Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Torbay council should answer to this beach fiasco

On the weekend we were discussing the Torbay beach and the fact that people were down there catching capelin. At the time I commented that I hope they are not eating those capelin because of the raw sewage running into Torbay bight.

Well low and behold the Telegram runs a story today about a family that was there catching capelin and then going home and eating them. Once they found out later on that there was sewage running into the bay they consulted a doctor and now need to get medical treatment to protect them from contracting Hepatitis B. The family stated in the Telegram story that they had no idea that there was pollution in the area and now they have months of doctors visits and needles to worry about.

The town has erected a new sign that has no mention of sewage or the possibility of pollution in the area. I think that this signage is potentially misleading and what started out as a family outing has turned into a potentially serious issue for one family in particular.

This is not a new problem for those of us who have been living in Torbay but our town is growing and new people are moving in. Not to mention people who may just be passing through that want to visit our town. Every member of this current council needs to take responsibility for this current mess. They didn't put the sewage there but they certainly need to take responsibility for the safety of residents and visitors of our town.

To put a sign on that beach that tells people to enjoy at their own risk is dangerous and potentially misleading when we don't also include what those risks might be. I have no problem with the beach being open if it is safe but we also need to make people aware of the fact that there is a sewage outfall a stones throw from the shore. This is the type of sign we need on that beach, at least people will understand what the risks are.

Related Story from the Telegram
Family unaware of pollution concern before eating caplin

Surprise decisions and accusations fly at Torbay council meeting

To say that last nights council meeting was not entertaining for us onlookers would be an understatement. Most of the discussion revolved an application by a resident to build a house on a portion of 1150 Torbay Road, that would be where Cole's Bar used to be on Piperstock Hill. This is the second time this application has come before council, the first time was April 2, 2012 and it was refused by a unanimous vote at the time on the recommendation of the Planning and Land Use Development Committee (PLUD).

So here we are a little over a year later and the application comes before council again and it passes by a vote of 4-2. So what changed to convince council to do an about face on this particular application? I have been told that the applicant had begun an appeal process of councils decision then withdrew it and simply resubmitted the same application again. That action itself seems a little odd considering the original vote was unanimous in it's rejection why would council change it's mind?

The reason the application was rejected the first time was because the development only had enough frontage for the existing dwelling. This is the same reason that the PLUD committee gave this time to recommend rejection again. However this time councillor Smith elaborated on the reasoning and stated that the current house has been there for years and does not conform to the towns regulations. By permitting another house to be built on the property they will be adding another nonconforming development with shared frontage.

Once the motion was open to discussion each councillor had their say and stated their opinions on whether the application should be approved or not.

Councillor Tapper said that he believed the regulation is not looking out for the best interest of the town and that is a reason to look at it in the five year review of the town plan. He stated that 5 years ago a previous council dealt with similar issues and he doesn't believe this is a backlot development.

Councillor Byrne stated that the town has spent a lot of money on these regulations and the towns outside consultant advised against approving this application and he is as independent on this matter as you can get.

Deputy Mayor Gallant said that he would love to help these people if it is within the rules to do so. He said that a previous council back in the 80's created this backlot problem by allowing the original house to be built. He says that people don't realize that when they build so far back on their property that the front portion would be no good. He thinks they should be grandfathered in and allowed to build.

Councillor Whitty stated that he feels there are a lot of places in the town that don't conform to the town regulations. He also stated that in the last 4 years council doesn't seem to be consistent in their decisions.

Mayor Codner stated that he believes that the applicant does have a case and that council in 1982 approved the original development and he believes it is within the authority of council to approve this application.

Councillor Smith who is also the chair of the PLUD committee had the final say on the motion. Smith said she was speechless and wanted to remind council of the impact of voting against rejecting this application. She stated that council would be setting a precedent by approving a backlot with shared frontage and the phone will be ringing off the hook by other people looking to get similar developments approved. Smith said that it is not popular to be a member of the PLUD committee right now and that this is the second time in 2 months that council has voted against their own regulations. The job of the committee is to bring forward sound recommendations and no council in the future will be able to refuse a backlot development.

The motion to reject the application was defeated 4-2 with Councillor's Smith and Byrne voting in favor and the Mayor Codner, Deputy Mayor Gallant, Councillors Whitty and Tapper voting against.

On the heels of that vote Councillor Tapper introduced a new motion to approve the building application and the motion passed along the same voting lines as the previous motion, 4-2 in favor of approval.

Once the motion was passed Councillor Smith stated that this whole thing is nothing more that vote buying and that is when the fireworks started. Councillor Tapper raised a point of order and said that he is sick and tired of councillor Smith throwing around accusations of vote buying. He doesn't think this is a backlot development and disgusted with comments about spinning the vote against the committee. He asked for an apology from Smith and tried to present a motion forcing here to apologize. Smith countered and said that she doesn't believe that council can pass a motion forcing here to apologize. There was some discussion back and forth and I think councillor Tapper put forward a notice of motion regarding the apology and I guess we will see if it will be put forward next meeting.

Now I don't know if this application should have went ahead or not based on the town regulations. I do know that there is a lot of land in that area and it would be a shame of nothing could be done with it. On the surface looking at it through untrained eyes I don't see the problem. Then again I didn't see a problem with allowing a bed and breakfast to be built on Dominion Hill either but that was apparently against regulations as well. It is funny how regulations are held up by some members of council as the gospel in one instance and totally disregarded in others. Maybe Councillor Whitty has a point when he says that there is no consistency when it comes to rulings by this council.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Torbay native Gregg Bolger releases new single Small Town Summertime

Torbay native Gregg Bolger has just released a new single off his debut album Small Town Summertime and it is available right now on iTunes.

I always I like to take the opportunity to promote Torbay businesses, events, people and talent to show that not only is Torbay a great place to live but also to work and play. There is a lot of great talent living in our community and Gregg is another fine example.

Show him your support and go to iTunes and download this great song and enjoy. You can also visit his facebook page to get more information or to make contact with Gregg.

Congratulations Gregg and I hope you enjoy great success!

Resident gives Torbay skate park users big thumbs up

I received a message from a lady yesterday who I have a lot of respect for and though I would pass along her praises for the young people she observed at the Torbay skate park. I think this is important because normally the stories I hear about the people hanging out there are not that flattering. I am constantly told about undesirables hanging out and reports of drug use and generally bad behavior.

This is certainly timely considering the recent closure and reopening of the skate park Bay Roberts because of needles being found at the site. This is a problem that has been identified in Torbay in recent weeks as well. It is certainly worth noting that all young people should not be tarred with the same brush and this is a prime example. I think that when a facility like this is used by people who are respectful and responsible it will discourage the criminal element to stay away. This is what the lady posted on my facebook wall and I thought I would share it.
 I took my 6 grandkids to the Kinsman Park on Friday afternoon. In the skate park I counted 30 High School and some older boys going through their routines on the equipment. I was there for 2.5 hrs. and in that time I only heard 1 quick f...word and saw only 1 kid have a quick cig. I was so impressed with them that when I was leaving I went over to ask if they were from Torbay. They told me yes they were and I asked the boys near the gate to pass along my praises to the others re their impressive behaviour. They had a small BBQ set up and they all had hotdogs and water and they shared their leftovers with the kids on the playground. I was sooooo impressed!!!!!
 I would just like to add my own praises and say thank you for proving that the majority of our young people are good citizens and just want to have some fun. That park is there for you and as long as you respect it and the people living in the area it should be there for a long time.

Thanks Mrs Hammond for pointing this out.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kids Expo at Jack Byrne Arena June 15 and 16

This weekend the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay will be hosting the NL Kids Expo. This event is an interactive event that showcases businesses and services provided for children.

Advanced tickets are on sale and cost $5 for adults and $2 for children and can be purchased online here at You can also purchase tickets at the door for $7 adult and $3 children.

*Children admission will include: 3 free bouncy rides, face painting session & balloon twister – all provided by Sky High Amusements!

For more information on this event check out their website.

Spaces are still available for this summers Sports Camp - Sign up on line today!

Space Is Still Available!

The Town of Torbay 2013 Sports Camp still has some openings. Specifically:

Week 2                 (July 8-12, 2013)                                Camp All Ball, Ages 8+

Week 3                 (July 15-19, 2013)                             Camp Mach 1, Ages 11+

Week 4                 (July 22-26, 2013)                             Camp Etcetera, Ages 8+

Week 5                 (July 29 – August 2, 2013)             Camp Outdoor Adventure, Ages 11+

Week 6                 (August 5-9, 2013)                           Camp Try-It, Ages 8+

Register online NOW at  (click e-services button bar on the main page).

Cost is $110 per week.

For more information, please contact Allison by telephone at 437-6532, extension 286 or by email

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Some items of interest from last nights council meeting

There wasn't a huge agenda for the June 10 council meeting but there are a few things worth mentioning. First of all I would like to congratulate Bill Burton on being presented with a Volunteer Recreation Certificate  from Recreation Newfoundland and Labrador for the many years that he has devoted to volunteering in our community. Bill is currently the chair of the board of the North East United Soccer Club which is the local soccer league for Torbay and surrounding area.

There were also a few requests on the agenda from various groups looking for donations or funding from the Town of Torbay that were referred to the finance committee.

Council discussed a correspondence from a resident of Pine Ridge Creek who is complaining about dust on the road and young people partying and having fires in a meadow off Quarry Road. Councillor Tapper commented how he visited the resident and saw how much trouble he was having painting his fence because of all the dust. He also made mention of the people in this area pay a lot of taxes as they are not small houses  and we should see if something can be done. It came across to those of us listening that he could have been implying that because they have large expensive homes that we should make an extra effort to try and do something. I am not sure if that is what he meant but Councillor Smith took exception and said that all people  should be equal regardless of how much taxes they pay. Councillor Tapper had an opportunity to address that statement as he spoke again right after Smith but didn't bring it up or correct it.

There was also an interesting development with the contract for solid waste and recycling that was awarded to Around the Bay Disposal Inc at the May 13, 2013 meeting. For reasons that were not stated it appears that that company will not be doing the curbside collection and the contract was awarded to the second lowest bidder instead.

People have been asking me about the gate that will be installed to enhance security at our water supply area so I asked the Director of Public Works about it. He said that the gate will be going there around the first of July but the exact location has not been determined yet. They are still trying to determine where the best location for the gate will be to provide the added protection and to also permit people who own land up there to still have access.

The town received a $1000 dollars from the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation Terry French to go towards the Piper Stock Hill Festival.

Members of Council along with MHA Kevin Parsons were on hand for the grand opening of the new playground at Holy Trinity Elementary.

I got the following excerpt from Mr. Parsons facebook page and would like to say it was a great job by everyone involved and shows what you can do when you work together.
Congratulations to HTE on a great job, School Council Committee, all who made this happen for the children of the community. A special thanks to Kim Keeting for spear heading & getting this beautiful playground. Big thank you goes out to the Town of Torbay & the Provincial Government for thier contributions and support. Also to Farrells Constructruction for thier donation of 20 Thousand dollars. This is truelly a great project and another example of how working together we can achieve so much.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Town of Torbay Hydrant Flushing Program Started June 3

I just received this electronic communication from the town of Torbay. I don't remember receiving an earlier notice so I figured I would pass this one along. It was posted on the Town website in the Public Notices on May 29.

Hydrant Flushing Notice

Please be advised that the Town of Torbay Public Works Department commenced our annual Hydrant Flushing Program June 3, 2013. Operations will be conducted between 9:30am and 3:00pm daily (weekdays only) until further notice. During the flushing program residents can expect reduced water pressure, discoloration and momentary interruption of water service. The Town advises residents to please refrain from doing laundry during this time as the discoloration may stain clothing. The Town apologizes for the inconvenience and asks for your cooperation during our operations.

Should you have any questions or require further information, please contact Shawn Kelly, Supervisor of Outside Operations, at your convenience at 437-6532, ext. 268.

Bernard Manning
Director of Public Works