Newsletter from Mayor George Adams
TOWN OF UPPER ISLAND COVE
Mayor: George Adams; Deputy Mayor:Philip Lundrigan; Councillors: Darren Mercer; Cindy Dobbin; Brian Drover; Kim Mercer
Town Clerk/Manager: Neil Shute --- Administrative Assistant: Dorothy Mercer
P.O Box 149 Upper Island Cove, NL A0A 4E0
Telephone (709)589-2503 Fax (709)589-2522
FROM MAYOR GEORGE ADAMS
On behalf of council, management, staff, my wife Sadie and our families, I would like to extend to you a very sincere Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. I truly hope that you and your families will be blessed with good health and happiness throughout 2017.
MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS (2017)
A municipal election will be held in Upper Island Cove on Tuesday, September 26, 2017. I certainly encourage all residents of voting age (18 years and older) to give serious consideration to offering themselves for a position on council next fall.
I would like to commend our present councilors for working diligently on your behalf for the past 4 years. Through their commitment and dedication, our Town has progressed in the provision of municipal services which enhance the quality of life of all who live within the bounds of Upper Island Cove. As Mayor, I have had a good working relationship with council and staff and I look forward to continued improvements in the town during the duration of our term of office.
At this time I would like to take the opportunity to inform the residents of Upper Island Cove that I will not be seeking re-election for the office of mayor or councillor in next fall’s election. After 22 years on council – the last 18 years as mayor – I have decided to step away from municipal politics at the end of this term. I wish to offer my sincere thanks to the voters for their support over the years. It has been a privilege to serve the residents of this wonderful town.
At its regular meeting of council on December 12, 2016 our finance committee – deputy mayor Philip Lundrigan and councillor Brian Drover – presented for adoption a balanced budget of $1,271,976 for 2017.
I am pleased to report that there will be NO TAX INCREASES next year (unless a supplementary assessment has identified major renovations, land acquisitions or new accessory buildings on your property). The property tax rate will continue to be one of the lowest in the region at 5.6 mils while the minimum property tax will remain at $425. The water/sewer tax will stay at $375 per household unit. The waste management fee for collection of bulk garbage will remain at $30 for residential properties and $100 per year for commercial properties.
Council is always vigilant in ensuring that our taxes are not excessive especially for residents on a fixed income but yet are adequate to provide core municipal services. In that regard I feel that this is a good news budget which does not impose any additional tax burden on our residents in 2017.
CAPITAL WORKS UPDATE (2016)
The current year has been tremendous in terms of improvements to our recreation and municipal infrastructure. Several major projects were completed through federal/provincial/municipal partnerships whereby funding was approved on a cost-shared basis among the three levels of government.
A few of the major projects initiated this year include the following:
- RECREATION CENTRE UPGRADES:
On Friday November 18, 2016 an official announcement was made at the Recreation Centre by MP Ken McDonald, M.H.A. Pam Parsons and Mayor George Adams whereby $307,490 was allocated for energy efficient upgrades to the Recreation Centre. Specifically the project will include the installation of heat pumps, LED lighting and insulation, as well as ventilation improvements especially in the gym area. These upgrades will result in a more cost effective facility to operate as well as a more comfortable environment for our residents.
In the past 6 years the Recreation Centre has been the beneficiary of major infusions of funding from all levels of government. In 2010 a partnership with ACOA (Atlantic Canada Opportunties Association) brought forth an allocation of $273,988 to install new windows, doors and siding.. Then in 2012 a further allocation of $302,731 resulted in major improvements to the bathroom facilities and paving of the parking lot. With this year’s allocation under the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program, a total of $884,209 will have been invested in Recreation Centre improvements. This amount does not even include the thousands of dollars provided by the Parks & Recreation Association through their own fundraising initiatives. In my estimation we now have one of the finest community centres in the region.
This past summer new ballfield lights were installed at the Crane’s Road Ballfield at a cost of $389,762 cost-shared between the province and the town.
The installation of new lighting will allow the Parks & Recreation Association to offer sports programs at the ballfield both day and night. This wonderful facility will be the envy of many towns in the province.
A new walking track around the ballfield was completed this summer for approximately $33,000 which was cost-shared on a provincial/municipal basis. This paved track has been met with a great deal of enthusiasm by residents of all ages both within the town and outside. As a matter of fact, it has exceeded my expectations in terms of the usage during all hours of the day. Throughout the summer walkers could be seen on the track from early morning to late evening. I am extremely pleased that our residents can now engage in walking and jogging exercises in a safe environment without fear of being injured by a passing motorist. Of course, during the winter months a daily walking program is available at the Recreation Centre.
During the summer, work progressed on the Pinch Road Playground with the installation of a new chain link fence. During 2017 we plan to place new sods on the field and hopefully some playground equipment will be installed. This playground is a partnership between the town and St. Peter’s School so that our students will have a playground facility in close proximity to the school.
- MUNICIPAL BUILDING RENOVATION
Recently our municipal building was renovated with the installation of new exterior doors, windows and siding. The cost of these renovations was $52,920 which was covered through The Gas Tax Account.
This past year several major paving projects took place within the town. A total of $323,131 cost-shared between the province and town was spent on the paving of Noel’s Road, Newtown Road and Oil Road. This infusion of new money under the Provincial Capital Works Program resulted in significant improvements to these thoroughfares not only for motorists but also for pedestrians. Since the last paving of these roads took place in 1977, it was obviously time for a fresh layer of asphalt. Council is delighted to have successfully lobbied the provincial government for this capital works funding.
- JONES LANE WATERLINE REPLACEMENT
During the past several years the copper waterline in Jones Lane became corroded resulting in a significant number of leaks and corresponding dig-ups by our municipal workers. This past summer council made the decision to replace the deteriorated copper line with a new pex pipe waterline and then repaved the lane. It is our hope that this new infrastructure will last for many years.
In 2004 paleontologists from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario removed a number of 570 million year old fossil specimens from Griffin’s Dock on the Green Road. Once studied, the fossils were then transferred to The Rooms in St. John’s. Unfortunately, there was very little gain for the Town of Upper Island Cove.
After lobbying the provincial government for the past 4 years, council was successful in convincing officials at the Department of Culture, Recreation and Youth to cover the cost of transferring the fossil specimens to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto where exact replicas were made. These fossil replicas are now on public display in the lobby of the Recreation Centre. I would encourage our residents, students and tourists to take the opportunity to view these marvelous displays of our cultural history whenever you are in the vicinity of the Recreation Centre.
PRIORITIES FOR 2017
In looking ahead to 2017 and planning for our Capital Works Program for the town, one of the main priorities will be to lobby the provincial government for funding to purchase a new fire rescue van to serve the residents of not only Upper Island Cove but also the towns of Bryant’s Cove and Bishop’s Cove. Our fire department provides a vital service to our residents in responding to fire and medical emergencies. Due to the aging of our population, approximately 75% of all calls to the fire department are of a medical nature. Our current fire rescue van unfortunately is now over 20 years old and is in dire need of replacement. The cost to purchase a new rescue van is in the area of $250,000.
A couple of weeks ago I made contact with the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Honourable Eddie Joyce, and the Fire Commissioner, Mr. Derek Simmons, to impress upon them the urgent need for a new vehicle. The positive vibes that I received from Minister Joyce lead me to believe that some type of cost-sharing arrangement will be negotiated in 2017 to enable us to purchase a new fire rescue van.
With the support of council, fire department and M.H.A. Pam Parsons, I remain committed to lobbying the provincial government for the necessary funds to acquire this new vehicle.
- GREEN ROAD/SPOON COVE ROAD AND PINCH ROAD PAVING
The upgrading and paving the remainder of Green Road/Spoon Cove Road and Pinch Road will be a priority in next year’s Capital Works Program. The estimated cost for this project is in the vicinity of $300,000.
- WATERLINE REPLACEMENT AND PAVING OF LANES
Several lanes in the town have been identified as a priority to replace corroded copper lines with pex pipe and subsequent repaving. The lanes to be included for consideration in the Provincial Capital Works Program for 2017 include: Island Lane, Adams Lane, Janes Lane and possibly Lundrigan’s Lane.
The estimated cost for this project is in the vicinity of $400,000.
- PURCHASE OF A NEW PICKUP TRUCK
The current pickup truck is almost 9 years old and needs to be replaced. As a result, council is in the process of obtaining specifications and going to tender for a new one ton truck.
- NEW CAMERA SURVEILLANCE EQUIPMENT
In today’s society council has to be fully aware of the need to install surveillance equipment so as to deter and possibly apprehend any person who attempts to break into or steal any municipal property. As a result, camera surveillance equipment will soon be installed at the town hall, fire hall, and municipal garage.
Council will continue to offer a 5% discount on property and water/sewer taxes paid in full on a monthly basis. Residents have the option to pay by cash or cheque but not by credit or debit card. Arrangements can be made with the town office for an automatic payment plan through a series of postdated cheques. This eliminates the possibility of forgetting to pay at the end of the month and thereby losing your discount.
In the event that our town experiences an extended power outage throughout the winter, our council has partnered with St. Andrew’s Club and the Royal Canadian Legion whereby those facilities may be used for “warming centres” for residents who do not have a backup heating system in their homes.
Council has installed Generlink Systems powered by generators in those buildings so that electrical power can be provided in the event that the main power grid has failed.
St. Andrew’s Club has been identified as the main warming centre which will remain open for any resident to seek warmth during a power failure. If St. Andrew’s club becomes unavailable due to downed wires or if we need another facility to accommodate an overflow, then the Royal Canadian Legion will be activated.
The volunteer fire department will play a lead role in coordinating activities associated with the warming centres.
PARKS & RECREATION ASSOCIATION
The Upper Island Cove Parks & Recreation Association under the leadership of chairperson Robert Clarke was again a vibrant force in the town this year. Their efforts resulted in a multitude of programs which benefitted our youth, adults, and seniors in many ways. The opportunity for our young people to participate in funfilled activities, baseball tournaments, and NL Summer Games is a testament to the dedication of these volunteers.
The hosting of so many events at the Recreation Centre and Ballfield (bingo games, sports activities, physical workouts, seniors’ socials, Jingle Bell festival, Canada Day Parade, birthday parties, and special events) gives a tremendous boost to the sense of community pride enjoyed by our residents.
My heartfelt congratulations go out to all those volunteers who contribute so much of their time and talent for the betterment of the town.
Our volunteer fire department under the leadership of Fire Chief Harvey Mercer has once again performed outstanding service to the residents of the towns of Upper Island Cove, Bryant’s Cove and Bishop’s Cove. Very often we take for granted the dedication and commitment of these volunteers who respond at all hours of the day and night to fire and medical emergencies. Without the protection offered by these individuals, our quality of life would be diminished considerably.
I would like to offer my appreciation to our fire department for the valuable role it provides to our town not only responding to emergencies but also being active in community events. Their presence at town parades, organizational functions, and events requiring parking facilitation is truly reflective of the leadership they provide to our residents.
I wholeheartedly extend my appreciation to these dedicated volunteers for their valuable service to our town.
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT OFFICER/RECREATION DIRECTOR
I wish to commend our Community Development Officer/Recreation Director- Mr. Ryan Adams – for his tremendous work in coordinating special projects pertaining to economic development and recreation programs in the town. Ryan was hired on June 20, 2016 in partnership with the Department of Advanced Education and skills on a Jobs NL Program whereby a 50/50 wage subsidy was cost shared with the town. Due to his strong work ethic and success in advancing initiatives for the town, Ryan’s contract has been extended for a further 52 weeks.
DIAMOND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY CERTIFICATES
During 2016 the Town was pleased to present 60th wedding anniversary certificates to the following couples:
- Leslie and Phoebe Adams - December 22, 2016
*Gerald and Sylvia Mercer- June 14, 2016
* Although Mr. Mercer has since passed on, council was absolutely delighted to recognize this important milestone in the lives of this couple and their family.
- Josh Adams, Josh Hussey and Adam Jewer for their heroic action in alerting the fire department and medical response personnel for Mr. Calvin Peddle who was seriously injured in an ATV accident on Drover’s Road on January 5, 2016
- Dorothy Mercer on receiving a plague for her 40 years of municipal service to the Town of Upper Island Cove at the annual Professional Municipal Administrators Convention in St. John’s on April 22, 2016.
- Noelle Drover on winning the 2016 Research Inspired Student Enrichment Award of $7395 and entering a 4 week Da Vinci Engineering Enrichment Program at the University of Toronto for excellence in science, technology, engineering and math.
- Olivia Bradbury on winning the 2016 Arts and Letters Award in the junior prose category at The Rooms in St. John’s on May 7, 2016.
- Lucas Adams on being selected as one of the top 50 students in the province for a Johnson Horizon $1200 Scholarship for outstanding leadership qualities and strong academic standing in Grade 9 and subsequent admission to the Johnson Horizon Program at MUN upon graduation from high school.
- Stephanie Crane, Victoria Reardon, Hillary Reardon, Madison Coombs and Jenna Lee Ralph on representing the province at the Baseball Canada National Under 16 Championship in Vaughan, Ontario in August 2016.
- Josh Mercer, Mitchell Hunt, Lucas Adams, Lucas Bishop, Nicholas Donovan and assistant coach Scott Adams of the Avalon Baseball Team on winning the gold medal at the NL Summer Games in Conception Bay South in August 2016.
- Abby Trask on being selected to the Avalon swim team at the NL Summer Games in Conception Bay South in August 2016.
- Sarah Smith, Hailey McCarthy, Madison Coombs, Hillary Reardon, Jenna Lee Ralph, Alisia Parsons, Chloe Neil and coach David Coombs of the Avalon female baseball team on winning the silver medal at the NL Summer Games in Conception Bay South in August 2016.
- Shelby Drover, Abigail Hussey, Cassie Drover, Allie Drover and Kiera Power on being selected to the Avalon female soccer team at the NL Summer Games in Conception Bay South in August 2016.
- Colby Drover on being selected to the Avalon male ball hockey team at the NL Summer Games in Conception Bay South in August 2016.
- Lucas Adams on being selected to the NL 15 U boys baseball team and representing the province at the National Baseball Championship Tournament in Summerside, P.E.I. from August 25-29, 2016.
- Noah Donovan and Johnny Smith on being selected to the NL 17 U boys baseball team and representing the province at the National Baseball Tournament in Fort McMurray, Alberta in August 2016.
- Nancy Clarke on winning the Community Pharmacist of the Year Award at The Pharmacist Association of NL Annual Gala in St. John’s on September 10, 2016.
Residents are advised that they need to exercise due caution and safety practices whenever lighting an open fire even if the fire is contained in a fire pit or an approved fire unit. Besides the obvious danger of flames spreading to an adjacent structure, it is important that you also be mindful of the health concerns of your neighbours who will be impacted by smoke coming from the open fire unto their property and into their homes. Besides causing siding discoloration on houses, open fires may contribute to health concerns that may be minor in nature for some but also potentially life threatening for others.
The Department of Environment and Conservation under The Air Pollution Control Regulations 2004 strictly forbids the burning of certain materials in a fire. Some materials which are absolutely forbidden from being burned in a fire include: tires, plastics, treated lumber, rubber, vinyl siding, drywall, paint products, railway ties, demolition waste and domestic waste.
A complete list of The Air Pollution Control Regulations can be found on the provincial government website.
There are no changes to the town’s snow clearing regulations for 2017. Roads will be plowed in a timely fashion when weather conditions improve after a storm. Our snowplow operators will not engage in any snowclearing operations if their safety is put at risk. However in the event of a medical or fire emergency, we will endeavour to provide assistance to the best of our ability.
If necessary, council workers will utilize vacant land in the town for depositing of snow. In order to facilitate snow clearing, council is requesting that vehicle owners not park their cars/trucks on the sides of roads so as to obstruct snow clearing operations. Council has requested the RCMP to ticket any vehicles which impede snowclearing efforts.
In addition, residents are reminded that snowclearing regulations prohibit the shoveling, plowing, or blowing of snow from private driveways unto public roads. This practice is a safety hazard and may cause a serious accident to drivers or pedestrians. Residents are encouraged to report any incidents of this breach of the town’s snowclearing regulations. Fines will be imposed on anyone caught engaging in this unsafe practice.
Council does not accept any responsibility for damages to fences, lawns, garbage boxes, or objects which are less than 20 feet from the center of the road where damage has occurred from the weight of snow during normal snowclearing operations.
In cases where private property has been clearly marked and does not impede the public right-of-way, then council will reimburse the homeowner if the damage occurred as a result of negligence or been hit by equipment operated by one of our workers. Homeowners should record the time and circumstances of the incident and report the damage in writing to the Town Office as soon as possible. The deadline for filing claims is May 31, 2017.
HOLIDAY SEASON OFFICE HOURS
Monday, December 26, 2016 CLOSED
Tuesday, December 27, 2016 CLOSED
Wednesday, December 28, 2016 9:00 am – 3:30 pm (closed 12:00-12:30 for lunch)
Thursday, December 29, 2016 9:00 am – 3:30 pm (closed 12:00 – 12:30 for lunch)
Friday, December 30, 2016 9:00 am – 3:30 pm (closed 12:00 – 12:30 for lunch)
Monday, January 2, 2107 CLOSED
Regular hours will start on Tuesday, January 3, 2017. Regular office hours are 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. (closed for lunch 12:00 pm – 12:30pm).
In closing, on behalf of our entire council, management, staff and our families, I would like to extend to all our residents our warmest wishes for a joyous Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.
George Adams, Mayor