Monday, August 31, 2009

"Only in Canada, you say? Pity...."

Without any evidence of contamination or notice to the industry Environment Canada convinces Fisheries and Oceans to close the shellfish industry in the Maritimes... "Only in Canada, you say? Pity.." and pity for the poor fishers and processors who will have to suffer the brunt of this decision... it will certainly give our American neighbours another opportunity to "question" the quality of our imports to their Country and help dry up another market... it seems to me that someone "jumped the gun" a little too early.... and after all the issues we had with our cattle, potatoes and soft wood lumber one would think that the economic impact would have been considered before such a major ban was imposed... I'm sure that there will be some who will applaud this "caution" for safety reasons.... but if Government applied this same safety scenario to the Trans Canada Highway where there are "deaths" and "injuries" everyday we'd never be able to go anywhere as the highway would always be "closed"... it will be interesting to see what the fall out will be from this closure but my guess is not that good for the people who make their living in this industry.... and that's too bad...
DFO bans Maritime shellfish harvesting
Monday, August 31, 2009
CBC News
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans imposed a temporary ban Monday on harvesting oysters, mussels, clams and quahogs from Maritime waters.
The closure affects P.E.I., Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
All bivalves (hinged mollusks) within 1.6 kilometres of the shore — except scallops — are affected.
Environment Canada recommended the precautionary closure because of fears of contamination after the heavy rains of the past few weeks, said Rick Young, DFO's chief of regulations for the Maritimes.
Young said this is the first time there's been a closure of this scale in the Maritimes.
The ban includes mussel and oyster processors.
"We were asked to take the precautionary approach and take the worst-case scenario. And now that that is being done, Environment Canada is moving ahead and completing an assessment to determine what the actual area will be affected," said Young.
"Once that assessment is completed, some time starting today, and should be completed by tomorrow or the next day we're hoping, then the closure area will be reduced."
Esther Dockendorff, sales manager with PEI Mussel King, said that consumer safety is important, but that a closure at this time — even a temporary one — will have a major impact on the business.
Tuesdays are one of the biggest shellfish shipping days in the province, she said.
Dockendorff said her company has never been affected before by a closure.

Blame the "inevitable".... never mind a solution!!!

Surely in this day and age of engineered solutions there must be a reasonable fix to this continuous flooding problem on Grafton Street.... I'm sure if they just widened the intersections at the "Action Corner" as opposed to spending all that money on a silly Roundabout then the City would have plenty of money left over to deal with a solution to the Grafton Street area... Holland College is doing a much needed major expansion and upgrade near this flooding problem area and the City should be working on a "fix" to help with this great new investment.... yes it's probably "inevitable" the World is going to end... but waiting around to see it happen and blaming the "inevitable" just doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to me... the City's new Spin Doctor must be at work....
Charlottetown storm flooding inevitable: officials
Monday, August 31, 2009
CBC News
Public works officials say there's nothing that can be done to prevent occasional storm flooding in some low-lying areas of Charlottetown.
The weekend storm caused flooding on some city streets, especially on lower Grafton and Queen streets.
"It's tidal flow out to the harbour. You can only put your pipes so low in the harbour. And the lower you get, all of a sudden you get the influence of the tidal action pushing back up the pipe," said Paul Johnston, manager of public works with the city.
"It's all gravity systems. So, if you've got some spot within the city that's not too high above sea level, getting that long length of pipe with the proper grade to get it out to the harbour is just unfortunately impossible."
The system is able to accommodate most storms, said Johnston.
"If you get an extraordinary event, it is going to cause some ponding in some locations for the short term," he added.
About 100 millimetres of rain fell in the Charlottetown area late Saturday and early Sunday.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Vacation's Over... back to the grind...

Well I asked the "boss" for another few weeks off and... she says it's time to get back to work and out of her hair... I had a great time "old home week" and only lost about $750 overall which is really a cheap vacation nowadays... the crowds were great and apparently I only kicked one disabled person out of my box... this week I sharpened up the golf tools in preparation for Crowbush's Club Champion and after a 79 at the Gables on Tuesday they were getting ready to stamp my name on the "cup" but in the end I won a "free personalized license plate" from the hat drawn for "also ran’s"..... and I think I'll use it to get "hacker" for the front of the Porsche.... I missed you all and can't wait to get back at the "blogging" on Company time.... stay tuned for some PEI Cabinet changed coming to a Town near you soon... and I also missed you Clifford...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hair Brain Idea... or "money scam".....

I still don't get it... how people could believe that this project was ever going to materialize in the first place.... in January of 2006 the Oran Group owned by Richard Fitzgerald of Cork, Ireland rolls into Summerside and announces the biggest "hair brain development scheme" the regional development industry has ever seen... and as time goes on these plans get even crazier with the addition of seven storey towers on to the roof of the Waterfront Mall to be sold as high end condos with private elevators.... CBC and the Journal Pioneer are lapping it up as if it’s a “done deal”... delegations of City officials on the City's tab are traveling to Ireland pleading with the developer to start construction... and all the locals are figuratively "buying in" to the scheme..... and let's hope none of the locals put their money into it like the investors in the following story who were promised 50% returns by Mr. Fitzgerald... remember the old adage "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is"..... I wonder who's money the Oran Group used to buy the mall in the first place.....
Businessman agrees to repay €1.2m to investors
By Vivion Kilfeather
the Irish Examiner
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
A BUSINESSMAN alleged to have apparently converted to his own use some investment funds intended for a property investment project in Budapest has agreed to repay €1.2 million to four investors in the project.
Richard Fitzgerald, of Rose Lodge, Blackrock, Cork, consented to the judgment while proceedings were adjourned to next week by Mr Justice Peter Kelly against estate agent William Mahony, of Cobh, Co Cork, concerning the same project. The investors are Peter Clarke, of Mulberry House, Newbridge, Co Kildare, Brian Fallon, of Ladytown, Newbridge, Con O’Leary, Warrensgrove, Lissarda, Co Cork and Sean Bosco MacGearailt, of Greenane, Kenmare, Co Kerry. They claim Mr Mahony was "deliberately opaque" in an affidavit concerning how the Budapest property was financed. Mr Clarke said: "The entire financing of this transaction is murky in the extreme." He said it was difficult to accept, in the absence of relevant figures, Mr Mahony’s claim the sale price of €12.8m represented an overall loss on the project. He was also concerned Mary and JJ Frahill, a sister and brother-in-law of Mr Mahony, are to, or have already received, €1.5m of their €2.5m investment when the four plaintiffs were told just €90,000 — one ninth of their investment — was placed in their solicitors account. The Budapest project involved the purchase of a large apartment building to be renovated within two years and sold on. The four investors said they paid more than €1m in early 2006 on being told they would get a 50% return (€1.5m). After becoming increasingly concerned, they initiated court proceedings against Mr Fitzgerald and Mr Mahony. Mr Mahony has since alleged the only funds which Mr Fitzgerald put into the project was an €800,000 loan from Anglo Irish Bank. In his affidavit, Mr Mahony said he was persuaded by Mr Fitzgerald to invest €400,000 in the Budapest building and he also secured €2.5m from his sister and brother-in-law. Mr Mahony said he did not dispute the plaintiffs had paid over money to Mr Fitzgerald, but said it would appear Mr Fitzgerald "used this money for his own benefit". He had believed the project was financed by Anglo Irish Bank. He said the sale price achieved was €12.8m, a loss of €1.7m – €1.8m which, he said, was due to "the credit crunch". In an affidavit, Mr Fitzgerald said Mr Mahony was project manager for the Budapest development. He fully accepted the plaintiffs were entitled to be paid €1.2m, but he had no control over the proceeds of sale of the project.

This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ghiz's Cabinet... is it due for a change..

Well it's been a little over 2 years that the Ghiz Government has been in power and we're now on the back end of a Provincial election and heading to the home stretch (well, it's Old Home Week)... Caucus is meeting in Summerside this morning and the "road show" is underway..... and the question is... "is it time for Ghiz to change horses"... so I've put together a little survey to the left of my blog that may help answer that question... and please everyone including all you Liberal hacks like myself and you Tories too... take a few moments and conduct the survey and when the survey is over I'll throw out as an unbiased opinion as my red blooded friends will put up with.... and by the way Mr. Premier “are those golf courses for sale”.....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"..the cutting edge." .... really....

So it appears the City is going to spend $54,000.00 to develop a "eco-city plan" to help us tap into more infrastructure money... never mine a "business plan" for the City as that may actually save taxpayers money.... awe what the hell... I'm prepared to do my part to help the City rescue our "environment" and personally buy a bicycle for any City employee who actually legitimately turns in his or her City gas guzzler in favour of a bicycle to carry out their City duties... I'll even throw one in for the Mayor if he'll legitimately uses it every day....
Charlottetown to develop eco-city plan
The Guardian
The City of Charlottetown is spending thousands of dollars to hire a consultant to help the capital city develop a long-term economic, social, cultural and environmental plan. The city has hired Stantec, a professional consulting company with offices in more than 130 cities across North America to develop the sustainability community plan. Councillor Mitchell Tweel says the city has been talking green for some time now but it lacks a master plan. He said that’s what Stantec is going to develop for Prince Edward Island’s capital city. Tweel sits on the city’s environment committee. “It’s everything,” said Tweel. “It’s the buildings that we’re building. What we’re doing with the shoreline. Gas emissions. We’re going to look at everything.” The total bill for the consultant’s work is $54,000. The city hopes the province will pay for about $32,000, leaving the city’s bill at about $22,000. Sue Hendricken, manager of parks and recreation with the City of Charlottetown, is overseeing the Stantec project. Hendricken says the federal government requires the city to complete the sustainability community plan before it can access new money from federal infrastructure programs. “It’s a requirement now that if you are going to obtain funding in the future, your municipality has to have this done,” she said. “We need to develop key strategies in respect to those four pillars, including environment, economic sustainability, social and cultural.” Still, Hendricken said it was work the city was carrying out anyway. “For the last number of years, we’ve been doing strategic planning internally with regards to what we need to do with five-, 10-, 15-year capital plans, and really what this does is it helps us flesh out the strategic plan a little bit more.” The report will be completed by Dec. 1. Tweel said he’ll be pushing to ensure residents are consulted as Stantec begins the process. “We want to open it up and have dialogue and engage our constituents. We want to be on the cutting edge.”

Too Bad.... for Tourism Charlottetown...

My guess is Lee Gauthier unfortunately got caught up in the "swinging door" of revolving staff when Kim Green had left the organization... and I hear some of them were "after the fact" badmouthing some of Lee's decisions which is very unfortunate as he may not have had time to implement a proper staffing structure... couple this with the "hands tied" restrictions the City had put on the Festival of Lights and there were sure to be problems and I suspect why Kim Green left in the first place... Lee's a great guy who fell into "a can of worms" but I expect he'll soon land back on his feet... in the meantime the former Chair John Cudmore will... to quote a director "interim manage the affairs" until a full search for a new permanent CEO can be found and my recommendation is someone from outside the organization is needed.....
Tourism Charlottetown CEO resigns
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
CBC News
Lee Gauthier has resigned as CEO of Tourism Charlottetown, effective immediately.Lee Gauthier is said to be pursuing other interests. (CBC)
The announcement was made Tuesday by the organization's board of directors. Gauthier had only been in the position since January.
In a news release, Tourism Charlottetown said Gauthier wanted to pursue other interests.
Gauthier guided Tourism Charlottetown through two major events, the Jack Frost festival in February and the Festival of Lights around Canada Day. While Jack Frost saw its impressive growth continue, ticket sales at the Festival of Lights were disappointing.
John Cudmore of Cudmore Hospitality Consulting has been hired to serve as interim CEO. Tourism Charlottetown will begin its search for a new full-time CEO immediately.

It Wasn't Me.... maybe a "taxpayer"....

Richard... it wasn't me as I was busy all week taking some "divots" out of the ground next to the ponds at Crowbush and all the time trying to keep ahead of your conservation officers.... maybe it was a "taxpayer" who heard about your Department hiring more people to enforce more rules at the taxpayer's expense.... see
Environment minister has tires slashed
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
CBC News
Charlottetown police are investigating after all four tires were slashed on a cabinet minister's government car.
The car was parked in Environment Minister Richard Brown's driveway at his home on Fitzroy Street. It happened about a week ago, and police are treating it as a case of vandalism.
Police are asking the public for tips.
Brown has declined to comment on the incident.

Friday, August 7, 2009

It's Official... "City says it will move ahead anyway.."

Despite a formal appeal being launched by nearby business owners the City intends to move ahead with construction of the "roundabout" even though an official appeal has been launched... seems pretty risky to me but awe what the heck it's only taxpayer's money if they get ordered to reinstate the work... I think the business group have legitimate grounds here to win the appeal as the City appears not to have followed their own "bylaws"... what about a traffic study and an impact study... again I'm not saying no to a "roundabout" but why at this location when a simple modification to the corner might just as well solve any traffic issues that are there now... why not spend the money on University Ave and improve the flow in and out of our City core... surely the Mayor will show some leadership here and try to seek a resolution to this situation before it costs taxpayers more "silly" money...
Businesses appeal roundabout plan
Friday, August 7, 2009
CBC News
A group of business owners has filed an appeal to try to stop Charlottetown's first roundabout from being built.
Six businesses near Allen Street and Mount Edward Road say they want a regular intersection, and they're asking the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission to quash the city's decision to put in a roundabout.
Paul Gaudet, owner of City Collision Services, told CBC News Thursday he signed on for the appeal because the city did not consult business owners and the public before deciding on a roundabout.
"When we met with the city council, the decision was already made," said Gaudet.
It's one of the busiest intersections in the city, with a Tim Hortons on one corner and a big car dealership on the other. Council voted in June to build the roundabout to deal with traffic congestion, accepting an engineer's computer-model study that showed the roundabout was the best choice.
Congestion will get worse, businesses predict
Gaudet said city council won't show the business owners the computer-model study, and they're not convinced a roundabout is the best solution.
Gaudet and others say a roundabout would make traffic more congested, and therefore make it harder for customers to drive into their shops.
"We didn't have a business impact study," said Gaudet.
"Now I know it's not necessary to have a business impact study, but in this case with so many businesses bordering right on the property, it should have been done."
Gaudet wants the city to return to its initial plan of adding an extra turning lane at the intersection.
Despite the appeal to IRAC, an official with the city says it will move ahead with the roundabout. The project will go up for tender at the end of the month.
IRAC has not set a date for making a ruling on the appeal.

Last Chance To Vote... Yes or No

There are only 16 hours left to cast your vote on the Mayor's Chair.... 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... on Monday I'll give you my "overview" of the results...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

"Roundabout"... here we go.... call the "tow" truck..

Well it looks like the new "roundabout" is off to a great start and it appears that there is already a car crash in the first turn... Paul Mifsud of Island Chevrolet Cadillac Ltd. has launched a formal appeal with IRAC on the City's decision to construct a "roundabout" in front of their business on Mount Edward Road the "Action Corner"... and I don't blame them... Clifford Lee is way out of line here not sticking up for the local businesses and continuing to push through this "over-priced" intersection... as I've said before there is a lot better uses and priorities of our taxpayers dollars in improving our streets than this "silly" intersection... it will be interesting to see how this appeal proceeds as the City Development Department have not followed "their own bylaws" in trying to fast track this project... I've been trying to get a copy of the "development permit" and they haven't issued one and I can't seem to get a copy of the "traffic study" showing the impact of the Roundabout on the neighbouring properties as I suspect they haven’t done one... City Council should step back and follow the "process" and let the taxpaying public have a look at the costs and options before they proceed.... the City should have got the message at the Peter Pan Intersection public meetings when their Public Works Department tried to shove a Roundabout down our throats back then and “taxpayers” gave them an ear full (but they never listen).... don't get me wrong here as I'm not against "roundabouts" I'm just against the lack of process the City used in deciding to proceed in this matter without looking at all the options and talking to all the stake holders.... another nice “welcome” to the City for a new business operator from Clifford Lee and his Team....

O'Connor Glass... always show their "class"...

I attended the official announcement of Riverdance at the Confederation Centre last week and what excited me the most was seeing O'Connor Glass stepping up to be the proud sponsor of this excellent event to be held in the "Homburg Theatre".... Rod O'Connor and his family have been in the glass business in Charlottetown for close to 30 years.... and I can remember back in the early eighties I was doing a bunch of projects for 7-11 stores when the franchise operator from Moncton went "belly-up" and I along with a bunch of local subs including O’Connor’s got stuck with not getting paid... times got pretty tough and I was scratching my way back and when I needed more work done Rod and O'Connor's were always there... he's a fine gentlemen who has built a great business with excellent staff in a very quiet way... and when it was his turn to go to the podium he graciously acknowledged the role of the Confederation Centre and how humble he and his firm were to be able to play a part in it... he's a "class act" with a bit of Irish to boot... Kudos to Rod and his staff for their support.... and also to the Guardian editor for recognizing the Centre's efforts to extend their season to the benifit of our tourist operators...
Good news for the theatre and for tourism
Bringing Riverdance to P.E.I. will be a benefit to the Confederation Centre and to tourism's shoulder season.
The announcement last week that Riverdance is coming to P.E.I. is good news for the Charlottetown Festival and the Confederation Centre of the Arts, where the performances will be held. This top-flight showcase of Irish music, song and dance should be a big draw not only because of its international reputation but because it's performing nowhere else in the region during this two-week period in October. It's a bold plan. Charlottetown Festival artistic director Anne Allan told a news conference last week that the festival was extending its run into the third week of October by adding 18 performances of Riverdance, a production that has been seen by more than 21 million people in 300 venues in 32 countries. The Charlottetown show will run from Oct. 2-17. Filling the seats for 18 shows during this two-week period is an ambitious objective. But if the organizers can meet it, this year's experiment could, as Ms. Allan pointed out, pave the way for other national and international productions. One thing is certain. A show of this calibre can't help but bring visitors to the Island in the early fall, when the tourism season traditionally wanes. It should also encourage businesses that usually close down after Labour Day to stay open a little longer. That in itself is good news. There's no one secret to expanding the Island's tourism season into the spring and fall months. It takes a whole range of good ideas. And bringing Riverdance here in October is definitely a good idea.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Talk About News... old news that is...

On June 19th I first mentioned that Starbucks were the new tenant for this building... so on June 29th CBC took a shot at me on the Journalism front as they had "called" Starbucks and Chris Tweel and CBC swallowed their standard line of "no new store"... yet all along Starbucks were hiring staff and Chris Tweel was doing the renovations to Starbuck's standards... by the way I understand Rodd Hotels are moving their head offices into the Tweel Building as well.... in early June I mentioned that that the Downtown Shoppers was moving but none of the news agencies have bothered to follow up on this news... Shoppers are relocating from Kent Street and heading for a new store on Queen Street between the TD Bank and the Bookmark and the infill contract has been awarded by Homburg to J. W. Lindsay a Halifax contracting firm.... maybe I could get accredited as a "business reporter"....
Starbucks coming to Charlottetown
The Guardian
Starbucks, the world’s leading retailer and roaster of specialty coffees, will open its first full-fledged P.E.I. location in Charlottetown next month. Starbucks Coffee Company officials confirmed Friday they have leased about 1,700 square feet of space in the newly renovated Tweel Building at the corner of University Avenue and Kent Street. That location was previously home to Tweel’s Gift Shop. A spokeswoman for Starbucks said they expect to open here in mid-September. “We’re thrilled to be opening our first P.E.I. location in Charlottetown,” the corporate spokeswoman said. “We look for great locations in great communities where we can be relevant. We think Charlottetown will be a great city for us.” The Charlottetown location will be a full service Starbucks, carrying the complete line of Starbucks coffees, espresso-based beverages and iced beverages, as well as Starbucks food products. A retail wall will allow patrons to purchase packaged coffees, music and a selection of gift items. The interior design of the Charlottetown Starbucks will reflect the age and character of the building. “We will be using very traditional finishes,” the spokeswoman said. “We want to embrace the heritage of the building. We want to create a warm, beautiful place, a place away from home and work where people will want to go and connect with friends or simply relax and read a book or a magazine,’’ she said. “We will have comfortable armchairs and a fireplace and we intend to incorporate some special artwork. We try to create a unique experience for people.” At the same time they also want people to embrace their coffees. Starbucks carries more than 30 blends and single-origin coffees. The company has hired a manager for the Charlottetown store and will begin to hire staff in mid-August. Those individuals — whom the company refers to as partners rather than employees — will undergo the company’s rigorous training program at an existing Starbucks location. “They will learn how to craft our beverages and how to deliver the quality service that is part of the Starbucks experience.” Approximately 15 positions will be available.Starbucks opened its first Canadian store, Seabus, in Vancouver, in 1987. There are now over 400 company-operated stores and over 100 licensed concept stores across the country. Rated by Fortune magazine this year as one of the 100 best companies to work for, the company is also known for its strong sense of corporate social responsibility.

Richard, We Have A Problem....

Tonight the Princess and I took a drive out to North Rustico Harbour for some fine food at the Blue Mussel Cafe and afterwards I was going to take a drive on the beach next to Court Bros. Deep Sea Fishing.... but I was afraid one of those nasty "conservation officers" might be around the corner packing their guns and handing out tickets to the hundreds of people who drive on this beach everyday... in fact there is even a "beach parking sign" where you enter the beach encouraging people to park on the beach... at least the Tourists who support our local economy could plead "innocent" based on the signage but that wouldn't mean a hill of beans to those boys on the 4th floor of the Jones Building... now I'm all for keeping non commercial vehicles off the beaches but why don't we give out some "warning tickets" before we actually proceed with a ticket and a fine... and why on this Gentle Island do our conservation officers have to be "packing guns".... Houston, We Have A Problem...
Beach parking tickets anger western Islanders
Friday, July 31, 2009
CBC News
P.E.I. conservation officers are cracking down on the common, but illegal, practice of driving on the beaches in West Prince.
Officer Wade Mackinnon told CBC News Thursday people driving their cars and ATVs on the beaches has been a problem for years.
"In West Prince it seems to be more of an issue," Mackinnon said. "People seem to think they have the right to be out here. It's been a family activity that they've enjoyed for years and years and years."
But driving on beaches is illegal, a law put in place to protect sand dunes and endangered species. Last year the eight conservation officers handed out 24 tickets. With peak beach season here again, they are back patrolling the beaches.
"We're getting complaints from conservation groups; we're getting complaints from cottage owners," Mackinnon said.
'I knew nothing about the rules'
Some people who are having years of family tradition disrupted are complaining as well.
"We were simply sitting here, watching our grandchildren, so I still don't know what we've really done wrong," said Paula Gavin.
Gavin and her family are from Christopher Cross, north of Tignish. Her husband, son and daughter were fined a total of $620 for driving on Phee Beach, something her family had been doing for 50 years. She said she never had any idea what she was doing was against the law.
"I have never read it anywhere; I have never seen a sign; I knew nothing about the rules and regulations of the beach," Gavin said.
Mackinnon said signs have been put up, but are usually torn down immediately. He said people should know by now it's against the law.
But Gavin says more needs to be done to tell people. And now a 50-year family tradition has been ruined. The Gavins have not been back to Phee Beach since they were fined.