Wednesday, June 30, 2010

This is 18:21 of my life I will never get back

Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, June 28, 2010

Torbay ICSP Survey

I was browsing around the town website and came across this survey. This is a survey called the Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) which the town has contracted AMEC Earth and Environmental to develop. I took a couple of minutes and completed but I was kind of disappointed at the end that it didn't produce some results to see how people answered each question. Why don't you take the time to fill it out and I will ask council what the results of the survey were? How many people completed the survey and how the plan is coming?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Had A Great Fathers Day

Hey everybody, hope you had a great fathers day because I know I did.  I must admit though that it was pretty busy.  My wife and kids let me sleep in a little until about 8:00 then they came in with my gifts that they made me and we opened them up on the bed.

Once we were all up, we went to mass and following that we went to the Father's Day breakfast at the Parish   Hall with my parents and Laureen's dad and brother which was really nice.

After breakfast and lunch we got our bikes out and took a ride in Bauline Line to the softball field to go flying kites.  As usual the drivers on the road have no idea how to respect others on the road and cars sped past us as we peddled in the road.

I was very impressed with my son as he appears to be natural at flying kites.  The wind was just right and we had a great time.  I couldn't have asked for a better time or a better family......Thanks.

Friday, June 18, 2010

CBC News - Nfld. & Labrador - Torbay council roasted at public hearing

Wow the meeting must have been an interesting one last night, I wish I had been able to go. Seems like there are a lot of people pissed about this development but considering that there is over 7000 people in Torbay and maybe a 100 people showed up it is not on everyones radar.

I understand the frustration of the people living in the immediate area but these developments effect the entire town and our ability to raise revenues to pay for town services. There have been other projects in this town where residents have been negatively effected but they have gone ahead when they have met all the necessary requirements.

People will say that if you don't live in the area then you should mind your own business however what if someone is looking forward to this development so that they can possibly buy a house there. I am sure with all the public attention that this project is going to get that if it does go ahead it won't be without a fight.

I agree with people having concerns based on valid arguments like adding so many new wells and the sewer issue. However I think that opposing it based entirely on wanting to preserve a quiet neighborhood is not going to stand up. Especially considering how many other quiet neighborhoods have been basically turned into subdivisions and thorough fares over the years.

This should be an interesting few months as this thing moves forward.

For CBC story go here 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Torbay Council Minutes Update

Well it looks like the minutes are getting updated on the town website. I checked this morning and found that they have been posted for the meetings up to May 17, 2010. I have read through them and found some interesting stuff. I must admit that it is nice to be able to look at the minutes of council to find out some of what is going on instead of having to wait to read it in the North East Avalon Times.

Some highlights from the meetings include 

The need to have six sewage treatment facilities/technologies submitted to the province for consideration instead of the single proposal they had previously prepared. This seems like a lot of extra work on first glance but it may benefit the town in the long run if we are forced to seek out various methods which may be better suited for our particular area. What ever the case and the final decision this is something that we absolutely have to do.

There was also mention of some letters sent to council from Grade 5 Students of Holy Trinity Elementary concerning conditions at Torbay Beach. It is nice to see young people with this level of interest and also promising to see the teacher helping the students get involved. I am happy that members of council are acknowledging these students and suggesting that they send them an official correspondence in reply to each students letter. At least they will get the impression that their concerns are being taken seriously and council is addressing them.

Kevin Parsons and another resident sent an email to council regarding the poor state of Torbay Road and in particular the ruts on Piper Stock hill. It has been suggested that these ruts may have caused an accident recently and wondering when they will be fixed. I know that I have noticed that those ruts can certainly cause your car to react when your tires get caught in them. I stopped there one night just to see how deep they are and they are actually deeper then they look. Mayor Codner advised that the section of road between Middle Cove Road and Marine Drive are scheduled to be completed, hopefully that gets done sooner rather than later. I think if I had an accident and was convinced the ruts were the cause I would be contacting a lawyer to explore my options.

Council also approved the rezoning of a piece of land at the end of McArthur Place to accommodate five fully serviced building lots. The current zoning is Residential Subdivision Area Serviced  the new zoning will be Residential Medium Density.

They discussed Whitty’s Ridge
Proposal for development – 30 plus lots on Whitty’s Ridge with a connection between Byrne’s Lane and Whitty’s Lane. It looks like some road upgrades need to be done before any development can take place.  There is also an information session concerning this development tonight at the Kinsmen Center. That should be interesting.

Here is another development in Whitty’s Ridge South
Proposal for development – 15 plus un-serviced lots with connection between Whitty’s Lane and Camp Carey Road. Council has given this one approval in principle so the developer can proceed with engineering and design work.

Looks like the town is paving the way for more residential development in Torbay with the removal of all 610 metre buffer zones with the exception of two around Ryan's farm and Connor's farm. In addition to that they are rezoning some land on Bauline Line from Rural Land Use to Residential Large Lot. My how the town is growing.

I have asked the Deputy Mayor why Council doesn't post the Agenda for upcoming council meetings so people can find out what is going to be discussed. Residents may have ideas or concerns related to upcoming agenda items and may want to attend a meeting to get more information. He is going to get back to me on that.

One thing I need to say is that all of the items I have posted here are from May 17,2010 council minutes and many of these items may have changed or been address in subsequent meetings. That is the problem with using documentation that is a month old by the time it is posted by council. I am hoping they can get the minutes approved and posted faster so that it will be more accurate. I am also considering attending the meetings myself and taking some notes to have things more up to date.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CBC News - Nfld. & Labrador - Impaired driver penalties to increase

I am not in favor of drinking and driving but this law seems a bit over the top to me. Basically what the police are going to do is be able to pull people over for no reason and ask them to take a breath test and if they blow between .05 and .08 they will lose their licence for a week.

That means you are going to be convicted and punished by the police even though you DID NOT break the law and drive impaired.

Essentially you are going to be punished for ALMOST breaking the law. Seems pretty stupid to me, next thing we will get punished for these crimes.....

$50 dollar fine for almost speeding, going 49 in a 50 zone.

Arrested for Almost trespassing, maybe you are walking past a No Trespassing sign on the side of the road.

I know these examples are ridiculous but so is this law. Obviously there has been medical research done to determine that .08 is the acceptable limit that a person can still operate a motor vehicle in a safe Unimpaired manner. Now to ignore that law and punish people for being responsible and obeying the law makes absolutely no sense to me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

CBC News - Nfld. & Labrador - Man exposing himself by cemetery: RCMP

Wow! Talk about a deadbeat. You would think after that guy got caught once that he would have come to his senses and went home out of it. What makes a person do something so stupid?

Whitty's Ridge Development

I noticed on the town website that there is a public information session planned for Thursday night 7:00 at the Kinsmen Centre.  I have heard several stories about what is supposed to be going on up there, everything from 30 houses to 200 houses.  I am not sure what happens at these sessions but if you think this might effect you in some way it may be worth while going to check it out.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More on Torbay Council Minutes

I got an email back from the Deputy Mayor who looked into this issue for me and he tells me that he has spoken to the COA and that the minutes should be up to date this week and has asked that they don't fall behind again.

Thanks Geoff.........

I have also followed up with him to ask if they publish the meeting Agenda prior to the meeting so that we can find out what they are going to be talking about.  May make people a little more interested in finding out what is going on.....Stay tuned.

Who did the math on G20 security costs? | Monte Solberg | Columnists | Comment | Toronto Sun

I don't know who added this all up but wouldn't it have nice to host something like this in Newfoundland and especially Torbay.

Just imagine the stuff we could have built here with all that money? Hotels, Swimming Pools, Docks in the Harbour, Highways you name it we would have gotten it just like the Muskoka area is getting.

Instead we get stuff like bypass roads that really don't bypass anything and raw sewage pumping into the sea and crumbling roads.

Hard to believe we are in a recession.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Long Summer on Torbay Road Starts Today

Well I guess today is the start of it.  I was lined up for quite a while this evening coming in Torbay road and it was only 3:45.  I know that it is supposed to be better for everyone in the long run when that Torbay Bypass Road is completed but it will be a painful transition waiting for it to open.  They started working on the stretch between where the bypass starts and the 5 lane portion of Torbay Road.  I always thought Torbay road was 4 lanes,  my mistake for not counting the fire lane I guess.

Anyway I am not even convinced that it is a good design but I am willing to give it a chance and see how it works out.  I am not in love with the way it appears cars will be getting on and off that road at all points.  How will it work on Torbay Road? As I understand it there will be an intersection there and with possible traffic lights.    What about Indian Meal Line (or as I like to call it Torbay Speedway) or Bauline Line, last I heard they were going to be STOP signs; there is an accident waiting to happen.  I could be wrong about that but it is hard to find any information about it anywhere and the only thing available on the web is the design plan from the Government of Newfoundland which only shows the route.  Of course the town doesn't have anything posted publicly on their website about it, you would need the services of Jack Bauer to use his interrogation skills to find out anything over there.  The only thing more secret that the happenings over at the Town of Torbay is what happed to Danny Williams hair part.

The only other thing on the web about the bypass road is a Facebook group set up by Tanya Mercer Power and Bill Tapper that when you really look at it was more of a political issue they were trying to raise during the last by-election to try and get a Liberal (Tanya Power) elected.  In my opinion they were just trying to raise her profile and hopefully garner a few votes in hopes of beating Kevin Parsons and we all know how that worked out.

Anyway, you had better bet yourself an extra large coffee cup to bring along in the car in the mornings for the next while as we are sure to be sitting in traffic.  Lets all remember to just relax and don't go over the deep end like that nut job in St John's the other day with the road rage incident.  If I see someone coming up to my truck with a baseball bat he had better be on his way to a ball game.

Torbay Garbage Policy is Garbage

I am always amazed at how far behind the times we are in Torbay and the whole province with regards to waste management. Recycling programs in Torbay, St John's and in fact the whole province are an embarrassment. We have to be the most environmentally unfriendly people in the country, all you need to do is go for a walk in the woods to realize that. 

I would like the town of Torbay to consider starting a recycling program that we as residents can avail of.  All they would need are a few bins over behind the town hall and residents could go by and drop items off depending on what materials we can recycle.  This would help reduce the amount of trash going into our garbage bags and in turn the number of bags we put out each week and what ultimately ends up in the dump.  There is a cost associated with having a program like this but some of the cost could be recuperated through the materials themselves when they are sold.

This would have an even greater impact if we reviewed our current regulations as to how many bags we permit people to put out for roadside pickup.  Currently residents of Torbay are allowed to put out 10 garbage bags a week. That is unbelievable, how can any normal person have to put out 10 bags of garbage on a weekly basis.  I know that on occasion we may have some unusual circumstances where we have a significant number of garbage bags but not every week.  I have lived in other cities and I was only allowed to put a maximum of 2 bags a week out for pickup.  Granted I was also allowed to put out those big paper yard waste bags with grass and leaves in them as well as my blue and black recycling boxes.

I would ask the question that when the town budgets for wasted disposal are they using a 10 bag maximum in the calculations to determine the price?  If so then if they reduced that to a 5 bad maximum could they cut their estimate in half?  Even 5 bags seems like a lot to me, we could cut it to 3 and save even more money.

I haven't given much thought to this lately but recently I was down by Robin Hood Bay and the stink coming from there now is just horrible.  It got me thinking to the few times I went to the land fill when I lived in Ottawa and how different it was and the fact that there was absolutely no smell.  Then I remembered my friends that live in Bridgewater Nova Scotia, and how the guys who drive the garbage trucks will pick up your garbage bag and if they hear materials in there that can be recycled they leave your garbage on the curb.  If they hear glass, cans or fell plastic bottles in there they won't take it.

I have no idea what the future holds for Torbay and NL in general when it comes to waste management but there are alternatives to just piling stuff into landfills.  There is technology being used in Canada and around the world that converts this waste to electricity and that would be a viable option.  If we had one Plasma Gasification Plant in Robin Hood Bay like the one operating in Ottawa it would produce enough electricity for pretty much all the houses in Torbay and possibly Logy Bay Middle Cove Outer Cove for free, just from converting the garbage.

These are the kinds of projects our governments need to be looking at instead of super dumps and just burying our problems and our heads in the sand.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Torbay Council Meetings and Minutes

I wonder how many people go to council meetings and take in exactly what goes on over there and what it is council is doing to better our town?  I remember going to a meeting once about 10 years ago I guess when I was building my first house just to make sure there were no issues with my application.  I thought the whole thing was rather uneventful and boring to tell you the truth, and it takes a lot to bore me when politics is involved so that will tell you something.

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that council meetings need to be entertaining as we have come accustomed to seeing from the City of St John's for instance.  But if council is tackling serious issues related to the town then they should at least peak our interest and encourage us to get involved.

I remember reading something about Council Transparency from some campaign literature that was going around last election.  I checked and was able to find that it was part of the Deputy Mayors election platform which was posted on his website.
Council Transparency is about the improved sharing of both decisions and the decision making process with the people of Torbay. I intend to promote and contribute to a culture of openness both inside and outside of chambers. Furthermore, as councillor I would support “Cameras in Council”. All chamber activity is Public, and as such, I believe the town should organize the video recordings of all chamber meetings and post them online for broad public consumption.  This is the best route to achieve improved municipal accountability and transparency. I would also reform the council meeting agendas to make them more straightforward and easy to understand.
I am not criticizing Mr Gallant, in fact I would like to encourage him to get on with this so that we can see how our town is run.  Such and initiative would give us something tangible to judge these people on the next time they come asking for our votes.  I don't know if cameras are an urgent need but it is an interesting idea.  For now though, I would be satisfied if they just posted the Meeting Minutes on line so that we can have a look at what the current business of council is.  If you go on the town website today and look at the council minutes you will see that no minutes have been added since April 5, 2010.  We are not talking about rocket science here people, this is an 11 page document that can probably be typed up by a town staffer in an hour and that is being generous.

How in the world can it take over 2 months to get meeting minutes posted to the web?  A cynical person would say that the council is hiding things and doesn't want the public to know about it.  More reasonable people might believe that council just doesn't care and feel they are accountable to no one and don't give a damn what we think.  Then there is the old standby, that it is typical for a municipal worker to take that long to do something.  Now I don't believe that because I know several people who work for the town of Torbay and they are generally hard working and take their jobs seriously.

So that leads me to believe that is more of a leadership issue than a human resources problem.  My guess is that these council minutes are just not considered important in the big scheme of things.  The only people who can stress how important these minutes are is council and considering they are 2 months behind it can't be high on  the agenda.  I was having an email conversation with Councillor Ralph Tapper about a week ago with regards to run down buildings and he suggested that I visit the town website and keep up on the issue through the meeting minutes.  When I informed him that the minutes had not been updated since April 5th he was surprised and assumed they were updated regularly and he would look into the issue.  Well the last minutes are still from April 5th.

I suggest that these minutes are vital to providing the average citizen of Torbay a first hand account of the issues that are being debated on and acted on by council.  Is it too much to ask that the minutes be updated between meetings?  Somebody over in that town office must have time to type them up.  If they don't then they can send the rough draft to me and I will type them up and post them if they want.  I am going to email council today to try and get to the bottom of this and I will report what I am told in this space.