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Stanley Bridge Centre AGM at 7 pm, Aug 22

Want to find out about all the exciting things that have happened over the past year with the Stanley Bridge Centre and its website? Then why not drop by the SBC’s annual general meeting, to be held Aug 22, 7 pm, at the Stanley Bridge Centre building, near the roundabout. Bring a friend or two!

Father Bolger history circle

North Rustico Canada Day celebrations

Cavendish Beach Music Festival

Farmers market


Stanley Bridge Centre’s summer concert series

Roy MacCaull coming to SBC Aug 19

Roy MacCaull, accompanied by Larry Campbell and soloist Marcella Richard, will be performing at the Stanley Bridge Centre, near the roundabout, on Sunday, Aug 19 at 7 pm. You don’t want to miss the considerable musical talents of this dynamic trio! Tickets are just $10 at the door. Proceeds will support renovations at the SBC.

The North Milton Band and Choir will be performing on Sept 23. Other performances will be announced later.
The curtain rises for all shows at 7 pm, with tickets priced at $10 to $15 each.


Changing the guard in the Resort Municipality
By Mike Duffy

Senator Mike Duffy

Did you notice? At the close of business Friday our democracy worked.

Residents of The Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish and North Rustico acclaimed our new municipal council. It wasn’t earth shattering – it was an acclamation after all – but it was important.

For the next four years these seven men and women will make the important local decisions about the community in which we live.

Before we talk about the future, let’s look at how far we’ve come.

Remember the “good old days” when Rainbow Valley was the most exciting attraction on the strip? My kids still laugh about being splashed by “old facefull.”

But the excitement now comes in million-dollar shows that wow thousands during the Cavendish Beach Music Festival.

The times have changed, and because of demography, we are at an inflection point in the tourism business, which is critical to our local economy.

Just as reliable affordable high speed Internet is essential to our future, so too are updates to our attractions if we are to continue to draw tourists from around the world.

Parks Canada also sees a bright future. Just look at the size of the parking lot at the new Green Gables, and the growth factor which is being built-in at all of the other Parks Canada facilities which are currently being refurbished.

The anticipated spurt of growth, will be fuelled by boomers as we revisit the scenes of our youth and our grandchildren discover the many wonders of Cavendish.

We can’t stay in the past, so we must manage our future.

The municipal council saw the challenges that will be posed by this new growth, and under the leadership of Mayor Matthew Jelly and Deputy Mayor Linda Lowther, has struck a special committee to plan our strategic development.

The special committee is already working on a plan for the LM Montgomery Heritage Park, across from the cemetery on Rte 13, and for a literary tour to exploit the growing world-wide appreciation of and interest in, Montgomery’s writing beyond the iconic Anne.

Have you heard, have you heard?

We hear there are also plans to redevelop the Petro Canada station. Instead of a seasonal outlet, could we now actually have a year-round gas station in the heart of Cavendish? My, how times are changing!

It is a well-deserved recognition of his hard work that Matthew Jelly was acclaimed Mayor for another four years.

Serving with him on council are veterans Linda Lowther, and George Clark Dunning, with newcomers Kenny Singleton, Lee Brammer, Bill Drost and Chris Robinson.

The council lineup represents a nice balance between old and new blood, and draws on committed people from all parts of the community.

So let’s say “Thank you” to the outgoing councilors, Gwen Wyand, David Gauthier, Edmond Richard and Kay Hryckiw.

And to the new council, welcome. You have big shoes to fill!

The last meeting of the old Council is scheduled for Aug. 20. The new council will be sworn-in Sept. 10.

Cavendish resident Mike Duffy represents PEI in the Senate of Canada.

The high speed “bump” on PEI’s information highway.
By Mike Duffy

Senator Mike Duffy

From the post office to the Petro Can, to the R&A Service station in Stanley Bridge, wherever Islanders gather there are only three topics of conversation this summer:

1. The wonderful weather. How long can it last?

2. Donald Trump. Will his trade policies hurt PEI fish and agricultural exports?

3. High speed Internet. The availability, the reliability, and critically important, the cost of an Internet connection.

We can’t do much except talk about the weather, and most people I know have tired of talking about Donald Trump. Which leaves us with the Internet. From POS (point of sale) electronic cash registers, to hotels/motels to campgrounds, reliable and reasonably priced telecom is essential for success.

In 2008 the PEI government gave Bell Aliant a sole-sourced contract worth $8.2 million to provide high speed Internet service to 56 rural communities. The Resort Municipality was not on that list.

Five years later, in 2013, Bell Aliant was back. And this time PEI sweetened the pot, agreeing to a deal that by the end of 2020 will have paid Bell $23.3 million. That makes a total of $31.5 million dollars since 2008. This works out to about $200 per person, or $400 for every single private dwelling on the Island.

“Who knew that high speed Internet was a factor in the sale of existing homes and new construction?”

As all of this was going on tourism operators in our area were reporting that their customers were adamant. They would stay only in accommodations that had access to the Internet. No Internet. No reservation.

The Resort Municipality responded quickly. They tried to get Bell’s attention with little success. So they opened discussions with Eastlink cable. Eastlink was been keen to help, and a deal was made. The company has dramatically improved Internet access in the municipal offices, and is actively looking for innovative ways to solve the high-speed problem in difficult-to-connect areas of the municipality.

They have already had their first big win.

They were able to make a deal with council and homeowners to provide high speed Internet to Seawood Estates. That community has quickly seen an increase in home sales and new construction.

Who knew that high speed Internet was a factor in the sale of existing homes and new construction?

The Internet will be critical to Green Gables, the municipality’s big economic driver. Parks Canada is in the midst of a multi-million dollar program to improve the visitor experience at Green Gables.

The plan is to create a world-class experience for the thousands who visit Green Gables annually. When complete, there will be a state of the art, reimagined Anne exhibit.

What might that look like? Lets look at what’s happening in Charlottetown. At the Parks Canada project to rehabilitate Province House in Charlottetown, visitors wear virtual reality goggles to see “inside” the building as it is being refurbished.

One would expect the Green Gables visitor experience would also be interactive – which implies high speed Internet.

A special committee of the municipal council has been working to develop a plan for Cavendish Heritage Park and Heritage Centre, which will compliment the “new” Parks Canada project at Green Gables.

Many people don’t know about this small quiet refuge on Route 13, across from the Cemetery where Lucy Maud is buried. The committee wants to make it child and family friendly, with a statue of Maud, a rest and play area. Again high speed Internet is essential.

And if Bell Aliant isn’t up to the job – despite the millions in government subsidies – then more and more it looks like Eastlink is the solution to the high speed bump on our information highway.

Cavendish resident Mike Duffy represents PEI in the Senate of Canada.

No used car sales lot for you!: Resort Municipality to applicant

Story and photos by Jim Brown

Bill Drost

Bill Drost’s dream of opening a used car lot in the community in which he lives and works has been dashed by the Resort Municipality.

They rejected his application for a used car lot near the Stanley Bridge roundabout at council’s monthly meeting on July 16 at the North Rustico Lions Club.

“I think they erred in their decision,” said a frustrated, disappointed Drost, who runs a project management engineering consulting business and a used car business in Kensington that he was hoping to relocate to Stanley Bridge.

“Council, I think should perhaps reflect a little more on the approach they’re taking to business,” he said.

Matthew Jelley, the resort municipality’s mayor, said council was on firm ground in rejecting the application.

“The current zoning is C-1 and automobile sales and service is not a permitted use within C-1 and so the current zoning does not match the requested use of the property. The concept of automobile sales is dealt with specifically as a permitted use in one zone and not in the other,” said Mr Jelley.

“They’re basically telling a resident and a business to go away, you’re not welcome in this municipality. If you look at the type of developments they allow in this municipality one would question (their approach to business development),” said Mr Drost.

Drost said the Resort Municipality may have opened the door to an IRAC challenge with a narrow and perhaps flawed interpretation of the current bylaws.

“The bylaws of the resort municipality are such that there are no lands in the municipality that permit the establishment of a used car lot or any automobile sales business. There’s also no bylaws that prohibit the establishment of such a business.

“Bylaws say the definition of an automobile sales and service business is where vehicles are held for sale and are maintained. I have absolutely no plans to maintain or repair vehicles at that location. It’s only sales. If the bylaw had said sales and or maintaining vehicles as the definition of a motor vehicle sales and service business then it would have met that part of the bylaw and the council would have made a proper decision in rejecting the application,” explained Mr Drost.

But Mr Jelley answered: “The fact that it’s automobile sales and/or automobile service doesn’t neglect the fact that automobile sales…is not of itself solely retail. The bylaw saw fit to specifically denote automobile sales as a different use and that use is not permitted in that zone.”

In the wake of council’s decision what are Mr Drost’s plans?

“I haven’t a clue. I’ve sought some other locations outside the municipality. An appeal to IRAC might be an alternative.”

He talked about what might have been, had his application been approved.

“My plan was to maintain a lot of 12 to 20 vehicles (and) operate at about eight months a year,” said Mr Drost, who also said he would likely hire staff.

“I have a project management engineering consulting business and a used car business which was being relocated from the Kensington area to Stanley Bridge. I live in Stanley Bridge (and would) like to see more business grow in the municipality. Unfortunately the municipality and its councilors don’t feel the same way,” he said.

It’s a shame the Resort Municipality couldn’t have “a little diversity in the businesses we have. The decision is short-sighted and not in the best interest of the public and the residents of the community. You’re sending the wrong message to the business community.”

Mr Drost said there was a new car wash in Cavendish his business would have used, and opportunities for other spinoff businesses and opportunities, “that are going to be lost.”

The Stanley Bridge Centre is pleased to welcome Island Senator Mike Duffy as the SBC’s newest columnist and contributor. Mr Duffy has enjoyed a remarkable career in politics and journalism, including decades of work in front of the camera for CBC and CTV national news. He got his start in print journalism, and his early resume includes working as a reporter with the Charlottetown Guardian before moving on to radio and then TV. Mr Duffy, a Cavendish resident, was appointed to the Senate in 2008.

Alex B. Campbell & the gathering fiscal storm

Senator Mike Duffy

By Mike Duffy

Later this week, Canada’s provincial premiers will hold their annual meeting in Saint Andrews, NB. It will be the first meeting of the new Ontario Premier Doug Ford with his counterparts from across the country, including our own Premier Wade MacLauchlan.

Premier Ford has already met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and from all accounts their meeting did not go well. Ontario has a long list of complaints about the federal government, and most of them involve money.

Doug Ford and Ottawa could be heading for a major confrontation

Ontario, (like PEI) does not like Ottawa’s planned carbon tax. Ontario complains federal funding is inadequate for the settlement of refugees; and Ontario government studies suggest equalization is too generous to the so-called “have not” provinces (that’s us) at the expense of Ontario taxpayers.

As the drop in the price of oil has hurt the economies of Newfoundland, Alberta and Saskatchewan, some in those provinces have joined Ontario in criticism of equalization.

Add in the fact that we are about a year away from a federal election, and you have a recipe for political fireworks. As The Globe & Mail put it, we are at “The dawn of an Ottawa-Ontario battle like none other.”

Readers may ask, why should Islanders care about a fight between Ontario and Ottawa?

If Ottawa, Ontario and the other “have provinces” get into a fight over money, the danger is we will be caught in the crossfire. If fiscal transfers to the Island are reduced, this would be a very serious blow to our standard of living.

PEI receives about $600 million in federal transfers every year. That’s about two million dollars every business day flowing from Ottawa to the government in Charlottetown.

In the “old days” – I’m talking about the 60s and 70s – we were considered “special” by the people who mattered in Ottawa. That protected us.

Former Island Premier Alex Campbell speaking at a history circle celebrating the life of Father Francis Bolger

That “special relationship” with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was built by Stanley Bridge resident Alex B. Campbell, who was elected Premier in 1966 at the very young age of 32.

Campbell and his cabinet developed a blueprint for the Island’s future prosperity. They called it the Comprehensive Development Plan.

It covered everything from the consolidation of farm land into larger economically viable units, to the construction of large new schools to replace the old one-room schoolhouses which dotted the landscape.

The CDP was big, controversial, and far too expensive for PEI to undertake alone. Alex Campbell convinced Pierre Trudeau that this plan was essential for the Island’s future. Trudeau bought the idea and the CDP was funded in large part by the federal government.

Campbell’s vision for PEI, and his positive relationship with the Trudeau government is catalogued in detail by none other than the man who now occupies the Premier’s office, Premier Wade MacLauchlan.

MacLauchlan’s biography; “Alex B. Campbell, the Island Premier who rocked the cradle” is a well-deserved tribute to the man who held power through four elections from 1966 and 1978.

The foundation of the Island we see today was built largely on the vision of Alex B. Campbell, and financed by the federal government as a direct result of his skill at building a “special relationship” with the Prime Minister in Ottawa.
Today Alex B. Campbell is living quietly with his wife Marilyn on the banks of the Stanley River. All around him are reminders of the Island he envisioned a half-century ago.

Premier MacLauchlan will need all of Alex B. Campbell’s skills and more, as he fights to protect us from the gathering fiscal storm.

That battle for cash begins this weekend at the Council of the Federation meeting in St.-Andrews-by-the-Sea, NB.

Cavendish resident Mike Duffy represents PEI in the Senate of Canada.

Lucky ticket wins this beautiful painting

Connie Morrison, a member of the Stanley Bridge Memorial Society’s (SBMS) board of directors, holds a beautiful painting of the Stanley Bridge wharf by acclaimed Margate artist and author Karen Slater. The SBMS is raffling off the painting, with tickets selling for $5 each or three for $10. They can be purchased on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 9 am to 1 pm, beginning in July at the Stanley Bridge Centre. Money from the ticket sales will go towards needed renovations at the SBC.

The Stanley Bridge Centre – A Venue for Culture and Events
In September, 2008,  due to declining membership and financial costs to maintain the building, the Stanley Bridge United Church, in Stanley Bridge, Prince Edward Island, was decommissioned.  The United Church Presbytery of PEI and Maritime Conference decided in 2009 to officially turn the building over to the former members of the church and they in turn applied to be incorporated as the Stanley Bridge Memorial Society Inc. Directors and trustees were appointed to provide the leadership and direction for the building, as they felt that it was important to maintain its rich heritage and legacy.

The Board’s Mission Statement was the historic preservation of the church and heritage of the Stanley Bridge church.  The Stanley Bridge Centre would provide a Cultural/Events Centre and Archival Room that will house historical items and artifacts of significance as well as genealogy records.  The Farmers Market is an undertaking that continues the tradition of this community meeting place.

This renewal project will require a large financial undertaking as a new basement is needed as well as washrooms, a kitchen, window restoration, a new roof, insulation and accessibility for all. The Stanley Bridge Memorial Society Inc, owner of the building, has charitable status and is continuing a campaign to raise funds for building improvements.  This website provides an historical background, a virtual tour of the interior and exterior, a viewing of the plans for the building, a Donation page and many other features.

We ask that you consider a donation to our renewal project as we believe that the building is a landmark in the community and deserves to have it’s legacy continue for years to come.   We trust that you will support this important community effort in Stanley Bridge.

Stanley Bridge Memorial Society

This website will include developments in the planning, historical research and the ongoing process of fundraising and of the restoration, repair and reconstruction of the Stanley Bridge Cantre. Check back often to keep abreast of what is happening and how your contribution is helping to realize the goals of the Society.


Three Day Weather Forecast For Stanley Bridge, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Partly Cloudy
08/15 0%
Partly Cloudy
High 27° / Low 19°
Chance of a Thunderstorm
08/16 60%
Chance of a Thunderstorm
High 22° / Low 15°
Partly Cloudy
08/17 10%
Partly Cloudy
High 22° / Low 16°