Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Summer Camp high on parents priorities as summer approaches - What are our options?

Many parents in Torbay are preparing the yearly ritual of researching summer camps to find a suitable place for their children for the summer months. So what are our options when it comes to finding a place to enroll our children for the summer. One thing that we need to keep in mind as we try and decide is that there are around 750 children at Holy Trinity Elementary who are "camp age" so we had better not procrastinate when it comes to signing them up. I have listed three camp options in this story but I am sure there are other camps available that parents can avail of.

First of all the Town of Torbay is offering two camps this summer as they have done in previous years at the Kinsmen Center. Both camps have weekly themes that offer different activities throughout the summer. Camp T will be operating for 8 weeks from July 2 to August 23 inclusively for children between the ages of 5 and 12 with 60 spaces available. Ollie T's Sports Camp which will operate for 6 weeks from July 2 to August 9 with 30 available spaces but there are age restrictions in place. Some of the camps are for children 8 years and older and others 11 years and older. Both camps cost $110 a week, drop off between 8:00-8:30 and pick up between 4:30-5:00.

The only registration method is ONLINE so you need to be aware of that. There will not be an option to register in person like previous years when people went and lined up. Registration will be May 15 starting at 9:00am for Torbay residents on the Town of Torbay website. For residents who don't have internet access the Torbay Public Library provides it free and will be open for residents needing to use the service. Registration for non Torbay residents will begin on May 21. If you want more information on either of these camps you can get it in the Summer 2013 Community Guide.

The YMCA of North East Avalon will also be offering a camp this summer at the Holy Trinity Parish Hall. This camp runs for 10 weeks starting on June 24 and running until August 30. The operating dates offer a significant difference between this camp and the two offered by the Town of Torbay because it starts earlier and ends later. I know this is very important for some parents because it eliminates the requirement to find alternate childcare for those weeks  other camps are not operating. This can prove to be difficult and actually cause people to use their summer holidays to offset the start and end of camp.

The camp being offered by the YMCA also has weekly themes to offer children a variety of activities and runs from 8:00-5:00 however there is the option for extended camp to 5:30 for a fee if it is required. This camp offers more flexibility for parents but is significantly more expensive than those being offered by the town. The weekly rates for the Y camp is $175 and the charge for extended hours is $15 a week if required.

One other thing to mention with regards to the YMCA is that they have a financial assistance program. I got this from their website.
Y Financial Assistance Program
The YMCA of Northeast Avalon strives to provide opportunities for all. The financial Assistance Program provides help to those who want to participate in Y programs and services, but are unable to pay the full fee.
No one is turned away from the Y due to an inability to pay the full fee. Any amount you can pay towards your membership or program is welcomed. 
To fi nd out more visit the CPFY Membership Sales and Service Desk, 35 Ridge Road, call 709-726-YMCA (9622) or visit us online at www.ynortheastavalon.com 
So for those families who can't afford to send their kids to camp this is certainly something you should look into as a means of allowing your children to experience the joys of camp. For all the details regarding the YMCA or to register you can go to their camp page. I contacted the YMCA to find out how many spaces would be available but have not heard back yet but as always it is recommended you sign up early to ensure your spot.

Finally the last camp option that I will mention is Camp Whatchamacallit offered at the Works. This is the camp that my own children have been attending now for about 6 years and I have nothing but good things to say about it.

This camp runs from June 24 to August 30 and eliminates the need to find alternate arrangements for those weeks after school ends and before it begins. Registration for camp starts May 4 at 9:00am and continues right through the summer. I know people who sign their kids up for a week here and there and have not had issues with availability. That doesn't mean that it won't change but at least you know the option is there. Camp operates from 9:00-5:00 daily and children have to be dropped off after 8:30 and picked up by 5:30. There is also an early drop off option at this camp where children can be dropped of by 7:15 and cost an extra $15 a week.

The pricing for this camp is also more expensive than the ones offered by the town but does have an option to allow you to save some money. For instance you get a $10 discount per week if you sign up for 5-10 weeks. The fees for Flip & Dip (regular camp) is $140 a week and includes swimming lessons as well as other activities. The specialty camp costs $155 a week and includes things such as Arts and Crafts, Team Sports, Drama, Dance, Mini Rugby along with swimming lessons. They also divide the children into separate groups based on age 5-8(younger) and 9-12(older) which ensures they spend the day with children of their own age. For more details on Camp Whatchamacallit you can visit the website but keep in mind the information listed there is for last year and will no doubt be updated soon. I have confirmed the prices for 2013 and they are as I have stated here and actually the same as last year.

Regardless of what camp option fits your needs the best the one thing that can't be overlooked is the need to be prepared when registration opens. Many parents mentioned to me last year that they were really frustrated with camps that the town of Torbay offered. They were disappointed after standing in line for hours only to find out that all the spots were sold out by the time they got to the front of the line. Some parents chose the Sports camp option as a last resort after standing in line for the full summer program. Then they had to find alternate arrangements for the weeks they couldn't get in. The people I know ho did manage to get their children signed up were happy with the camp overall. The main complaint I have heard is with the closing hours and the limited number of spaces. They feel in a town our size the camps should be able to accommodate a lot more children. 

I inquired with the town as to the reason the camp doesn't run the entire length of summer like other camps and this is what I was told.
While camp does not start for participants until July 2nd, we have training for all camp counsellors the week prior to. The topics include High Five, policies and procedures, OHS, team building, presentations on medical conditions, prepare equipment, review camp activities. We hire both secondary and post secondary students as camp counsellors and as you know, their timelines are different for completion of studies. Camp ends early due to counsellors returning to school. Debrief of the summer actually takes place during the last week of August too.
The issue of having limited number of spaces available is directly related to the facilities that we have available to us. I have been told that staff are just as frustrated as parents because they are doing the best that they can within the confines of that facility. Once we get a new community center they expect to be able to expand the level of programming significantly.

The one big issue I still have with the camps offered by the Town of Torbay is with the registration process. I think that by having online only registration you are effectively discriminating against a portion of the population that doesn't have internet. Yes they are offering the option to go to the Library to use the computer but that may not be for everyone.

I think by offering people the option to go and line up you are giving parents who took the initiative to get there early to be rewarded for their efforts. Now with so few spaces available the lucky ones who manage to get logged on first will get all the spaces. How about Town of Torbay staff who want to put their kids in camp? At least if they are able to go and line up they can get their place in line and get a space like everyone else. Now what are they going to do log on when they are at work and get spaces like that and open themselves up for criticism when some members of the public don't get spaces and they do?

I am not sure how the website will be configured to accept registrations but if it is like other sites the first people to log in will get the available spots. So if I have 5 computers in my house and a couple of smart phones at 9:00 May 15 I will try and log into the town website on all of them at the same time. My chances will be better then someone who drives to the Library, waits for it to open and then log in to a computer to try and access the town website.

Certainly if we are not going to have an in person registration process we should at least offer a phone option to people to give more people the opportunity to sign their kids up in camp. I hope the town changes their mind on this registration process and offers phone registration or simply goes back to the way it was. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens and how it works.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Do the New Engineering Design Guidelines for Subdivisions in Torbay need a second look?

Normally this stuff kind of flies under the radar when it comes to Council business because it is not that fancy or eye catching. At the April 1, 2013 regular council meeting there was supposed to be a motion to adopt the new guidelines that have been developed with regards to the construction of subdivisions. The motion was deferred because council wanted to sit down with Newfoundland Design Associates to go aver the guidelines and answer any questions they may have. Again this is all pretty boring stuff on the surface but there was a circumstance at last council meeting where this type of regulation effects the average person and I found it interesting.

As I understand it there was a building application put in my a resident who wanted to extend Byrne's Lane by 30 metres so that he could build on a piece of land in the area. However the recommendation from the Planning and Land Use Development committee (PLUD) was to reject this application. The reasoning used to reject the application was basically that this particular piece of work fell under the category of subdivision. I am assuming that there is a lot more information that an applicant would have to provide in order to get approval for a subdivision than a single house.

There was obviously disagreement in council over this application and I think it shows there may be a flaw in the new regulation. The committee did their job and looked at the application and regulations and came up with a decision to reject the application. However when the motion to reject was presented to council they went against the recommendation and voted in favor of the applicant. In doing this it was argued by the Chair of the PLUD committee any councillors voting to approve the application were doing so against the towns own regulations. The councilors who voted in favor of this argued that this is not a subdivision in their minds and that this type of thing has been done before.

The problem here as I see it is that members of council are put in a difficult situation. The PLUD committee looked at the application, listened to advice from staff then made a decision as they felt it should apply within the regulations. Then they get to the council meeting and Peggy Roche who is a member of the PLUD committee changes her mind with little explanation other then she is changing her mind votes against her own motion. Then along with other members of council defeat the motion and appeared to undermine their own regulations and PLUD committee.

Now does that mean the committee made the wrong recommendation? Does it mean council made a political decision because there is an election coming up? Does it mean that the policy is too narrowly focused and lacks a certain amount of flexibility to handle a case like this?

I think the committee made the correct recommendation looking at the regulations how they are written, especially the new guidelines as they are pretty straight forward.

I also think that council made the correct decision in allowing this application to go through as this is one man wanting to build one house, this is not what we think about when we think about a subdivision.

So if they both made the correct decision in my opinion then maybe the new guideline is the problem. Like I said before council and staff have all the details regarding this policy and would know more about it. But in light of this recent vote and the decision to defer the vote to adopt the new regulation I think they need to take a second look at it to see if this type of confusion can be avoided in the future.

I sent an email to council regarding this issue and asked that it be included on the agenda for the next council meeting. Lets wait and see what comes of it.

This is the email I sent....

Dear members of council and staff,

I understand that you deferred the motion on implementing these new guidelines until you have had a chance to review it with Newfoundland Design Associates to resolve any outstanding questions you may have. I think this is a good idea and after the vote that took place last council meeting regarding the application to extend Byrne’s Lane by 30 meters it is needed. As I understand it the reason the PLUD committee recommended rejection of the application was because they were applying the same standards to this application as it were a subdivision. I am not an expert in development regulations and I understand that the town has professionals employed who advise on this type of thing. I see the necessity of following the regulations and trying to remain consistent but this particular instance seems on the surface to be a bit of an exception. The applicant as I understand it wanted to extend the road just enough to be able to use a piece of land which he owns and doesn't  want to build a subdivision. Surely when we look at these types of request from residents we also need to use some sense of fairness and for lack of a better word common sense.

I am nor writing this letter to either agree or disagree with the decision that was made last council meeting as that is your responsibility to interpret and apply the regulations. My concern is that for something like this the rules should be clear and the fact that the committee recommended one thing based on the regulation and the majority of council disagreed means that something is not clear. For instance I heard Councilor Tapper refer to the old regulations which are still in place I believe as saying that a subdivision consisted of 3 or more lots however there is no distinction in the new regulations as to how many lots constitutes a subdivision. The very first line in the definitions of the new policy states very clearly what is considered a subdivision.

1.1 Definitions
1.1.1 Subdivision
A portion of land divided into lots for real estate development. When a new road is
constructed or an old road is extended, this development is considered a subdivision by
the Town.

Also in the current Towns Plan schedule A defines Subdivision as the following – means the dividing of land, whether in single or joint ownership, into 2 or more pieces (including lots), for the purpose of development.

In my opinion I think that this definition is too rigorous and the definition of a subdivision should be amended to reflect the realities of Torbay. There are many people in the town who have oversized lots and may want to use a piece for their children or themselves at some point and simply using your own land in this manner is hardly building a subdivision. I believe there is a difference between subdividing a piece of property and building a subdivision. If I had a 1 acre lot and decided I wanted to build a new house next door and told people I was building a subdivision they would think I was nuts. That is the feeling that the man who had that application in the other night must have felt.

I may be misinterpreting this whole thing but judging from the vote at council the other night I don’t think I am. I believe that you had a difficult decision to make and this regulation requiring this to be treated as a subdivision only made it harder. It made it difficult for the PLUD committee because they acted on the advice of staff and within the regulations. However when it got to the council chamber other members of council seemingly voted contrary to the regulations and allowed the application to pass. I think this sets a bad precedent and council needs to get on the same page as far as this new regulation goes while you still have time to change it.


Craig Scott

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Perceived electioneering as Torbay Council votes twice against committee recommendation

There was a pretty large crowd at the regular Torbay Council meeting last night and it appears that almost all of them were there for one particular reason. An application to turn an existing home on Indian Meal Line into an office space was on the agenda.

There were a lot of complaints from near by residents about this proposal and they were out in force to observe the vote. It was obvious that people have reservations about this business operating there and wanted to make sure their concerns were noted. Typically when there is a large turnout at council meeting it means that council will have a difficult decision to make. This being an election years those decisions are magnified and sometimes one decision could be easier to make that another.

First of all the chair of the Planning Land Use and Development Committee (PLUD) Carol Ann Smith introduced the motion to allow the business application.

Councillor Ralph Tapper spoke first to the motion and basically said that he would be voting against the motion. He is in favor of small business but felt that this particular proposal went beyond that scope and was turning a residence into an office building in a residential area. He also noted that there are a lot of people against it and he would be against it too.

Councillor Brian Whitty commented that he felt the proposal was too open ended and who was going to ensure that the business stayed within the constraints set out by council in the motion. He was also against the motion.

Councillor Peggy Roche, a member of the PLUD committee, said that she heard some new information and for that reason would be changing her mind and voting against the motion. She also commented that she hoped that the business in question would choose to look for another location within the town.

Councillor Mike Byrne, another member of the PLUD committee, expressed some frustration with council and it appeared Councillor Roche by asking "why do we even have committees". From a spectators perspective it appeared that he was frustrated she had changed her mind. It was clear that when the PLUD committee made the decision to put forward this motion that all three council representatives on the committee were in agreement based on Councillor Roche's comment that she changed her mind.

Byrne assured the residents that the committee looked at all their concerns and took that into account when they created the motion. He said that it is the committee's job to take all the information that is available and apply the regulations of the town when making the decision then make a recommendation to council. With this in mind the motion contained 7 caveats to ensure the business follows the rules and one of them was that the town can inspect the property at any time and revoke the permissions of they have to. Clearly frustrated he said that he was in favor of the motion.

Mayor Bob Codner spoke about the development regulations and specifically Schedule C, which is the Use Zone Tables. He said that a home office is allowed and within the regulations but he felt that this was not a home based bus but an office building. The Mayor also read out the first sentence of several letters that he received from residents and all of them expressed the desire not to have this business operate in the proposed location. He commented that this is a discretionary use and he felt that with all the letters, phone calls and visits to his office that he could not support it.

Councillor Smith concluded the discussion on the motion and said that the Mayor sounded a bit foolish reading the letters like he did. She went on to say that the committee looked at all the information and made the best decision for everyone involved. She said that it is important that everyone is treated fairly and that is what this motion does. There is already a home based business located at the location, parking is not a problem and the intention of the applicant is to have office space for 6-8 engineers during regular daytime working hours. Smith reiterated what Byrne had said about why do we need committees and also commented that she felt this decision is happening because it is an election year.

The Mayor commented that he thought that comment was unparliamentary but before he could continue Smith called Question and the discussion ended and the vote was taken. Just a note on this Question business that ended the discussion. From what I have read this is not exactly the correct way to go about it but it has become acceptable. Basically saying question is another way to say "I move the previous question" which is the proper terminology. What I didn't notice last night was if that notice to move the previous question received a seconder which is required. Then a vote takes place and a two thirds majority has to agree, then debate can be ended and the original motion voted on. I hope this saying question is not a tactic that is being used in our council just to shut people up.

I got this little tidbit in the March 2013 edition of the Municipal News in an article entitled Parliamentary Procedures which specifically explains the use of Question.

The motion was defeated 4-2 with two of the three committee members voting in favor of the motion.

I took a look at Schedule C and there is a definition there as to what constitutes a home based business, I highlighted the two requirements that I think may have been used to say this is outside the scope of home business.

9. Home Businesses - Office, Medical and Professional Service, Personal Service, Child Care and Light Industry Uses as Home Occupations

A Home Business is defined as an accessory use of a residential dwelling consisting of an occupation or profession which generates revenue for the resident.

Office, medical and professional service, personal service, and light industry uses may be permitted provided they are carried out as home occupations, businesses operated in the dwelling, or in a building subsidiary to the dwelling on the same lot, by the occupants of the dwelling, and meet the following requirements.

Torbay Development Regulations, Schedule C Page 13

(a) Office uses shall be limited to small business services and professional offices;
(b) Light Industry uses shall be limited to fabrication for the production of handmade articles such as clothing, arts and crafts objects, and workshops;
(c) The use is clearly subsidiary to the residential use, does not alter the residential character of the dwelling unit, and does not detract from the residential character of the neighbourhood. 
(d) No wholesale sales or storage of goods is carried out, any retail sales are incidental and subsidiary to the approved use, no repairs to vehicles or heavy equipment are carried out.
(e) Activities associated with the use are not hazardous and do not cause noticeable noise, odour, dust, fumes, or inconvenience to occupants of adjoining residences.
(f) Activities associated with the use shall be carried on inside the dwelling or in a building separate from the dwelling.
(g) One building only, separate from the dwelling, may be used in connection with a light industrial use and service use and shall conform to the Accessory Buildings condition height and floor area limit for this zone; child care use shall be carried out in the dwelling unit or be attached to the dwelling unit.
(h) Except for child care, no more than 30% of the total floor area of the dwelling is devoted to the use.
(i) The use shall not generate traffic, parking, sewage or water use in excess of what is normal in the residential area.
(j) Activities associated with the use are not hazardous and do not cause a noticeable increase in noise, odour, dust or fumes, nor cause electrical interference or in any other way result in a nuisance to the occupants of surrounding residences.
(k) The residential lot has sufficient area to accommodate the parking requirements of the dwelling unit and the home occupation.
(l) No regular parking of commercial vehicles except for one vehicle with a gross weight of no greater than one tonne will be permitted on the lot or on the road reservation adjacent to the lot.

If that wasn't enough there was another application from a resident on Byrne's Lane to extend the road by 30 metres. I think it was to build on the property but the road needed to be extended. The resident agreed to extend the road according to Torbay regulations and also put a bubble at the end so that the garbage truck, snow plow etc could turn around.

The PLUD Committee recommended to deny the application saying that allowing this to go ahead would be against the towns regulations for subdivisions.

Councillor Tapper argued among other things that the current regulations for subdivision states that a subdivisions is 3 lots or more and this is only a single lot and therefore he was voting against the motion to deny the application.

Councillor Roche again said that she had changed her mind with regard to this motion and would be voting against it. She felt that the application to extend the road should be approved.

Mayor Codner stated that because it is an existing road and that it is not a cul-de-sac he felt this should go ahead. There was also discussion about how this road had been extended in the past and that this is no different. He would be in favour of allowing the application and voting against the committee recommendation.

As per normal procedure Councillor Smith had the last word on the committee motion and stated quite clearly that any councillor voting against this motion would be voting against the town regulations. She said the fact that it was previously done doesn't make it right, in essence two wrongs don't make a right.

The motion was defeated 4-2 with two of the three committee members voting in favor of the motion.

I don't think there is anything wrong with voting against the recommendation of a committee but from what I have seen it doesn't happen that often like it did last night. Sure councillors vote against motions all the time but not typically enough to defeat them. There are three members of council on each committee and usually when the committee brings forward a motion those three members are in favor of it so they only need one more vote to pass the motion. That is how it usually happens from what I have seen although there have certainly been exceptions like the last motion concerning a tender for signage. That motion was also defeated and one could infer that a politically pleasing decision was taken there as well.

For those of us who observe council on a regular basis this is shaping up to be an interesting summer leading up to the election.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Total collapse of Council In Pouch Cove a valuable lesson in municipal governance

The problems that have plagued Pouch Cove council over the past year have been widely publicized and commented on. This whole experience goes to show that when a council fails to resolve conflicts and allow issues to spiral nobody is being served.

I am sure that when these people decided to run for council they never envisioned the wheels falling off as they have. Most people when they decide to get into any level of elected office do it for the right reasons and want to serve the community. For what ever reason they have not been able to resolve the issues they have had and now the entire town will suffer. There seems to be some very hard feelings among members of council and it has torn it apart. With the resignation of most of council the residents of Pouch Cove are left with a skeleton crew to manage the towns affairs and the damage done to the reputations of council members could be long lasting.

I feel bad for the people of Pouch Cove because they are the ones who are going to have two members of council represent them until the next election. I heard a person from Pouch Cove complaining on the radio last night that residents have no idea what is going on and they feel they have a right. Absolutely they have a right to know what is going on but the residents can't be entirely excused either. We as residents in our towns can't just pay attention to what is going on with out town councils at election time. We need to remain engaged and demand a certain amount of accountability from all involved. These issues facing Pouch Cove council are not new, and should have been resolved a long time ago. It appears from the outside looking in that this particular council is so dysfunctional that the only hope is that they can manage to hold out until the election.

There is a lesson here for anyone who endeavors to get involved in municipal government and that is to try and keep dealings professional and leave the personal issues out of it. I know this is sometimes not easy but as an elected official you have a responsibility to conduct matters in the best interest of the town. Right now it is difficult to understand how anyone in Pouch Cove is better served by a bunch of councillors resigning with only months left to the election.

It is easy to look at this and say who cares, it is Pouch Cove it doesn't matter to me but this could just as easily happen anywhere. Another town in our area Portugal Cove has been plagued by internal conflicts if the recent years and it does nothing to advance the town and only stands to hurt everyone involved.

Now I read in the news today that Mayor Patten has lost her regular job and I am sure there are some people for what ever reason are delighted by that. I think that is sad and for a person who put herself up for election to try and represent the community now has her world turned upside down. I don't care what happened with all the upheaval that occurred there but now this mess has moved beyond the political realm and into peoples private lives. Five councillors have resigned, one mayor has her life turned upside down and a single Councillor now has to try and do the job of six. I don't care what side of this issue you fall on this is a terrible situation for all involved, hopefully the town can move on from this and people are not discouraged from running for public office, we need more participation not less.

I wonder if any of those people will have their names on the ballot come September. I don't know how I would feel if I were a resident of Pouch Cove and was asked to reelect a bunch of people who walked out on me. I guess time will tell and it should be an interesting few months for the people living in that town.

Related Stories
CBC: Pouch Cove mayor fired at NAPE amid conflict row

VOCM: Two Run the Show in Pouch Cove

CBC: Police called to Pouch Cove meeting

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Three legged dog Rover still missing

A family is still looking for their beloved 3 legged pet Rover who went missing on March 21 after he got out of the families yard. I have seen this picture on the mailbox and also read this story in the Telegram today. I would like to appeal to everyone in Torbay if you see this dog please contact the Family. Rover was last seen on Patricks Path on March 24 walking towards Whiteway Pond. We have a pet and I know that they are more than just animals and are part of the family

233-0330 or 697-5787

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Torbay Community Awards 2013 - Nominations Due April 12

Currently the Town of Torbay is accepting nominations for the Community Awards for 2013. These awards celebrate and recognize people and businesses for their community achievements.

If you have a person or business you would like to nominate then you need to get it done by Friday, April 12, 2013. Follow this link to the nomination form on the Town of Torbay website. There are additional details there to explain exactly who you can nominate and the criteria they must meet.

I think this is a tremendous opportunity to nominate people for their contributions to our town and to have them recognized. Events like this help to foster a greater appreciation for the people who live in our community that otherwise may go unnoticed by the general public.

Torbay is full of worthy people who work tirelessly in our community to help make out town a better place to live and work. If you have someone you think deserves recognition please go ahead and nominate them and show your appreciation.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Torbay Resident Survey - Have your say!

The Town of Torbay is conducting a survey to find out how to most effectively manage the towns resources. This survey could be very effective if enough people complete it and give feedback. Please take the time to complete it as this is a tool that provides us as residents a chance to influence how these particular resources will be utilized. I often hear people commenting on the fact that they didn't hear about an event or the town should have did this or that. Well this is your chance to tell the town what you think.

It is only a few simple questions and won't take that long, if you want you can get a free frisbee by providing your email address.

1. How do you learn learn about the Town of Torbay events?
2. How often do you visit the Town of Torbay’s website?
3. How satisfied are you with the Town of Torbay’s website content?
4. What kind of information are you looking for in a resident newsletter?
5. How often would you like to receive a resident newsletter?
6. How would you like to receive a resident newsletter?
7. Are you currently engaged in social media?
8. Would you use social media to learn more about town events and news?
9. Are you satisfied with the content provided in the Torbay Community Guide?
10. Would you prefer to download the Community Guide online rather than receive a hard copy in the mail?
11. Thank you for completing the survey! To receive a complimentary frisbee from the Town of Torbay please leave your email address in the box below and we will follow up with you directly.

You can complete the survey by following this link http://www.research.net/s/TownofTorbay

Friday, April 5, 2013

5th Annual AA Towing Texas Hold'em Fundraiser Saturday April 6th

You are invited to the annual fundraiser poker tournament for our Torbay Men's Slo-Pitch softball team. This is the only fundraiser we do for the year so we would really appreciate it if you come out. This event has been a tremendous success for us the past 4 years and we hope it will be again this year.

It is at Liddy's in Torbay and starts at 7:30 pm Saturday. This is a fun event and a great chance to sit back and have some fun. It only cost $20 to buy in and the top 3 win cash prizes, Hopefully we will see you all there.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sidewalk Shame! St. John's City Council should hang their heads

On Saturday March 30, 2013 I was heading to Stavanger Drive with my wife to do some Easter shopping and while I was stopped at the light, I saw this elderly man in a wheel chair SHOVELING his way down the sidewalk. That's right, he was trying to shovel the sidewalk as he was moving his wheel chair forward. From the looks of it he could barely lift the shovel with a small amount of snow on it as well so he wasn't going anywhere fast.

In that moment I had such a litany of emotions and pity, sorrow, anger were certainly at the top of the list. I looked at my wife and she was thinking the same as me so I pulled my truck up over the curb and parked in the little meadow behind the man to see if I could help him some way. Another man pulled in behind me and we both approached the man in the wheel chair to see if we could help.

To my astonishment the man said he was OK and didn't need any help, said he was only going "down there" pointing towards the North Atlantic gas station. Well it may have been just right there for someone who was driving a car or even walking but not for a senior citizen in a wheel chair trying to shovel the sidewalk. The other man and I offered to move him down on to the road so that he could move along more easily but he would have none of it. He said he has done this before and a lot worse snow then this. We tried several times to try and convince him to allow us to help him but in the end we could only convince him to turn around and go back the way he came.

We did what we could but and I guess we should feel a certain amount of satisfaction in the fact that we stopped when so many others were just driving by. Well I am not satisfied and I think that that bunch down in the St. Johns' City Hall should be ashamed of them selves. This is the legacy that they have forged and from where I sit and certainly that man in the wheel chair it doesn't look great. Come to St. John's, a city where we abandon our seniors and disabled to their own devices. Snow on the sidewalk? No worries just make sure you take your shovel with you when you go out. That is another part of this that bothered me was that this man HAD A SHOVEL with him. He knew what he was going to face when he left his house and was prepared, isn't that sick?

Down at City Hall the citizens of St. John's have to endure the biggest bunch of  hypocrites since the last bunch of hypocrites were in there as far as snow clearing is concerned. This is not a new issue, people have been complaining about this for a long time and the talking heads down in City Hall seem to be ignoring them. In 2009 there was an event organized by a bunch of people on facebook Reclaiming our Sidewalks but I don't know what came of it, obviously nothing much judging from what I saw on Torbay Rd.

In 2009 there was a story in the Telegram where Councillor Tom Hann called the City's snow clearing system a "Cadillac" system. Well if this is the prevailing opinion around the council chamber and within the big wigs at the city depot then no wonder sidewalks are not cleared. Sure who cares about some disabled senior citizen who can't make their way down the street to get to the store, how often to they actually come out of the house anyway?

This is the perfect time to highlight this issue because we are on the cusp of municipal elections and should be able to make people commit to doing something. I guess these arseholes who will be pleading for your votes on September 24 promising a better and more improved city are not worried about people like this man. I mean what are the chances that he is going to bother risking going out in his wheel chair to vote?