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Mitchelmore calls on Government to overturn decision to decline local development organization funding.

Christopher Mitchelmore, NDP candidate for the Straits – White Bay North calls on Government to overturn a decision to decline local development organization funding.

White Bay Central Development Association made an application for funding under the Job Creation Partnerships (JCP) Program to hire 12 workers to provide access to a facility, which is a Town asset, operated as Main Brook Research and Development under the local development organization. There are safety concerns with access to the facility that will close operations if not addressed. Therefore, a proposal written to improve access to the community asset and provide necessary skills training to unemployed, would have meaningful long-term economic impacts for the Town of Main Brook and surrounding region.

The proposal had the support of partners and a significant financial commitment from the Department of Innovation, Trade & Rural Development, Tenant, Town and Department of Fisheries and Oceans in excess of $100,000. Yet, was informed the proposal had been denied funding.

“I am calling on Government to re-assess the application” states Mitchelmore.

The facility is leased and the current tenant provides more than 44 full-time seasonal positions to residents of the Town and people from neighbouring communities and regions. A number of small boat fishers depend on this tenant to purchase their raw material for secondary or value-added processing. As well, there are a number of spin-off jobs and benefits to local businesses from the tenant leasing this asset and being a good employer.

“The loss of this employer would be catastrophic to employment for the Town and the region. I would like to know the reasoning behind the decline of this application by the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, as the decision has major implications, and does not address the need to provide work experience to those currently unemployed in the region?”

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Christopher Mitchelmore
NDP Candidate
The Straits-White Bay North
T. 709-456-2094 C. 709-660-0775
E. christophermitchelmore@nl.ndp

Mitchelmore calls on Government to take immediate action on the removal of condemned Englee Fish Plant

Christopher Mitchelmore, NDP candidate for the Straits – White Bay North calls on Government to take immediate action to help the Town of Englee by removing the old fish plant, which has now become a matter of public safety.

“Large parts of debris have fallen from the fish plant and into the major shipping lane. This poses a significant safety concern to fishers, recreational boaters and the public-at-large” states Mitchelmore, “The plant was condemned more than 7 years ago. It is only a matter of time before more debris falls into the harbour. The Provincial Government should take a larger role in this process to ensure public safety.”

Debris from Eroding Fish Plant - Contributed Photo by Town of Englee

 

For the past seven years, the Town has been trying to find solutions for the idle plant. It has been pressing the issue with the Provincial Government and other stakeholders. The Town has a commitment from the Federal Government, under Small Crafts Harbours Program to develop a new wharf. This could lead to additional harbour front developments and economic spin-offs, such as a fish market, waterfront shops and seating as the Town transitions to a budding tourism market in the region.

The Town of Englee has been without a major employer since May 2004, when safety inspectors forced the closure of a dilapidated plant. In December 2005, the province determined a crab processing license for the Canada Bay region would be located in Englee. The Newfoundland and Labrador government approved an application from NFL Fishery in 2006 to open a processing plant. However, the new processing plant or license did not materialize for the Town as Government allocated these licenses elsewhere.  In a Government News Release from July 2009, it was evident that the fish plant was designated as permanently closed as supports were offered to respond to community and individual assistance under the Integrated Transition Strategy for Displaced Plant Workers.

“Englee will continue to face economic hardships and safety concerns with the presence of the vacated fish plant. The Provincial Government should take responsibility and have the property removed from site to help the Town become more sustainable, enabling developments that have been delayed for five years. ”

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Christopher Mitchelmore
NDP Candidate
The Straits-White Bay North
T. 709-456-2094 C. 709-660-0775
E. christophermitchelmore@nl.ndp.ca
Twitter/LiveRuralNL

 

Volunteer Opportunities with the NDP District Association for The Straits -White Bay North

Want to volunteer for the Straits – White Bay North NDP District Association? An Annual General Meeting will be called soon and we will need to fill several Executive positions and Directors. We’d appreciate your support.

Additionally, you can join the campaign team. We will needed canvassers, telephone callers, sign distributors and anyone interested in lending their expertise and providing their time.

If you’d like to help please contact:

Christopher Mitchelmore
NDP Candidate for The Straits- White Bay North
Email: christophermitchelmore@nl.ndp.​ca
Tel: 709-660-0775
Web: www.liveruralnl.com
 

Escalating Gas Prices Continue to Leave Local Consumers Poorer, especially in Rural Regions

The Newfoundland & Labrador Board of Commissioners of Public Utilities, released the maximum Petroleum Prices on April 14, 2011. For my region, self-service gasoline reached $1.40 per litre and full-service gasoline is $1.43 per litre.

http://n225h099.pub.nf.ca/orders/ppo/fuel/Fuel_110414.pdf

Rural Newfoundland & Labrador has few options when it comes to the usage of gasoline, as there a limited public transportation options.

The fishing industry  is the mainstay of the rural economy on the Great Northern Peninsula. 2011 started with a positive outlook, which included significant increases to the price of crab and shrimp. However, the Federal Government announced a significant reduction to the shrimp quota.  This is an unacceptable cut that will add stress to our local rural economy. Additionally, a number of fisherpeople will continue to feel the pinch, despite rising prices for raw material product, they are also seeing significant increases for fuel. This pinch is also felt by those in working in forestry, tourism and basically all other industries. Just announced this week, Aeroplan was increasing the number of reward points required to fly certain distances. The article noted that increases in the price of fuel was a factor in their decision-making.

Local workers and commuters pay more to get to work, which will affect take home pay. Escalating gasoline prices will increase inflation, and we will in turn see higher prices on virtually all products. More has to be done to provide relief to consumers. Earlier this week, CBC News reported, “Power price hike expected”. There is currently an application put forth to the Public Utilities Board to approve a rate increase of 7% that will be passed directly on to the consumer ( http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/story/2011/04/15/hydro-power-hike-pub-415.html). We already had an increase in electricity rates and there is no end in sight, especially with a major capital cost of developing the Lower Churchill. I would only guess that electricity rates will continue to rise to assist with that development on a frequent basis. These gradual increases will be a burden to rural regions and continue to hinder our growth and development. The Energy Corporation of the Province should continue to develop smaller local projects to displace the reliance on oil, this may include harnessing wind energy, tidal energy and bio-energy, as they pursue Muskrat Falls. We appear to have lost momentum on diversifying our ability to become a renewable energy powerhouse and have opted to place all of our eggs in one hydro-electric basket.

 We continue to rely heavily on oil and pay a significant amount in taxes for a Nation and a Province that has an abundance in supply. Why are we not meeting our local needs first and selling the  excess in the global marketplace? I took the photo to the left, while at a gas station in Northern Ireland in November 2010. The price of fuel was 1.198 Great British pounds (~$1.93 per litre). This is quite high; however, like many other European countries they are not an oil-producing nation. When I visited Egypt (an oil rich nation) in 2007, my driver filled up the car at a rate of 0.75 piaster/lt, which at the time was approximately 16 cents per litre Canadian. Where is the balance?

The Provincial NDP Leader, Lorraine Michael held a recent news conference demanding the removal of the Harmonized Sales Tax on Home Heating. I agree with her stand, as it seems unfair to have to pay a tax on an essential such as warmth for your home. Live Rural Newfoundland & Labrador will be signing the petition and if you support this cause, sign the NDP Petition to Remove the HST from Home Heat by clicking here.

We are simply paying too much for gasoline and home heating fuels. As consumer’s we must reduce our reliance on these fuels and opt for alternative energy sources. Many ruralites burn wood to heat their homes and offset their energy costs. Others will begin to convert to wood pellets. Many users of oil will have no choice but to convert to other energy options, as the price is $1.10 per litre locally. When it comes to driving our vehicles in rural areas we will have to find solutions to getting to destinations, whether it is carpooling, ride sharing, telecommuting, downsizing vehicles or trying to establish more public transit options. Through this period of change and transition, we must continue to lobby government to reinvest in local community projects to enhance and diversify the local economies of the Great Northern Peninsula, as well as all regions of Rural Newfoundland & Labrador. During a period of government prosperity, greater attention in needed to spur development in economically depressed regions. Ignoring the issue will only result in greater hardships in the future.

Together there are solutions to provide a brighter future for our rural economy.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher C. Mitchelmore

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