Friday, May 12, 2017

People ask me why would I serve on a Municipal Council?

People often ask me why would anyone want to serve on Town Council and do a job that everyone perceives to be a thankless?

They ask me how do you handle dealing with so many people always pulling you in different directions and often criticizing every move the town makes? Why would anyone want to be called out publicly at every turn and blamed in many cases for things that may or may not be your fault?

My answer has always been that I don't mind all that stuff, it is what I signed up for. I don't mind being stopped at the gas station, corner store, grocery store or even have people waiting for me in my driveway. My family has turned into my secretaries answering the many calls that come to my house and I had to upgrade my cellular plan because i was always going over my minutes. My email box is always full and my schedule is jammed packed all the time.

I have had some time over the past couple of days to reflect on all of these questions and many others like is it really worth the time commitment necessary to do the best you can for the town.

I am happy to say YES!! YES, it is worth the effort, time and sacrifice you and your family need to make in order to do this job right.

Just this past Wednesday which was Municipal Awareness Day I believe we had one of the single greatest days in the Town of Torbay that I can remember. It was a day in which thousands of hours of emails, phone calls, meetings and more meetings culminated in a mass of good news for the Town of Torbay.

We unveiled the new home of the Torbay History House and Museum, or the Priest House as we often refer to it This is a project that has been a couple of years in the making but we finally got it done and it will be a great asset to the town when it is renovated and finally opened.

We have entered into a Municipal Enforcement Partnership with the Town of Portugal Cove - St Phillips and the Commissionaires on a one year pilot project to provide security services to both Towns.

Then we signed a mutual aid agreement between Torbay, Pouch Cove and Portugal Cove - St Phillips Fire Departments. This will enable us to offer greater fire protection to those three towns as well as Flatrock who are serviced by our volunteer fire departments. This is a terrific example of how we can work together in our region to offer better services to residents. I would really like to thank the Chiefs of all three fire departments for getting this long overdue agreement done.

Immediately after signing the Mutual Aid Agreement we proceed to the Fire Hall to officially receive the keys to our new Fire Rescue Vehicle. This is a tremendous piece of equipment which will serve the Town of Torbay and Flatrock for many years to come.

If all that wasn't enough we then proceed to officially cut the ribbon on our new municipal depot. This is a state of the art facility that will allow the town to offer a safe work place for our employees and help improve services to residents. This project was first identified in 2008 and has been on councils radar for a long time. It was one of the first jobs that Mayor Tapper tasked our Public Works Committee (Carol Ann Smith, Director of Public Works Bernie Manning and myself) along with CAO Dawn Chaplin to get done. The first thing we did was identify an appropriate piece of land then we negotiated with the owner to purchase it. Once that was done we could see the the path forward for this project. That doesn't mean we could snap our fingers and it was done but we were on the right road, sometimes bumpy but we kept chugging along. I was particularly proud of this announcement as I have been involved with it from the beginning first as a member of Public Works Committee and for the past couple of years as Chair.

Finally to round out the day we had a grade 4 class in from Holy Trinity Elementary to have a mock council meeting. This was truly a highlight of the day to observe these young children wade through the jungle that is municipal politics. They were thoughtful and insightful in their questions and I am sure they had a great time as was evident from the smiles on their faces.

I never really gave much thought to the significance of these announcements we made Wednesday. I just see them as a logical conclusion to many hours of hard work and dedication by members of council and staff. That was until Minister Eddie Joyce commented during the Depot opening that most municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador would have been delighted to be able to make any one of our announcements. And here we were making 4 or 5 major announcements to benefit the residents of the Town of Torbay and our entire region.

If these announcements we made on Wednesday were the only things that this particular council had gotten done it would be a tremendous success by any measure. But it isn't, we have through the course of this term managed to build more trails then ever before. We have done more road work than i have ever seen and even constructed our first significant sidewalk. There are many other major steps we have taken which are too many to mention. We have a new sports clubhouse constructed in Upper three Corner Park which will open soon and to top it all off we have gone to tender on our new Community and Wellness Center.

So, with all this in mind when people ask me is it worth it to serve on a municipal council?

My answer is this. If you think you have something to offer and believe in your community then you should step forward and be part of the solution. Put your time and talent into working with others for the good of the entire community. The pay off at the end of the day is tremendous, you can not replicate the pride I felt in the Town of Torbay on Wednesday as we showcased for the entire province how far we have come in less than 4 short years. We are a town that other towns are looking at and saying Wow! that is where we want to be.

Does that mean everything is perfect? No it is far from perfect and we still have some major work to do but I will leave that for another day.

For today I would just like to recognize the hard work that was put in by our council and staff but especially those who will not be seeking reelection in September, it has been my pleasure to serve with you.

Thanks
Craig

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Stuffed - North East Avalon Food Bank gets influx of Turkeys from RE/MAX Agents Charity House and area Residents


I am very happy to say that the freezers at the North East Avalon Food Bank are stuffed to the brim with turkeys for the Christmas season.

RE/MAX Real Estate Agents Charity House got us started with a tremendous donation of 100 turkeys for the food bank. I approached our neighboring towns councils to ask that they encourage their residents to contribute and provide a means for them to drop off at their respective town halls. In the end we collected about 145 turkeys that can be distributed to families in need this Christmas.

The response was excellent and it was great to see so many of our community leaders in attendance to deliver turkeys and help fill the freezers. Not everyone could make it yesterday but I would like to thank all the Real Estate Agents who showed up to help. I would also like to acknowledge and thank MHA Kevin Parsons, Mayor Darrin Thorne of Flatrock, Mayor Joedy Wall of Pouch Cove and Mayor John Kennedy of Logy Bay Middle Cove Outer Cove.

I think that this particular turkey drive was certainly a success in many ways. First of all and most important is that many families who rely on the food bank will be able to have a turkey for Christmas. Secondly the fact that other towns in our region got involved highlights that this is not a Torbay Food Bank, it is a regional food bank for the North East Avalon.

The RE/MAX real estate agents who have been involved in helping our food bank for the past few months have really helped fill the shelves and lift the spirits of those people involved in the food bank. If you would like to see some additional information about their charity you can see it in a previous blog post here.

As we get closer to Christmas it has also been brought to my attention that the Food Bank is looking for some toys to add to some hampers. To get more information about that you can give Madonna a call at the food bank 437-6367.













Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Turkey Drive for North East Avalon Food Bank


A couple of weeks ago I posted a story about how RE/MAX Real Estate Charity House has been helping out our regional food bank and that they intended to donate 100 turkeys for Christmas. This is a great benefit to our communities on the North East Avalon and users of the food bank in particular. Add to that the fact that food bank usage has been increasing all over the province and at our local food bank in particular.

With this in mind I contacted the towns in our region who are serviced by the food bank and asked if they would like to try and help raise awareness in their towns and provide a means for residents to drop off turkeys to be donated to the food bank. The response has been excellent and I believe all the towns in our area will accept a turkey if you want to drop it off and if they cannot please feel free to drop it at the Town of Torbay office.

The target date for delivery to the food bank is next Wednesday, December 7th so it would be greatly appreciated if you intend to try and help out that you drop off your turkey or other meat products like ground beef before then.

The local food bank has been under a lot of pressure this past year and are struggling to meet the needs of those people who unfortunately have to avail of their services. Usage has increased and times are only getting tougher for some. At times like this it is important for those of us who can afford it to step up and try and help those people in our communities who happen to find themselves in need.

I would also like to encourage people who may be finding it hard right now to put your pride aside and reach out for help if you need it. Nobody should be embarrassed to ask their friends and neighbours for help, especially if it means having a healthy meal on the table for your family.

Please if you can take a couple of bucks, toss and extra turkey in your cart that can be provided to a family in need this Christmas.

Thanks

Craig Scott
Councillor Town of torbay

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

More Help From RE/MAX Real Estate Agents Charity House For North East Avalon Regional Food Bank


Back in September I was contacted by Kevin Martin and local Torbay real estate agent Michelle Thorne who are both with RE/MAX. They invited me to join them and other agents as they presented a donation of $2500 to the North East Avalon Food Bank. There was a tremendous need at that time as the shelves at the food bank were pretty bare.

If this wasn't generous enough Kevin contacted me again in early November to advise me they were planning on giving another donation to our food bank and also the possibility that they may be in a position to donate turkeys as well for Christmas.

Last week I was invited to come to the food bank along with ten RE/MAX agents to deliver yet another donation and to help pack up some hampers. They generously donated over $1600 worth of fresh fruits, vegetables and badly needed meat products. I was more than happy to attend along with Mayor Tapper to help out and show our support for these agents and the food bank.

As if all this isn't enough RE/MAX Real Estate Charity House has agreed to donate 100 turkeys to our food bank for Christmas. With this in mind I have decided to put a challenge out to our community of Torbay and all the other towns who are serviced by the regional food bank to try and match those 100 turkeys. When I proposed this idea to Kevin to try and leverage their turkey commitment to ask the community to match he was all for it. 

I am making arrangements to have a drop off location set up at the Torbay Town Hall so that people can bring in their turkey there. If you can't donate a turkey the food bank will gladly accept other items especially meat products like ground beef.

Over the past couple of years there has been an increasing demand placed on our regional food bank and more and more people are coming forward looking for help. I am fortunate that currently I am not in need of the food bank to feed my family but hard times can hit anyone. I think it is important for those of us who have the means to donate should to ensure that those members of our communities who have fallen on hard times have somewhere to turn.

In particular I would like to encourage people to please make an extra effort to donate to the food bank during this turkey drive. Sitting around the dinner table during Christmas with family is something that I certainly cherish and look forward to. No family in our town or region should have to go without that simple pleasure during this holiday season and we have it within our power to make sure that doesn't happen.

I can not stress enough how grateful I am as a resident of Torbay that RE/MAX Real Estate Agents Charity House have chosen to focus their efforts in our community and in particular our regional food bank. There are a lot of worthy charities and causes that they support and we are luck to be one of them.

A special “thank you” to Mary Lester of Lester Farm who provided the fresh veggies and a generous donation too. 

This is the list of Agents who helped out at the food bank last week


Here is some background information on this wonderful organization as presented by Kevin Martin in his own words. 

Three years ago we setup the RE/MAX Real Estate Agents Charity House; a Charity Foundation where all our RE/MAX Realtors in St. John’s and Mount Pearl only donate into. We also do fundraising to raise extra money for our Charity causes. Our yearly budget is about $30,000. RE/MAX Agents also donated about $50,000 and $20,000 yearly to the Janeway and the Breast Cancer society which is separate from this Charity Foundation.
The goal of our RE/MAX Real Estate Agents Charity House, is to reach out into the community and find dire-need charity cases to fund or help out with using our manpower. We reach out to other charity organizations, churches, schools and social groups that can direct us to where help is badly needed. We have a Board of Directors ( 8 RE/MAX Agents) that meet monthly to discuss issues and funding cases. Over the past three year we have funded, The Community Centre Alliance ( An organization that runs the community centers.) where we paid for a summer Lunch Program for kids at three community centres in the city; We also setup a “Food Fund” at the Gower Street United Church of $2500 to be paid out to the poor that come to the church steps looking for food.   

We have also funded many many individual cases. We recently bought eyes glasses for a little girl, so she could read in school; we paid for the daycare of a young girl so her mom could continue her degree at MUN and make a better life for them both; We recently paid the oil bill and electrical bill for two different seniors, so that they can help heat this winter.  And yesterday we approved funding for to buy bunkbeds for two little girls, and a Sobeys card for a young couple without income to feed is young family.
Our Charity Foundation is new. We are committed to helping out where we can and when we can.  RE/MAX Agents are more than Real Estate. We believe in giving back to our community and Partnering with our community to make life better for everyone. We are three years young but excited and ready to make a major impact on improving the lives of the needy.    
Over a month ago we came to realize that the Torbay Food Bank was in dire need, and this is why we have focused here. The recent Fundraiser was fun to organize and humbling to all our Agents who took part in it.  Our Foundation fundraised over $1600 in food for the Food Bank. We looking forward to the Christmas Turkey Drive now. 

Pictures from the food bank last week.



















Friday, September 9, 2016

North East Avalon and Mt Pearl Food Banks Get Big Boost from RE/MAX


It was a tremendous pleasure to be on hand as RE/MAX agents presented our North East Avalon Food Bank with a substantial donation on September 8, 2016. Over the past few months it has been well documented that our regional food bank has been struggling to keep the shelves stocked which impedes their ability to help those in need.

Torbay resident and RE/MAX agent Michelle Thorne sent along an invite and news that her company would be making a donation of $2500 each to the North East Avalon and the Mount Pearl food bank. Councillor Mary Thorne-Gosse and I were delighted to be part of this initiative along with Madonna and Leo Galway the operators of the food bank.

This donation is an excellent example of how business can have a profound impact on our community and these people I met yesterday were genuinely delighted to be able to help. I asked for some additional information about how and why RE/MAX is able to do this type of community initiative and I am pleased to be able to share that information with you.

The donations originated from the Real Estate Agents Charity House (R.E.A.C.H). This is a foundation which was formed by local RE/MAX agents from RE/MAX Realty Specialist Ltd. RE/MAX United and RE/MAX Plus.

All of the agents make a donation from each sales transaction towards this fund in addition to various other fundraising events. The $5000 that was donated to the North East Avalon and Mount Pearl food banks was raised at their annual golf tournament and split between the two.

It is through these types of cash donations that the food bank is able to purchase much needed items that are not normally part of typical non-perishable items that people generously donate.

I would just like to personally thank RE/MAX and all the agents who contributed to this donation and as well Leo and Madonna who donate their time to try and help those in need in our region.

Those in attendance on behalf of RE/MAX agents were:

Michelle Thorne
Catherine Murphy
Edwina Baldwin
Kevin Martin
Chris Hodder

Here are a few additional pictures