Sunday, August 22, 2010

CBC News - Nfld. & Labrador - Torbay man accused of serial armed robberies

What a frigging idiot! I guess the next thing we will be hearing is how he is hooked on OxyContin. I guess he will get a slap on the wrist for this and be back on the street robbing someone else in no time. I guess this is what it means when they say crime follows prosperity. If our economy and town continue to grow then we are going to have to take a serious look at the number of police we have on the streets.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another Video of Whales in Torbay

This video was posted by the same guy who posted the Killer Whales video but this is of Humpbacks. These are nice videos, anyone know who this is that took them?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Killer Whales in Torbay

This is a video that someone took recently in Torbay of some Killer Whales. Looks like they got pretty close in those boats, must have been a pretty amazing experience. The music is great that they added to the video too.

Recent Crime and Lack of Police Presence

I have heard concerns from some residents of Torbay with regards to crime and what appears to be a lack of police presence in our town. I know recently the community has had it's share of incidents that are not characteristic of life in Torbay.

One resident of the Flemings Hill/ North Pond area contacted me to say that there has been an official petition presented to council regarding a speed bump in that area. He also expressed concern about the apparent lack of police presence in the town and residential areas as a whole. I know recently the RNC moved their office from the Town Hall to the Kinsmen Center, I can only assume this was in response to the concerns I have heard from surrounding residents who have complained about vandalism and possible drug dealing around the skate park.

What can we do as a community to prevent and fight crime? Well I have some experience with Neighbourhood Watch and it proved to be an effective public response to this type of criminal behavior. I don't know exactly what the rules are here in Torbay as it relates to setting up a group but the last group I was in had established guidelines outlined by the local police.

There is a small blurb on the RNC website related to Neighbourhood Watch but not a lot of details. I guess in order to set up a group you would need to contact either the RNC or the RNC Community Office to get the details. As they need to be involved anyway that is probably the best place to start.

Basically how it works is that a group of people get together and start the group with the support of the RNC and report any suspicious activity that they see either through a Block Captain or directly to the police, at least that is how my last group worked.

One of the rewarding aspects of these types of community programs is that it gets people out and meeting their neighbours and other residents on their street and neighbourhood. I found this particularity helpful when I lived in Ottawa because it was not unusual to only know your immediate neighbors and many times next door neighbors had absolutely no interaction with each other. When communities are basically strangers it is easier to ignore vandalism, theft or worse happening to someone on your street when you don't know them, basically mind your own business. However when you have the occasional meeting to discuss what is going on in the neighbourhood and have conversations with other residents it brings the community closer together. It makes people take a crime against someone in the group more personal and therefore more likely to take an interest and report it.

With that in mind these types of programs should be easy to get off the ground in a town like ours because most people already know each other and approaching them is a lot easier. I would say from my experience living in Torbay for most of my life that people will generally take an interest in what is going on and all is left to do is formalize the activities and share the information with the police. Because the police are a partner in Neighbourhood Watch it is an effective way to increase police presence and cooperation within the community.

Maybe this type of initiative is what needs to take place in our town and the more groups that are established the greater the net of community protection and crime prevention will be cast. Once the groups are known to criminals and arseholes alike they will be more likely to move beyond an area with an active Watch in place to somewhere they feel is a lesser risk.

If you would like to set up a watch I think you need to contact someone at the RNC with Community Services

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Speed Bumps Coming to a Street Near You But Are They The Answer?

Has anyone seen one of these speed bumps yet? I have driven over the one on Western Island Pond Drive and I found it to be quite effective. There has been a similar one installed in Outer Cove all summer and it certainly reduces speeds through the school zone area. 

There has also been one placed in Quarry Lane and I suspect that is because more and more cars are using that route now to avoid some of the traffic on Torbay Road. They must be coming down that way to go down Middle Cove Road in the mornings and home in the evenings.

I like speed bumps and think they can effectively control speeding but they need to be put in the right places like in the school zone. The other question I have about those is what happens in the winter? We just remove the bumps and allow the speeders to go back to their old ways?

There are a few more roads in and around the Torbay area that could use some speed control on as well but they don't necessarily have to be a speed bump. I have seen in other cities and towns in Canada signs placed on the side of the road that display your speed. You can have both permanent ones like this one to the right or mobile ones on a trailer that you can move around as pictured below. These have proven to be pretty effective and I know that in my experience when ever I have come up on these signs and my speed happened to be up, I would certainly make a correction and slow down.

I would especially like to see something like this installed on Indian Meal Line and Bauline Line to try and curb the speeding taking place on those roads. Indian Meal Line has to be the worst road in Torbay for traffic and speeding and with the increased housing development that is going on in that area it will only get worse.

I think this is something that the council should look into and a workable solution to help make the streets of our town safer. Speed bumps are good but they are unpractical on busy roads like some of our busier thoroughfares and would only aggravate drivers and possibly make the situation worse with aggressive driving after the delay. They also have to be taken up in the winter or the snow plow will either tear up the bump or the bump will damage the plow.

Considering the state some of our roads are in it is becoming more and more dangerous for everyone when people choose to speed. Getting stuck in a rut or a blowout as a result of hitting a pothole could send a vehicle crashing into another or a pedestrian. Hopefully our town will be a bit more proactive in the future when it comes to speeding drivers.

Armed Robbery In Torbay Last Night

There was an armed robbery in Torbay last night at Mary Brown's then there were two more robberies on Torbay road after wards. The first of the three happened at Mary Brown's in Torbay about 9:30pm. The robber didn't get any money and fled. Then around 11:30 last night a gas station on Torbay road was hit where they did get some cash. Then early this morning a doughnut shop which I am assuming was Tim Horton's was robbed where an undisclosed amount of cash was stolen. Police are saying that a knife was used in at least two or the heists.

I know this is not funny and I don't want to take it lightly but I am not surprised that the thief didn't get any money at Mary Brown's. Judging from the speed of service that is so often experienced there the armed robber may have been waiting for 20 minutes for someone to even notice him.

New Fun Land VII and daycare options in Torbay

UPDATE: The operator of the daycare centre advises me that alternate space has been secured and all the parents are currently being contacted with the details. This is great news for those people who I know have been scrambling and worrying about what to do. 

First of all I would like to thanks Sheena the operator of the daycare for commenting on my original post related to the delay in opening. I am sure this is a trying time for her with the delay and the efforts to try and find alternate space for the people who are trying to find care for their kids. With this in mind though I am sure the pressure she is under right now is nothing compared to the panic many parents are feeling as the opening of school approaches and they still don't have child care secured.

I was at the bank yesterday and noticed a few adds for child care in Torbay and figured I would pass them along if it interest anyone.

These are the phone numbers I got from the adds.

437-2736 - If I remember correctly this one is for after school care on a bus route.

233-0068 - Pretty sure this is after school as well, it says to contact Christa.

693-1903 - I beleive this is an add for care in your home.

I can't be positive about the specifics of these opportunities but the phone numbers are correct and if I see anymore I will post them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Contract for Sewage Lift Station and Chlorine Contact Chamber Awarded

This little item is a little old but I though it was worth mentioning considering it is an expenditure of almost a Million dollars.

On June 14th Council voted to award a contract to Pyramid Construction in the amount of $858,796.91 and an additional $91,200.00 in Engineering fees for a total of $949,966.91. There is nothing unusual about this process and I am glad that it is happening and but I find it fascinating that our Councillors can spend this kind of money in the blink of an eye and it is summed up in a two sentence, three line entry in the weekly council minutes.

Don't get me wrong because I am not implying that they did anything wrong, on the contrary they are doing their jobs. I just think that this is a perfect example why people should take municipal politics more seriously and really make an effort to get more involved during the councils term and especially at election time. We need to make sure that we are electing qualified and serious people to make these and other decisions on our behalf.

I am glad that infrastructure projects like this are going ahead to make our town better but I would like to know when they are really going to expand water and sewer services in Torbay so that more residents can avail of them. That will be a huge challenge considering South Pond which is one of our designated water supply ponds is nothing more that a big bog hole, which by the way as I understand it the town is trying to get removed from that designation. The other water supply pond is Great Pond which of anyone has ever been in there is not exactly a pristine example of purity.

Maybe it is time for Torbay to partner with the other municipalities on the North East Avalon and develop a regional water supply. I have heard people speak of using Medalsis Pond in Flatrock as a water supply, it is said that it is the deepest pond around and would be a great candidate. An initiative like that however would require a tremendous amount of cooperation and leadership from all the participating towns and a great deal of money from the Provincial Government. You never know it could happen and until something like that happens I think it is a long shot for many more people in Torbay to get "hooked up"

UPDATE: New Port-A-Potty approved for the Soccer field!

Well I was happy to see the Port-a-Potty at the field yesterday and of course my daughter had to make use of it. To her relief and mine we didn't have to venture over to the club house and miss half of her game. 

I just got back from speaking with the Deputy Mayor Geoff Gallant after the council meeting and he informed me that council has approved the expenditure to place a Port-a-Potty at the soccer field for the rest of this season. Hopefully they will look at this issue again next year and get something in place for the entire season.

I would like to thank council for doing this with a special mention to councillor Mike Byrne and Deputy Mayor Gallant as these were the two councillors I had contacted on this issue initially. I am pleasantly surprised and grateful at the speed of which this issue was addressed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Torbay Bypass Enters Home Stretch

That is the word from the Provincial Government and this is great news. While the work is ongoing as we can all see, a tender has been called for the paving of the entire length of the route. For those of us who have been travelling Torbay road for the last number of years we have been able to see different aspects of the road as they have been completed.

The tender calls for the 8.1 kilometres of the road to be paved from RCAF Road to the intersection of Pouch Cove Highway in Flatrock. They are also going to be putting a set of traffic lights on Torbay Road near the Jack Byrne Arena.

Hopefully this road has the desired impact and eases congestion for commuters entering and leaving the communities in our area. It is certainly a substantial investment considering the overall cost of the project is $20 million dollars shared between the Federal and Provincial Governments of which the Provincial portions is $15 million dollars.

This is a great sign for our area and more evidence of the continued growth that we are experiencing. With all the new housing projects that are going ahead in the municipalities in our part of the province this extra route will likely be well utilized.

I know a lot of people were not and probably still not thrilled with the route or even the fact that we are spending the money on this road. Despite that this project is nearing completion and will be open for us to use in short order, hopefully all the reservations that people had will be put to rest once we start to drive on it.

I am still concerned about the intersections on Indian Meal Line and especially Bauline Line as it impacts me more but I am hopeful that going forward sensible solutions will be realized for these potential trouble spots.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Update : Rut Repairs Coming to Major East Coast Routes

UPDATE: Man oh man oh man....have you driven on Bauline Line lately? I was coming out there this morning and the road actually seems worse now than it was before they fixed it. Well they haven't actually fixed it but they have been patching it. The road looks like some kind of elaborate Picasso painting with blobs of pavement here and strips of pavement there. In fact it looks like something a few toddlers would be able to do. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to how they went about fixing the sorry state of that road other than they had a bunch of ash fault to lay and they tossed it out of the truck and flattened it where it landed.

Flatten it would be a compliment for sure because all the patches are above the existing pavement and have essentially created a bunch of speed bumps on the road. Now there is a fine waste of money, as soon as we have the first bit of frost this winter and then a thaw all those patches are going to be shoved off into the ditch by the snow plow.

I am all for the province spending money to fix up roads and God knows we need it but wouldn't it be better to concentrate on actually fixing one section of road and live with the others until they can be fixed properly? Maybe they should have just finished the stretch of Torbay Road between Marine Drive and the bridge when they are doing the section between Middle Cove Road and Marine Drive because the patches they have put there are also just as bad as Bauline Line.

The Government of Newfoundland has announced that much needed repairs are coming to some roads on the east coast of the province and some of that work is going to be done in Torbay. This has been an ongoing concern for the residents of all of the communities in our area that have to use that road. I have heard countless people talk about the condition of Torbay Road especially those ruts on Piper Stock Hill. The tender includes repairs on the 1.4 kilometer section of Route 20 from Middle Cove Road to Holy Trinity Elementary.

Our area MHA has commented on the upcoming repairs to be done to the road.
“This section of Torbay Road is very heavily travelled by residents of and visitors to the area,” said Kevin Parsons, MHA for Cape St. Francis. “Repairs to this heavily rutted section will certainly be noticed and welcomed by all motorists travelling in the area.”
You can view the entire Government Release on my GNL News Page

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I got one for you!

Many times that is how a person may start off a joke or indicate that they are about to tell a joke. Well I got a good one for you.

The Torbay Museum/Heritage Committee received over $17,260 in operational and project funding through the province's Cultural Economic Development Program. Now that is not the funny part, that is great and we should all be happy that our town is getting this kind of investment. The funding is supposed to support the Torbay Museum/Heritage Committee in it's day to day operations. There is also a plan to implement a project where oral recordings are collected in the community and then made accessible to the general public through their cell phones. Basically as I understand it you call in from a particular spot, say outside Liddy's or something and you will get a recording telling you about the history of that spot. Again there is nothing funny about that, that is an interesting project if they get it done.

What I found funny was when I tried to go to the Museum Website I figured I would just google it. I typed Torbay Museum in Google and the very first site that came back was this one. Judging from the Whats New: heading it hasn't been updated since 2005. No worries I figured that was the old site and maybe it is still hanging around so I just went to the Town of Torbay site to find out what is on the go with the Museum.

I went to the town website and followed the link on the main page to see the museum information and this is what I found. A description of the museum and some contact information, pretty standard stuff. Then I noticed a link, that said Visit the Torbay Museum Website 

Now what do you think happened when I clicked on that link? Went to the Torbay Museum website right? Got to see all the exciting things going on at the museum right? Not exactly......there is no Torbay Museum website even though the town's own website tells you there is and even invites to to visit it.

That is the joke, and it is not funny, who is responsible for updating that website and adding links and other information to it? I am sure it is not getting done for free and most likely costing the town a pretty penny. I have noticed other problems with the town website over the past few months and it bugs me that something so simple can be overlooked.

Update - What is on the go with New Fun Land VII?

UPDATE: I asked the Mayor about this and he assures me that the town processed the request with all due haste. This is the response I received from my inquiry and I would like to thank him for his prompt and frank reply.

This request was processed by the town with  all due haste. The site had to be rezoned to permit construction of the daycare facility which process alone required approximately ten weeks. Everyone who has/had  an interest in the operation and called the town were kept informed  of the scheduling and the procedures. Rezoning is a process that involves the town, applicant , Municipal Affairs,  general public and a lot of procedural work. This is a strict procedure that we have to follow for all rezoning applications as outlined in the Rural and Planning Act.
After the rezoning hurdles were  cleared, Government Services then had to review the application from a fire, life safety and accessibility perspective. Final  approval was issued by the Town of Torbay, 6 August 2010.
Bob Codner

Judging from that, I would say that in my opinion the operators were being pretty optimistic with regards to the opening date. That is not to say it would have been impossible but any delay what so ever would have a devastating effect on the timeline.

I feel for those parents and the operator of the centre. I could envision myself in the exact same predicament and don't envy them. Hopefully the construction can proceed as quickly as possible and the best outcome can be realized for everyone involved. This new facility will be a great addition to the community and is certainly needed. Good luck to all!

UPDATE: Someone left a comment on this story that says they were informed by the operator of the daycare that it will not open on time and that the reason was because the town was slow with permits. I think I will ask the town if and why there was such a delay and do they know that many people are going to be going through quite a hardship trying to find childcare in the next couple of weeks. I certainly feel for those parents as I know what it is like to try and find childcare at the last minute and how extremely difficult it is. Good Luck to everyone!

I wonder what is on the go with the New Fun Land daycare centre that is supposed to be opening in September? I looks like construction is pretty much stalled since they got the floor poured. I noticed that the trusses are on site but no walls yet to put them on. It is August 3rd and not a nail has been driven, if I was a parent who had a child registered for September I would be worried.

I know how hectic it is trying to find after school care for elementary school children and must have been a relief to many parents when that centre was announced and taking registrations.  I know that when the Y After School Program cut the number of students that were going to take it was quite a blow for us considering we had our daughter on the waiting list for almost 3 years and fully expecting she would go there in September. Our son is still in it but we had to scramble to find after school care for her. Luckily we were able to secure the spot we needed and that was prior to this centre being announced but I would be panicking right now if we had signed her up there.

I know some parents who gave up a spot they had in order to register their child in that centre and what are they going to do if there is a delay in opening that space? I know that it is not easy to find child care in Torbay on a moments notice and in some cases when you can, the provider wants to work under the table and not provide a receipt.

I hope that some news can be provided soon as I know many people are holding their breaths in anticipation of what that news will be. I have sent an email to the operator of the centre,  Sheena Winsor  to ask for an update on the planned opening and waiting for a response and will update my story when I get it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

2010 Killick Coast Games seem to be going well

I have been speaking to lots of people about the Killick Coast Games and the overwhelming response has been positive. I have noticed quite a bit of traffic on the Bauline Line both out near the Kinsmen Center and passing my house which indicates the event is well attended. Hopefully the weather cooperates and all the kids have a great time.

I was looking at all that and wondering how much money it must cost to put something like that off so I was pleased to find out that the Provincial Government had given the town $10,000 from the Regional Games Program to assist with the costs. I found that out by speaking to Kevin Parsons the MHA for the District of Cape St. Francis and he was kind enough to forward me a press release by the government from July 2010 about the funding.

You can read the press release in it's entirity on my GNL Releases page

Safety Hazard at Witeway Pond

I was in at Witeway's Pond the other day when people were swimming in there and noticed some kids playing around the two culverts that are passing under the new bypass road. Other than the place looking really ugly with the huge bank there from the road it is also very dangerous. I think that someone should put screens over those culverts to prevent people from going in there. I mentioned it to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor last night and they will look into it but think it may be a provincial responsibility so I am contacting Kevin Parsons about it as well.

Here are some pictures I took of it and you can see that there is nothing preventing someone from going inside those culverts.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Update - Bathroom Facilities at Upper Three Corner Soccer Field

It is driving me nuts that there are no bathroom facilities located at the soccer field for the children to use during soccer. I know that the club house over by the softball field is there and IF there is a ball game going on that the kids could go there to use the washroom. That being said I don't understand why the town isn't providing at least some port-a-potties for the users of the park.

There is soccer games at that field every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings and the kids range in ages from 4 years old to teenagers. I fee bad for the younger kids who only get about 1/2 hour to play their game and if they need to go pee they either have to trek over to the clubhouse and back which can take up to 15 minutes and basically miss half of their game or go in the woods. However from my observation most kids are going in the woods or high grass surrounding the soccer field. I know my son doesn't mind going into the woods, he gets a big kick out of it but the same can't be said for my little girl.

I have just written a letter to the Supervisor of Recreation and Helathy and the Deputy Mayor asking why we don't have this and if they are willing to supply them. I am waiting to hear their response.

Well I got my response from the Deputy Mayor and I must say I was not happy. For what is is worth the basic explanation I got was that it would cost roughly $3000 to put a Port-A-Potty in at the soccer field and considering that the club house is there with bathrooms it is not justifiable to spend that money. The club house is supposed to be open at all times when the soccer field is being used and if we encounter a time when it is not open we should contact them.

This is all fine and dandy but I was a bit pissed considering we can afford to spend over $70,000 of our tax dollars to redo work that was done last year and paid for by the province. I am referring to the cleaning out of the sewer pipe on Torbay Beach which judging from the boat that was there all week is being done now.

So it is OK to spend $70,000 or more redoing that work, but not to spend a few dollars on our kids. The money that we are re-spending would pay for a port-a-potty for 25 years.

Got another Update:

Been exchanging some emails with the Deputy Mayor and he is willing to bring my concerns to council and see if they can take another look at it. Now they are not making any promises but just the fact they are willing to take another look is promising. Hopefully there is enough support and a willingness to address this issue and put something in place to alleviate the problem.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Who is going to the Regatta?

Who is planning on going to the Regatta tomorrow? Are people still as interested in this event like they were in years past when there seemed to be more participation in the races?

These are interesting questions and I wonder what the answers are. I know that the last few times I have gone and I guess ever since I was old enough to go to the beer tent that the races were just background noise for me. The last few years since moving back to Torbay my wife and I have taken our kids down there but that is mainly to try and win a few stuffed toys and get get face pain or a tattoo. Certainly they have no interest in the races that are going on and judging from the number of crews that have been taking part recently neither do rowers.

I have a few issues with the annual pilgrimage down to Quidi Vidi Lake and I am sure that many people share my view, as that is what I have been hearing from people. Many people including myself think it is time for the regatta to make some changes. The first thing I would like to see changed is the day....screw this Wednesday foolishness and change the holiday to a Friday or Monday, at least let the people who don't care for the races or the garden party that goes along with it can enjoy a long weekend.

The next thing I would like to see them do is change the format and the sorts of events that go on down there. I would hold the event over 2 or 3 days, have different kinds of races. What about having sea-doo or speed boat races on one day....even dory races or certainly sliding seat races like they do in the rest of the country. They could have someone down there doing water skiing tricks or some other exciting and fun activities that interest younger people and families. Turn it into an event that can be promoted all across the country as something that people would mark on their calendar and consider coming to from the mainland.

I am not talking about eliminating the traditional fixed seat racing but augmenting it and making the annual event higher profile and more fun for everyone. However I don't envision this ever happening because the biggest problem with the regatta is the people who are running it. In my opinion they are a bunch of old farts who are so stuck in their ways that they would rather see the whole event die than change it. Just look at what they did last year to those crews from Portugal Cove, basically they forced them to pay for facilities and equipment that they didn't even use and many of those crews ended up dropping out. How is that for trying to grow your sport?

Anyway, I don't think I will be going down there tomorrow because I will be installing siding on Leo's house. I know the kids will miss out on all that crap that I would have spent a hundred bucks on trying to win for them. Maybe I will take them to the Dollarama on the weekend and give them 10 bucks each and let them get a whole bunch of those can't live without items that I would have tried to win down there.  I may take a run down at some point in the day so that I can spend a few dollars at the Torbay Volunteer Fire Department ticket booth but that is about it.

For more info go to the regatta website

Monday, August 2, 2010

CBC News - Nfld. & Labrador - Man injured at closed St. John's pool

And here we have the idiot of the day. What started out as a bit of fun has now turned into a nightmare for this guy with a busted head. I hope he is ok.