Offer More Grants to Towns – Less Grants to Big Business

The Northern Pen newspaper reports, “$4 Million Earmarked for Northern Peninsula” in today’s edition.

 In recent weeks the Government has made several spending announcements across the province in the weeks leading up to the upcoming Fall election.  

Timing is certainly everything….and Rural Newfoundland & Labrador is overdue payment. The $4 Million is certainly appreciated as it helps Town address some local concerns. However, the dollar value announced for the Great Northern Peninsula does not go far enough – further investments are needed.

Many Towns and communities on the Great Northern Peninsula are challenged with smaller populations and fewer businesses, resulting in a smaller tax base to draw upon revenues. This makes it even more challenging for small rural municipalities to provide basic services, such as chlorinated water and snow clearing, as well as being able to maintain eroding infrastructure.  Even coming up with a 10% share can be a constant battle.  A one-time increase to municipal operating grants needs a review, especially for small rural Towns.  

I’ve driven through many Towns on the Great Northern Peninsula and it is evident their roads are not of comparable standards to those of Local Service Districts and other unincorporated communities. Organized Towns  have property taxpayers; they should not see a reduction of services and have to drive over less superior roads.

It is fortunate through an Amalgamation MOU between the Town of Roddickton and the Town of Bide-Arm that they would see road improvements. On June 19, 2011 I was one of first to drive through Bide-Arm  passing by James Randell & Sons and not feel the washboard effect from the potholes. I slowly crawled over freshly laid pavement. This pavement is long overdue, a sign of progress. It may lead to new business developments, enhanced visitation to current businesses/attractions and increased housing starts.

Small  to medium-sized businesses are the drivers in the rural economies. We should give further consideration to providing them with more incentives to set-up in Towns of rural regions, adding to the local economy and creating jobs. Our tax dollars should be strategically invested and not just handed to large consortiums, oil giants and other large-scale companies. Small Towns need additional operating grants.

The Great Northern Peninsula will see further progress by working together. We may have a small population, but we are big on ideas with a tonne of heart. If we work together we will be heard, make good decisions and prosper as a region.

Christopher Mitchelmore, NDP Candidate for the Straits- White Bay North would like to meet with Municipalities, Local Service Disctricts, Local Commitees, Non-Profits, Local Business and Residents. We as the NDP are here to listen and work with the people of the district to find answers to your issues and concerns.

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore


  1. Couldn’t agree more. I’m from the Burin Peninsula and numerous of small towns makes up the Burin Peninsula. I think it’s safe to say, every town here has about 30% good roads and 70% bumpy and torn up roads. My community specifically are getting a road fixed but then theres 5 more that needs to be fixed badly. There are alot worse than my community too. Conservatives needs to re-evaluate how to spend money. They just worry about the Economy, not about safety and basic upgrades (like roads). That’s why we need the NDP to be representing our province!

  2. There must be upgrades to road infrastructure with emphasis placed on preserving the asphalt highways. I have seen locals protect their investment by sealing their driveways.

    Why don’t highway crews regulary seal roads and highways rather than go through the hassle and expense of top coating them every few years?

    Wouldn’t preventive maintenance make more sense? Afterall, you can only topcoat so much before you are faced with bumpy and torn up roads needing a new layer. From my experience the roads continue to remain in very poor conditions because the operating dollars are not there for many rural municipalities.

  3. Very true once again. Even highways are in very poor condition, so many ruts and bumps. This poses a safety concern too. Local person here had terrible accident from water filled rut and hydroplaned. Once again, safety is a concern and needs to be addressed. The Conservatives just doesn`t listen to the people.

  4. Why is rural Newfoundland and Labrador overdue for payment? Over 50% of provincial revenue comes from the St. John’s metro, the metro accounts for roughly 37% of the provincial population and nearly 50% of the workforce. Roads in the metro area are also bad. The City of St. John’s paves their own roads, maybe rural municipalities could look into doing that as well.

    Government already spends enough money in rural NL and should start paying more attention to the St. John’s area as well as hub communities like Clarenville, Gander, Grand Falls, Corner Brook, Happy Valley, Lab City and probably a few others.

    It takes more than the government to build economies and spur population growth, it takes private companies and the will of residents. You cannot expect government to pay 10’s of million of dollars on roads that service communities of a few hundred people when there’s little in the way of an economy in that area.

    1. Thank you for your response Jordon. I would like to know how you calculated he figure of over 50% of provincial revenue coming from St. John’s metro area? Is this accounting for the oil & gas revenues that are in the offshore? I would also like to know how much the metro region accounts for in spending – especially in the field of public administration.

      St. John’s metro area is a service and education centre. It does not have the natural resources that the rural economies have had, which enabled St. Johns to have this service centre status. As the centre of Government, it has grown robustly. More Government jobs and Departments should be spread across the province to service the 63% of the people that roughly do not live in the metro region.

      Parts of the Trans-Labrador Highway still require paving. The highway was only opened in November 2009 – 50 years after joining Confederation, this is not acceptable. Labrador has contributed significantly to the Provincial Economy, as well as rural Newfoundland.

      It appears there are poor road conditions on not only the Northern Peninsula, Burin Peninsula, but also the Southern Shore as per news article

      You say “the Government already spends enough money in rural NL”, which I completely disagree. You make the comment as if we should all live in cities. The cities and larger Towns are benefiting from urbanization. The current economic conditions are making these centers more attractive. There is more and more money going into the larger towns and a larger tax base. The Governments are investing in the regions of Gander, Grand-Falls, Corner Brook, Stephenville, Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Labrador City. There have been new hospitals, long-term care homes, colleges, government service centers and other significant investments made to help them prosper. These are all good things for these areas. I want these larger centers to benefit.

      We can not ignore the problems that exist in Rural NL. The local residents of rural areas are quite willing to work to further develop their economies and strengthen rural regions. The Government will not solve the problems, however, they must work with the people and help be enablers to work with us on our solutions to our rural challenges.

      The Rural Economies need far more than a few million dollars to pave roads. They need advanced telecommunication and transportation networks. There is a need for improved cellular service and broadband Internet coverage, as well as shipping mediums to aid with creating a knowledge-based economy and cottage industries. There will always be large cities and rural economies. A better working relationship between both sides will result in more positive outcomes where each can benefit.

      A better distribution of our tax dollars can help grow both the rural and urban economies.

      Live Rural NL –
      Christopher C. Mitchelmore

  5. I am in the St.John’s Metro area quite abit. The roads in St.John’s are golden compared to the roads we drive on here (Burin Peninsula). When you drive here , you have to swerve side to side to find the best road and try not lose the bottom of your car. Inside some communities on the Burin Peninsula there are more dirt roads than paved roads, I thought that was a thing of the past but apparently now.

    Jordan, come out to the Burin Peninsula for a day, then you’ll see first hand. You should be happy with what you got in St.John’s. It’s a great place with lots of services, jobs and entertainment.

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