Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Update on Jack Byrne Arena

I was speaking to the Chair of the Board of Directors, Brad Power, who also happens to be a Councilor in Logy Bay Middle Cove Outer Cove (LBMCOC). I have to say I was delighted to get the opportunity to speak to him and discuss the Jack Byrne Arena and one issue in particular was the snow clearing contract I had alluded to in an earlier post.

First and foremost Mr. Power was very forthcoming and answered all the questions I had and provided me with information above and beyond what I was looking for. He seems to be a very nice fellow and I look forward to speaking with him in the future.

I guess the first thing that needs to be mentioned is that the arena operates independently of all the towns that own the facility. It operates under the guidance of an arms length board of directors that consists of 10 members, 5 of which are Councilors, two from Torbay and one from each of the other towns. The other 5 members are citizen representatives and break down the same way as the towns in way of numbers. The manager of the arena is responsible for the day to day operations.

Even thought the arena is owned by a group of four towns; Flatrock, LBMCOC, Pouch Cove and Torbay it does not receive public funding to operate on a yearly basis unless they happen to find themselves in an operating deficit. With this in mind it also has to be mentioned that they are not required by law to seek tenders for purchasing and other contracts like snow clearing. This does not mean that they don't issue these types of tenders it just means that they really don't have to if they don't want to.

However because it is a community owned enterprise and the board wants to be open and transparent about everything, they do engage in the public tendering process. In fact the contract for snow clearing has gone to tender in previous years. The arena does offer the winning contractor the opportunity to extend the contract for an additional year at the same price if they choose to do it and that is what is happening this year. Here are some recent numbers to demonstrate how the contract has been handled since 2008.

These are the snow clearing contract prices for the last number of years

2008 - $7190 per month (Contract awarded through tender)
2009 - $7190 per month (Contract was extended for this year because the previous year was only three months as they had just opened so they rolled it in)
2010 - $5800 per month (Contract awarded through tender)
2011 - $4666 per month (Contract awarded through tender because an extension was declined by the contractor from the previous year)
2012 - $4666 per month (Contractor and Arena agreed to extend contract for an additional year)
2013 - Will go to tender again.

Mr. Power commented on how the price of everything seems to be going up and it is reflected in the range of bids they get each time they put the contract to tender. However as the numbers indicate they have managed to lower the actual cost of the snow clearing contract each year. The fact they offer the option to extend the contract for an additional year in my opinion offers a certain amount of cost certainty for a two year period, provided the contractor and the arena agree to extend it. As well I would think that the contractor would be conscience of the fact that if they provide an acceptable level of service that the contract could be theirs for an additional year. This practice seems like a win-win situation for all parties.

I have been told there are some exciting opportunities on the horizon for Jack Byrne Arena. One of which is the Arenas desire to obtain funding from various levels of government to purchase a new floor to put over the ice. This would enable the arena to host a wider range of activities and generate greater revenues, all of which is good for the future of the arena and the stake holders that own it….that is you and me.

I am sure that our MHA Mr. Kevin Parsons will be called upon to try and obtain the necessary funding for this improvement to take place on our behalf. So don’t be afraid to get your emails going to let him know that we would really like this money to improve our arena.

I am going to try and speak to Mr. Power again in the future to try and keep current on the happenings at Jack Byrne Arena.

Hopefully that paving will be finished this week

Well the traffic was brutal this evening and judging from how much they actually got paved we are going to be in for a long couple of days before it is finished. I just say look on the bright side, it is some short term pain for long term gain. We have been complaining about our roads here for a few years and now that they are getting fixed we are still complaining that they are taking too long. It won't be long before we are complaining that another section of road sucks HINT: Bauline Line, which I thought was supposed to get paved as well.

I would suggest that if you can avoid Torbay Road the next couple of days do it, otherwise, just sit back and relax and hopefully it will all be over soon enough.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Big Thank You To Town Staff

I went to the council meeting last night and at the end of the meeting I had a chance to discuss the fact that there is a serious need for some pole lights on Bauline Line roughly between my house and Max's Auto. They said they would look at it and at 9:42am this morning I received and email from the town CAO Dawn Chaplin informing me that a request had been submitted to NL Power to have a pole light installed roughly around 445 Bauline Line.

This is good for a couple of reasons, first of all we need the pole light but second of all the only light in our area is on the pole in front of my neighbours and they have been paying the bill for that for several years. This should allow them to get rid of that light now if they want to and save that money.

I know many people say they have trouble dealing with the town and they can never get anything done. This is certainly one example of where a simple request was made and the town took swift action to rectify the situation. I want to thank them for a job well done. Hopefully NL Power will work with as much urgency that the staff at the town did.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Torbay 2012 Celebrations

I guess the big year is approaching and the town has big plans for next years celebration. I took a lot of abuse over the fact I complained that the town was proposing to spend $200,000 to bring Great Big Sea here for a concert. So I figured I would try and find some more information about it so I contacted Councilor Roche because she is on the Special Committee for the 2012 Celebrations.

I asked her some very straight forward questions that she hopefully can answer because I couldn't imagine anyone pursuing such an event on this scale without first answering these questions.

1) How many people do you think are going to attend?
2) How much will tickets cost?
3) Where are we going to hold the concert?
4) What is the potential shortfall for the town if we don’t sell enough tickets?
5) Do we have an exit strategy if not enough tickets are sold to cover the cost?

Hopefully more to come when I get some answers and I am sure I will get them eventually.

Is the snow clearing contract at Jack Byrne Arena being tendered?


I am going to be getting more information on this sometime this week and hopefully clear it up. There may be a misunderstanding and I have to follow up on it.


I have been told by a contractor in Torbay who called out to Jack Byrne Arena to ask when the tender for snow clearing would be coming out and was told there would be no tender and they are giving the contract to the guy who had it last year. 

The obvious problem here is that they are spending our tax dollars to pay for a service without even allowing other people to put a bid on it. Maybe we can get a better price if we allowed some competition in the bidding process.

The other part about this that is even more bothersome is the possibility that preferential treatment could be given to a particular company. I am not sure who is responsible for awarding the contract but it seems to me that all the towns involved in the operation of that arena have a stake in how they spend our money. 

I have sent an email to the Mayor asking him if this awarding of a snow clearing contract without a tender is in fact what is happening. I would like to hear what he has to say before I pass judgement on the issue as there may be extenuating circumstances that need to be explained.

Hopefully there will be more to come on this.


That is how many votes Kevin Parsons got last night in the election. That vote total was the highest of any candidate in the province. Congratulations Kevin on a tremendous showing and you certainly got a result worthy of all the hard work you and your campaign team put in.

2623, that is the number of votes that Geoff Gallant garnered and I would like to also congratulate Geoff on a great campaign. The vote totals that were tallied in our district of Cape St. Francis demonstrated that when good candidates work hard and connect with the people they will get out and vote.

Good job both of you and good luck Kevin.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Election Day is Today, Please Go Vote

I won't say that I don't care who you vote for because I have my preference, however I would say that you should go out and vote. Over the past number of elections right across this country voter turn out has been getting lower and lower and people have become disengaged and cynical about politics.

We are lucky here in NL that we have an economy that is humming along pretty good and candidates that are worthy of our votes especially the PC candidate Kevin Parsons. We need to get out and cast our ballot or else we are letting someone else decide for us.

Good luck to all the candidates in this election.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Torbay

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and I hope you enjoy the holiday. I think of all the things we have to give thanks for over the past year and the list goes on and on. Here is a few things I am thankful for today.

1) My Wife - She has been with me now for over 20 years and keeps me inline when I need it.

2) My Kids - They are pretty much the world to me and along with my wife the reason I get up in the morning and do what I need to do to give them what they need.

3) My Extended Family - Where would we be without our families? They are always there to lend a hand or provide advice or just listen.

4) Good Friends - There is something about good friends that can't be found anywhere else in your life. 

5) My Community - I give thanks that I live in a town that is safe and where kids can play and grow up without the constant fear of violence or crime around every corner. It is not perfect but the people living here make it as close as it can be. 

6) The Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs. One team that I love and another that I love to hate. They are my Yin and Yang, they are complimentary opposites that keep life in balance and an escape from the rigors of everyday life. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone and take a minute today to think about what you are thankful for.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Nice to see the town taking my ideas

I was driving up the road the other day and noticed this little trailer parked on the side of Torbay Road and it was telling me the speed limit and also my speed. I said to myself, I wonder where I was that before? Then I realized that over a year ago on August 18, 2010 I posted on my blog that this very thing was something that the town should consider and they did and I am very happy. These things work because they are not that common around here and they do catch your attention.

I don't care where they got the idea but I am glad they have it and are trying to do something to curb speeding along that school zone. Good job council and staff.

We have Curb Side Recycling Finally!!!

It took a long time and I have been talking about recycling on this page for a good while now. Finally on Tuesday I was able to put it out on the curb. I missed the first week but didn't miss this week. I put out 8 bags of recycling that may have otherwise went into the garbage, reduced my bags of garbage going to the landfill by several bags.

I am still curious to find out exactly how this program is going to work. I heard the mayor speak about the large tipping fees the town pays at the dump each year for our regular garbage, something in the neighbourhood of $40,000 I think. Anyway I saw that the tender was awarded to DBI Garbage Removal Ltd.. 
RESOLVED THAT the Town of Torbay award tender number 2011006 for curbside recycling for the period of September 12, 2011 to December 31, 2012 to the low bidder,DBI Garbage Removal Ltd.. The cost per household is $2.69 with a monthly cost of $7801.00. Total cost of the reminder of the 2011 fiscal year is $23,403.00. 
So does that mean that the total cost for the year is going to be $93,612? Plus the $23,403 for the remainder of this year? That is how it reads to me.

That is a pretty large expenditure but I think it is the right thing to do for the community. I wonder who gets the money for the recycled products? How does that work? Does the town recoup any money from the materials that we send to the recycling company?

I would be interested to know because our tipping fees are likely not going to drop a whole lot and we are adding almost another $100,000 to our waste disposal budget so instead of having $40,000 we will have $140,000. 

If anyone has any other information that they would like to share on this please be my guest.