Friday, March 30, 2012

Kiwanis Highlights Concert - Applying Technology to Community Engagement

Over the past ten days we have been treated to one of the most well organized, entertaining and energizing events of the year - the annual Kiwanis Music Festival. A small band of volunteers create a fantastic talent showcase that rivals any other festival in the province. What truly makes it successful though is the talent - our region's children are awesome!! Paired with their highly skilled music teachers these kids are a talent tour-de-force.

To appreciate the talent that I speak of here, you really need to see it and hear it. The technology that you are using here helps you do that. Through my job I have a lot of occasion to use technology and share its application with my students and the greater community. In our Business program at the Clarenville Campus we use this same technology extensively in the classroom and outside to teach (hands on) communications and media skills. What you are seeing here and in other pages/projects that we are involved in is a sample of some of the things we (our students) do - and we have a lot of fun doing it!

This term the College has made a considerable investment in new gear - some of has been used here - that will take us in the next 5-7 years. You'll certainly be seeing it in use at the campus and in the community. It's going to help you see what we have and see what we do.

Above you will see the Agenda Sheet for the 2.5 hour concert.  In order to manage the size of the concert, I have split it into several parts - that you see below.  If you click on the image of the agenda you can see where everyone falls.   Above each Video clip I have put the range of names performing in that piece.  Better still, watch it all you will be amazed...


Southwest Arm Academy

Riverside Academy

Clarenville High School Boys Choir

Harris - Smith


Hiscock - K. Tilley

Baker - Barron

Warren - Pearce

Laite - Peddle


H. Tilley - Ladies Chorale

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Municipalities Want and Need - On Point

It’s Time for Age Friendly Parking in our Age Friendly Community

Over the past week or so there has been a lot of talk in the media of the wrong people parking in designated Disabled (Mobility impaired) Parking spots.   These are prime spots that serve a definite purpose – making building access easier for people who face more than their share of mobility challenges.  Stores, Banks, Hospitals all have them and generally people are courteous enough to leave these spots for people who really need them.   I see here in Clarenville that Wal-Mart has taken this idea further by adding designated parking spots for people with toddlers – good on ‘em!

Taking Wal-Mart’s cue further, there is a large and growing group of aging people who are finding it increasingly difficult to walk any distance.  As early baby boomers push into their late 60’s,70’s & 80’s they too should be considered for special parking treatment in key places such as health care facilities.  

As my mother-in-law points out, it’s hard to find a spot to start with, let alone one that is reasonably close. 

As you grow older, need more health care services, can’t walk as far, you should be able to take advantage of “preferred parking”.  

As Clarenville stakes its claim as being an Age Friendly Community this idea might be something that organizations like Eastern Health, Government buildings and Municipal offices could pursue.  These Public organizations could be setting a new standard that private businesses could follow – it’s really a simple idea whose time has come.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

He who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune? It's County time.

Clarenville is on a slippery slope if it assumes the role of the George's Brook - Milton Fire Department - even if there is compensation for doing it.  The implications go well beyond fire protection to affecting the future of our town.  

It is my contention that some of the most available and best developable land in the greater metropolitan Clarenville area is located in Georges Book – Milton.  Smith Sound provides a “million dollar view” and thanks to its location in Georges Brook – Milton, you can get that view for a lot less than a million dollars and a lot less than you can in Clarenville.  
Georges Book – Milton is not, in law, part of Clarenville. Georges Book – Milton is a separate entity known as a Local Service District (LSD). In NL, LSDs are not independent as Towns are; rather they are “children” of the Provincial government.  They have advisory committee’s made up of five to seven residents whose decisions need to be approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. LSD’s have very limited powers under section 387 of the Municipalities Act, 1999, to charge a fee for the cost of service or supply provided in the Local Service District. In Georges Brook – Milton this fee is less than $500 annually.
Clarenville is a municipality and therefore has full rights to set and enforce rules in its jurisdiction as well as to charge taxes. In Clarenville tax rates are based on property values. Those people with more valuable properties (as determined by the provincial Municipal Assessment Agency) pay more taxes.  A “typical” homeowner in Clarenville with a property assessed at $200,000 will pay $1550 in property tax ($7.75 per $1000) plus $360 water and sewer tax for a total of $1910.  
That’s roughly 4 times the amount someone with an equivalent property pays just outside the Town’s boundaries in Georges Brook-Milton. 
When you compare service-for- service offered, the inequity gets even more glaring.  Residents of the LSD receive most all of the major services (Snow clearing/roads, Water, and Garbage collection) that Clarenville receives.  One of the most prominent of these services is fire protection.  As of late there’s a lack of local volunteers willing to serve on the LSD’s fire department so it currently has no capacity for self-coverage.  Georges Brook – Milton has not been left uncovered though - Clarenville’s Volunteer Fire department is ‘temporarily’ providing fire protection to the LSD. 
Clarenville’s Council has been wrangling with this problem for a while now, and it set a deadline for the end of February for Georges Brook – Milton to get its own coverage in place – unfortunately this has not happened and Clarenville Council has felt morally compelled to extend the coverage deadline further.  There’s also little incentive for the LSD to move quickly as they surely know that around here neighbours take care of neighbours and that the volunteers of Clarenville’s Fire Department will not stand by in an emergency. 
Council may be acting ethically and rightly in this situation, but we have to ask about the implications of this situation: Should the taxpayer of Clarenville pay for this coverage? Is it equitable for our taxpayers to carry this burden? And; what are the potential implications for Clarenville if it continues coverage on a “fee for service” basis where the LSD pays a fee to Clarenville for the coverage?
Imagine if you were a person moving to this area, or considering building.  Surely you would appreciate a scenic view, a lowest cost of home ownership and the services of a large centre. Clarenville has all of that but Georges Brook - Milton can offer almost the same at ¼ the tax cost.  Meanwhile the people left living in the political boundaries of the municipality bare the tax burden for the region. 
There’s an obvious inequity in the current municipal taxation setup and it’s a problem not limited to Clarenville – it’s a provincial problem.  Unfortunately, it is a political hot potato that few politicians want to discuss.  With over 100 LSD’s in our region and less than a dozen municipalities with taxation authority, this current situation is but yet another example of the need to deal with the problem for the sake of our towns.  It’s time to revisit municipal financing and consider developing a County type regional government with representation, service and taxation authority so that people fairly have a voice and fairly pay for the value of services they receive.  The Piper should be calling the tune.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Community Development Fund

Community organizations take note...

Eastern Health recently announced that it is accepting funding applications from non-profits who are planning to work on projects that support community health. If you or your group are interested - read the press release below.


Eastern Health Accepting Applications for Community Development Fund

March 16, 2012: St. John’s, NL - Eastern Health encourages non-profit and community-based groups to apply for funding under its Community Development Fund for 2012.

The Community Development Fund, valued at $50,000, was established in 2008 by Eastern Health’s Board of Trustees support the organization’s vision of Healthy People, Healthier Communities.

“There are numerous groups in our region who make great contributions to their communities and we value those efforts,” said Michael O’Keefe, Chair, Board of Trustees. “Through the Community Development Fund, Eastern Health can support those projects that promote healthier communities and build partnerships within the communities we serve.”

Upwards of $10,000 is available for non-profit community-based groups and organizations for a single project. Priority will be given to groups that contribute to a healthier community by building a sense of community, strengthening social support networks, developing community connections and addressing a priority need.

“The Community Development Fund aligns closely with Eastern Health’s Strategic Plan for 2011-2014, which emphasizes a population health approach to support better health outcomes for our communities,” said Beverly Clarke, Vice-President responsible for Population Health, Eastern Health. “Making this funding available demonstrates our commitment to work with our various partners, and focus on both individual and community approaches to health.”

In previous years, the Community Development Fund supported projects that:
• assisted seniors learn basic computer skills
• promoted the use of local produce
• helped seniors in the preparation of healthy meals.

The deadline for applications is Friday, April 5, 2012, and the Community Development Fund application and guidelines are available on Eastern Health’s website at For more information, please call 709-466-6334.

About Eastern Health

Eastern Health is the largest, integrated health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador employing approximately 13,000 dedicated employees and serving a population of more than 290,000 people. The authority has an annual budget of over $1.2 billion and offers the full continuum of health and community services including public health, long-term care, community services, hospital care and unique provincial programs and services. Its geographic boundaries extend from St. John’s west to Port Blandford including all communities on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas.

- 30 -
Media contact:
Zelda Burt
Media Relations Manager
Eastern Health
T: (709) 777.1339

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Targeting Targa

Each year the Targa arrives in Clarenville and each year there is a debate about it that lasts at least twice as long as the actual race.   Meanwhile other more pressing decisions are put aside or neglected.

It's time to make a decision once and for all. The Economic Benefit versus Safety Issue has been beat around too long. There has neither been a quantifiable benefit established by the town, nor have we seen the promises of enhanced safety. You be the judge on the benefit versus safety issue....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

SIFE for LIFE: Clarenville’s Team Takes 1st and 2nd Place in Regional Competitions.

Top LR Beaton Winsor, Kyle Tysler, Gorvin Greening
Bottom Tracy Holloway (Advisor), Nathan Vey, Sherry Smith, Paul Tilley (advisor), Krista Skiffington, Olivia Best, Sherrell Penney and Debbie Strong

Members of my class and I just got back from a Regional competition in Halifax (March 7-10).  This was the ACE Canada (Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship) Regional completion in which students from post secondary institutions from across Atlantic Canada came together to showcase some of the projects that they have been involved in on their campuses over the past few months.   Most of the projects highlights had an Economic development focus – team members in their respective regions partnered with local businesses and organizations to develop and ran projects that helped people in their communities.   Over 300 students participated from 11 schools:

  1. Acadia University (NS)
  2. Cape Breton University (NS)
  3. College of the North Atlantic - Clarenville (NL)
  4. College of the North Atlantic - Grand Falls Windsor (NL)
  5. College of the North Atlantic - St. John’s (NL)
  6. Dalhousie University (NS)
  7. Memorial University (NL)
  8. St. Mary’s University (NS)
  9. Université Sainte-Anne (NS)
  10. University of Prince Edward Island (PEI)
  11. St. Francis Xavier University (NS)

There were three competition categories including Entrepreneurship, Financial Education and Green (environmental awareness).
Each team presented on at least one of these categories and Clarenville Campus took part in two – Entrepreneurship & Financial Education.

The team's first presentation was in the Entrepreneurship Category.   This year our team worked had building on a Social Media project from last year.   Social Media is a relatively new internet based marketing tool that allows organizations to get to better know their customers by developing two way communications and building a relationships.  Last year we developed a series of “Video Blogs” that were distributed over the internet through social media to let potential buyers know sellers existed.   This year we took the project further in adopting what we called a “teach a man to fish” strategy where we showed local businesses like Clarenville’s White Hills Ski Resort how to more effectively use Social Media tools to reach their target market.   We competed against Acadia, SIFE Grand Falls Windsor, Memorial and Cape Breton in this category.  Each team had 10 minutes to show the merits of their project to a panel of 20 judges.   Our team took Second Place in this competition behind Memorial and in front of third place CNA - GFW.

The second presentation was in the Financial Education Category.   This year our team has completed several projects in this category, including working with schools, and Sparks (Brownies), clients of Ability Employment Corporation and the Regional Action Committee on homelessness (REACH). In this category we competed against St. Mary’s, Saint Anne, Acadia, and UPEI.  Again, each team had 10 minutes to show the merits of their project to a panel of 20 judges.   Our team impressed the judges and many insightful questions were asked and suggestions made.  I this category we took First Place ahead of  UPEI and St. Mary’s.

These 10 minute presentations represent a tremendous amount of work by the students, and their partners within the College and within the community – these partners share in the effort and share in the rewards. 

Likewise, these presentations are symbolic of the real-live skills that students develop over the course of these projects.  Leadership, Management, Presentation and Networking skills are just a few of the many benefits of ground-truthing  the theory that students learn in school.   Most importantly, these projects teach the most valuable and least tangible of concepts – Citizenship. 


These Students - Our Town's and Our Region's future leaders - did us all proud.  They highlighted Clarenville as a progressive and proactive town.  Employers - If you are looking for future employees who will take you and your business/organization further - look no further to see what these students have to offer!!

A very special thank you goes to members of our local Advisory Board and our key financial partner, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency – their support has been instrumental in making these projects and competitions possible.  It is truly an investment in our collective futures whose payoff to the community can be so clearly seen in these presentations.   


LINK to Photos

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Clarenville Area - Bloggeriffic

The Discovery Zone area (Bonavista-Chapel Arm area) has a number of bloggers that make for interesting reading or can keep you uptodate on local activities. Here's a few to check out:

Clarenville Campus Life - By Paul Tilley

Concoction: Blending Technology in Teaching and Learning - Theresa Pittman

Welcome to Pardy House - By John Norman

Random Thoughts - By Lisa Browne

Others out there? Let us know!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Community Development Fund

Eastern Health has just announced its Community Development Fund for 2012.  The Community Development Fund provides grants to community organizations/groups to identify and take action on priority needs that contribute to a healthier community.  Priority will be given to applications that contribute to a healthier community by:
  • Building a sense of community,
  • Strengthening social support networks,
  • Developing community connections, 
  • Addressing a priority need in your community 
  • Creating supportive environments
  • Strengthening community action

Funding is available for non-profit community based groups and organizations.  An organization is considered not-for-profit if it meets all of the following conditions: it is organized and operates solely for not-for-profit purposes in the province and it does not make any of its income available for the personal benefit of any of its members or volunteers.

Applicants must serve the population within the geographic boundary of Eastern Health (from the St. John’s region west to Port Blandford, including all communities on the Avalon, Burin and Bonavista Peninsulas).

The Community Development Fund was initiated by the Eastern Health Board of Trustees in 2007 to provide grants to community organizations/groups that identify and take action on priority needs that contribute to a healthier community.

Deadline for Applications is April 5th 

Go to to access information and application forms.
For further information contact:

Natalie Moody - Regional Director Health Promotion
Eastern Health
35-39 Tilley's Road
Clarenville, NL
A5A 1Z4
Tel: 709-466-6334
Fax: 709-466-6305