Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's hard to believe....

OMG... maybe we could put Province House on a set of wheels and move it down to Victoria Park and save it from this tragedy!!!

Surely Mr. MacNutt, Q.C. can't be serious here and I'm hoping Kathleen is just humouring us with her comments... hopefully some pictures with the Hotel in the background will get out there and confirm to rest of the people in Canada that we're making progress here on PEI... of course us mere lower class citizens couldn't appreciate the wisdom of Mr. MacNutt's license to own the franchisee on what's appropriate for the design in our City so maybe we should just accept his great wisdom...

Hotel dominates P.E.I.'s Province House: author
Charlottetown city officials made a mistake by allowing the new Homburg hotel to overshadow the historic view of Province House, says the author of a new book on legislatures in the Maritimes.

James Macnutt, author of Building for Democracy, wants the city to take steps to protect the remaining backdrop. The view coming up Great George Street from the waterfront to Province House has changed little since the Fathers of Confederation made the walk in 1864. The only backdrop was the sky.

But over the summer the new 10-storey Homburg hotel began to dominate the skyline behind Province House. It will be P.E.I.'s tallest building, and the only one visible behind the provincial legislature building.

"I'm deeply disappointed. I think the citizens of Charlottetown should be deeply disappointed that that building was allowed to go there," said Macnutt.

"It is inappropriate in the location: its scale, its mass, its overall appearance."

Mayor Clifford Lee is surprised people are raising this issue now. Lee said there were public meetings, and he believes the city has struck a balance between protecting heritage and moving forward. "Do I think Province House should be a special case, compared to what?" he asked.

"Province House is an important building in downtown Charlottetown but there are many other important buildings in downtown Charlottetown."

House Speaker Kathleen Casey has control over Province House but not outside the grounds. She hopes something will be done to prevent more high buildings from overshadowing the landmark.

"As one of the most prominent buildings in Prince Edward Island, some consideration should be taken in the future," said Casey.

For now, people looking for a picture of Province House with only sky in the background can still get it, but they will have to shoot from the southwest corner.

"It Soon Won't Cost Us Anything".... says Bernard

If we all subscribed to Councillor Bernard's notion that "The more you buy, the cheaper the price gets," then why wouldn't the City just buy more "so it wouldn't cost us anything"... well I agree that my statement is pretty silly but what I believe is even sillier is the notion that the City needs to buy any new snow removal equipment in the first place.

Simply put there isn't a snowball's chance in hell that it would ever make any financial or economic sense for the City to be doing their own snow removal in the first place... there are hundreds of small private contractors with equipment running idle in the winter who could easily be contracted to do the work much cheaper than the City trying to run their own snow removal operation.... Sobey's, Loblaw's, Canadian Tire, Sears, Rio-Can (Ch'town Mall), Plazacorp, etc... all large property owners, who can well afford to buy their own snow removal equipment, use private operators because it's cheaper and I can pretty much guarantee you that their lots are cleaned far ahead of our City Streets...

It's time the City started to manage their affairs as opposed to building some snow removal enterprise at the expense of our taxpayers.... the only "piggybacking" done here was Councillor Bernard getting his picture in the paper!!!

Charlottetown saves on snow clearing gear

The City of Charlottetown has saved a pile of money on clearing piles of snow by doing some bulk shopping with the provincial government.

A new payloader, snow blower and snowplow for the city were included in the deal, part of a tender that included heavy equipment for the province.

Coun. Terry Bernard, chair of the city's public works committee, told CBC News Monday he talked to Transportation Minister Ron MacKinley about joint projects that could save both levels of government money, and MacKinley suggested a joint tender.

It saved the city $65,000.

"The more you buy, the cheaper the price gets," said Bernard.

"We piggybacked off the province because the province was putting in orders also. Ron and I are discussing something else now that could save us thousands."

Bernard said the new equipment is ready for the next snowfall.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hooray there Olive...

Finally someone is cluing into the fact that most Islanders are in favour of Sunday Shopping and I've never really understood why our Government hasn't bought into this concept. I'm pleased to see Olive thinking about something other than PNP's as I thought she was going to ride that ghost into oblivion.... bottom line here is the Standing Committee heard lots of evidence in favour of Sunday Shopping and not allowing it is in keeping with a parochial way of thinking... allowing the stores to open Sunday doesn't force businesses to open as they can decide for themselves... and it doesn't force people to shop on Sunday if they don't want to as it's their choice to shop on Sunday or not... on a positive note if the stores were allowed to open it would provide some extra jobs into our economy and it will more than likely help lure some more National retailers to our Province... it will be interesting to see who votes in favour of staying open as my guess is it will be the more positive members...
Crane plans last-ditch bill on Sunday shopping

Published on November 22nd, 2010
The Guardian
Wayne Thibodeau

Opposition Leader Olive Crane is about to make one last-ditch attempt at stopping Premier Robert Ghiz from forcing the doors of private retailers to close on Sundays.

Crane will push ahead with a private member's bill on Tuesday that, if passed, will amend the Retail Business Holidays Act to allow for year-round Sunday shopping.

The current law allows Sunday shopping from Victoria Day in May to Christmas Day in December but prohibits larger retailers from opening in the months of January, February, March, April and most of May.

Similar laws in other provinces have been struck down as unconstitutional.

"We constantly hear from people across the province that governments shouldn't be telling the businesses when they can open and when they cannot open," Crane told The Guardian.

"(The private member's bill) will allow if businesses choose not to open, that's fine, and people will respect that but it just gives that freedom."

Earlier this month, the Island premier said he was not prepared to change the law, which means Sunday shopping will come to an end this year on Dec. 19, 2010.

Crane said an all-party committee of the P.E.I. legislature travelled the province to seek opinions on Sunday shopping. That committee recommended the province get out of the business of telling private business when they can open their doors.

"Let's not forget that this winter we have the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, we have the Jack Frost Festival, we have the ECMAs, not to mention that this is something that Islanders want," Crane said.

P.E.I. remains the last province not to allow Sunday shopping.

Ghiz said in a year-end interview last year that they were going to look at the revenue received from taxes to see whether the province is losing revenue when the stores remain shuttered in January, February, March, April and part of May.

That review has never been made public.

"If we discover that there are people that when it's not available are travelling to Moncton and we're losing out on dollars leaving our province we'll re-look at it," Ghiz said last December. "But for now, this seems to be a good compromise."

The Opposition leader she she'll be allowing a free vote on the Opposition side of the house and she is calling on the P.E.I. premier to allow his MLAs to vote how they want on the government-side of the house.

First reading of the private member's bill will be held on Tuesday.

Crane said the premier is calling for true debate on the floor of the P.E.I. legislature so this is his chance. She wants to hear why the premier has gone completely against his own standing committee's recommendations.

"All we're saying is the government shouldn't tell business when they can open and when they can't," said Crane.

"Before the house closes, we could have lot of people really happy about this act."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Not fair there.... Chief Bernard

So I guess the main question here is where was Chief Darlene Bernard and the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq Band members and rest of the Shareholders of the Company today????

I know where Bobby Jamieson and all the other hard working sub trades that built the project with "their" own money where... they were there looking for answers from Chief Bernard and the Band Council who should have been there themselves with some kind of a proposal in place for the small creditors or at the very least to explain themselves...

Surely the Band Council are going to come forward with something for the small creditors prior to any further production at that facility or is it just going to end up in the same hands at the cost of the small hard working sub contractor some of whom may not survive ... it doesn't seem fair!!!

If the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq Band doesn't have a legal responsibility to pay Minigoo's bills don't they have a moral one as I'm sure if the shoe was on the other foot they'd be at the front of the line.... and if you don't believe me just ask Jack MacAndrew!

Minigoo creditors find cupboard is bare

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
CBC News
Creditors of the failed Minigoo Fisheries in P.E.I. found out Tuesday there is virtually no money left to pay them the millions they are owed collectively.

Minigoo Fisheries, the only entirely native-owned lobster processing plant in the Maritimes, filed for bankruptcy in August after operating for just four months.

The company, owned by the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq band, owes creditors $5.8 million, according to documents received from the Superintendent of Bankruptcies in Halifax.

The Bank of Montreal is the largest creditor and is owed about $2.7 million. Even after the bank sells of Minigoo's assets, it will still be out approximately $1.6 million, according to trustee Grant Thornton's report.

Thornton staff met with the creditors behind closed doors Tuesday in Summerside.

Aaron Gallant, co-owner of Watertight Pumping and Heating, was responsible for the plumbing at Minigoo Fisheries. His unpaid bill is about $55,000.

"They told me what to do, I did it. I did what they said, I did what the managers said to the best of my ability," he told CBC News on Tuesday.

"I don't know what else we could have done different."

The lobster processing plant on Lennox Island, on the north coast of P.E.I., opened on May 1. The company was the pride of Lennox Island Chief Darlene Bernard, who said at the time it represented a prosperous future for her people.

Bernard was not at the creditors' meeting Tuesday.

In the months that it was open, Minigoo Fisheries operated at a loss of $1.2 million.

Danny Tweel, who represented several creditors at the meeting, said there was a litany of management problems at the plant. Tweel said one of his clients told him the plant threw out $85,000 worth of lobster on one occasion.

"They'd frozen it raw, didn't put it in proper saline solution and then, when they opened it up to process, it wasn't processable," he said. Minigoo Fisheries is owned by the Lennox Island Mi'kmaq band. (CBC)

"That sort of thing leads to a situation that shows that there's obviously a lack of planning or proper management."

The trustee acknowledged that creditors who are owed money will incur substantial losses because of Minigoo's bankruptcy and said it may have dire consequences on their businesses.

Bobby Jamieson, owner of Jamieson Electric and Refrigeration, installed the refrigeration units at the plant and is owed $182,000.

"We paid all our people for working up there. We paid all our suppliers and we're going to continue to do that," he said after the meeting.

"We're not like them. Our company is not like theirs, we're going to pay our bills. They don't pay theirs."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I Love You, Man....

I had a "little chat" with my good friend Minister Vessey today about my previous post, which he was probably disappointed with, but like I said to him... "I Love You, Man"... in fact I don't know anyone who works harder at the job of representing their constituents than he does and he brings this same spirit to work as our Province's Tourism Minister... but please stop hanging around with those "spin doctors" in your Department....

"Everyone" knows your Department hit a home run with Regis and Kelly and that our Province got a "major bang for their buck" with this promo but whoever in your Department felt they should throw out a press release saying it was worth $22.6 million was only trying to stroke the Department’s ego...

I like how Businessman John Bragg reacted this week when the media were demanding he disclose the dollar amount he donated to UPEI in the name of our great Islander David Rodd... after a number of attempts Mr. Bragg's response was "well, it's more than $10."... Mr. Bragg really didn't have to throw out the amount to prove anything but he did prove to me that he's a class act and he didn't have to banter the amount of his donation around to prove it....

Minister Vessey is a class act “meat and potatoes type guy” and while I’m sure “they” would like to change him to a “foie gras and risotto type man”... I’m pretty sure he’ll stick to the “bread and butter” common sense that got him elected... Like I said in my previous post I'm always entertained when I see one of those press releases from our Tourism Department...

“I Love You, Man.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Smoke and Mirrors Show...

My God this is too funny... is there some kind of brain washing chair they put those new Tourism Ministers in or is it just dizziness from the travel to China but how do you get "$22.6 million and counting" out of a TV show unless you're counting with monopoly money... surely it had to be a "consultant" who came up with these figures as it couldn't be one of those geniuses who work in our Tourism Department briefing the Minister?

But on the other hand maybe we could merger the Department of Agriculture with Tourism as a way of getting more value out of our potato industry. Just think of it this way. The latest figures I could find on PEI’s Agriculture’s web site to show how many potatoes we produce is for the year 2003 when Island potato producers planted 106,000 acres of potatoes which produced 26 million hundredweights (cwts) of potatoes or 2.6 billion pounds. The report goes on to say that the farm value of the potato crop is subject to large fluctuations but in the last five years values have ranged from 139.9 to 218 million dollars. So if the Agriculture “lads” reported to Tourism then they could use the .80 cents a pound we pay for "new potatoes" in grocery stores as a base line and "poof" we'd have a $2 Billion dollar potato industry... and then all our farmers would have enough money to join our Provincial golf courses.... and so on an so on!!!!

No, seriously.... I shouldn't be poking fun at these "guys and gals" as they just found a solution to bail out Ch'town's Cirque show with the $22.6 they saved us... now if they took $5 million of that and had advertised "Kenny Rogers" for Basil in S'Side then we wouldn't have had a bust their either.... and how about bringing "Alanis" back....

It's always entertaining waiting for the latest spin from the "Smoke and Mirrors Show" at Tourism....

P.E.I. government says Regis and Kelly visit worth millions in economic impact

Published on November 5th, 2010

The Prince Edward Island government says the media and marketing value of Live! with Regis and Kelly this summer has reached $22.6 million and counting.

Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa took their New York-based show to Charlottetown in July for four episodes.

The province spent $800,000 to attract the show, while the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency contributed another $200,000.

Tourism Minister Robert Vessey says the objective was to promote the Island as a culinary and vacation destination.

During the week the show aired, Prince Edward Island ranked number two in the top Google searches in the United States, and the number of visitors to the PEI Tourism website doubled.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Maybe it's just a full moon... or the media!

Just when I thought people were coming to their senses in Stratford with the election of a very capable David Dunphy out pops this foolishness of a "Downtown" again... hopefully not the one that was schemed up by the "clowns" from Ekistics Planning Design Group back in 2008 (see my earlier post http://www.timbanks.ca/2008/04/why-toy-with-success.html ) or is it just the local CBC media with another silly story that has no legs...

I do believe the part where CADC is buying the land as I understand they were being forced into it from a previous agreement (involving CGI) with the owner that CADC signed back in Minister Mike Currie's day when he was "in charge"... but that’s no reason to proceed with the execution of the "Downtown" scheme unless it makes financial sense and that's where I can't imagine the new Mayor buying into such an elaborate scheme... I also find it strange that the CAO would be speaking about the development direction of the new Council when they haven't even been sworn in or have had their first meeting... I hope the COA's idea of a new skate board park the Mayor spoke about during his campaign is not this multi-million dollar roadway to nowhere.... maybe it's just a full moon...

Stratford looks to build downtown

Wednesday, November 3, 2010
CBC News

With seven hectares of land available for development on its waterfront, the mayor-elect of Stratford, P.E.I. wants to make sure the town gets it right.

The property, now occupied by the Southport Motel, is about to be purchased by the Charlottetown Area Development Corporation.

"It's probably the prime, in our view anyway, the prime piece of commercial development land in the greater Charlottetown area right now," Robert Hughes, the chief administrative officer for the town, told CBC News Tuesday.

The plans are to put in three roads, carving out three city blocks. The first road will be built off Stratford Road, beside the CGI building.

"It'll be a wider road with parking on both sides, there will be trees and benches, and underground wiring and street lights," said Hughes.

"You'll probably see something like townhouses on the left-hand side as you go down the new road, and on the right-hand side you'll see buildings that are a mix of residential and commercial."

Hughes said a boardwalk along the waterfront will give people a panoramic view of the harbour.

Mayor-elect David Dunphy, who won office Monday night, has yet to take office but Tuesday he was briefed on the plans. Dunphy said it is important to make the area attractive.

"I understand it's private property and they can develop it, but as a town [we] have to really ensure that we retain as much green space as possible because once it's developed, we can't get it back," he said.

Residents will have a say in the development, he promised. The design work for the first phase will likely be done over the winter, with construction starting in the spring.

Speaking of Crazies... and "Leo" comes to mind...

If you were wondering who the "crazy" was behind this disrespectful "white poppy" campaign and you guessed "Leo Broderick" then you would be 100% correct... I'm surprised one of our veteran's hasn't given him a "poppy" in the face...

I see this as a cheap publicity stunt on the backs of legitimate veterans and their very fragile institutions the Legions. The very few veterans, still alive, who have paid a huge price with great personal sacrifice should not be taken advantage of in such a cheap manner.

I have always visited a cenotaph on Remember Day, proudly wearing a Red Poppy, not because I am promoting war, but “to remember” the huge price veterans like my Dad have paid to defend our Country.

Leo is “The Grinch” that wants to steal our Veterans legitimate Honour and Pride on Remembrance Day. If he should be promoting anything in these “times of conflict” it should be to have our Remembrance Day declared a Canadian statutory holiday so everyone has an opportunity to remember and reflect on where we go in the future....

Legion threatens to sue P.E.I. distributor of white poppies

The Royal Canadian Legion is considering legal action following a controversial white poppy campaign in Prince Edward Island.

Jim Ross, provincial president for the Legion’s P.E.I. command, says the distribution of white poppies by the Island Peace Committee is not only disrespectful, but likely a breach of trademark.

“The use of the poppy for anything other than remembrance is not acceptable,” Ross said Tuesday of the white poppies, which are intended to represent non-violent conflict resolution.

“We don’t condone this. A poppy is a registered trademark of the Legion and it’s owned by Dominion Command.”

Legion spokesman Bob Butt said Tuesday that action has been taken to shut down the white poppies.

“We have sent the distributors of the white poppy an email saying cease and desist . . . and if they don’t, then we will consider further legal action because it is an infringement on our trademark,” Butt said. “The poppy itself is trademarked by the Legion - in all colours.”

Leo Broderick of the Island Peace Committee said he was “not familiar” with any trademark issues, adding that the program - which he sees as a compliment to the Legion’s annual efforts - is in its third year in P.E.I.

“We don’t mass produce them, we don’t have a trademark on the white poppy,” Broderick said. “We just produce them on white paper and distribute them and people like to wear them.”

Broderick said the white poppies are not a funding campaign.

“It began because local people wanted to have the option to wear a white poppy. It’s not a challenge to the red poppy.”

“Personally, it’s a slap in the face,” said John Yeo, president of the Charlottetown Legion

Yeo said he has no idea why the Island Peace Committee would use the poppy emblem.

“You ask any veteran if they rather be at war or at peace. 100 per cent would say peace.”

Broderick said white poppies are “a long tradition” that dates back to 1926 when women affected by war started to campaign to represent non-violent solutions.

The committee’s campaign will distribute white poppies throughout P.E.I in support of peace and non-violent resolutions. Donations received from the white poppies will be going towards the Island Peace Committee’s education purposes.

He said the high rate of civilian casualties are a big motivation behind the white poppies.

“I don’t think (it’s disrespectful),” Broderick said. “Most of the people I talk to believe the red poppy symbolizes the respect we need to pay for those (soldiers) who died (in war), but the white poppy goes beyond and asks that all people who have died as a result of war be remembered.”

Ross does not think the white poppies will have a negative impact on the Legion’s annual drive, noting he has yet to see a white poppy on anybody’s jacket.

Ross said the usage of the poppy was only used to create controversy.

“It’s the degradation of the remembrance symbol of our country and I just don’t have time for that.”

He said he didn’t have a problem with people wearing the white poppy even though he would consider it silly.

Broderick said it wasn’t a big issue to the Island Peace Committee.

“I’m not aware of the legal issues here. There is no copyright to what we produce.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Calling all "peelers"...

I remember a numbers of years ago when I was deep into the Superstore wars at IRAC and I had come up with some crazy idea to have a manure spreader painted in IRAC's corporate colours and have it hauled around the block where IRAC offices are located in Downtown Charlottetown. I went so far as buying the spreader, painting it green and ordering up some manure as a symbol of what IRAC dishes out. Unfortunately I was thwarted by my lawyer of the day Bill Lea who had up and left the hearings in the middle of the case because he was frustrated with IRAC's process... I always felt cheated out of this "stunt" as we had spent about $300,000 in professional fees in our attempt to open a simple Superstore in Charlottetown and I wanted at least get some “fun” out of it.

Sharon Labchuk is no stranger to stunts and most Islanders remember when she had the picture taken of her "nude" in the middle of a potato field... and I can also remember her at the opening of the Greenwich National Park when she organized a bunch of teenagers to dress up as ghosts implying the world was going to end with the opening of the Interpretive Centre.

Well Sharon Baby maybe it time to revert back to your "peeling" days as you're bang on that the boys at IRAC are "pastured out, political backroom boys" and the only way you're going to get their attention is "peel it all off" and if you do “I promise” I'll drive the manure spreader around the block myself....

P.S. Sharon, I think you're crazier than I am....

Shooting range 'rubber stamped,' residents complain

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

People in central P.E.I. made a passionate plea Tuesday morning to have a nearby shooting range shut down.

Sigrid Rolfe and Sharon Labchuk are appealing the government's approval of the Big Boot Gun Club in South Granville at a hearing of the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission.

They criticized the provincial government's approval process for the range, saying it was "rubber stamped" and their pleas for public hearings were ignored.

Labchuk and Rolfe told the hearing that residents are worried about bullets causing lead contamination of the area's water supply. They also don't like the noise of guns six days a week, and believe their properties have been devalued by the range.

Another concern is stray bullets hitting people or livestock.

Labchuk said she doesn't have much hope that the hearing will change anything. With her opening statement, she criticized the tribunal as "pastured out, political backroom boys" with no power or jurisdiction.

Peter Baker, who owns property next to the shooting range, testified on Tuesday. He said he wants to build cottages on his property but the noise is an issue.

"The noise is certainly going to compromise quiet enjoyment of our property," he said.

"When tourists come to the island, it's sold as a gentle island and I mean, I don't think the sound of gun fire in any case is something that people would expect if they came to a resort or a cottage for quiet enjoyment for their summer vacation."

Baker said an investor in his cottage project has questions and concerns about the shooting range.

The hearing continues Wednesday.