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The Stanley Bridge Centre is pleased to offer news from the Resort Municipality such as events, meetings, programs, housing and cottage developments, business openings.
Area residents offer their opinions on the issues of the day, from the serious to the whimsical.
Why won’t people leave the path of hurricane Florence?
Stanley Bridge Centre AGM at 7 pm, Aug 22
A surge of PNP investors over the past decade made PEI Canada’s fastest growing province
So now that the gold rush is over, what happens next?
By Mike Duffy
If there’s one subject – other than the weather – that Islanders like to grumble about, it’s the Provincial Nominee Program or PNP. Who got it, how much, and how can I get some of that “free money”.
In our area, some long-time tourist operators were able to retire because immigrant PNP investors were in the market to buy a tourist property. Understandably, they think the program is great.
Others complain the presence of the new rich investors hasn’t helped them. In fact, they say the program has driven up rents and house prices, making life more difficult for young Islanders who can’t compete with the big bucks coming from overseas.
The surge of PNP investors over the past decade made us the fastest growing province, and boosted our population above 150,000 for the first time in our history.
It is estimated that, over the years, the PNP program has delivered more than $500 million of new investment into the Island economy. That’s almost as much as the federal government sends to the provincial government every year.
Under the PNP program, off-shore investors were to move to PEI, and invest in a local business.
They were bringing cash, business expertise, and diversity to the Island culture. At least that was the theory.
At least 177 of the PNP investors never bothered to take up residence in PEI, preferring to grab their Canadian passport and forego their residency deposit. At more than $100,000 each, it’s not small change. Last year the province reported it is holding about $18 million in residency defaults. It’s a windfall.
And the windfall is not just for the provincial government. A select group of lawyers, agents and accountants got fabulously wealthy processing the PNP paperwork.
PC Opposition leader James Aylward was blunt when he told the CBC, “We were a bit of a laughingstock within the immigration community,” he said. “People weren’t taking us seriously, they were just seeing us as an easy way through” to getting a Canadian passport.
So now that the gold rush is over, what happens next? Who will replace these new Islanders?
Last week, chatting with visitors in Cavendish, and in the lineup at Richard’s in Covehead, we met two retired couples, one from Columbus, Ohio, the other from Hartford, Conn. Both were first-time visitors.
They were dazzled by the Island scenery, by our tranquil way of life, (the rush of the summer season had just ended), to say nothing of the 30 per cent premium they were getting for their US dollars.
Both couples had questions about immigration rules, taxes, and health care. Is it really as good as it looks? (Yes even in winter!).
With all of the turmoil in the US, the heat and humidity and uncertain weather, etc., they were seriously thinking of moving to PEI for at least six months of the year. Interestingly, neither couple mentioned President Trump.
Making PEI a retirement haven sounds nice, but it comes at a cost. Senior newcomers will need health care, space in our retirement manors and all of the other services seniors require.
With PNP in eclipse, are these the new Islanders we’ve been waiting for?
PEI has over its modern history had wave after wave of immigration starting with our first people, the Mi’kmaq’. The French, the English, Irish and Scots, Lebanese, Dutch and more recently Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese, Eastern Europeans and from within Canada, the Amish.
These people came here to find a better life for themselves and their families and were enticed by the Island’s natural resources and beauty, the promise of prosperity, a tolerant community and many other reasons. Integration was not always easy or even amicable. Change is difficult, both for the immigrants and for the existing residents, but over time a slightly different and some would say somewhat stronger community emerges with each new wave.
The Government of Canada’s PNP program is the latest attempt to attract new citizens. Prince Edward Island’s administration of the program has come under significant and legitimate criticism and a lot of Islanders are embarrassed by the behavior of a few.
They believe any wrong-doing should not be tolerated but properly investigated and punished.
That said, there is no question the program has attracted new residents to the Island and that at least some of them will make their new Canadian home here. When legitimate concerns have been properly dealt with the memory of PEI’s PNP will fade but our new residents and their families will remain a lasting legacy.
Cavendish resident Mike Duffy represents PEI in the Senate of Canada. Comments are welcome and can be forward by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public a no show for public meeting on Cavendish Beach Music Festival
Few complaints, but seasonal resident says there had been reports of public urination, illegal parking, young girls drinking
By Jim Brown
In early July more than 80,000 people clicked through the turnstiles to watch Shawn Mendes and a host of other high profile acts during the four-day-long Cavendish Beach Music Festival. At a public meeting seeking feedback from residents affected by the festival exactly zero members of the public turned up.
On Aug 29 there were 12 officials at the North Rustico Lions Club assembled to hear their feedback, good and bad, including Resort Municipality councillors, a concert promoter, an official from the PEI fire marshal’s office, an RCMP police officer, a provincial traffic operations engineer and a PEI liquor board official.
That isn’t the end of the comment period, with Sept 5 the final date for receiving written submissions (and emails) at the Resort Municipality office. Two letters with complaints were read at the public meeting.
Cavendish seasonal resident Murdock Morrison, in his email to Brenda MacDonald, the Resort Municipality’s chief administrative officer, wrote:
“During the festival there were several cars parked on the side of the road (after you make the turn at the lights – opposite Sunset campgrounds) all four days and on two occasions they had small-type barbecues set up, had them lit and drinking openly – obviously they tried to avoid parking fees.
“It was a safety issue for those making the turn and going to Graham’s and the beach. The RCMP would have seen these cars and either warned them or ticketed them and my only comment was that an officer could do a sight check around the area as they would have picked this up.”
Mr Morrison went on to write he “had heard from a number of people who had friends who went to the festival and told me that the drinking was a problem especially young girls.”
He also wrote “there were some incidents that were upsetting – men actually urinating in the crowd and people having to see it and stand (in) the urine.”
He added, it was “almost impossible to monitor in such a crowd.”
But complaints, like attendees, were scarce.
There was a “huge turnout” in the first year of the festival, but each successive year, as more and more issues were dealt with, the attendance at public meetings steadily declined, according to Mayor Matthew Jelley.
Jelley went on to say the festival has been an overwhelming success, from the community’s perspective, in its 10th year.
That view was echoed by others.
“We had roughly 80,000 people go through that gate over the span of the entire event and to have as few problems as we’ve had from a policing perspective is…I was amazed,” said Queens District RCMP Staff Sgt Shane Hubley.
“That is not typical of these types of events…I really don’t have anything negative to say…There were arrests and there were drunks, but fortunately I’ve never seen one go that well. I’ve seen much smaller venues with way fewer people, way, way worse.”
There were still complaints about concert goers trespassing on private property, property damage, cars illegally parked, public drunkenness, underage drinking and some threatening behavior. But several officials said complaints were far less than the earlier years and steps taken over succeeding years to lessen the concert’s negative impacts on the community seem to have worked.
Man who fought council to open a used car sales lot is now a member of council
By Jim Brown
Resort Municipality councillors will have to get used to hearing Bill Drost’s name.
Mr Drost came to their attention earlier this summer when his application to open a used car sales lot in Stanley Bridge was rejected. It would have operated about 200 yards from the roundabout towards Cavendish.
Now he’s sitting on council after running unopposed for one of seven seats.
“I want to see a pro-business approach” in the community, said Mr Drost, in an Aug 30 phone interview from Moncton, NB.
On July 16, immediately after the Resort Municipality rejected his bid, Mr Drost stated: “I think they erred in their decision….Council, I think, should perhaps reflect a little more on the approach they’re taking to business.”
He served notice he hasn’t given up on his dream and has, in fact, taken his complaint to the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC).
He and Council will submit written arguments to IRAC, whose members will make a ruling without a public hearing.
Mr Drost had also applied to council for a temporary permit, which was rejected, and a change of use designation on the C-1 zoned property that would have allowed him to set up his used car sales business.
Mr Drost’s business, if successful, would be located on a half acre property owned by Philip Gallant.
In an interview in July Mr Drost said it was 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.”
The new council will be sworn-in Sept. 10.
Green Gables Heritage Place gets multi-million dollar facelift
By Jim Brown
Big things are in the works for an iconic landmark in the Cavendish area.
According to Parks Canada: “The current construction at Green Gables Heritage Place is part of a $9.5 million site redevelopment project that will improve visitor experience, site facilities (such as food service and parking) and accessibility ”
“There are three phases to this project. Phase 1 included an addition to the Barn, the creation of temporary orientation space, and the installation of temporary washrooms and a ticket kiosk. This work was completed in the spring of 2017.
“Phase 2 includes revisions to the parking lot, changes to landscaped pathways and planting and the construction of a new visitor centre that will house the gift shop, ticketing, orientation area, exhibits and washrooms. The parking lot has been completed and we are currently refining directional signage and line striping to direct traffic. Construction on the visitor centre is going well and it is anticipated that it will be completed in November.
“The final phase will begin once phase 2 complete, which includes renovations to improve accessibility of the Green Gable house and the retrofit of the temporary gift shop area to a food service area. The gift shop will remain in the renovated barn until the spring of 2019.
“Parks Canada is also working on a detailed design for interpretive exhibits and other media for the new visitor centre as well as the barn, grounds and trails.
“The new exhibits and interpretive elements will be installed following the completion of the visitor centre. All work on this multi-phased project will be completed by the spring of 2019.”
A few political thoughts on a perfect Island weekend
By Mike Duffy
What a wonderful weekend for the 16th annual River Days Festival (Stanley Bridge/Trout River). From parades to fireworks, so much to see and do, all in celebration of this little bit of heaven we call home.
But while most “normal” people were enjoying the sights and sounds of summer, over in Halifax several thousand very earnest Conservatives were hard at work.
They were locked in a dark convention hall, debating public policy and the platform their party will present to Canadians in next year’s federal election.
There was a spasm of excitement Thursday when Maxime Bernier left the party. He called the Conservatives morally bankrupt because they refused to debate, let alone adopt policies dealing with controversial issues like supply management.
As a libertarian Mr. Bernier believes in smaller government, free trade and an end to “corporate welfare.” He is not interested in controversial social issues, like abortion and euthanasia. He sees these as private matters of individual conscience.
There are undoubtedly thousands of Canadians who share his views. But whatever they thought privately, the Conservative delegates in Halifax were determined to avoid controversy. They know what activists in all political parties know – controversy doesn’t sell in the run-up to an election.
Just look at Tory history.
In the 1974 election campaign, PC Leader Robert Stanfield proposed a 90-day income freeze as a brake on inflation; Pierre Trudeau ridiculed Stanfield and promised not to impose wage and price controls.
Canadians rewarded Mr. Trudeau with a majority government. And in 1975, a year after the election, Mr. Trudeau imposed wage and price controls.
In 1979, Prime Minister Joe Clark’s budget proposed an 18-cent a gallon gas tax.
Canadians rejected Mr. Clark’s tax – short-term pain in return for long-term gain – giving Mr. Trudeau another majority government. “Welcome to the 80s.” Of course gas taxes went up dramatically in the years after that election.
What’s the lesson? Canadians are human. Faced with tough choices, they will vote for the easy option.
Opposition parties (federal and provincial) believe the best course is to say nothing controversial before an election, and simply hope the incumbent government defeats itself. Bland works.
“It’s better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in” – US President Lyndon B. Johnson, about J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the FBI,
Maxime Bernier is no J. Edgar Hoover, but the maxim applies.
History may record that Andrew Scheer’s failure to keep Maxime Bernier in the Tory tent cost him the Prime Ministership.
The CBC had this to say:
“The CBC’s Poll Tracker, which uses an average of polls to make seat projections, currently gives the Liberals a 48 per cent chance of winning a majority government if an election were held today — a coin flip.
But take two points away from the Conservatives and give that to a hypothetical Bernier party, and those Liberal odds increase to 65 per cent, or about two in three.
Increase that Bernier drain to five percentage points and the Liberals’ chances of winning a majority government increase to 81 per cent. The chances that the Conservatives emerge with even a minority government in such a scenario drop to virtually nothing.”
It’s a lesson that wasn’t lost on the Conservatives this weekend in Halifax. They opted for bland, while we “normal” people were enjoying the River Days Festival.
(Cavendish resident Mike Duffy represents PEI as an Independent in the Canadian Senate. We welcome your comments to Mike Duffy’s submission. Please forward them to email@example.com and we will post them to our website in as timely a manner as possible).
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
Chance of Rain
High 14° / Low 9°
High 16° / Low 7°
High 17° / Low 13°