Monday, May 28, 2012

The Demise of Regional Governance?

There are twenty Regional Economic Development Boards in Newfoundland and Labrador.  These were established in the mid 90's and were mandated to: 
  1. Develop and coordinate the implementation of a strategic economic plan in each zone supported by an integrated business plan. Now it seems as if the potential for regional governance is slipping away.
  2. Develop a strong partnership with municipalities in each zone that incorporates the strategies and priorities of municipalities in the economic planning process
  3. Develop partnerships in planning and implementation with Chambers of Commerce, Industry Associations, labour organizations, post-secondary institutions, Canadian Business Development Corporations (CBDCs), and other zones that advance and support the economic and entrepreneurial environment of a zone
  4. Undertake capacity building and provide support to stakeholders to strengthen the economic environment of the zone
  5. Coordinate and facilitate linkages with federal /provincial /municipal government departments and agencies in support of the strategic economic plan
I looked at these boards as the conduit through which regional governmance would appear in Nl. 
Last week the Federal Government will cease their 75% funding of the province's Economic Development Boards in Newfoundland & Labrador as of May, 2013 - effectively putting them and their staff on notice of their demise. 
In our region, the Discovery Regional Development Board (DRDB) represents over 100 communities from Chapel Arm to Port Blandford to Swift Current and to Bonavista - the vast majority of which have no local government.  
The writing is on the wall for much of Rural Nl...Only now it’s being written in permanent marker.

Come Near at Your Peril

Tourist season is coming up fast and as you know many tourists stop by Clarenville along their way.

Imagine if you will,  that you are one of those tourists driving to or through Clarenville.
If it’s your first time in Clarenville in a while you will notice lots of changes and a lot of growth.  But first you need to get in here – so let’s look at your two choices off the TCH:

West Entrance to Clarenville

Watch out! The west entrance has become a bit of a problem.  There’s lots more traffic, it’s seen three fatalities in 5 years and the TCH speed limit at the turnoff has been reduced to 70kph (but few observe it).  In fact, it’s become a hot topic at Council meetings too.  In the last meeting of Council, they continued to beat the topic of the west entrance to Clarenville to death – it was mostly sound and fury signifying nothing.  Reduce the speed limit, Lengthen the turning lane – there were lots of suggestions but no real agreement to start a passionate effort to lobby the Province for an overpass at the west entrance to Clarenville.  Deputy Mayor Frazer Russell was the only bright light in the meeting’s long winded discussion – he summed it up well when he said “we know that an overpass is needed there”.  These were encouraging words, but at the end, we were left still not convinced that Council was ready to lobby for the obvious.  

So as a tourist you’re pretty much using this entrance at your own risk – be careful.

East Entrance to Clarenville

The entrance road to Clarenville needs renovation in the worst sort of way.  You will notice that land is being prepared for a new gas station at the top of “Holiday Inn Hill” at the Trans Canada.   Originally the plan was to reroute the entrance to Clarenville and upgrade the entrance roadway – but based on where the fencing is placed, this does not appear to be the case any longer.   Regardless, as you come down the hill into Clarenville, mind the potholes. 

What are your first impressions of Clarenville?   We think we know your answer….

A Caring Community

Yes we have a lot to offer here in Clarenville and some beautiful scenery to boot.  But as it stands now you have to enter with care and hope that the decision makers make their decisions with the same degree of care so that you can come and go or better - come and stay. . 

Welcome to Clarenville!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Calling in the Big Guns

It took some skilled flying on this warm  Tuesday evening to get one of the Province's new "Peas and Carrots" colour schemed Bombardier CL415's to target a stubborn fire in Deep Bight. Members of the RCMP, Provincial Forestry and Clarenville Fire Dept. aided in the effort.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Close to the Heart - Close to home

Last evening at the Clarenville Events Centre, we we treated to some first-rate entertainment by students from Clarenville High School.   Over the next few days I'll add more but first, here is the CHS Drama Troope's performance of the very touching "Close to the Heart".  If you or someone you know has ever been touched by breast cancer this is a must see.   It's a touching performance. 
All proceeds from last evening's performance were donated to the Bliss Cancer Centre.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Time has come for an Overpass

The broken glass still glistens on the TCH/Manitoba Drive intersection.  It should serve as a reminder to the decision makers of the fundamental problem that seems only to warrant consideration when another life is lost.  (My condolences to the yet another grieving family.)  

The people who pay for and use the TCH (we the taxpayers) need and deserve an overpass at the western entrance to Clarenville.  As a municipality, it is our job to lobby to make sure that it is done.    

Listening to Mayor Best in the media last week, it seems that he has finally come around to recognizing the need for an overpass for the TCH's western entrance to Clarenville. Let’s ensure the entire Council sees fit to push government to include an overpass for Clarenville in its capital work's plans - we should accept nothing less.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Random Thoughts...: A Mother's Day Mystery - Looking for Lorne and His...

Random Thoughts...: A Mother's Day Mystery - Looking for Lorne and His...: Bud Vincent is well know around this area for many things - photographer; freelance journalist; tourism champion... but this evening, he's a...

Friday, May 4, 2012

There’s much work to be done in Anytown

Neil Dawe, president of Tract Consulting knows a thing or two about design.   He’s been in the design consulting business for many years and he and his company have been responsible for some of the most eye pleasing developments we have seen in this province.   Have a look at High Street in Grand Falls, the duck pond in Bowering Park in St. John’s or Margaret Bowater Park in Corner Brook – Mr. Dawe’s company has had a hand in each of these.

What about Clarenville?
EVERYONE, including Mr. Dawe knows the potential that exists in Clarenville. We have a tremendous amount of natural beauty that we could capitalize on more than we do.  He noted at a recent presentation to Rotary that potential and practice are miles apart in our town stating that “There’s much work to be done”.

We have a Plan?
Council has developed a citizen-led Strategic Plan that echoed Mr. Dawe’s observations.   Council has also adopted adopted a new Municipal plan that, in theory, is designed to ensure that the natural beauty of our town – the stuff that is truly valuable – is preserved.  As one can see in some of the recent developments around town, the practice however has fallen well short of that.

Mr. Dawe’s comments should serve as a warning to the town that we have to start doing a better job managing the development that is so essential to our continued growth in such a way as to preserve the beauty we have before it’s too late.  As  Ross Mair so aptly named his article in this week’s Packet Clarenville is fast becomming “Anytown Canada”.  (Read the article in the May 3 print edition of the Packet)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Big Decision - Right for You?.

Katie Cumby, an associate producer at the CBC is looking for Canadian small businesses to participate in a season 2 of the CBC show called The Big Decision. (

The show features companies from coast-to-coast that come from a variety of industries. Throughout the episode, one of Canada's top investors visits each company, provides expert advice and in the end decides whether or not he or she will invest. There are many benefits to the company- not only receiving top-notch business advice, but also the possibility of receiving an investment that could help turn the company around.

The deadline of June 8th and it is fast approaching so they are encouraging companies to apply ASAP.  Surely there are many businesses in Clarenville that could take advantage of this!

Please contact:

Katie Cumby
Associate Producer
CBC Television
(416) 205 5571
Twitter: @thebigdecision

Random Thoughts...: Making the Ability Count - A Transitions to Work P...

Random Thoughts...: Making the Ability Count - A Transitions to Work P...: The Ability Employment Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that provides career counselling and job placement services to persons w...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Raising Clarenville and Clarenville Campus' Age Friendly Profile

Last week I received a very interesting email from Leo Bonnell.  Leo is a strong voice for older people in Clarenville and a great advocate for making our community and other communities more age friendly.  He sent me a copy the April edition of the International Federation of Ageing newsletter.  Why?  Both Clarenville and Clarenville Campus were profiled in it...see for yourself in this excerpt - Great job Leo at raising the Town's and our campus' profile!


April 2012

WHO moto 

IFA taking part in the WHO Global Twitter Chat on Healthy Ageing - 2 April 2012 

Twitter chatOn Monday 2nd of April, the IFA participated in a Global Twitter Chat organized by the World Health Organization (WHO).  It aimed at bringing together various organizations and individuals worldwide to discuss and share views on "Healthy Ageing".  In celebration of the World Health Day, the IFA was proud to be part of this global discussion and raise important issues concerning our ageing society.

For one hour the IFA asked its Twitter followers to think about how older people are impacting on their everyday lives, how they represent an essential part of our societies and how they should feel valued as such.  Indeed, most older people are not treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.  Ageing is a phenomenon that concerns every single one of us, and growing old isn't only about adding years to life but most of all about adding life to years.

This year WHO encouraged everyone to celebrate Healthy Ageing, advocating for a positive image of older people leading productive and active lives.  According to the WHO report the key chat impacts were:
  • 20,219,692 impressions (i.e. estimate of the number of people the relevant tweets are reaching).
  • 1,061,840 Twitter accounts reached.
  • 1,479 tweets; 835 contributors over 2 days (1 and 2 April 2012).
Along with other organizations such as HelpAge International, the City of New-York, the City of Manchester, of Brussels, the European Commission, as well as WHO Regional Offices, the IFA joined the online community to spread the word about healthy ageing.
We welcome you to follow the IFA on Twitter! We would be delighted to chat with you and hear all about your experiences, impressions and opinions concerning ageing issues. Tune in and, for instance, tell us who is, according to you, an inspirational over 65 person? All of the answers will be compiled into an article for the May issue.
Follow us on Twitter and Facebook
To read the entire WHO Report click Here

IFA Global Conference in Prague - It is not too late to register!

Come and join us in Prague for the IFA 11th Global Conference from May 28th to June 1st. Expert clinicians, academics, practitioners and business have worked to develop Master Classes as well as an original and interesting program which can be accessed on our website

Ten years after the UN Global Conference on Ageing in Madrid, 2012 will be a turning point for ageing policies all over the world - YOU can be a part of it! Take action now and register for the 11th Global Conference!

If you have any questions concerning the registration process please contact Ms. Martina Balcarova at 
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Age-Friendly Communities brings Computer Education to Older Adults in Newfoundland and Labrador
By Mr. Leo Bonnell, Vice-Chair Random Age-Friendly Communities Board, Chair of Provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors.
The family in a small community in Newfoundland and Labrador was preparing to celebrate the 90th birthday of their father. Still leading a very active lifestyle, and a person who always felt age should never be a barrier to learning and enjoying life, it was decided by the family, the birthday gift would be a laptop computer. This is where our story begins.  
Newfoundland and Labrador, a former colony and dominion of the United Kingdom up until 1949, is the youngest province of Canada. The Province consists of Newfoundland, located on the east coast of Canada and the Labrador portion that is attached to the Canadian mainland and shares a border with the province of Quebec and the territory of Nunavut.
The Town of Clarenville is located just a couple of hours drive from the capitol city of St. John's. In 2007, Clarenville, with a population of just under 6000, was selected to be one of the 10 communities in Canada to pilot the Age-Friendly Rural and Remote Communities initiative. A steering committee was formed and a Random Age-Friendly Communities Board emerged.
This Board of volunteers, have created and developed a variety of programs all with a focus of making the Town and surrounding communities more "age-friendly ".
One of these programs is "Computer Classes for Seniors" . In partnership with the local campus of the College of the North Atlantic, evening computer classes were offered to seniors at no cost for the eight week duration.  The course teaches seniors basic computer skills, including searching the internet, emails basics, Google Earth, on-line banking, social media and using Skype to connect with families living in far off places.
The community college provides the classroom and use of computers without charge. Volunteers from the community and the local high school facilitate the teaching to the older adults, many of whom have had no knowledge of computers prior to enrolling in the program.  It has become a rewarding experience not only for the seniors, but also for the volunteer teachers. To quote one young volunteer : " this has been one of the most worthwhile projects I was ever involved with - to see the progress seniors make in such a short time is truly amazing"
In March 2012, another 17 seniors graduated bringing the total number up to 127 since Random Age-Friendly Communities Board launched the program in 2008. The success of this program proves the point that seniors of today are embracing technology and their lives are being enriched as a result of learning new things in their golden years.
Just like the senior who celebrated his 90th birthday and became a graduate in a computer class, all in the same year, many older adults today see lifelong learning as an enhancement to the quality of life. Communities need to create opportunities for seniors to stay involved and contribute, which is at the heart of successful aging.
The Age-Friendly Communities framework and structures create supportive environments for the optimization of opportunities to enhance the quality of life for people of all ages.