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Stanley Bridge Centre’s summer concert series
Get ready for another rousing season of musical entertainment at the Stanley Bridge Centre! Included in this summer’s impressive lineup is a tribute to Father Bulger.

The season kicks off on June 10 with a Bill and Gertie Campbell show, followed by a Tribute to Father Bulger on June 28. On July 15 Brad Trivers drops by, joined by Fenton McSwain. On Aug 19 Larry Campbell and Roy MacCaull are teaming up for another top-tapping performance with the North Milton Band and Choir performing on Sept 23. Other performances will be announced later.

The curtain rises for all shows at 7 pm, with tickets priced at $15 each.

Neighbor at open house on proposed grain elevator expansion raises concerns
Story and photos by Jim Brown
Jim Brown can be reached at peijim@hotmail.com

A proposal to double the size of a grain elevator on the outskirts of Kensington hit a pocket of turbulence at an April 25 public meeting on the proposal.

The Kensington grain elevator could double its storage capacity if a major expansion goes ahead.

An increase in noise, a loss of scenic views and a greater volume of yellow dust were some of the concerns raised by a neighbor, whose wife runs a bed and breakfast and is also worried about its impact.

“The worst thing about it we find is the dust…and the noise” during the current operation, said Bill Bryanton at the meeting, which is part of the environmental assessment process.

“We have a deck in front of our house that goes all the way around and it’s always covered with some kind of yellowish-colored dust from when they clean the drain.”

Bryanton said a visitor in a black car, who had been at the house for no more than 25 minutes, noticed afterwards his entire car was coated with yellow dust.

“There’s a fair amount of noise. They’re putting another dryer in I noticed and it’s right next to the road…” said Bryanton, who has lived in the neighbourhood since 1996.

He also said the expansion, which would accommodate roughly 26,000 metric tonnes of grain when it is finished, up from the current 13,000 metric tonnes, would hurt the view of the trail and the fields.

Close to nine acres of land would be purchased with the expansion. The project’s total cost is pegged to be anywhere from $8 million to $18 million, depending on how extensive the work is.

Don Jardine, of DE Jardine Consulting, was one of several presenters at the April 25 open house.

According to earlier published reports the agricultural industry has embraced the expansion, saying it is long overdue. And interest has gone beyond PEI’s borders, with officials getting calls from all across Canada prior to the meeting.

The expansion will help ease growing problems with storage, which are costing large amounts of money and hurting exports. There is such a space crunch on PEI that storage has had to be found off Island, in Nova Scotia.

High and rising yields are adding to the volume of grains and soybeans available for storage and shipment.

As many as 35 local residents attended the meeting, held at the Kensington Legion and organized by PEI Grain Elevator Corporation.

At the meeting several elevator corporation officials described what the project would entail.

Other attendees expressed concerns about increased heavy truck traffic, but officials answered the tractor trailers would be spread out over more of the year instead of just three months or so. The actual numbers wouldn’t change that much.

The current grain elevator has been around since 1969 and needs an upgrade.

A berm would be constructed to address noise related issues.
The expansion must meet a range of stringent environmental and planning related conditions to go ahead.

Residents and others have an opportunity for input during the process.

Seas are rising and so is the threat to Islanders and all of humanity

Story and photos by Jim Brown
Jim Brown can be reached at peijim@hotmail.com

Cliffs near Cavendish: Much of the Island’s coastline is vulnerable to rising ocean waters.

Climate experts thought a major subway line in the American eastern seaboard wouldn’t be vulnerable to flooding for decades, until a hurricane sent towering waves of water underground. A slice of the Antarctic ice-shelf, as large as PEI, broke off recently, causing sea levels to rise everywhere. That wasn’t supposed to happen for the better part of a century. Arctic and Antarctic sea ice are in rapid decline, disappearing far faster than the scientific community had predicted, even in their most dire warnings.

If the worst happens, PEI could eventually be transformed into three Islands, thanks to rising ocean waters.

It isn’t news to many islanders that soils are degrading, shorelines are in retreat and private wells are filling with salt water. Climate change is happening at an accelerated pace that has caught many scientists around the world by surprise.

That was one of the grim takeaways from a presentation, “Our Shrinking Island” by members of the University of Prince Edward Island’s Climate Research Lab, held at North Rustico’s Eagle Nest on Feb 20.

Dozens of people attended a UPEI Climate Research Lab presentation on the threat posed by climate change.

Islanders got a taste of what they can expect in the future when dry, scorching weather this summer, coupled with a sharp decline in precipitation, hurt potato yields and forced processors to bring in spuds from Alberta to meet their contracts.

Canadians welcomed thousands of Syrian refugees recently, but what happens when the world is faced with millions of climate refugees?

“We had 30,000 (Syrian refugees). What if I were to tell you that in 20 to 30 years we’re going to have people have to leave areas, not because of war, but because they can’t find water, they can’t find food. And Canada as a country is not going to stand around and watch people die around the world. We’re not talking 30,000, we’re talking 300,000, and we’re talking 300 million people (worldwide),” said Adam Fenech, who is the climate research lab’s director. He was joined at the presentation by fellow climate team members Andrew Clark (geospatial scientist and senior research assistant), project manager Don Jardine and research assistant Stephanie Arnold.

The Eagle Nest hosted a presentation by the UPEI Climate Research Lab called “Our Shrinking Island.”

“What scares me most as a climatologist who has followed this for 30 years is that it is happening faster and faster than we ever anticipated,” he said.

“That big of chunk of ice that broke up and fell into the ocean (Antarctic ice shelf) contributing to sea level rise? I have a report from two years ago from the US National Academy of Sciences saying we don’t have to worry about that for 100 years. They were calling that catastrophic climate change. That’s happening now,” said Fenech.

Many believe 2050 to be the year when everything collapses.

“That’s only 32 years…I doubt I’ll be around but I have three children who will,” said Fenech, who calls himself a determined optimist.

Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter directs a question to Adam Fenech.

Well, at least Islanders probably won’t have to worry about worst case scenarios unfolding for a while. It’s not an immediate problem, said Fenech, but it is on the horizon and planning should be undertaken to prepare for the inevitability of PEI’s transformation.

“There’s a tidal gauge in Charlottetown. We’ve been taking measurements for almost 100 years,” noted Fenech.

“We’ve seen about a 32 cm increase in sea levels over the past century. And over the last 30 years or so scientists believed the sea levels would rise another metre over the next 100 years. Well, lo and behold, science over the last two years is telling us things are going to move a lot faster than that,” he said.

“The US Geological Society, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, Rutgers University (are telling) engineers they should now be planning for two to 2.7 metres.

That’s almost three times the rate originally estimated.

Fenech went on to say between 1968 and 2010 more than 5,000 acres of land on PEI was lost to erosion.

The Island won’t disappear under water overnight, it will take many decades, but it is happening, he said.

MacNeill’s Brook, near Cavendish. The shoreline is cluttered with broken ice. Over the past decade hundreds of coastal structures have been lost to battering waves and rising ocean waters.

Many residents who have shorefront homes have spent large amounts of money “armouring” their properties with heavy rocks brought from off-Island. However armouring isn’t the solution it’s cracked up to be, because it’s not that effective against wave battering action, especially during severe storms.

What else will work? Perhaps building homes on stilts? Building further back from the shore?

There are also other, more natural ways to provide protection including using fast-growing vegetation as a water break. Or assembling hay bales.

Meanwhile, global mapping using the most sophisticated satellite technology has shown the Greenland ice-sheet is melting faster than scientists had expected.

In Antarctica that large chunk of ice that broke off is displacing water in a way similar what happens when “you drop an ice cube in your glass,” said Fenech.

What else can Islanders expect as their climate warms?

How about an increase in stormy weather – which has already gone up 10 to 20 per cent over the past 30 years.

And Fenech went on to say a loss of protective winter ice along the North Shore will lead to greater erosion and damage to shoreline properties.

Is the world moving fast enough towards renewable energy, towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the atmosphere?

Other industrialized countries are blazing the way to a better future and we can learn from them, said Malpeque Liberal MP Wayne Easter.

“Germany has 1.7 million suppliers of energy, mainly from solar. It is a complicated system. It is a system in which everyone can supply energy and get paid for it. That’s an area that depended on coal (and) is going off nuclear. They are worth looking at,” said Easter.

Closer to home North Rustico is launching a major boardwalk improvement project at a cost of $750,00, with much of the funding provided by federal sources.

Up to half of the money is being used to armour the boardwalk to reduce erosion.

An attendee wanted to know if that money was well spent.

An attentive audience listened to a presentation about the threat posed to PEI and the rest of the world from climate change.

The climate lab operates image-taking drones, promotes climate change adaptation and builds virtual reality equipment to show how rising waters can overwhelm homes, buildings and other structures over a period of years or decades.

There are some positive things brought by climate change, at least in the short term, which includes longer growing seasons and increased numbers of certain valuable commercial species such as lobsters, says Stephanie Arnold.

She said warmer weather in the summer and shoulder season is drawing more tourists, and it’s likely the growing season will be longer and more varieties of crops can be grown. There could be more “shorter-season” crops planted such as soybeans, followed by peas.

Lentils, which require more heat and can’t be grown on PEI commercially now, could thrive here in the future.

But that’s about the end of the benefits.

“Species are very picky – too dry, too hot, too cold, too wet, they’ll move on,” said Arnold. She pointed to white spruce, which enjoys perfect conditions on the Island. But not by the end of the century.

Other things to be worried about? How about invasive species moving in as the climate warms.

“Right now, PEI is too cold for invasive species,” she said, adding Islanders can expect to see more disease-bearing black legged ticks.

“Ticks arrive on migratory birds.”

When it gets warmer, “birds come here and the ticks hop off. They bite animals, people, and pass on diseases.”

Expect to see more lyme disease within the next decade.

A warming climate means more runoff will increase, carrying contaminated soil into the sea.

And get used to more rain in the winter, instead of snow, similar to what happened in early February when extensive flooding was reported across the island.

When the ground is frozen, water has no where to go, said Arnold, and that leads to roads and bridges being washed out.

Heavy rain and rising temperatures, which melted snow everywhere, led to flooding in Stanley Bridge and across the Island in early February.

Other than finding ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it’s always a good idea to learn what other, more successful jurisdictions are doing to mitigate against the worst impact of climate change.

For instance, in Nova Scotia millions of green crabs, which have taken a large toll on mussel production, are being trapped.

“We can’t keep doing what we’re doing and really expect things to change.”

The PEI government runs a program that encourages the creation of hedgerows, which reduce wind erosion, said Arnold.

She warned that valuable wetlands are disappearing to make way for developments, just when they will be needed the most.

Protecting wetlands prevents and reduces the severity of floods.

Wetlands in New Jersey actually prevented $625 million worth of damage when Hurricane Sandy struck, said Arnold.


It may be freezing outside, but tourist operators are already thinking of summer

Approximately 60 people attended the Feb 8 tourism mixer at The Eagle Nest.

Tony Zheng has a feeling this summer will be a very good summer in the resort municipality. It’s not even halfway into February, but he has good reason to believe his 36-unit cottage development in Cavendish will be doing a brisk business.

Tony Zheng and Huey Feng, new co-owners of the Lakeview Lodge and Cottages.

Zheng has been the co-owner of Lakeview Lodge and Cottages, with Huey Feng, for only a couple of weeks but bookings for June, July and August are already looking robust, at almost 80 per cent.

Zheng and Feng were among close to 60 people at North Rustico’s The Eagle Nest Feb 8, for a gathering with other businesspeople in the resort municipality to view five 30-second marketing videos.

One of the five promotional videos of Cavendish, aired at The Eagle Nest for tourist operators.

The videos were touting the attractions of the Cavendish area and were produced for about $70,000.

Business operators were also getting an update about the second year of operation of a shuttle bus service to Charlottetown for employees – City Beach Express.

Zheng said he was impressed with what he saw on the overhead screens during the tourism mixer.

“The videos were really helpful,” he said.

“We just took advantage of the fact we had a bunch of tourism operators here to share some good news we had with our videos,” said Darcy Butler, executive director/destination manager at Tourism Cavendish Beach Inc., which arranged the tourism mixer.

The 30-second videos will be released “primarily through YouTube, digital advertising…Facebook (and other) social media,” said Butler, adding this is the first time the marketing plan included videos, with past years focusing on photos and print ads.

George Campbell, who runs the Anne of Green Gables Museum in Park Corner.

“This is a new medium that gives us an opportunity to reach more potential visitors,” said Butler.
“We’re expecting a big season overall. We’ve got a lot of new development,” he said.

“I thought the videos were very well done and they certainly depicted all of the activities one could partake or have an interest in, in the Cavendish area,” said Debbie Mol, of the Tourism Industry Association of PEI.

She and her association are helping to organize a North Shore job fair on April 21 at the Lions Club in North Rustico.
George Campbell, who runs the Anne of Green Gables Museum in Park Corner and expects a very busy summer, also gave the videos a thumbs up.

“They look great,” he said.

Story and photos by Jim Brown
Jim Brown can be reached at peijim@hotmail.com


We’re looking forward to an exciting 2018 at the Stanley Bridge Centre
By Jim Brown
Editor, Stanley Bridge Centre

Congratulations! You’ve made it to 2018.

Now what? That’s the question we’re asking ourselves at the Stanley Bridge Centre, which is the operator of this website, administered by North Granville resident Dale Amundson.

A dog show in Kensington

Everything Dale and I had ever dreamed of for the site has come true, and then some, over the past year. It’s grown and evolved to meet the challenges of the second decade of a new millennium and I believe is poised to do even more remarkable things in 2018.

I’m going to take a moment or so to brag about our accomplishments. With a limited budget we’ve increased the online news feed content to 15, in addition to the CBC. We’ve even got a Chinese language news site that offers streaming video. By the end of the year it’s possible we could double the number of news feeds.

We’ve also added a number of features we’re quite proud of, including news from the Resort Municipality of Cavendish, an Island photographers showcase and Rural Dreams, which offers a glimpse into the lives of people who make their living directly from the land, who happen to live right round’ the corner.

The Stanley Bridge Centre’s fundraising Centennial Quilt, displayed at the farmer’s market all season.

We are reaching out to the Stanley Bridge, New London, Hunter River, Cavendish, North Rustico, Clinton and Kensington geographical area every day through stories and photos – especially photos.

The Christmas craft fair at the New London Community Complex

The website is all about the people who live right next to us, around the corner and down the road. How better to tell their stories than with photos?

Got an event happening? Don’t just expect a story and a grip-and-grin. We won’t be limited to one, two or even half a dozen photos as print newspapers are. And we won’t be resorting to black and white photos – ever.

Believe it or not we’re doing this with a handful of hard-working volunteers – older residents who have enjoyed successful careers and who wish to make a lasting contribution to the communities in which they have raised families or moved to from other parts of Canada or the world.

Of course, the Stanley Bridge Centre website was created to serve a wider purpose than just allowing someone like me to practice journalism again, years after leaving the reporting biz.

Stanley Bridge Centre’s farmer’s market.

We want to promote the work of the Stanley Bridge Centre itself (former United Church at the top of the hill), which has hosted a very successful farmer’s market every summer for the past several years as well as auctions, concerts and history circles.

We are in the midst of an ambitious campaign to raise up to $150,000 to make needed renovations to the building so that we can offer more entertainment, culture and history-themed events and programs to the community.

We can’t lose sight of that ultimate goal.

But I believe over the past year we have broken new ground in a journalism landscape littered with dead and dying newspapers. Only a few days ago La Presse, one of Canada’s largest and oldest newspapers, announced it was ceasing its print edition.

Only a month or so earlier many Islanders were distraught when Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe & Mail, yanked its print edition from newsstands everywhere east of the Quebec border.

Journalism is dead, long live journalism!

Remembrance Day ceremonies in North Rustico.

The Stanley Bridge Centre’s model, a non-profit one, points the way to a brighter future for community-based online sources of news. Unpaid volunteers provide the content, along with low cost news feeds from around the world (to supplement local copy).

New London Community Complex Christmas craft fair

We are growing every day in many different ways, and a big part of our mission is to fill the gaps Island news outlets no longer can, due to staffing cuts and diminished newsgathering resources.

Of course, local news isn’t everything.

The Island’s demographic makeup is changing dramatically. PEI is becoming a diverse, multicultural province and we will endeavor to tap news sources that provide newcomers with a connection to their homelands they can’t find easily anywhere else. We have news feeds from America, China, England, Hong Kong, Scotland, Ireland and much, much more.

North Rustico Canada Day celebrations.

We’ve seen many visitors from those countries at our farmer’s markets and other events.

Our goal for 2018 is to secure needed advertising and sponsorship money to help us complete renovations to the SBC. And if we can do good journalism at the same time, all the better.

We are excited about 2018 and we hope people in our area will climb on the board with us.

Happy New Year!

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

05/23 100%
High 13° / Low 3°
Partly Cloudy
05/24 10%
Partly Cloudy
High 11° / Low 7°
Chance of Rain
05/25 80%
Chance of Rain
High 14° / Low 5°