Friday, August 27, 2010

What A Joke... maybe a "dinosaur award"...

For those of you in the public who were to busy with real things to do and didn't have a chance to delve into the Bowels of IRAC to listen to the gas bar hearings then here's what the Gas Dealer's Dale Mader had to say... “What about the people that live at either end of the Island?”... well Dale, in the real world of free enterprise they would more than likely drive into a bustling community like Tignish or Souris to get their gas and if you really think about it a new gas bar in Stratford is not going to make a bit of difference and you don't have to be a rocket scientist like those political flunkies at IRAC to figure that out. Just think about this. At one point during the "Hearings" there were at least 8 lawyers, 3 commissioners (a couple of which earn over $100,000 a year) and at least 4 Commission staff talking about the silliness of "proving the necessity" of a gas bar before someone is allowed to build one... IRAC is almost an industry on its own for high priced lawyers and political appointments.... there was not one single soul "from the public" who voiced their concerns about these new proposed gas bars being allowed to open... I'm thinking that the Captain of the Don't Get Ahead Gang (Allan Rankin) should draft Dale Mader on to his Team or at the very least put him up for this year's very allusive "dinosaur award".... Why shouldn't the people of Stratford have another gas bar option and why shouldn't Islanders get some benefits of lower gas prices when competition is allowed to prevail.. remember Mr. Mader is being paid by the existing gas bar operators to prevent competition so what else would you expect him to say...

Regulation serves Islanders well, P.E.I. gasoline retailers say
The Guardian
August 26th, 2010
The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission has been doing a good job for Islanders, says a representative for the P.E.I. Gasoline Retailers Association.
Dale Mader made the remark in response to APM president Tim Banks’ criticism of IRAC on Monday during the final day of a hearing on two applications to open gas stations in Stratford.
Mader said regulation has been around for a long time and IRAC has been following the mandate the provincial government gave it.
“I think the process has served Islanders very well for many years,” he said.
During his appearance before the commission, Banks called IRAC a red tape regime, said it was making a mockery of free enterprise and should spend less time policing things it can’t control, like gasoline prices.
But Mader said Banks’ vision of free enterprise would work great in an ideal world, which doesn’t exist on P.E.I.
“The petroleum market is not an ideal world.”
Nova Scotia sells 10 times as much gasoline as P.E.I. while Quebec and Ontario sell tens of billions of litres more than Island stations, which sell about 200 million litres a year, he said.
Mader said people should be able to buy gas with a reasonable amount of convenience and there would be clusters of them in populated areas with none in rural areas if there wasn’t regulation, he said.
“What about the people that live at either end of the Island?”
Free enterprise could put rural stations out of business and the commission’s role is to do what’s best for Islanders, he said.
“The government has made it clear, I believe, that the Island should be treated as one Island community.”
During his appearance at the hearing, Banks said a lot of rural stations have closed despite
regulation in the industry.
Mader agreed a lot of stations have closed, but said a lot more would close without regulation because of the low volume of gas sold on P.E.I.
“The market on P.E.I. has not been growing.”
In the case of new applicants, like the ones for the Stratford stations, IRAC needs to consider the effect they would have on existing retailers because the market isn’t growing, he said.
“The bulk of what they achieve, by their own admission, will come from existing retailers.”
Mader said the free market isn’t always ideal and while regulation isn’t necessarily in place to keep businesses afloat, it is there to make sure Islanders can fill up near where they live.
“The regulation is probably more directed to make sure all Islanders, no matter where they live, have access to gasoline.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Dog Party" winners....

Great to see the "Dog Party" finally get a win after 27 years and it's probably because Terry is getting older and couldn't be bothered to throw one of the others off the boat when they were being dead weight... hopefully this smell of victory will help him pick up his golf game as I'm getting a little tired of carrying him in our partners game.... seriously guys, GREAT VICTORY!!!

Charlottetown sailing team wins Nova Scotia regatta

The Guardian,
Published on August 25th, 2010
Nathan Rochford

This year's Chester Race Week marked a special milestone for Terry McKenna and his eight man sailing crew.
For the first time in 27-years of competing in the annual regatta held in Chester, N.S., McKenna and his crew came in first.
Which, according to McKenna, is no easy feat.
"You have to be at the top of your game," McKenna said.
He added without the help of his three brothers David, Paul and Mark as well as the rest of the crew Doug Wright, Jamie Hill, Don Garrett and Ron Switzer, he wouldn't have seen the same success.
"Every one of my crew members played an integral part in us winning the regatta," he said. " It's never one person. It's everybody."
And McKenna would know. He's been sailing since he was eight-years-old.
"It's kind of in the family," he said, adding Chester Race Week isn't the only regatta he sails in.
He also competes in the Charlottetown regatta and one in Lunenburg, N.S.
However, Chester Race Week is the largest he competes in with roughly 150 boats from across Atlantic Canada and parts of the eastern United States involved.
"When we won the regatta we were really pleased," McKenna said. "We've been doing this a long time."
But this year things just seemed to fall into place.
"You have to have a good crew and the weather conditions were optimal for us," he said. "We were in a groove and we just kept going."
The placing is based on how many points a team has after a week of racing. The more times a team places first, second or third the more points they have.
McKenna and his team competed in 10 races and kept in the top three in all but two races.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Great News For Local Business....

This is great news and nice to see these guys persisting through these tough times as it's not easy trying to run an operation with this kind of pressure always in the back of your mind... let's wish them continued success....
P.E.I. auto dealership honking with joy
August 23rd, 2010
Jim Day

There is cause to honk for joy at Island Chevrolet Cadillac.
The Charlottetown dealership officially has settled a lawsuit with General Motors of Canada paving the way for ongoing operations, says co-owner Paul Mifsud.
“We are not in risk of losing our franchise,’’ Mifsud said Monday.
“We are certainly here to stay.’’
Island Chevrolet Cadillac last year joined a group of Canadian General Motor dealerships that sued the auto giant for millions in damages for alleged contract breaches and sought a court injunction to stop GM from terminating their franchises.
Eleven long-time southern Ontario dealers and Island Chevrolet Cadillac filed a statement of claim in Ontario court in late November alleging that GM ended their franchise agreements in a “highhanded, oppressive and patently unfair’’ manner. They alleged GM breached a contract that the company promised to renew as long as the dealerships met certain performance expectations.
The dealers said at the time they wanted a permanent injunction to prohibit GM from ending their agreements and a declaration entitling them to remain open for at least another five years.
Mifsud did not disclose any details of the settlement. He said only that the deal is good news for Island Chevrolet Cadillac and the dealership’s 34 employees.
“It’s quite a celebration,’’ he said.
“We’re having lunch catered for them (staff) today...we have a lot of happy faces here.’’

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Not Enough Wind In His Sails....

Well this should make the race interesting but I doubt if it will be that close... there are only two real candidates here that have any chance of tweaking the delegates interest and that would be Crane and Ballem... my guest is Crane has a big head start and will likely win but the late entry of the "old guard" shows there is some dissention within the Tory party especially when you see Mike Currie backing Ballem... I'll predict that Crane will win on the second ballot as Ballem doesn't have enough wind in his sails to power up the party.....

Ballem joins P.E.I. Tory leadership race
Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Jamie Ballem put to rest days of speculation Wednesday by confirming that he has joined the race to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of P.E.I.

Calling it the "hardest decision I've ever had to make," Ballem said he waited until almost the last minute to file his nomination papers, getting them in just before the deadline on Friday.
"It's been back and forth. One day I was absolutely going, the next day not. It was never a case of, 'Can I do the job?' or 'Do I want the job?' but really, 'Where can I make the best contribution?"

Ballem is a familiar face in Prince Edward Island politics. He was an MLA from 1996 to 2007 and served as environment minister under former premier Pat Binns. He lost his seat in the 2007 elections and soon after opened an energy company to promote the development of wind power.

Ballem said he has the experience to run the party and the province, and would make economic development his top priority.

"How can we get businesses and our kids to come back home? How can we provide them with opportunities?" he said Wednesday. "I think that's what we have to do. We have to build the economy, we have to diversify as much as we can."

Ballem's bid means Island Tories will have five leadership candidates to choose from; Jamie Fox, Olive Crane, Fred McCardle and Peter Lewellyn are also running in the leadership race.
Some party faithful have already hailed Ballem as just what the party needs. Mike Currie, an MLA who many pinned as a potential candidate himself, has thrown his support behind Ballem.
"I've always found him to be honest,… dedicated to rural P.E.I. He'll listen. Those are the values I believe in, and I support him."

Another of Ballem's supporters is his mother, Myrtle. At first she didn't want him to get back into politics, but she said she eventually came around. "I was very proud of what he did when he was in power," she said. "I said, 'You left your mark. Is there any more to be done?' and he said, 'There's a lot more to be done.' So I back him."

Ballem's late entry into the race means he will have to work hard to catch up on the campaign trail. The party's leadership convention takes place in early October.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It Appears We're Missed The Boat...

If anyone wonders why I keep harping about why our Government should have unloaded our golf courses three years ago should read the following article.... it appears we've missed the boat...
Golf clubs suffer in recession as membership dwindles
By Jon Swartz,
August 3, 2010
For $6,000 a year, Tom Bennett enjoyed the privileges of being a member of an exclusive, private golf course in northeast New Jersey. He golfed pristine grounds and reveled in socializing with other duffers.
But last year, Bennett ended his six-year membership at the private Stanton Ridge Golf and Country Club in Whitehouse Station, N.J.
"Cost was part of it, but service had fallen and upkeep was suffering because membership was down, a death spiral if you will," says Bennett, 48, who runs a financial-management consulting firm in California but still owns a house at the club.
"The recession (hurt) membership, and that affected the social aspect," Bennett says. "With fewer people and dues, the club didn't do as good a job taking care of non-golf parts of the course." As Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and other members of golf's royalty prepare to tee off at the PGA Championship — the fourth, and final, major championship of 2010 — in Wisconsin next week, the business of golf faces an economic outlook that is sinking like a downhill putt.
Recession-battered golf courses aren't just coping with lighter crowds. Some are edging perilously close to bankruptcy. Courses from Florida to Arizona, where golfing was once a daily exercise, face major cutbacks or foreclosure.
Myrtle Beach, S.C., a once-booming 70-mile strip of beachfront property nicknamed "Golftown, USA," has been hit especially hard: Where there were about 125 golf courses in 2006, there are now around 100.
"It's just a shakeout of golf," says Donald Wizeman, CEO of Myrtle Beach Golf Association, which produces a website for golfers traveling to Myrtle Beach. "The real estate market is so depressed here."
Things are just as bleak in Arizona. Eight golf courses in the Phoenix area have gone through foreclosure or bankruptcy since commercial properties started facing serious financial problems in 2008, according to, a real estate analysis firm. Many more are reducing their hours this summer, says Tom Stine, co-founder of market researcher Golf Datatech.
Billy Peterson, general manager of the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., worries that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico could worsen matters for courses in the region.
The root of the problem is stark: Most people just can't afford the luxury of a $100 to $400 round of golf, nor do they have the time — several hours — to complete an 18-hole round. Businesses are cutting back on golf-related expenses for executives. Travelers who once plunked down gobs of cash to golf in exotic locales are passing up golf vacations.
The cumulative effect has squeezed revenue at private golf courses and country clubs.
Today, golf is in the deep rough. Consider:
•The number of golfers fell about 3% nationally in 2008 from 2007, while the number of "core golfers" — those who play eight or more rounds a year — fell 4.5%, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF).
•Private-club memberships stand at 2.1 million — 900,000 below the peak of 3 million in the early 1990s. (There are 27.1 million golfers in the U.S. now, down from 30 million in 2005, the NGF says.)
•Golf rounds played nationally to date this year are down 3%, according to Golf Datatech.
•Sales at private golf courses and country clubs — which include membership fees, equipment, merchandise and food, for example — were down 3% last year, and things are expected to be worse this year, says Sageworks, a company that tracks private businesses' sales.
Consequently, as many as 15% of the roughly 4,400 private clubs nationwide reported serious financial challenges, and at least 500 are scrambling to raise their cash flow, according to a recent survey by the NGF.
Private clubs lost an estimated 5% to 15% of their members last year, costing clubs, on average, $187,000 in annual dues, says Jim Koppenhaver, president of golf-consulting firm Pellucid.
He cautions that at least 400 — and worst case, 1,000 — private clubs will have to close, convert to public play, or be absorbed into healthier clubs before "some semblance of balance returns to the private club market," he says.
Last year, 140 of the nation's roughly 16,000 golf courses closed, while 50 new courses opened, the NGF says.
"The U.S. is clearly in a correctional phase," says Greg Cory, a longtime golf consultant who worked on 75 to 100 projects a year during the go-go days of the 1990s. He has not handled a domestic job the past three years.
"The big challenge is (for) courses driven by real estate, which represented about 65% of new construction in the peak development years," Cory says. "When the homeowners/members cease to support the course because of demographic shifts and increasing costs, how do you capitalize on the value of the land?"
A generational gap?
Golf's current state is a disquieting fall from the early 1990s, when Baby Boomers in their 20s and 30s took up the game. The number of golfers in the U.S. soared then to 25 million from 20 million, presaging a dizzying escalation in golf course construction.
But that very buildup went too far, Cory and others say. When the economy and the real estate market cratered, it hastened the downturn of an industry already faltering.
The rough patch predates the tabloid-tinged travails of Tiger Woods. Golf's popularity has been steadily declining for more than a decade. Woods boosted golf's popularity and ratings on TV, but that didn't translate to an increase in golfers.
A host of issues, both practical and societal, bedevil private courses, says Hud Hinton, CEO of Troon Golf, which manages 160 golf facilities worldwide, 51 of them private.
Once havens for well-to-do scions of the community, private clubs now face withering competition for the money and time of younger consumers, Hinton says. The under-40 crowd works harder and prefers to spend their limited leisure time with family members at facilities with fitness rooms and spas — accoutrements often lacking at private courses, he says.
"It's become a Catch-22," Hinton says. "There are a number of clubs that need facilities to appeal to a younger demographic, but they just don't have the capital to build them."
Many teens and twentysomethings also prefer doodling on an iPhone, iPad, Wii or Facebook over playing golf six to seven hours. "In this era of instant gratification, that's too long," Wizeman says. "Kids play video games indoors and can excel. Golf is outside and hard."
What's more, participation in tennis, yoga, pilates and weightlifting over the past few years is up — reflecting the popularity of physical exercise that is less expensive and time consuming, according to national organizations representing those activities.
Jennifer Reuting, a 26-year-old tech entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, wanted to take up golfing as a way to network with other business executives. But the price tag for membership at an exclusive club there — $100,000 a year — was too much.
David Carlson, 27, a public-relations specialist in Chicago, says time constraints preclude him from playing more.
Compounding the industry's woes is the decision by some lenders to shut off funding to golf properties "under any circumstances," says Roger Garrett, head of the golf-properties group at Phoenix-basedbrokerage firm Insight Land and Investments.
Indeed, the trio of lenders that once provided the majority of financing for golf courses nationally — GE Capital, Textron Financial and Capmark Financial Group— "have closed their doors" to buyers, Garrett said.
Wilson Gee, who owns four golf courses — three of them public — in the Phoenix area, says gaining private members the past two years has been "non-existent." Gee calls the industry's current slump the "worst" he's seen in his nearly two decades in the business. "Phoenix used to be an extreme example (of golf's problems because it has so many courses). Now it's nationwide."
"Golf is very expensive. It requires a lot of discretionary income, which is hard for a family to deal with," Gee says.
Deals, deals, deals
There is an upside to golf's dip. In their aggressive bids to retain or draw consumers, private and public golf courses are more willing than ever to lower greens (playing) fees or waive fees for new members.
Private courses in the Phoenix area are offering deals and more deals to attract golfers.
Greens fees at tony Arizona Biltmore Golf Club, in the heart of Phoenix, are just $39. A summer pass is $250. Plenty of Internet specials can be had at its website,
Troon North Golf Club in nearby Scottsdale is now offering $400-per-summer memberships.
Last year, the private The Golf Club of Cape Cod in Massachusetts decided to freeze its $85,000 initiation fee because the club had trouble attracting new members. As a result, it gained 43 members, who must pay the fee within three years or leave, says Charles Passios, chief operating officer of the club.
PGA National Resort & Spa, a complex of five private golf courses in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is offering preview memberships that, for up to 60 days, let you use the private club with an option to join.
"Golf membership is a luxury, so you have to seriously think about it during tough economic times," says Kathy Blazer, general manager of the members club. Nonetheless, she says memberships at its private clubs are up.
"It's still the game of golf," says Blazer, who notes that many of the club's 3,500 members are traveling on vacation less and spending more time at the facility. "Once you start playing it, you fall in love with it."
Despite its woes, the sport remains a huge draw on TV and a hit among advertisers. Only the NFL topped the PGA Tour in advertising sold on network and cable TV last year, according to Nielsen. (The PGA Tour declined to say how much.) The tour's aggregate TV audience is doing swimmingly because of more hourly coverage on ESPN, the three major networks and the Golf Channel.
What's more, prize money is slightly up this year ($275 million). The PGA Tour has added 15 title sponsors since 2009, including Travelers Insurance and Zurich Financial Services. And the tour's charitable contributions — a key indicator of its financial health — should be $116 million to $118 million in 2010, topping last year, says Ty Votaw, executive vice president of communications and international affairs for the PGA Tour.
At the same time, the real estate meltdown, an oversaturated domestic golf course market and an iffy lending climate have prompted course designers to eschew the U.S. and build courses overseas in hot spots such as China, South Korea, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America, says Chad Ritterbusch, executive director of the American Society of Golf Course Architects. The organization represents 185 golf-course designers in the U.S. and Canada.
"You have countries around the globe whose standards of living have increased in recent years, and continue to rise," he says. "Golf course development tends to mirror standard-of-living increases and tourism."
Future golf courses may have fewer holes to save costs and appeal to the time constraints of younger golfers, he says.
"Golf has to think out of the box," Ritterbusch says. "It has to adapt to the times."
Here's the article