Saturday, August 31, 2013

A GOOD exploits in "Electionsigneering"

Join me in this light hearted placement of election signs around Clarenville...I call it Electionsigneering

Crosswalk Action

I was glad to see Town workers painting the crosswalk on Huntley/Harbour intersection this past week – just in time for school.   There are several key crosswalks on high traffic roads in Clarenville and in this past week’s Council meeting I see that there was a decision to add another on the heavily travelled Memorial Drive route as it runs past the Seniors gathering centre. (listen to the Aug 22 meeting on THE PACKET's website at )

Noble for sure, but even Council admits that these crosswalks give a rather false sense of security seeing that most drivers in Clarenville seem to be oblivious to them -and the pedestrian's ready to use them - as they zoom past.  

We really need crosswalks that work better.

If there is an admission of a problem – as indicated in the Council discussion – then measures must be taken to solve that problem before someone is hurt and before the town is held liable for negligence.

In other pedestrian focused jurisdictions, several things are being done that we could do here – at a minimal cost.  
  1. Help reduce speed with larger sized signage
  2. Ensure the Crosswalks are marked by monitoring painting the lines regularly. As well, ensure that giant X’s are painted on the road well before to the crosswalk
  3. Cut the trees and remove visibility obstacles before the crossing so drivers have a clearer line of view.   This is a real problem on Harbour Drive and Huntley Drive.
  4.  Install road embedded reflective markers around the crosswalks.    These markers may not work well in our winters but the other 9 months of the year they will be beneficial.
  5.  Light the crossing with warning lights.  There are specific lights for crosswalks that can be either conventionally grid powered or solar powered.  As we move into the dark season the benefits of these become even greater.  The installed cost of these is about $6,000 per set but they are effective and relative to other infrastructure installations they are inexpensive.

These type crossing lights have been installed in other
jurisdictions across
atlantic canada by Clarenville based SWEnergy

As a driver, I know it’s quite easy to go faster than I should, so the goal must be to ALERT drivers to their driving situation.  The measures I'm proposing here are not rocket science and neither are they budget breaking.  But, they might just save a life.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Developing for Livability

Over the past few years, Clarenville has budgeted quite a few dollars for what has been dubbed as Economic Development activities.  The focused goal has been to spur business development in the town and generate money.  This has been met with varying degrees of success (depending on who you talk to)  (see my previous post on this )

I would like to propose a radical rethink of this approach.

First and foremost, the term Economic Development is much too narrow and too focused on money rather than the people it is supposed to benefit.  What we really need to talk about is Community Development.  The goal of community development is to take efforts to improve the “livability” of our town by making it a better place to live for its citizens and by creating a positive experience for its visitors.  

This is known as “Placemaking” and has been the subject of much research as of late.  Placemaking’s goal is to make our communities people focused and that in turn attracts people and therefore business opportunity to a community.  (Read Dennis Mahoney’s article on this from last week’s Telegram  “Happy cities are good for the economy” to get a better sense of what I am talking about and why I am talking about it).  

I was first introduced to this Placemaking concept a few years back while sitting on Council.  We (the College and the Town) were part of a research project (involving Clarenville) that was conducted by Memorial University’s Harris Centre.  In this research we measured the factors that attracted people – particularly young and educated people - to a region and what kept them in that region as productive and engaged citizens. Once you get beyond the academic gobble-goop, the report’s findings suggested that PLACE and the things in and about the PLACE attract and retain people, which in turn creates business opportunity.  You can read the report HERE

A two pronged approach - Refocus on Community Development

Our Town is our people.  Businesses come and businesses grow because of our people.  

If we have a healthy community with healthy people living in it, we create the opportunity that businesses need to develop.   The Town’s job should be to focus on its people.   By ACTIVELY supporting/investing/building/maintaining socially responsible housing, people focused subdivision development, great parks & trails, excellent recreation facilities and providing opportunities for townspeople to be proud of their community, the Town can create (and measure) real "Development".   

A two pronged approach - Refocus Economic Development Efforts (Onto People!)

I truly believe that our best opportunities for economic development are right under our nose.  Each year THOUSANDS of people come to or through Clarenville – we are wasting efforts on attracting them! (see The Packet - Councillor at Large, Aug 29)   

As evidence of the opportunity take a look at the last couple editions of The Packet.  Over the past few weeks we saw stories about the absolute success of Clarenville’s Ryan Power’s Atlantic Ice Worriors Hockey School in the Clarenville Events Centre (Back On the Ice, Aug 22, pg9), and about the success of the Random Sounds concert at White Hills (Page 1,  Aug 29, pg10).  Add to this the White Hills Resort , the Clarenville Caribous, The 2014 Winter Games, the 2015 Allan Cup plus all the numerous Volleyball, Basketball, Softball and Hockey tournaments that take place here and around here each year. THOUSANDS come here because of all of these thing that are going on here - and more.

Each of these events bring thousands of people (mostly young ones and their families) to our town and make the ones who live here prouder of that fact (Go Cougars! Go Caribous!).  Consider if we were to simply focus ALL of our current Economic Development efforts on increasing the value of what I will dub “The Clarenville Experience”  on our visitors and on our local people.  

We know it works!

The Town has proven this approach works. Witness the on the success of the investment in the Events Centre, White Hills Resort, the Middle School Gym, the Soccer pitch etc. at attracting people to the town and adding to the quality of life for the Town's residents  

I would argue that further investing in placemaking would create more benefit, attract and retain more people, create more business opportunity and the benefits would be more easily measured.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Playground, The Hypocrite and the Learning’s of a Municipal Election

I’ve decided to re-enter the political sphere – having never really left it in the first place and despite saying last year that I would not run this time. 

Admittedly, I was on the fence about running this time.  I wanted to take the summer to make up my mind.   I received lots of encouragement from lots of people and I saw lots of things going on that I thought I could make some contribution to. 

My son Harrison gave me the push I needed. 

He and his friends spent their time this summer in the Town’s two skate board parks.  One afternoon he came home complaining about the fact that rocks were all over the park and that the equipment could be better placed.  I showed him the broom and before he went off with it, I proceeded to give him a ‘sermon’ on the need to make the Town aware – be a part of the solution – make suggestions by contacting the Town’s Recreation Director, Garry Gosse.  

Quickly a calmly he suggested to me that my sermon was nice but - maybe I should apply the same line of reasoning to me and my own concerns - let’s say he pointed out that I was a HIPOCRITE. He was right - I needed to be part of the solution as well. 
Anyway, here we go into my second foray into municipal politics.   I learned so much last time and It’s good to see that I am learning lots this time as well.

I love listening and learning – help me listen and learn even more by voting for me on September 24th

About Me:


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Running in Municipal Election 2013 in Clarenville? Here's what you need to do:

Election time is upon us and maybe you are considering running in the September 24th Municipal Elections.   Municipal politics sure is not as high profile as other levels of government, but I truly believe that it is the most important and most relevant to you.  Every day you turn on your tap, walk on a sidewalk, drive on a street, see in the dark because of  a streetlight, or go to bed knowing that there is a trained fire department ready to help you or your neighbour 24/7, it's because a Town Council and the people with will in your community have made that possible - with the help of your tax dollars.  

I think it's critical to have a good cross section of people (particularly younger people and women)  vie for the available positions on our Council and even more importantly it is critical to have the opportunity to raise people's awareness of the issues facing our community and the future direction of our town. 



Based on a decision of Council, there is only one day for nominations in Clarenville and that date is set for August 27th. Candidates must be nominated between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m

A candidate must be nominated by two persons eligible to vote in the municipality 

Nominations shall be in writing and state the name and civic address of the candidate and shall be 
signed by the Proposer and Seconder both of whom shall be present together with the candidate 
who shall sign also signifying his or her acceptance. (FORM MEF-01 - Public Notice – Nomination of Candidates)

In the event that a candidate cannot be present for his/her nomination, his/her proposer and seconder can complete the required form. (FORM MEF-03 - Nomination Form for Candidates Unable to Be Present on Nomination Day)

Every candidate for Election to the Council shall at the time of his or her nomination, deposit 

with the Returning Officer and the Non-refundable sum of ten dollars ($10.00) (for Clarenville and other towns, fifty dollars ($50.00) for cities).

The qualifications of a candidate for election to council are as follows:

(1) Canadian Citizen of the full age of eighteen years.

(2) Resident of the municipality or area for at least 30 days immediately prior to the date 
set for the nomination period.

(3) Not Indebted to the Council for any arrears of taxes or other charges.

(4) Not otherwise disqualified under The Municipal Elections Act.

(Source: See



LINK to one of the best resources a NL Councillor can have - Peter Boswell's - Municipal Councillor's Handbook


Want More Information?

CHECK OUT MY BLOG SERIES ON THE ELECTION and other things related to Clarenville at

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Developers Have A Vision…But What About Us?

After listening to the July 23 Council meeting and reading the Council Notes in the Packet, I can't help but feel that the future of our town has been firmly placed in the hands of developers.  Unelected as they are, these developers certainly have a vision for Clarenville – I’ll give them that.  They see a 100 lots here and 50 lots there;  trails and hill sides moved and houses erected.  It’s a strong and solid vision and one that points to the opportunity that they see in 'our' town for growth potential - and the ability to capture profits from that potential. (Good on them for this! - they are critical to the growth of our town - I am just arguing that their vision needs to be actively managed)

The Town's vistas, the security of our water supply and the capacity of our current road and piping infrastructure (the things that you and I value and pay for) are not as high on the developer's minds. That's our collective concern - through our elected board of governors that we call the Town Council.  I wanted to hear that better discussed in Council's discussion and in their decision.

After first appearing in April (See my original blog post on this Monday, April 29, 2013  Amending We Will Go -- Assessing the Cost of Changing the Municipal Plan ), the issue of four significant amendments to the Town's Municipal Plan was brought up for discussion again. Each one of these proposals have the potential to bring serious development and significant change to the face of our town. The graphic below shows the affected areas.


I appreciate that we need development and I appreciate Council does not want to dismiss opportunity. No doubt there is a fine balance. After some discussion, Council decided to entertain three of the four amendments.  The only proposal rejected was a proposal to enlarge the quarry at White Hills.  The proposed amendment outlined below was rejected.

Click the map to go to Google Maps view

The remaining three amendment proposals are headed for public consultation.  I had not seen anything posted on the Town's website on these amendments so I requested copies of the proposals that we as a community will be expected to comment on.  Considering where we are in the election cycle and the nature of the decision, this will almost assuredly not happen until after the Sept 24 municipal election.


This proposal is to build approximately 100 homes adjacent to Katherine Estates (not reflected in map) on hilly terrain (not reflected on map) at the end of Huntley Drive.  The bulk of the proposed build is within a Environmentally Protected (EP) area and a portion of some lots is in a Water Supply Protection Area (Blue). The proposal is to change these zonings to residential.

Click the map to go to Google Maps view

Katherine Estates is literally carved out of a hillside.  (I sat on Council in 2007 and regrettably approved this development based on a plot plan I saw - like you see here.  It was a learning moment for me - I now take a very critical view of 2 dimensional plans - they just don't tell a full story. )


This is a proposal to add a "second level" to the ridge facing Random Sound. This proposal opens up a lot of land at the top of the ridge and the views should be fantastic.  However, the left side of the proposal is in an Environmentally Protected area.  The proposal is to change the zoning.


This proposal calls for a geographically small change, but a change that has the potential to change the face of Bare Mountain.   The map does not show it, but the RED area is steep terrain.  The proposal is to flatten the area so that more house lots could be installed.

Click the map to go to Google Maps view


There is no debating that Clarenville’s Municipal plan is quite a comprehensive document .   You paid for a professional planning consultant to develop this plan and with your input, he did a good job adhering to the planning rules.  After last week's Council meeting I am concerned that Council simply "Bought" the plan but have little buy-in or commitment to it - willing to entertain major changes to the plan on a seemingly frequent basis.

I can see small changes that make sense but these proposed changes alone help serve to nullify the plan and beg me to ask: What is the point of planning if we don't follow the plan? 

Make sure you make it an issue in the upcoming Municipal Election and then look for the date of the Public Hearings.