Looking for a ride
Busing woes far from a dead issue in central Newfoundland
As a new school year approached, central Newfoundland parents were again raising concerns about the plans by the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) to end student pickup within a “family responsibility zone”.
In May, the NLESD announced alternate arrangements would have to be made for students living within a 1.6 kilometre radius of a school.
According to the district, this policy had been in place for some time, but would henceforth be enforced as a means of aligning bus schedule regulations for all English-speaking schools in the province.
This plan is not sitting well with parents.
With the new school year set to begin in just over three weeks, the concerns and frustrations of Baie Verte parents were escalating.
Parent Jennifer Wimbleton is deeply worried about the potential dangers for her two children having to walk to Copper Ridge Academy this September, and she said she will not allow that to happen.
“They certainly will not be walking to school on this busy main highway,” Wimbleton told The Central Voice. “It’s very disheartening. We’re hoping for answers soon, but if not, we’ll need a quick plan in place on getting our kids to and from school.”
Study to build more knowledge of Exploits River
Badger woman hopeful govt. funding will lead to better flood forecasts
Colleen Paul’s family has lived along the Exploits River for generations. She said for as long as she can she remember, flooding has always been a risk for those who made their home along this waterway.
Now that the provincial and federal government have invested nearly $2 million for new flood risk mapping projects, Paul was hopeful this money will better protect the residents in Badger and other communities around the Exploits.
“Since earliest times the Indigenous people in our community have lived along the river in Badger and we’ve continued to occupy it,” she said in November. “I hope this funding will help us forecast and anticipate when the river will be problematic. Flood forecasting, emergency response and public communication, these are all great tools for being better prepared for flood disasters.”
The funding, announced Nov. 14, is for flood risk projects along the Exploits and Humber rivers, as well one project focusing on municipal water supply dams.
Differing views expressed during Central Health external review
Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor were at odds when it came to health care issues in central Newfoundland.
Gander mayor Percy Farwell made his differing view abundantly clear in addressing the remarks of Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Barry Manuel, who wrote Dr. Peter Vaughn, who was carrying out an external review of Central Health in May.
“I’m not going to tell Mayor Manuel how to do his job, or how he should advocate on behalf of his community, but this review is not a platform to advocate where services should be delivered from,” he told The Beacon April 30.
The review was ordered to address senior management and governance concerns.
In the letter, Manuel stated the town’s support for the current senior management staff, and that issues at James Paton Memorial Hospital aren’t new. Furthermore, he was concerned the outcome of the review could move health care services away from Grand Falls-Windsor.
Clinic needs doctors
Physicians required in Lewisporte to make dream reality, says committee chair
After seven years of strenuous work, Lewisporte’s new clinic was ready for operation.
But it was still missing one vital element – doctors.
Concerned Citizens’ Committee chairman Walter Dawe said back in March the committee’s work to provide a first-class private community health care clinic in Lewisporte was coming to a close.
The spacious building has an on-site pharmacy and plenty of room for physicians, and is equipped with modern equipment. The building is also in close proximity to North Haven Manor and X-ray and emergency services.
To bring the committee’s tireless work full circle, a practicing physician was needed to open the clinic’s doors to the public, said Dawe.
“This clinic (has) all the right ingredients; all we need is the physicians to make this dream reality,” he said. “We have completed our (work), but now there is a challenge to help us secure doctors.”
Indian River students petition Springdale council for rainbow crosswalk
High school's Gender Sexuality Alliance proposal creates controversy in town
A trio of poised and composed students of Indian River High’s Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) presented their case for painting a rainbow crosswalk to Springdale council April 23.
It had been a controversial issue in the town — one that has captured the attention of many throughout the country — since council denied the original request in the form of a letter during the previous public council meeting two weeks prior.
While the council chambers reached its capacity of about 40 people well before the meeting, about another 50 gathered outside the door of the town hall.
Ruth Cameron, Indian River High vice principal and teacher sponsor for the GSA, reiterated the gratitude at the council meeting before turning the floor over to the students for the presentation. She said this is not about changing people’s beliefs, but about an inclusive initiative.
Claudia Lilly, a Grade 12 student and GSA member, explained to council what a GSA was and its purpose. Personally, she said the growth in the school and its environment has enabled her to identify as a bisexual youth, after years of confusion regarding her sexuality.
“After joining I quickly realized who I am should not be hidden,” she said. “Because of this group I am proud of my identity and willing to be here and speak in front of you all today.”
Tackling the future of the fishery
Harvesters looking to establish new hook and line committee after quota takes sudden cut
After the fall fishery lost half their quota and their final week on the water, some cod harvesters with newly-installed autoline jiggers were looking to form a committee.
As a result of these cuts, Derek Bath, who personally invested over $100,000 to install this system, did not have the chance to fish with it this year.
In January, the Twillingate fisherman was one of eight harvesters awarded funding from the Atlantic Fisheries Fund. Over $600,000 in federal and provincial money was announced for the installation of automated long liner hauler systems on vessels across the province.
This automated system, often referred to as autoline jiggers, is the standard practice in the cod fisheries of Iceland and Norway, and is renowned for its ability to both efficiently catch fish and produce a high-quality product
It was this push for quality catch and the talk of a rebounding cod fishery that led harvesters like Bath to invest in this new technology. But now, harvesters who have invested and geared up with the most modern and efficient cod-catching equipment are upset their time on the water has been cut short.
“That was the encouragement we had from all the powers that be, this will get us the best quality fish,” said Bath. “It’s a big investment to make. But if they shut it down and we lose our chance to fish, what’s the point?”
Green Bay South fishermen hold protest in hopes of change in DFO decision
ROBERT’S ARM, N.L.
Brad Rideout hauled the 55-foot Fishermen’s Dream away from his Robert’s Arm wharf the evening of Oct. 17.
He was one of a few fishermen to take part in a peaceful protest over mackerel.
The fishery is an important part of northeast-coast operators’ livelihoods during the fall. By the Green Bay South fishermen’s estimation, it can make up 50 per cent or more of their annual income, depending on how the season plays out.
While the mackerel fishery closed Oct. 10 after the 10,000 tonnes total allowable catch (TAC) for the Atlantic region was landed, the fisherman of 35 years says there’s more than enough of the species left in the water to extend the season.
After the commercial fishery was closed, he said, the Maritimes’ – Nova Scotia, PEI, and New Brunswick – was opened to a handline bait fishery, up to 1,000 pounds per day, per license.
“Whether it’s for food or bait, it’s still coming out of the water as a mackerel,” Rideout said, adding if the option was afforded to the Maritimes, it should also be given to Newfoundland and Labrador harvesters.
“We were satisfied to stay tied on if it meant it was closed for everybody else,” he said. “But if (other parts of the Maritimes) get more, than we want more.”
A growing tradition
Second annual Mawio’mi in Grand Falls-Windsor doubles in size
GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, N.L.
It will only be in its third year, but organizers of the annual Mawio’mi in Grand Falls-Windsor will be looking for a bigger space to host the event next summer.
“It’s been amazing,” said Mawio’mi committee coordinator Charlene Combdon. “We’ve seen double the visitors, double the vendors, it’s just been awesome. It means our community is engaging and accepting our cultural revival.”
Over 100 people turned out for the second annual Mawio’mi at Gorge Park West on June 23, though there were also events held the preceding and following day at several locations. Next year, Combdon said they will likely be looking for somewhere bigger to host the main events.
“It means we’re growing, not only locally, but provincially, and we’re being recognized,” she said.
‘We can’t get by on just the bare minimum’
Plant workers hope government funding will prove beneficial during economic downturn
TWILLINGATE, CARTER’S COVE AND HAPPY ADVENTURE, N.L.
The announced funding for plant workers impacted by cuts to shrimp, crab and cod was needed in both the Twillingate and Comfort Cove-Newstead area in June.
Following the shutdown of the Notre Dame Seafoods plant in Twillingate the previous summer, former employees Ruby and Clarence Clarke have taken up jobs at the Comfort Cove plant, also owned by Notre Dame Seafoods. The plant processed predominantly crab, which had also been severely impacted by declines in stock and quota.
Ruby Clarke says while they had managed to combat the economic loss wrought from the Twillingate plant, the situation in Comfort Cove-Newstead is creating similar struggles.
“When we were at the crab some weeks we’re getting six hours, or 24 hours [of work] at most,” Clarke said. “If we barely scrape the hours needed it’ll be the lowest kind of unemployment; we’ll never make it on that.”
Simms takes a stand
MP objects to wording of attestation required for organizations to receive federal funding
GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL
For one local politician, the furor over reproductive rights versus religious belief earlier this year could have been avoided.
Coast of Bays-Central-Notre Dame MP Scott Simms made national headlines in February when he opposed his own party and spoke against a new federal policy requiring organizations applying for federal funding for summer students to tick a box that says the “core mandate” of the job and the organization respects, among other things, women’s reproductive rights.
“I agree with the intent – that’s great – but the execution totally flopped,” Simms told the Advertiser.
“If I was applying for the job, I have no problem ticking the box. People know what my views are on reproductive rights; I believe it’s fully a choice between any woman and her doctor. However, in this case, I thought it was overly prescriptive in its execution.”