Monday, April 30, 2012

NOMINATE for the CARA Awards

If there is one thing that Clarenville is noted for in the rest of the province it is the fervor in which its sports teams take to the ice, the field, the Hill, the trail or the gym.  This does not happen by accident.  In fact it is the dedication of key volunteers in each sport that has made Clarenville athletes so dominant in their fields.  

The coordination of this tremendous pool of volunteer talent is embodied by the Clarenville Area Recreation Association – CARA.  Now in its 41st year, CARA is a an association of sport leaders and sports visionaries who work with The Town of Clarenville to help ensure that the right people with the right resources contribute to making organized recreation work and grow in this town (even more, they contribute greatly to the high quality of life that makes Clarenville such an attractive place to live and work).
Each year CARA celebrates its success (our success) with an Awards Night.  This year, CARA will be holding its Awards Night at the Clarenville Events Centre Theatre on Thursday, June 7th, 2012 at 7:30 pm.  Make an effort to get out and see it!


Here’s your chance to get involved before-hand.  Nominate a deserving person you know for the following awards: (Click the appropriate title to download the nomination form)

PETER S. CHOLOCK MEMORIAL TROPHY: The Peter S. Cholock Memorial Award is presented annually to a deserving male and female athlete who excel in one or more sports during the year of eligibility (June to May).  Nominees will be judged on their excellence in sports achievement and recognition during their seasonal participation.
WILLIAM T. DAVIS MEMORIAL AWARD: The William T. Davis Memorial Award is presented annually to the Team of the Year who demonstrates outstanding performance and achievement in a sports specific category.

LEROY MILLER AWARD: The Leroy Miller Award is presented to an individual who excels in the promotion and development of sports and recreation activities in the local area and at all times upholds the ideals and attitudes of the Association.

JUNIOR FEMALE ATHLETE: The Junior Female Athlete is presented this year for the first time to a deserving female athlete who excels in one or more sports during the year of eligibility (June to May). Nominees will be judged on their excellence in sports achievement and recognition during the seasonal participation.

JUNIOR MALE ATHLETE: The Junior Male Athlete is presented this year for the first time to a deserving female athlete who excels in one or more sports during the year of eligibility (June to May). Nominees will be judged on their excellence in sports achievement and recognition during the seasonal participation.

JUNIOR TEAM: The Junior Team is presented this year for the first time to the Team of the Year who demonstrates outstanding performance and achievement in a sports specific category.

LIONS VOLUNTEER AWARD: The Lions Volunteer Award is presented to an individual who volunteers his/her time for the betterment of the community over the past year or years (not necessarily to be recreation related).

Click the award title to down Please submit the nomination form plus any supplementary information such as press clipping, correspondence and a photo of your nominee no later than May 30, 2012.

Need More information?  Contact Garry Gosse, Clarenville's Recreation Director at 466-7937 or John Pickett, CARA Awards Chairperson at 466-2005.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Potential – Shoal Harbour River Trail/Green-Space

Last week, I attended the Town’s branding review meeting. While there, there was a clear recognition of the potential that exists in this town...I’ve been thinking about that.

On this beautiful Earth Day, my wife and I took a walk along the short, but picturesque trail that runs from the Shoal Harbour River Bridge, up the river, to Riverview Drive Extension.  (Watch the video and come with us along the trail!)

It’s a lovely trail with all kinds of potential.  The Friends of the Shoal Harbour River (FOSHR) recognized and acted on this  potential of this trail a few years back. They upgraded the trail head, installed a couple of heavy duty trash containers and a picnic table.   

Now this area gets lots of use and in the summer it’s become a real mecca for kids and their parents who want to cool off in the river on summer days.    FOSHR has done a great job, and most importantly,  their work has proven the worth of doing more.   The Town - or a group in the town,  has a golden opportunity to invest some energy into upgrading the trail and clearing the trailhead/riverbank area to create more room for green-space, complete with picnic tables and potentially interpretation signage.  We’re not talking about a big job, but one that has lots of potential to further improve the quality of life in our town.

Have a look at the video and, if you can,  see for yourself this week - and bring a garbage bag to help clean up the mess that you'll find along the trail.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Buildings - Creative or Not

Paul's post about a community centre for Elizabeth Swan Park reminded me of this article by Taryn Sheppard I read in The Scope about a community centre in Denmark.   The community centre pictured here serves a neighborhood of 600 families. The bottom of the structure has a half-pipe skate ramp and going up one side there's a climbing wall. 
Herstedlund Community Centre in Albertslund, Denmark.
Photo by Adam Mørk
The inside includes multi-functional spaces that could serve many different groups at the same time. With spaces on various levels with many entrances, there's lots of ways to access various rooms and to create different spaces with moving walls and hatch doors. A kitchen can transform into an outdoor patio or bar. A performance space has a stage that can be divided into smaller stages by sliding walls. The top level of the facility is an open roof terrace and basketball court, which can be accessed without crossing paths with other groups. 

Pretty creative stuff!

All of this talk of community centres reminds me that we haven't heard much about the new Town Hall that has been proposed. I attended an information session about it in July 2011. Since then, I've not really heard much about it.

Also haven't heard much about the plans for the old Clarenville primary school which is now boarded up.  Wonder what the plans are for that.

A SIGN of Things Coming?

CBC Picture

In the trade they are called Vehicle Management Systems.  I call them a good idea.

The Town of Gander has just purchased this sign.  It’s portable and it can serve a number of roles including making people aware of just how fast they are driving (it has a speed radar). It's particularly good for those drivers who insist in driving through our town at rate of speed that shows little regard for live (you, me and our children) and Newton’s laws of physics.

I first saw these signs used by the RCMP’s highway patrol in Halifax a few years ago and I am told by good authority (my Mountie brother-in-law) that they work. They aren’t cheap at $19,000, but the fact that they work so well as a proactive driver education tool, coupled with the fact that they can serve many purposes including communicating key traffic or event messages (Targa Day: ROAD CLOSED, Clarenville Day: FIREWORKS TONIGHT, or CONGRATULATIONS CARIBOUS) means that such a sign could be a good investment for Clarenville that might just help save a live or two.

Bravo to Gander – Let’s follow their good idea!  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Volunteer Week and Volunteering in Clarenville

It's Volunteer Week in Clarenville. One of the biggest and most successful Co-ops in Atlantic Canada - the Clarenville Co-op embodies the spirit of volunteerism. Further, Clarenville Co-op is a key corporate sponsor of the 2014 NL Winter Games - which will be hosted by Clarenville. 

Many Volunteers will be needed and we want you to get involved.

The Host Committee is looking for volunteers.  Here's some Questions and Answers about this volunteer opportunity. Hope you can join us - it will be an outstanding opportunity for our town.

How do I get involved?
People interested in volunteering can contact the Games committee by:
- Phone: Caroline at 466-4165 or 427-2433
- Facebook:
- Twitter: Clarenville2014 @nlwg2014
- Email:

Isn’t it early to be recruiting for volunteers?
The NL Winter Games is a major undertaking. Our town of almost 6,000 will host 1,500 athletes, coaches and officials. There is a lot of work that must be done in preparation for that. The Host Committee has been meeting since January and many sub-committees have already identified volunteers. Already, we have almost 100 volunteers working away.

Can someone just decide to volunteer the day the games start?
We need to ensure we have enough volunteers available at the right time to do what duties are required - so planning is important. We also need to ensure volunteers are screened and have the appropriate Certificate of Conduct through the RCMP which takes a bit of time. The earlier you let us know you want to volunteer, the better.

What if I want to volunteer but I don’t know when I’ll be available?
That’s ok. At this point, we would like to know that you are interested in volunteering so we have your name and contact information. We will follow up with you later regarding your interests and what times you might be available.

Can groups volunteers?
Absolutely.  Already we have spoken to various groups about volunteering. It’s a great idea to get involved as a group or a staff from an organization.

Are there age limits on volunteers?
We are recruiting volunteers ages 12 and up.

What do you need volunteers to do?
The jobs are many and varied. You can volunteer to help serve food to athletes, help with communications, assist with parking, help with medal ceremonies, provide assistance with first aid, help write press releases, entertain – all kinds of things!

What if I want to volunteer now but a year from now I’m not able to do as much as I thought I might?
We understand life circumstances change. As long as you indicate what you are able to do we understand the need to be flexible.

Do I have to commit to volunteering a certain amount of time?
No, there’s no minimum amount of time required.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sizzle & Steak - A Brand Aid for Clarenville

On Monday the Town of Clarenville held an information session to update people on the progress and direction of their efforts towards developing a new “Brand” for Clarenville.  For the layman this means that Clarenville is working to find a way to better talk to people and for people to talk to it.  Branding helps contribute to the sizzle that helps promote the steak – us.

Towards this goal the Town has contracted with Pilot Communications.  Over the past few months Pilot has consulted and developed a new Logo, designed a new Website and is developing a communications strategy for the Town.

The Sizzle

Pilot’s research has revealed some key points that most of us would easily agree with such as:

  • Clarenville is growing and there’s lots of economic potential in the town
  • There is not a lot of “push” of information about Clarenville out to the rest of the world.
  • We have a good balance of urban pleasures and rural tranquility.
  • We have a great hockey team!

At the meeting a draft logo was displayed (we were asked not to photograph it so I can't show it to you) that incorporates soft blues, oranges & greens to highlight abstract aspects of the Town’s features and potential – with a keen matching of a three word tag line: Real.Life.Potential .  

The Steak

Pilot has done a very professional job. Their process, presentation and product look to be top notch and I’m sure what they develop will be a great toolkit  to promote the benefits of our town to ourselves and others.

Websites, Social Media strategy’s and Communication Strategies are great communications tools to talk about and they have lots of potential, but they need a huge ongoing commitment of resources to implement effectively
What's Served

Unfortunately in Clarenville, I have not seen a huge commitment to communications in the past.
The challenge and the real test will be our ability to take that toolkit and make it work - Clarenville’s role will only begin at this point.  

There will have to be a huge change in mindset that seeks to disseminate information rather than protect it ( notice there are no pictures here) , that seeks to actively work to promote and publish relevant & timely content rather than let it flow through word of mouth to those lucky enough to hear it and there will have to be an honest commitment (that includes financially) to an ongoing professional communications process.

The questions I need to see answered (with action) : Is there recognition of the need for change? Will there be a commitment to change? Who will drive that change?  If we can't answer those questions then I would contend that this will become a simple exercise in futility and that would do a disservice to our town's future.

If we do the same things we did before and expect different results our steak won’t be too tasty despite all the sizzle.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Crime Prevention..with a twist

It was an interesting day today.  I ended up in jail!


Yes, it was JAIL AND BAIL-Catch and Release day here in Clarenville on Friday the 13th, sponsored by the Clarenville Area Citizens' Crime Prevention Committee.  You are either on the "let's get someone arrested" side of the fence (jail cell) or the other "let's lay low and hide" side to keep from being arrested.  I  as sitting on that fence early this morning....

Then I became an instigator and with our students we managed to help get my friend and collegue Rick Martin arrested.  Then I hid.

The Mounties always get their man.

All too shortly after getting Rick in the squad car, I found myself in the back seat of another one.  I was charged on two counts:

- Too Vocal on Council matters     (I wonder who put me up to this....hummm? )
- Decorating without a licence.      (Not sure on this one!)

Anyway, an hour or so later, Rick and I raised about $250 for Crime Prevention thanks to the generous donations of people at the college and people like you.

My thanks to Judge Stanford & Judge Baker, the RCMP and the rest of the Crime Prevention crew for the opportunity to participate in this "good humored" fundraiser.  I'll be sure to be on my best behaviour...until next time...maybe...not

Have a watch of the video....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's Time For a "Community Centre" for ES Park

Summer's Coming! And when I think of summer in Clarenville, I think about some of the great community events that we hold in Elizabeth Swan Park on Tilley's Road.  Elizabeth Swan Park has proven to be a hub for Clarenville town based activities.  During the Summer, Canada Day, Clarenville Day and Arts Under the Stars events take place there and during the fall and winter, Bonfire night and Winter Carnival activities take place in the park.  I’m sure if you were out to any of these events you enjoyed yourself - each of them bring a greater sense of community to the people who came. 

Then there’s the weather.

Rain, sleet, snow, wind and cold have plagued the turnout of too many events and as many of our townspeople age access to the park is becoming more restricted.  

Rather than a problem, this presents a wonderful opportunity to make the park space more user friendly by building a larger shelter to replace the small one that has served its purpose.   A multipurpose and accessible shelter design like this one in PEI is an example of what I am talking about. It’s modern, airy and can be weather & vandal proofed (openings with glass garage doors) with a stage at one end– and built at a relatively modest cost.  

As Clarenville grows we can build on our strengths – and Elizabeth Swan Park is one of them - to make the town even more attractive and build a stronger sense of community.  

This is a tangible example of something that we could do to achieve this goal. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Putting the "Friendly" in Aging: Random Age Friendly

In 2007 Clarenville was designated an "Aged Friendly Community" and since then the Random Aged Friendly Board has been engaging seniors in numerous activities and advocating for seniors on numerous fronts.  One of the most successful initiatives has been the "Computers for Seniors" classes that are offered at the Clarenville Campus of the College of the North Atlantic.

In Fall and Winter semesters, Random Aged Friendly and the College offer a free 8 week evening course to seniors that teaches basic computer skills such as searching the internet, composing and sending emails, Google earth, on-line banking and many other computer functions.

Each evening, 5-8 volunteer facilitators from the College, the Community and the local High School work with the class of 12-16 seniors - who come from all over Clarenville and surrounding communities.

On March 27, 2012 another 17 seniors graduated to bring the number up to 127 graduates since the program was launched.

In addressing the 9th graduating class , Leo Bonnell Vice-Chair of the Board and Chair of the Provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors ,said “this and previous classes proves the fact that older adults still have a desire to learn and have embraced technology as opposed to rejecting it”. He went on to say that the” Clarenville experience can easily be replicated elsewhere in the Province to give seniors the opportunity to learn new things in their golden years”

If you or a senior you know want to learn more or to get involved visit the Random Age Friendly Communities website at . Contact information can be found on the site.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Where There's Smoke There's Fire: Whose Decision is it to Provide Fire Services to Milton/George's Brook

Co-contributer Paul Tilley wrote an excellent posting about the issue of the Clarenville Fire Department providing fire protection services to the Local Service District (LSD) of Milton/George's Brook. I didn't think there was much to add to the topic until I read this week's Packet. The story doesn't seem to be posted on the website, however, the article is about the request of the LSD for a tanker truck from the provincial government. The LSD had requested that Clarenville Fire Department provide them with services and one of the conditions was a tanker truck to be stationed in the area to ensure adequate water supply. The Minister responsible indicates that should Clarenville become the regional fire department, an analysis would then have to be completed to determine the necessary resources required.  Fair enough.

What caught my eye, however, was the last few paragraphs. The article indicates that "while the final decision to negotiate comes down to council, it's whether or not the Clarenville fire department would be willing to take on the risk." The article then goes on to quote the mayor: "Our decision has to be based on the fire department and if they are willing to accept the responsibility of fighting a fire in Milton/George's Brook without an adequate water supply."

There's so much wrong with that statement, I hardly know where to begin but since I'm up for a challenge here are a few thoughts:

1) It's an elected town council that has responsibility for deciding on what services are offered to its town, and consequently, any impact on those services.
2) A volunteer fire department needs to be consulted about its thoughts but cannot be used as a scapegoat for why services are or are not offered to a Local Service District.
3) How can you say in one breathe that there's an inadequate water supply but in the same breathe wonder if a fire department would be willing to accept the additional responsibility?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Disappearing Snow, Ice and Road Markings

While spring means bulbs will start to appear in the garden, it also means that something  has disappeared from our streets. The snow and ice on the roads have disappeared as have the road markings. 

Each year, road surface markings seem to disappear almost as quickly as they are painted on. You are taking your life in your hands while driving down Manitoba Drive these days. While the regulars know where the lanes are, there are many people coming off the TCH who have no way of knowing. Over the past few days, it has been a free-for-all with cars in turning lanes going straight and straddling both lanes. This has been a problem in many towns for the past few years.  Surely there's a solution to increase safety on our streets?