Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hon. Jerome Kennedy speaking to Clarenville Chamber of Commerce

On Feb 29, 2012 the Hon. Jerome Kennedy spoke to the Clarenville Chamber of Commerce to outline his government's position on the proposed Muskrat Falls Hydro project. There has been a lot of controversy over the proposed project's viability and with its $6.2 billion price tag it carries with it a large risk of cost overruns.

Regardless of the merits on this option, the island will need power, and it has to come from one source or another. Each option carries a significant price tag.

Some Stats on Muskrat Falls:

  • Will provide 824 MW (Megawatts) of power
  • Estimated cost - $6.2 Billion
  • Could be online by 2017
  • Refurbishing Holyrood Generating Station will be as costly
  • The Vale plant will consume 90 MW
  • Corner Brook's Mill uses 120MW
  • A mine in Labrador could consume 100-250 MW
  • Nova Scotia will buy 170 MW
  • 40% of the produced power will be sold on the spot market and NL will have a right to recall.
  • 80% of new homes in NL use electric heat
  • In 2020 the island will need extra power
  • NL will have 80MW of wind power in the system by 2025
  • There are 3 small hydro stations that could be built on the island

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Burin Peninsula Takes Partnership Lead

 Handshake : Handshake background
This week, there will be a pretty impressive meeting happening on the Burin Peninsula.  A Burin Peninsula Joint Council will be formed consisting of all towns on the peninsula.  For the past two years, a number of organizations have been working to put this together. It's pretty impressive. The Burin Peninsula consists of very diverse and dispersed communities. And they're like a family - they fight with each other but they know when to make up.

In many cases, partnerships are formed because they must be (such as a funding requirement).  In other cases, partnerships are formed because the partners recognize they can be stronger together. But that strength only comes with a lot of work and commitment. True collaboration is difficult and egos can often get in the way. It will be interesting to watch this Joint Council take shape.

I've noticed a lot more partnerships with some towns in the Clarenville area.  The towns of Arnold's Cove, Southern Harbour, Come-By-Chance and Sunnyside seem to be collaborating a lot more and I'm betting that will pay off for them. When the latest Census information reveals that the large majority of rural NL communities continue to show sharp declines in population, there isn't a lot of choice but to band together.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Robert (Bob) Fewer - the Clarenville Business Hall of Fame

Robert (Bob) Fewer is a true Entrepreneur.  His success has been through hard work, outstanding service to customers and an uncanny ability to spot and take advantages of opportunities as they emerge.   Because of this, Clarenville Chamber inducted Bob to its Business Hall of Fame this year.  Congratulations Bob!

Here's his Bio:  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Let's Go for a Ski

Believe it or not, not everyone from Clarenville/Eastern Newfoundland is familiar with the White Hills experience.

If you're not or even if you are - here's your chance:

The Clarenville2014 NL Winter Games


Feb 18, 2012 - Greg Pittman, Chair of the NL Winter Games Clarenville Host Committee today officially launched the planning for the 2014 Winter Games in Clarenville March 1-9, 2014.

“Up to 1,500 athletes, officials and coaches will be welcomed to our town in March 2014,” says Greg. “These Winter Games will showcase everything Clarenville has to offer and will provide young people from across the province an opportunity to demonstrate their athletic skills.”

“I am thrilled to announce the members of the host committee today,” says Mr. Pittman. “The planning for a very successful games has now started and I know the committee has the determination and drive to create a wonderful opportunity for the athletes.”

In addition to announcing the members Deputy Mayor Frazer Russell. The Clarenville Area Co-op also announced a sponsorship of $100,000 in collaboration with the Clarenville Lions Club and their 50-50 draw.

“The support of the Town of Clarenville, the Clarenville Area Co-op and the Clarenville Lions Club has been incredible,” remarked Mr. Pittman. “We are so pleased to have them as partners.”

Also speaking at the launch event was the Hon. Ross Wiseman, MHA for Trinity North and Speaker of the House of Assembly, and Doug Fowler, President of SportNL.


2014 Winter Games Clarenville Host Committee members and their roles are:

Chair - Greg Pittman
Vice-Chair - Jill Monk
Treasurer - Todd Organ
Secretary – Susan Hollett
Municipal Representative - Rod Nicholl
Protocol and Ceremonies/Awards – Jill Monk
Transportation – Dustin Russell
Communication/Media Coordination – Lisa Browne
Entertainment/Culture - Denis Sullivan
Friends of the Games – Barry Colbourne
Accommodations – Craig Pardy
Promotion/Public Relations/Technology - Paul Tilley
Medical Services – Dion Park
Volunteer Services/Ambassadors – Caroline Frost
Results and Registration – Troy Mitchell
Sports, Officials, Venues & Integration - Tom Walsh
Security - Mark Balsom
Food Services, Welcoming Committee and Host Receptions – Paula Roberts

Ex-Officio Members
Garry Gosse (Town of Clarenville),
Todd Cole (Town of Clarenville),
Glenn Smith (SportNL)

For more information contact: Lisa Browne, 466-3926.

Be sure to visit and Like the Clarenville2014 Facebook page

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Winter Games 2014 - Come out to the Official Announcement on Feb 18

Clarenville Grows 14.4% in 5 Years!

2011 Census data for Clarenville (note the date error on this graphic)
We feel that Clarenville is growing - now newly released Stats.Canada Census data proves it. We've seen the official population of Clarenville rise by 14.4% in the past 5 years from 5,274 to 6,036! We are now the 13th largest town in NL with the 3rd largest growth in population.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A Pre-Budget Submission

Over 20 people showed up to the pre-budget hearings held in Arnolds Cove last week - not bad - considering.  And Clarenville, the largest and most infrastructure stressed town in the region, was not officially represented.  I always thought that was why we elect a Council and why we pay taxes to the municipality so that they can advocate for us?

Thank you to Mr. Ted Drover for taking the time and incurring the expense to speak at the hearings on a subject that should be the Town’s.   I will take your self-advocacy lead....

Attention: Hon. Tom Marshall, Minister of Finance for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador

Dear Mr. Marshall:

Clarenville is the town of note for this region of the province.  Despite the fact the Town did not make an official presentation at your pre-budget hearings, please do not take that omission as a sign that we the citizens of this community do not clearly see challenges that the Province can help us overcome.  I would like to take this opportunity to build upon the comments made by private citizen Ted Drover with my own submission.

Clarenville is the largest town in this region and it is playing an increasingly valuable role as the service centre for the region.  Many years ago, Clarenville began billing itself as "The Hub of the East Coast" - that billing is truer today than ever.  Our community’s success affects the success of the region in its ability to attract the next generation of skilled talent that will be required to develop the projects from which this province now derives an increasing proportion of its revenues.

Over the past few years, we have witnessed an unprecedented commitment by the Province towards the growth of Clarenville.  A new water treatment facility, new Events Centre, new long term care facility, new school, new money for roads have all contributed to the growth that our town enjoys today.   You have tangible proof that the strategic investments that the Province has made in the past number of years are contributing to our success as Hub community. We appreciate this commitment and we feel that we will mutually benefit if this were to continue.
As you move into the budgeting process, please give consideration to the following budgetary suggestions:   

OVERPASS at western entrance to Clarenville - As traffic volumes have picked up on the TCH through Clarenville, the number of traffic collisions on the east and west entrances to Clarenville have increased proportionately.   The western entrance has been a particularly troublesome spot with many accidents and at least one fatality.  Several stop-gap measures have been made to address the problem, including lighting the intersection and reducing the speed limit on the highway at the intersection to 70km.  The time has come to address the issue with the installation of an overpass.   Traffic volume increases, a clearly identified problem and the government's commitment to other key intersections suggest that this is the right solution to a clear and present danger.

MUNICIPAL INFRASTRUCTURE - Clarenville just turned 60 and a lot of the pipes and pavement in and on the ground here is about or beyond the same age.  Age, increasing traffic volumes, new subdivisions, and environmental demands are stressing the Town's ability to provide an acceptable level of services.   The period of restraint that the Province and Town went through further exasperated the problem because maintenance was reduced.  Clarenville needs adequate funding to finance its growth.  The Province's investment in Clarenville will pay dividends allowing for more centralization of services, a more attractive town for attracting and retaining a skilled citizens who contribute to the provincial economy, and a reduced demand for unbudgeted emergency funds.   

HOMELESSNESS - Because Clarenville is growing at such a rapid rate, there are people being displaced, or indeed left behind, by the development boom. People at the middle & lower end of the economic spectrum are being increasingly financially stressed in providing themselves and their families the very basic of needs - adequate housing.  This is a great problem - recognized in the town.  An organization known as REACH (Regional Action Committee on Housing) has been formed to help address this issue and the group's housing support worker, Tracey Coady spelled out the gravity of the issue at the Hebron Hearings held here before Christmas.  At the hearings she noted:

“Since starting this position in June, I've had to help almost 30 people with their housing needs. That is not to say that I found housing for all 30 because, unfortunately, I have not been that lucky.  I have been able to secure new housing for nine of these individuals.  For some of the others, I was able to help them sustain the places that they were already living in by preventing eviction, working with landlords to help resolve issues with rental arrears, talking landlords into going and cleaning up the mold that was in the apartments so that the tenant can stay there without suffering the health problems that they are currently experiencing, things of that nature.  But, however, there are still currently another 16 individuals on my caseload who are in desperate need of affordable housing and more on the way.  I actually have four referrals right now I'm waiting to get appointments to see these people, so that will be 20 more looking for housing.
Since the announcement of the Hebron Project, the rent prices in Clarenville and surrounding areas have pretty much gone through the roof.  We understand that nearly 3,000 workers will be employed at the Bull Arm Site.  While most of these workers will be housing at the on-site camp, it is anticipated that a significant number of new residents to the Clarenville/Arnold's Cove area will seek accommodations in these nearby communities.  The anticipation of this influx of new renters is having a dramatic, negative effect on the community. 

We need support in addressing this.

TAXATION of PROVINCIAL BUILDINGS - Clarenville, like the city of St. John's, is fortunate to have a large proportion of provincial government buildings.   The cost to the service these buildings is great, however there is no direct contribution towards the cost of providing this service by the province.  There should be a contribution by the province to help cover the costs of providing these municipally funded services. 

LOCAL SERVICE DISTRICTS - This region is home to the greatest number of LSD's in the province.   Although this is a positive step towards self-governance by these communities, the net effect of the newly established LSD's is to reduce tax collection by the Town of Clarenville.   This is because people who live in LSD's are exempted from paying Poll Tax in Clarenville.   Although Poll Tax is by no stretch an ideal system of taxation it is, none the less, a key source of revenue for the Town. More LSD's mean less tax for Clarenville, and considering that LSD fees are usually low, and the Clarenville service centre taxes are relatively high, there is actually a disincentive to living in our town.  The net result is that the taxed citizens of Clarenville end up subsidizing regional services such as Fire protection and the Clarenville Events Centre.  A more equitable system would benefit Clarenville and the Province.   

SHORT TERM EMERGENCY SHELTER - Other hub communities in Newfoundland and Labrador have an Emergency shelter for victims of violence and families and individuals who find themselves in a housing crisis.   Sadly, Clarenville does not - the closet one is in Carbonear.  The demand exists for such a shelter now and as Clarenville continues to grow, the need for such a facility will surely continue to grow. Government needs to support such an important initiative - soon. 

WINTER TOURISM/HEALTH PROMOTION - Health Promotion is a key goal of your government.   With 70% of the province's population within 2 hours of Clarenville coupled with the fact that we have an abundance of summer and winter activities available, it is important that Government work with the Town to help develop a stronger awareness of the opportunities in our town and region.  Clarenville is an important in winter destination. The Snow Belt starts here and with assets like White Hills, Hotels, and the Clarenville Events Centre, coupled with our town hosting the 2014 winter games, we now have an opportunity for government to strategically develop the winter potential of this region. 

Further, Clarenville has some great recreational facilities but we could use more. Our growing community needs something akin to YMCA Centre in Grand Falls-Windsor complete with a pool. Such a family facility would help attract and retain the young and vibrant population necessary to move the Town forward into the future. Such a facility would also enable Clarenville to host more events, creating economic spin offs. 

SCHOOLING & WOMEN IN TRADES - Developing a talented pool of labour is critical to the continued success of our region and our province.  We have seen investment in schooling in our town and we have the opportunity to do more.  Programs to encourage young people, especially women, into the trades and a continued commitment to pre-trades programs in our secondary school and programs at Clarenville Campus of College of the North Atlantic are essential now to ensure a capable and available local workforce in the near future.   

Mr. Marshall, thank you for the opportunity to submit my recommendations.  I do not speak for the Town however my future and my children’s future depends on the success of this town as a Hub centre.  I, and many like me, have a vested interest in making this happen.

Thank You
Paul Tilley 
Citizen of Clarenville