he sent Wayne Thibodeau out to cover the Cavendish Music Festival... Wayne's a good reporter and great at covering the legislature and other top news items... but our Tourism industry is BLEEDING and we need some “good” news... so what do we get in Saturday's paper... a picture of some whining VIP with a 19 people petition wanting to move the VIP tent closer to the stage... a "bullshit" negative story that should have never made it pass go let alone take half the copy... I couldn't believe it... the biggest event on PEI and it gets 2nd page billing and half of which was negative... tourist operator's are looking for something positive and that's just what they got in spades from the promoters... surely had the Guardian sent an entertainment reporter out to the site they would have figured out that 19 whining VIP's (most of which belonged to one family) really wasn't much of a story... and if I were the promoters and tourist operators I'd be sitting in the publisher's office today telling him where the Guardian could shove their advertising in the future... good news sells papers too...
‘We love ’em all’
Thousands enjoy Day 1 of the three-day Cavendish Beach Music Festival
WAYNE THIBODEAU
The Guardian
CAVENDISH — There were no shortage of cowboy wannabes on the North Shore Friday as the three-day Cavendish Beach Music Festival kicked off under sunny skies and temperatures that reached into the high 20s.
Thousands of concertgoers, many wearing cowboy hats in a rainbow of colours, converged on the concert site — a large farmer’s field behind Avonlea Village in the heart of Cavendish.
Aaron Lines, Doc Walker and Big and Rich, the band that made saving horses and riding cowboys famous, headlined Friday night.
Pam Stokes and her sister, Judy Bulmer, travelled from Sackville, New Brunswick, cowboy hats in hand, to attend the three-day music festival.
“We love ‘em all,” said Stokes, referring to the concert lineup.
“To get them all under one roof, we said why not? We haven’t been camping for a number of years.”
Bulmer said she was pleased with the concert site and organization.
“I think it is set up a lot better than Moncton,” she said.
But not everybody was praising the concert site.
Cathy LeDrew travelled from Labrador City with seven of her family members. She paid more than $3,000 for eight VIP Club passes.
LeDrew started a petition that had already been signed by 19 people early Friday evening asking for the VIP tent to be moved, and for better access for families.
The VIP tent is licensed which means when LeDrew and another family from Prince County arrived with their children they were told that their children were not allowed in the VIP tent, even though they had VIP tickets.
The children were later allowed in.
But LeDrew said the stage needs to be moved.
Her petition, which carried a headline “VIP Sucks” calls on event organizers to move the VIP tent closer to the main stage for tonight’s show.
“Here, you are so far away, you can’t even see the artist perform unless you look at the big screen,” LeDrew said from the VIP tent.
“I travelled way too far to see these phenomenal performers. I don’t think the performers would be happy right now with the way this was organized.”
There were little problems with traffic.
There were only a dozen cars lined in front of the concert site on Friday.
It appears most concertgoers were taking advantage of shuttles from several large parking lots in Cavendish as well as from Charlottetown and Summerside.
Many others were walking from their campsites.
That may change later this weekend as bigger-name acts, including Tim McGraw tonight and Reba McEntire on Sunday, take centre stage.
Kim Dennis of Fredericton, New Brunswick can’t wait to see McGraw.
Dennis and her friend, Rachel Doucette of Miminegash, were spending Friday night at their campsite.
But they’ll be on the
concert grounds tonight to see McGraw.
“Being in Cavendish is a big thing,” she said. “This is a great location for a concert.”
And for those who don’t have a cowboy hat for the concert, the Cavendish Petro Canada has the hats lined along their front windows for $26.
Doucette said she saw McGraw in Toronto and can’t wait to see him again in P.E.I.
“I’m here because I love concerts and I love the people.”

Thursday, July 9, 2009

For All You Airline Travellers Out There..

Back in the early 80's while I was building my business I was just about living out of an airport... at one point for 5 years running I had chalked up over 200 flights a year and was "super elite" status in Air Canada's frequent flyer program (which meant they sang a nicer tune while they kept you on "hold")... and I can tell you I've seen and heard it "all" from the airlines... so when I heard the story today that Dave Carroll of the Sons of Maxwell (who preformed at the last PEI ECMA's) had wrote a song about his Taylor guitar being damaged by United Airlines I couldn't wait to get home and see it on YouTube as I had heard it was very funny... and it is hilarious and I only wish I could have been so clever in "pushing back" at Air Canada when they seemed to be continually screwing up... at one point I was convinced that Air Canada's slogan was "we're not happy until you're unhappy"... anyway, if you travel by air take a few moments and listen to this "tune" and I'm sure you'll appreciate it... and it's also a catchy tune http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo
United Airlines Song Background (short version) from Dave Carroll's website;
In the spring of 2008, Sons of Maxwell were traveling to Nebraska for a one-week tour and my Taylor guitar was witnessed being thrown by United Airlines baggage handlers in Chicago. I discovered later that the $3500 guitar was severely damaged. They didn’t deny the experience occurred but for nine months the various people I communicated with put the responsibility for dealing with the damage on everyone other than themselves and finally said they would do nothing to compensate me for my loss. So I promised the last person to finally say “no” to compensation (Ms. Irlweg) that I would write and produce three songs about my experience with United Airlines and make videos for each to be viewed online by anyone in the world. United: Song 1 is the first of those songs. United: Song 2 has been written and video production is underway. United: Song 3 is coming. I promise.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"HOWES it going"... great thanks to these ladies...

Last Friday night I had the good fortune of being invited to the "opening" of Howes Hall Gallery in Brackley Beach where a "group of seven" artists calling themselves "The Group On Brackley Bay" hosted a wine and cheese celebration to kick off their new venture... a cozy restored turn of the Century building that now houses a wonderful little "art gallery" full of all kinds of creative treasures for Islanders and tourists alike... at very affordable prices I might add... the strange thing about the opening was there were "NO POLITICIANS" in sight yet there were over 600 people at the opening and in fact I had to stand outside for 15 minutes before I could get inside as it was jam packed... so I made a few inquiries regarding the politicians and it turns out this group of 7 ladies put the whole project together without any Government help which is quite a credit in itself and probably why the politicians weren't there looking for the credit... I can remember back about 10 years ago when I was last in the building when it was a pizza parlour and at that time I can remember it was quite cut up and dark.... the building (which I understand they bought) had been deteriorating quite badly since then so when I finally got inside I was pleasantly surprised at what a great job these ladies did in restoring the building which I understand was done mostly by them... I know most of the artists (whom I won’t disclose now as I may make a mistake) and they're quite good so I'm suggesting if you're out on the North Shore you should stop in and have a look for yourself... you may also want to visit the Dunes for unique art and fine dining which is one of our favourites, Shirley's Snack Bar for the best burgers, the Lobster Trap for the best breakfast and good affordable food, the Millstream restaurant and dairy bar for families, and Shaw's Hotel for great food and the Island's very best Sunday Night Buffet... it's a happening spot in Brackley Beach in the summer and these "7 Women on an Adventure" are doing a bang up job of bringing more life back into the Community and I'd suggest those politicians should get out there and thank them for doing such a wonderful job... Kudos ladies for a job well done...
Footnote: It's great to see the politicians actually read this blog.... as our Provincial House Leader Robert Vessey sent me an email to me after he read this article to confirm that he had actually made a visit to the Hall the day before the opening and explained to the Ladies that he was heading out of Province with his family the day of the opening and wouldn't be able to attend... it's also great to see Mr. Vessey's continued interest in the Community and his strong support for this worthy venture...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Park "CLOSED"...... our National Park that is....

The following story is quite a "joke" as there is no one at P.E.I. National Parks as they don't want anyone there in the first place and they're doing a bang up job of that... just have a look at the "outrageous fee" you have to pay to visit the park.... I was complaining to MP Wayne Easter today about the "silliness" of the Park putting thousands of cedar posts along the sides of the perimeter highway that runs along the Park... and why... to keep people from parking on the side of the road "as they may get out and actually visit the beach"... I nearly fell over when Wayne told me the Park spent $122,000.00 installing these posts... I went over to the Covehead National Historic Lighthouse Friday to take a few pictures of the posts and the "few" people that I meet all had complaints about the "posts and the Park" and the general consensus was the Park administration is doing everything in their powers to keep the Park away from the people... so much for the Parks and People slogan maybe it should be "Parks and No People".... and we wonder why our tourism numbers are down....it's time to write you MP....
Swimmers advised to stay out of water because of surf conditions
The Guardian
July 7, 09
Swimmers are being advised to stay out of the water at beaches in the P.E.I. National Park today.
An advisory from Parks Canada says surf conditions are dangerous and entering the water is not advised.
Swimmers are asked to use caution if they enter the water.

More Inducements Don't Always Work...

I think it's time the Government had a serious look at how they operate Prince Edward Island Business Development http://www.peibusinessdevelopment.com/ and consider a model similar to how Nova Scotia have theirs set up http://www.novascotiabusiness.com/en/home/aboutus/default.aspx as Nova Scotia seem to be leading the way at luring new business to their Province and keeping them. Although PEIBD have a great management team they are lacking a "private" Board of Directors like Nova Scotia who have the experience to help guide them and their Minister on how to attract and keep new business here and it's not always incentives that are the determining factors. Have a look at both web sites and see if you can notice a different approach.

NSBI is led by a private-sector board consisting of business leaders from across the province who represent a diverse range of sectors and business interests.
Terms of service for board members range from between two and four years. The Chair of the Board serves a three-year term.
Doug Hall (Chair) Former Managing Director, RBC Dominion Securities, Halifax
Jim Eisenhauer (Vice-Chair) President, ABCO Group Limited, Lunenburg
Scott Travers President/COO Minas Basin Pulp & Power Co. Ltd., Hantsport
Nancy Tower CFO, Emera Inc., Halifax
David Arenburg President, Adcor Group of Companies, Yarmouth
Bill BlackFormer President and CEO, Maritime Life, Halifax
Sean Murray President and CEO, Advocate Printing and Publishing Co. Limited, Pictou
Lawrence K. Evans, Q.C.Partner, Evans MacIsaac MacMillan, Port Hawkesbury
James Kehoe President, Joneljim Group of Companies, Sydney
Paul Kent Former COO, xwave, and Senior Vice President, Enterprise and Business Solutions, Bell Aliant, Halifax
Stuart Rath President and Director, Stuco Holdings Ltd., Truro
Ian Thompson Deputy Minister, Department of Economic and Rural Development, Halifax
Lois Dyer Mann Former Partner, Caldwell Partners International Inc., Halifax

P.E.I. tries to keep video game developer
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
CBC News
The P.E.I. government said it is doing what it can to keep a U.S.-based video game developer from moving to Nova Scotia.
Last week, all 23 employees of Longtail Studios working in its Charlottetown office were told they had the option to move to a new office it plans to open in Halifax.
“I am concerned with the possible loss of these positions on P.E.I.,” Innovation Minister Allan Campbell told CBC News on Tuesday.
“I've asked staff in my department to put together a package that is attractive to the company and that incites them to remain here on P.E.I.,” he said.
"Why Nova Scotia in particular has targeted this particular company, I'm not sure about that," Campbell said.
Longtail Studios, headquartered in New York City, develops character-driven games and content for platforms such as iPhone, iPod Touch, Nintendo Wii and the web.
A company representative would not say whether it plans to shut down its office in Charlottetown.
The provincial government has a tax credit agreement with Longtail that expires in November. The company also receives subsidies on wages and rent at the Atlantic Technology Centre.
Campbell said discussions to keep the company in the province have been continuing for the past several months.
Longtail Studios opened its office in Charlottetown in November 2007.
The company also maintains an office in Quebec City.

A Rare "Blue"...

There is nothing like a big feed of PEI lobsters and I often get mine from Shane Campbell at Water Prince Corner Shop http://www.waterprincelobster.ca/ in Charlottetown and that's just what I did on Sunday when I had a bunch of people over to the cottage... I called Shane around noon and ordered up sixteen 1 1/2 pounders for a 1:30 pm pick-up and he had then freshly cooked, cracked and put on a tray of ice all ready for my guests... When I was picking them up he showed me a blue lobster which had been just caught off the Pinette shoals by a local fisherman and it's the first one anybody from out that way can ever remember catching.... If you want to get a look at this rare blue lobster then stop into Shane's shop as he'll have him there in the storage tank for the next couple of weeks before he gives it back to the fisherman who is going to "mount" him... While you’re there you might want to try the seafood chowder or the fish and chips as they are excellent... and maybe ask Shane to get a picture of you with the "blue" guy while you're there.
Scientists are not in agreement about the frequency of blue lobsters. The best estimate appears to be one in 10 million. Albino, or pure white lobsters, are even more rare.
Blue lobsters occur because of genetic abnormalities. The color of a normal lobster results from a combination of blue, red and yellow pigments in the shell. A blue lobster lacks all but the blue pigments, hence, his unusual colour.
Blue lobsters tend to be more aggressive than their normally coloured counterparts probabaly because they are more poorly camouflaged and, therefore, had to fight harder to survive.

GUILTY... of trying to do something...

I'm sure the "Don't Get Ahead Gang" would love to lock me up and throw away that key... but not a fat chance... on the advice of my lawyer I'm not suppose to talk about this matter as "it's before the courts"... or a polite way of hiding from the media on what might be perceived as an "embarrassing" situation but I haven't been that great at always taking advice and it would only be embarrassing if we were guilty... so that is why they have a court system to sort things like this out... we believe we were working in an approved subdivision infilling a "forest" identified as such in a letter from Forestry but a Conservation Officer from Environment believes we were infilling a "wetland".... the current GIS Map shows it as a forest.... I'm thinking the Conservation Officer is more interested in charging "us" than he is in conservation but I'm sure that will all sort itself out at trial as we'll be pleading "not guilty" to the infilling charges and "guilty" to providing jobs, investment and choice to Islanders something that is coming to a "halt" near you soon... stay tuned...
Developer charged with filling wetland without a permit
Monday, July 6, 2009
CBC News
The provincial government has laid charges against a Prince Edward Island property developer for back-filling a wetland without a permit.
The charges were filed against Atlantic Property Management, or APM, on July 2. The developer is building a subdivision on 1.6 hectares of waterfront land near Grand Tracadie.
A conservation officer claimed APM back-filled wetland on the property between the end of May and the beginning of June of this year.
Tim Banks, owner of APM, said the province has been sending mixed messages about the environmenta
l sensitivity of the land.
“As recent as 2004, we got a letter from the Department of Forestry indicating that area was, in fact, a forest land,” Banks told CBC News on Monday. “And to our surprise the other day, the conservation officer said it was a wetland,” he said.
Banks said his company cut down trees and back-filled the area two years ago as part of landscaping and surveying after receiving approval from the provincial government. He said provincial inspectors have visited the site many times with no complaints.
A hearing is set in provincial court in Charlottetown on July 20.
Banks said he intends to plead not guilty to the charges.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Marriage Of Convience... King Kar...

The old expression that goes "if you don't hear a good rumour by 8:00 am then you should start one" certainly found it's home here on PEI and I couldn't help but chuckle yesterday when I was flipping through a popular Island blog www.peiinfo.com and came across this topic What's the name of that new auto shop in the Industrial Park and if you follow this link you can follow the responses http://www.peiinfo.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=22809 ....and as with any rumour some of it's usually true.... but here's the "Skinny" on KingKar... a number of years ago I heard a successful business person speaking on "turning your passion into a business" and I couldn't help but think that could be fun... and as most of my friends know my passion is "speed and fast cars" and for many years my hotmail address continues to be timsfastcar@hotmail.com ...so a couple of years ago I convinced myself that this business concept may work and at the very least it would be "fun"... so I came up with this "hair brain idea" that I could buy and sell used Porsches all over North America from PEI (and I am)... and it wasn't long afterwards when my youngest boy "Puddy" (who has never shown an interest in business) arrived home from being away at school and upon seeing the yard and garage full of cars sarcastically said, "Dad, you must have been really thinking hard to come up with selling Porsches on PEI".... even the Princess scoffs at the concept and still thinks I'm crazy, which by the way might help them get me institutionalized sometime soon... so to legitimize the business I went about all the proper paperwork and got a "used car license" for Seawin Auto Sales.... which required me to have a location and a service shop for the class of license I had and since we already had a service shop at Home Hardware Auto it was approved... but when we moved our offices out of the Home Hardware to West Royalty then my dealers license had to move with it as the rules require a physical location with an office and we also needed a new service shop... at about the same time a tenant who had been in one of our buildings at 22 Fourth Street moved out so I now had a building to run the used car business out of but didn't have a proper shop... Scott McDonald who had managed our shop at Home Hardware was thinking of opening his own shop but didn’t have all the “coin” to do so... So Scott and I got talking one day and since he had worked on a lot of my Porsches in the past with great success one thing led to another... and presto out of the blue we had the makings of a full service centre specializing in imported cars and here's how the "marriage of convenience" works... although the legal title to the business does show up in my name (this serves my needs to meet the rules of my dealer’s license) Scott has some ownership now together with a binding agreement to assume “full ownership” of the "operating business" at 22 Fourth Street as the business moves forward... so the "operations" part of the business is really his which I help finance but I retain ownership in the building which is what I normally do... I get a preferred rate for my "used car" business and I get one of the best mechanics in the business looking after my cars... I don’t get any preferred service times as Scott has to make money first to make the business work and help pay the rent... he hires his people, he collects the money and pays the bills (he's the BOSS) and I stay away from the operating business... King Kar has all the "newest" top of the line equipment to service any passenger vehicle but the real forte of the business is lubes, alignments, tires, brakes and tuning for high end imported vehicles... now back to the question of the Porsche business... am I making money... "NO"... am I having fun "YES"... but I will eventually figure out how to make money at it... and in the meantime I hope I helped those curious Islanders figure out what’s going on in the “rumour” department... but if you're looking to buy a Porsche give me a call...

Starbucks New Location... no secret...

I was by the Tweel Building yesterday as they were removing the "hoarding" that was protecting the public from the construction activity... I was very impressed and a big congratulations must go out to Chris Tweel for a job well done... I understand the major ground floor tenant is a corporate "Starbucks" and they have already hired some local staff... there has been a bit of controversy regarding the removing of the trees in front of the building but it might not necessarily be coming from the developer... we had a National tenant looking at our ground floor space at 133 Queen Street and one of their conditions was they wanted the tree that blocked the signage removed but our request to the City was turned down and the space remains empty... I wonder if they would let us remove it now since they let the Tweels'.... it's great to see this building being revitalized and hopefully the developer will find some other tenants for some of their other vacant properties soon... Kudos to Chris Tweel for a job well done...
Historic downtown corner undergoes renovation
DOUG GALLANT
The Guardian
Downtown Charlottetown has seen more construction in the past 24 months than in the previous several years but few projects have generated more interest or more speculation than the redevelopment of the building at the corner of Kent Street and University Avenue. Speculation has been rampant about who will lease space in this building, which once housed Tweel’s Gift Shop. This first of two articles will look at the past and the present for this location. Next week developer Chris Tweel will speak to the future of the building and who his new tenants will be. The buildings which eventually came to be known as the Tweel Block once housed the offices of The Guardian newspaper. That changed in 1923 when the building was razed to the ground by fire.Four years later in 1927, businessman Nemir Tweel expanded the property to accommodate several businesses including a barbershop where he himself cut hair for many years.It was also home to The Dominion Cafe, The Metropolitan, Singer Sewing Machine, Hambly & Innis men’s wear store and several dentists and doctors. There were also several apartments on the third floor. Tweel family spokesman Chris Tweel said the family has wanted to renovate the building for several years but as long as Clark Innis was operating Hambly & Innis, they were not prepared to displace him after a relationship that spanned five decades. “When Mr. Innis retired this past spring construction began almost immediately,” said Tweel. The Tweel family has received tremendous support and encouragement from the community including Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee and members of city council and provincial Liberal MLA Richard Brown. “The response from the overall community has been tremendous,” Tweel said. “Many people have approached us with their personal recollections of the building and its place in the community. They were happy that Tweel’s corner will once again take its place as a landmark gathering place in the city.” The building has essentially been rebuilt from the inside out. The fa├žade of the building has been kept essentially as it was though extensive restoration work was done to make the brickwork look as if it was brand new.Inside the building it’s a very different story. The interior was completely redesigned and upgraded with new steel columns and beams to allow for more open and flexible retail space. All windows and doors and all mechanical and electrical systems were replaced. During the renovation process, much of the building has been shielded from public view by plywood and scaffolding. That came down this week, giving people their first view of the newly renovated building, sparking speculation about who the new tenants will be.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Welcome To Charlottetown....

I don't think if you were planning it could you screw up the entrance to our City on the weekend any better... I just took this picture looking up the Trans Canada coming into Charlottetown on what should be one of the busiest tourist weekends of the summer with the Festival of Lights... cars have been backed up to the North River Causeway for most of the afternoon... as the City is paving one of the busiest intersections in the City at the corner of North River Road and the Trans Canada... I guess I'm wondering why they couldn't have planned to have this work executed prior to June 25th or have it carried out after the first week of September and I'm sure a lot of people in the line up are probably thinking the same thing... oh well... Welcome to Charlottetown...

Good Corporate Citizens... should be the main story...

I know how Wayne must feel... we were also charged this week for infilling a "wetland" that had earlier been identified by Government as a "forest" under our original development approval... it seems every day there is more and more red tape and rules here on PEI... and becoming increasingly harder for businesses to keep up... in fact the Government changed the buffer zone setbacks to 15 meters last December and up until last week on both their own web site and at Island Information Services they were still showing the setbacks as 10 meters... they can't even catch up with their own changes.... they seem more bent on policing rather than solutions which is where "a certain" media's attention is as well... Hambly Enterprises have always acted as a good corporate citizen and again they have proven it here by quickly addressing the problem and correcting the situation as fast as they could... they have agreed to pay a fine and have apologized to the "fishers".... simply put they had no control over when or how the pipe broke and all the engineers, inspectors and permits wouldn't have prevented what happened but some media are bent on giving them a "black eye"...over the years the Hambly's have made considerable investments here on PEI, employed a lot of people, paid a lot of taxes and gave considerable time and money back to our Community... and we should be thankful for that and understand that situations like this happen every day and it’s the good corporate citizens like Wayne Hambly who will see that they are fixed...
Property owner charged in river sewage spill
Friday, July 3, 2009
CBC News
The owner of a mini-home park alongside P.E.I.'s Hillsborough River was charged Thursday after a sewage spill occurred on the property last week.
Charges were laid against Hambly Enterprises, which owns Riverview Estates in the Charlottetown community of Hillsborough Park, for violating the Environmental Protection Act.
Company head Wayne Hambly was served with notice that Hambly Enterprises failed to register the sewage system under the Act.
Hambly told CBC on Thursday that he will pay the $1,000 fine.
He acknowleged his treatment plant was not registered, and that he did not have a certified technician to monitor it.
Hambly said he intends to register the plant and hire a technician.
He said he's sorry the facility broke down, but doesn't think he could have done anything to prevent it.
"I don't think it could have made any difference. The pipe that broke down isn't visible by looking at the system. It's underwater. So the only way that it was visible was after the tank was pumped out," said Hambley.
The company is scheduled to appear in provincial court in August.
Hambly became aware of a problem with the property's 24-year-old sewage treatment system last Thursday. The mechanical breakdown, which resulted in raw sewage flowing into the river, was repaired on Friday.
Shellfish harvesters can return to site;
Shellfishers who use that part of the Hillsborough River to harvest mussels and quahogs are able to return to the river immediately.
They were forced off the water after the raw sewage entered the river from the treatment system.

Island Native Does Well...

Donnie Clow an Island native and fixture in the Halifax business scene was appointed CEO of Crombie REIT www.crombiereit.com which is controlled by Sobey's Empire Company... Donnie is an Acadia grad who got his CA and worked a stint (7 years) for Southwest Properties as President before moving to Sobey's as President of ECL Properties. Donnie maintains a cottage in Stanley Bridge and is a brother in law to Kevin MacDonald who used to manage the Sherwood Home Hardware and is now the Home Hardware Area Manager. When Donnie was at Acadia he played for the Axemen and was a tight end and wide receiver when they won the Vanier Cup in 79 and 81 and I even think he got drafted by the Ottawa Rough Riders. He takes over Crombie from Stuart Blair the "dean" of real estate development in Eastern Canada and a long time Sobeys power player and if I remember correctly Stuart's daughter taught school in Miscouche, PEI... bottom line here is Donnie is a competitive winner with big shoes to fill but my guess is he'll expand on Stuart's desire to expand Crombie west and Donnie will build Crombie into a major Canadian shopping centre owner... congratulations Donnie...
The following is from Crombie's web site;
Crombie REIT (“Crombie”), located in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, is the largest landlord in Atlantic Canada. We own and manage properties throughout Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Our core business is managing shopping centres, both enclosed and strip, as well as office buildings. We are committed to providing our merchants with outstanding locations, facilities and services.
Crombie REIT personnel are involved with the management of certain properties owned by ECL Developments Limited (“ECL”), a subsidiary of Empire Company Limited. Empire through its indirectly owned subsidiary ECL holds a 47.9% indirect interest in Crombie.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Young Talent At It's Best....

The Princess and I took this performance in on Canada Day and we were very impressed... it's a great show and it's FREE... and I suggest that anyone who works in the Downtown should pack a lunch and take in this 45 minute show during their lunch hour... if you have friends or family home on vacations it's a great venue to send them to and they'll be presently surprised at our young Island talent... the other news is this Young Company is going to perform this show at the Olympics in Vancouver in February of next year... there are a lot of people who helped put this show together and Annie Allan and Wade Lynch were a big part of it... Kudos to everyone for such a great production especially the Young Company performers...
Young Company performs P.E.I. history in song and dance
By noon Wednesday the Confederation Centre Amphitheatre was packed with people. Some were young, some were old, some were sitting, some were standing, some were Islanders, some were visitors. None of that mattered. Despite their differences they were all there for the same reason, to share in celebrating Canada Day. Which is exactly what they did as the Confederation Centre Young Company took the stage to perform Abegweit: The Soul of the Island. In typical Young Company fashion the group sang and danced their way through decades of history, touching on everything P.E.I. from The Guardian newspaper and Lennie Gallant to kitchen parties and the Farmer’s Bank in Rustico. And while it was a lot to wrap into 45 minutes, director Stephanie Graham said she and her cast of 16 performers were up to the challenge from day one. “It was the first time we’d done it outside because of all the rain we’ve been getting,” said Graham. “But the kids did really well. The kids have been amazing throughout the whole process. They’re so professional when they come to work.” Graham added for the first time ever all 16 of the performers were from P.E.I. “I think it’s exciting,” she said. “The talent on the Island is just phenomenal.” The resumes connected to some of the performers didn’t hurt either, with one cast member having just returned from doing High School Musical at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax, N.S. But as excited as Graham was about the show, the performers were equally as happy with the results. “It was amazing,” said Aaron Hastelow. “You could really feel the response and the support from the audience. Today was a lot of fun.” Having never performed the show before an audience until Canada Day, other cast members expressed similar sentiments about the crowd. “I really liked the energy as a collective,” said Maria Campbell. “We really fed off each other.” Jemima Sutherland said while practice makes perfect when it comes to performing, nothing boosts confidence like a satisfied audience. “The crowd makes a big difference,” she said. Lilli Guay agreed, adding the energy can be electrifying. “When you see someone smiling back at you, you get such a boost of energy.”

Advertising Works... especially when you back it up...

Lately I've noticed a few new advertisements from the Murphy Group of Restaurants talking about focusing on their culinary skills and putting it back into their products and services... I'm going to be frank here and say that previously I found their operations to be a bit "hit and miss" on the food quality so I was very intrigued when I started to see these news ads talking about quality and service... I was even more curious when I heard a couple of people at the office talking about "Castello's Ristorante & Pizzeria" and the great meal they recently had there... so the Princess and I along with another couple headed out to "Castello's" last night and we had an excellent meal... I had a "too die for" Caesars salad followed by "hand prepared" spaghetti... "Spaghettini Con Polpette" with fresh meatballs... the Princess and others split a "Caprese" salad not quite as good as the Landmark Cafe's but still good and they followed that with the day's special which consisted of an Italian style bruschetta stuffed chicken quarter with roasted potatoes and fresh veggies that again was excellent... the girls had some wine and we all had a great time... the service was great and the atmosphere was friendly, cozy and fun... the decorating and investment come from Kathy and Kevin and it's first class and far ahead of what you'd find in much bigger markets... the advertisement got us out and the quality, service and value will get us back... we have a lot of culinary choice here on PEI and it’s great to see the Murphy Group stepping up and leading the way to that “great experience” our tourists are looking for... keep it up everyone... http://www.castellosristorante.com/

A Cluster Of Talent.... here on PEI...

I came across this cool photo shop website today www.clustershot.com while reviewing a Twitter follow up and as it turns out the site is being developed right here out of Charlottetown by Dan James and his partners at SilverOrange a local technology company with a great track record.... it's a pretty impressive undertaking and I'm sure as people (and professional photographers) download their images that this could become a major commercial trading site... companies like ours could buy an inventory of professional grade photo images for our use in presentations, public displays, advertising, etc... and we’re certainly going to try it.... these young guns started back in high school doing web development and over the years have racked up an impressive list of clients and are now “old hands” in the web development business and it wouldn't surprise me if they hit a home run with this new website... I love the name as it’s pretty simple like the concept and it great to see local companies like www.SilverOrange.com and Mark Hemphill’s ScreenScape www.screenscape.net working to capture a “global” market...
ClusterShot is just a website. It’s not a movement, a fad, or a social experiment. On ClusterShot, you can sell your photos or buy other people’s photos. It is kind of like that popular online auction site, but just for photos. ClusterShot is a free-for-all site that allows anyone to sell their photos and allows anyone to buy them. We don’t screen for image quality, focus, size, etc. You can post as many crappy photos of your dog as you like. Why wouldn’t you? Someone might buy one.
The History of ClusterShot
Over the past few years some of us at the web company silverorange have received inquiries about the purchase of our images that buyers found online. Unfortunately, we had no way of making the sale of those images an easy transaction. We think there are other people with the same problem.
ClusterShot is our way of making the sale of a photo as simple as possible. We are not a traditional stock agency. You decide what you want to sell through either this website or through your own. We’ll take care of the complicated parts.
To sell photos, we wanted something easy, low-tech and simple. It didn’t really exist, so we made it. ClusterShot is free to use — you pick your price for the photos you want to sell and we will take a very small 12% administrative fee.
ClusterShot is still new, and we are experiencing things that new websites experience: broken features, missing stuff, slowness, etc. We’re doing our best to respond to your feedback and to get things working as smoothly as possible. Please bear with us, and thank you for your interest in ClusterShot.
Who is Behind ClusterShot?
ClusterShot, Inc. is a venture of silverorange, Inc., a small web development firm based out of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island in Eastern Canada. We came up with the idea, built the website you are looking at, and are generally the ones making everything work.
Be sure to check out our weblog for the latest updates.