Holyrood Council Wants Answers On Muskrat Falls Mitigation

Holyrood council has batted around the idea for some time as to what to do about the looming rate increases to power bills facing its residents once Muskrat Falls comes onstream. On Tuesday, council voted to send a letter to Harbour Main MHA Betty Parsons asking how the province intends to mitigate the financial burden on residents, particularly senior citizens and low income earners.

The motion was tendered by councillor Roger Moyette.

“A lot of people are starting to complain and starting to wonder how they’re going to adjust their budget based on the hikes,” said Moyette. “What I would like to see is someone from the government actually have a plan in place to help people who are on fixed incomes because right now, as far as I can see, they’ve talked about a plan, but they haven’t shown a plan yet. This motion asks Betty Parsley how the provincial government plans on helping the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador with these hikes, because some people just really can’t afford it. So, it would be nice to see the government step in and actually present a plan rather than talk about a plan.”

Mayor Gary Goobie, who earlier this fall presented council with a proposal on at least one idea the province might use to soften the blow of Muskrat Falls - by nationalizing Newfoundland Power and rolling it into Nalcor, said he supported Moyette’s motion.

Obviously this has been ongoing now for quite a while,” said Goobie of the concern in the community about electricity costs. “The latest figures I think is that the province, through rate mitigation, is going to have to come up with around $400 million a year. That’s a significant amount of money. There are many people out there who are pretty concerned. I’ve spoken to many seniors, as I’m sure many of you have, who are living on fixed incomes and a lot of them are actually scared. They’re scared of what could happen if their light bills go up. You’re talking medications and general living expenses and if their light bills are impacted in a negative way it will have an adverse impact on them, not only seniors but single mothers trying to raise children, families with mortgages. It’s going to have an impact on the province as a whole.”

Deputy Mayor Curtis Buckle, who participated in the meeting by teleconference, agreed with much of what Goobie had to say. “At the end of the day, people just can’t afford it,” Buckle said. “People are hurting and this is going to make them hurt even harder.”

Posted on November 8, 2018 .

To Your Good Health With Dr. Keith Roach

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have noticed that my 22-year-old granddaughter's eyes are bulging more than in the past. She has not had a recent thyroid test. Can you help me understand the cause of this? She is addicted to table salt, using an extreme amount with every meal. What problems will this overuse of salt cause her? Are the two conditions linked in any way? -- L.M.

ANSWER: Exophthalmos, the bulging appearance of the eye, is a classic sign of Grave's disease, an autoimmune stimulation of the thyroid gland, where antibodies binds to receptors in the thyroid, stimulating it to produce more hormone. The bulging is not a result of thyroid excess, but rather a cross-reaction of the antibody to fat cells behind the eye, causing the eye to bulge out. Treatment for excess thyroid hormone doesn't reverse this, because the antibodies are still present. Your granddaughter needs to be tested for Grave's disease.

I have seen people whose eyes just appear to bulge. They have sometimes had dozens of thyroid tests, as every doctor they see checks their levels. Other conditions that can simulate exophthalmos include obesity, Cushing's syndrome, inflammation of the eye muscles and other inflammatory diseases.

Excess salt may increase blood pressure, and may even increase stroke risk in people with normal blood pressure, but I can't think how it could be related to the appearance of her eyes.

***

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med.cornell.edu. To view and order health pamphlets, visit www.rbmamall.com.

(c) 2018 North America Synd., Inc. All Rights Reserved

Posted on November 8, 2018 .

Lots Of Hunting Pressure Concentrated On Zone 33

By Darrin McGrath | Cabin Country | The Irish Loop Post

I want to extend birthday greetings to my oldest brother Pat who turned 68 on the 21st of October.

Remember that I wrote about a bull moose Jim and I had seen out on the pole line? Well Randy Butt came across the head and hocks of a moose on the pole line and it was a bull because you could see where the antlers had been cut out. So somebody had some good luck in getting a moose. Was it the same bull we had seen? I’d guess it was.

The cottage areas of Deer Park, Brigus Junction, Middle Gull Pond, Mahers and Goose Pond, are all in moose management area (MMA) 33. In addition, the moose reduction zone (MRZ) along the TCH also overlaps this area. So there is a tremendous amount of hunting pressure on moose on the south side of the highway from Salmonier Line to Markland Road.

I recently saw some statistics that showed the hunter success rates last year in both MMA 33 and the Avalon MRZ were less than 50 percent. It seems that the moose numbers are down.

Last week I spent the afternoon moose hunting with a neighbour. He has an either sex license for the MRZ. We parked on one of the Nalcor Roads overlooking a valley with a couple of small ponds, some marshes and stands of timber. It was a beautiful scene, the blue ponds surrounded by marshes, and bathed in splashes of red, yellow and gold.

It was a cool, clear afternoon with very light winds. It reminded me of a similar evening thirty years ago when Pat and I, along with our brother-in-law John, knocked down a big bull that weighed 125 pounds a quarter.

On this recent outing, we did some calling, hoping to draw in a rutting bull. However, as dusk began to close we never saw a moose.

An aspect of moose hunting that is sometimes overlooked is the cost to the hunter. We all know how expensive gasoline is. If somebody is hunting the MRZ and doing any amount of driving the gas bill soon adds up. Even if you are hunting from an ATV, you still need gas. The longer you hunt, the more gas you need and the more expensive the moose meat becomes.

Years ago my brothers and I hunted places such as Millertown and the Upper Salmon hydro project and gas wasn’t a factor. We’d each put in ten bucks and drive a long time on it.

Today, if the hunter success rates are an indicator that the moose herd is very low in MMA 33, then before you even start hunting your chances of closing your tags is diminished. If driving a vehicle of any sort is part of your hunt, then get your gas card ready.

One way some people deal with the costs of moose hunting is to apply for a “party license” and buddy up. Other people may form a group of four hunters who share the hunting costs including gasoline and butchering. And, with four hunters in the group, some-one usually gets one license per year. In this way the group always has some moose each winter, that’s if the license is filled. But with moose numbers down there’s no guarantee of getting a moose.

Posted on November 8, 2018 .

Byrne Names Advisory Council For Mistaken Point

Members of a new advisory council to provide local input into the management of the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve have been announced.

The reserve is the only provincially-managed and funded UNESCO World Heritage Site in the province. The three other sites, at Red Bay, Lanse aux Meadows and Gros Morne, are federally-run.

Provincial Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Gerry Byrne said the Mistaken Point World Heritage Advisory Council will comprise 13 members who primarily represent the communities of Portugal Cove South, Trepassey, St. Shott’s and Biscay Bay.

Four representatives from the loal communities as well as one youth representative were appointed through a merit-based appointment process, he said. The remaining eight council members represent local development groups, municipalities and applicable federal and provincial agencies and were nominated directly by each organization.

Byrne said the advisory council will advise the provincial government on site conservation and presentation of the site to the public. “It will help ensure the lines of communication remain open between the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources and local organizations and stakeholders,” he added.

The first meeting of the new council is expected to take place this month at which time the chairperson and vice-chairperson will be elected by the members of the council. Appointments are for a term of three years. Appointees are eligible for reappointment and can continue to serve after the expiry of their term until reappointed or replaced.

The 13 members include:

• Jennifer Reddy, Town Council of Portugal Cove South

• Rita Pennell, Town Council of Trepassey

• Madonna Hewitt, Town Council of St. Shott’s

• Gertie Molloy, Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc.

• Kathi Stacey, Legendary Coasts of Eastern Newfoundland

• John Boutilier, Fisheries and Oceans Canada

• Dave Delaney, Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, Land Management Division, or designate

• John Angelopoulos, Department of Tourism or a designate.

• Catherine Ward, Portugal Cove South

• Viola Coombs, Portugal Cove South

• Margaret (Peg) Ryan, Trepassey

• Anita Molloy, St. Shott’s

• Rachel Coombs, youth representative, Portugal Cove South.

No representative was available from Biscay Bay. Three public interest positions are vacant and open to nominations from Portugal Cove South, Trepassey and Biscay Bay.

A second advisory group, the Mistaken Point Scientific Advisory Committee, established in 2017, comprises experts in Ediacaran paleontology, geology and earth sciences. This group provides technical and academic advice for the conservation and preservation of the Mistaken Point fossils. Byrne said establishment of both the advisory council and the scientific committee is a commitment under the Mistaken Point World Heritage Site Management Plan which was part of the nomination package to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

“Local input and involvement in the long-term management of the Mistaken Point Ecological Reserve is essential to sustainably manage the UNESCO World Heritage Site,” said the minister. “Establishment of the advisory council will promote effective communication among members of the local communities, the regulatory authority, and other organizations partnering to conserve the site. I congratulate the members of the new advisory council and I look forward to meeting with them and Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc. as we continue to oversee the only provincially-managed World Heritage Site in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Byrne said the provincial government is committed to working with the community development organization, Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc., to provide visitor services at Mistaken Point. Mistaken Point Cape Race Heritage Inc. owns and operates the Edge of Avalon Interpretation Centre, which is the starting point for guided tours of the site and contains exhibits featuring Mistaken Point. Total annual funding provided by the provincial government in 2018 to operate the Mistaken Point site was $600,000.

Well over 2,000 visitors toured the site this past year.

Posted on November 8, 2018 .

Senior Breakers Opt For Kennedy Up Front In ECSHL Draft

The East Coast Senior Hockey League held its first league entry draft last week for players not affiliated with teams via their minor or Junior Hockey associations. In total, seven players were selected. Those not selected become free agents and are eligible to sign with any ECSHL team.

The first pick was made by the Conception Bay Blues who selected Cody Batten, a forward from Carbonear. Former Southern Shore Breakers and CeeBee Stars goalie Doug Pippy was taken in the second pick by the Northeast Eagles. Pippy will fill the hole left from an earlier trade that saw the Eagles move their starting goaltender Mark Yetman to the Breakers.

The Breakers took forward Keenan Kennedy, who is from Barrie, Ontario and last played for the Espanola Express in the NOJHL.

The last pick round was completed by the Clarenville Caribous who made their first ever ECSHL draft choice by selecting Austin Meehan, a forward who last played for the Mercer Chiefs in 2015.

Meanwhile, in Junior Hockey action, a game played at the Southern Shore Arena Friday night saw the Breakers edged the Eagles 4-3. The Breakers goals were scored by Tyler Planetta, Seamus Sloane, Brandon Arbour and Noah Dinn.

Posted on November 8, 2018 .

Southern Shore Girls Prove Their Prowess In Provincial Softball Play

Baltimore School and Mobile Central High both claimed silver medals in their respective divisions of the provincial high school Varsity Slo-Pitch softball championships held the weekend of October 19.

Baltimore hosted the 2A Girls Division tourney, losing a squeaker in the championship to J.M. Olds Collegiate of Twillingate. Baltimore finished in first place in regular tourney plan with three wins and one tie going into the play-offs.

Baltimore pounded E.A. Butler All Grade School 19-0 in the opening game of the tournament, beat Bishop White School 14-1 and Dorset Collegiate 11-8, before running into a scoreless tie against J.M. Olds ahead of the championship game. Abby Boland won Baltimore’s Sportsmanship Award for her play in the tournament.

In the 3A championships, Mobile lost 10-4 in the final against Glovertown Academy. The tournament was hosted by Indian River Academy in Springdale and King’s Point.

The Monarchs had two wins and one loss ahead of the championship game. The loss was a 25 – 15 beating in the opener against Glovertown Academy. Mobile recovered from that with an 11-1 win against Pasadena Academy and a 16-13 win against Templeton Academy. In the crossovers, Mobile whipped Indian River High 10-0. Grace Joyce was selected as Mobile’s Most Spirited Player in the tournament, while Laura Sullivan was selected the Most Valuable Player.

Posted on November 8, 2018 .

From Pumping Gas To Collecting Millions, Kenny's Journey So Far

By Craig Westcott | Irish Loop Post

Innovate or die. That’s the message Fermuese native and technology entrepreneur Karl Kenny delivered earlier this month as the guest speaker at the Celtic CBDC’s annual general meeting held in Bay Bulls during Small Business Week.

Kenny, who got his first introduction to the important of technology to the modern world as a member of the Canadian navy, sketched a resume of his career to date, the lows as well as the highs, and offered a bit of advice for the small business operators in the room.

"Someone said to me the other day, 'Karl, we're seeing you in the news a lot, you've been a real overnight success.'” Kenny said. “I said, 'It's been a really long night baby, a really long night.'"

The member of Newfoundland and Labrador's Business Hall of Fame has had a rollercoaster career in the high technology industry, earning millions in company divestitures at some points and crashing to a receivership on the bottom end at another point. But he is still clearly hooked on the opportunities available in high tech.

Kenny said his first job was pumping gas at Jim Kenney's gas bar in Fermuese. "It was great, I was making 35 bucks a week, which worked out to about 65 cents an hour at the time,” he recalled. “Then I joined the navy and had a great career and learned a lot. I was a kid and I learned a lot about leadership and persistence and doing hard work."

Kenny said there is an important distinction between innovation and invention.

“People think they are the same, and they’re not,” said Kenny. “Invention is the creation of something, and innovation is taking that invention and making it better. I’ll put it into kind of a context here: John DeLorean lost $200 million building the DeLorean car. He invented the DeLorean. Steven Spiegel took it and did the Back to the Future series and made almost $2 billion in profit by innovating the DeLorean."

Sony is a similar example, Kenny argued. It invented, with its Walkman, the idea of walking around with a compact, mobile play list of music. "Look at what Apple has done with that?" he said. "That's what innovation is really all about."

Kenny said after leaving the navy he moved to Seattle and became a contractor to Microsoft.

"I didn't invent the mouse,” he said addressing a popular myth about him Newfoundland business circles as to how he made his first million. “The mouse was invented back in '65. I sold that company in 1990. I had some options when Microsoft went public. It put some jingle in my jeans. I was only a kid, I was not even in my 30s then, and I took three years off and travelled the world.”

In 1993, said Kenny, he began work with an electronic charting system, the kind of technology that others eventually refined into Google Maps. “I sold that company to an Italian firm in '93. Again, you think you're doing something really smart, but I didn't see the Google Maps play, so I sold way ahead of time,” said Kenny. “The big news in my life so far has been Telepix. I started Telepix in '96... I sold that for $100 million. People say, 'A hundred million dollars!' It didn't all stick to Karl's fingers, I had lot of investors and shareholders and bankers... But again, a little bit of jingle goes into the jeans. But I should have waited, because a couple of years after that along came Instagram and facebook and Snapchat and youtube with enterprise values in the billions. Missed it again!”

Kenny co-founded Marport in 2003, a marine technology company in St. John’s. It had actually started in Iceland some years before. His main partner was St. John’s businessman Derrick Rowe, who had famously, at least in local business circles, been part of a group that ousted Vic Young and the board of directors of FPI Limited in a hostile takeover. The pair bought and reconstituted Marport as a St. John’s company. It garnered many headlines for technological successes, but like many high tech start-ups, struggled financially. It eventually went into receivership with ACOA chasing it at one point for $2.3 million in unpaid loans. Some of its high tech sonar products, as did Kenny, survived.

“That was really, really cool stuff,” Kenny said of the products Marport developed, some of them in use in his current company, Kraken Robotics. “We got a lot of patents, international awards,” he said. “We brought in a private equity group out of Boston that I made a really bad deal with. It was a big mistake, lost a lot of money, the jingle in my jeans and the other things sort of went down the pipe. And that was bad. But I exited with some really cool technology, synthetic aperture sonar technology and a handful of really, really smart boys and girls in terms of engineers and scientists.”

That’s when Kenny started Kraken, with six employees in 2012, operating out of the same building where Marport had been located.

"We're now 60 people, (with) international operations,” said Kenny. “We started off doing sensors, this thing called synthetic aperture sonar. It does really high-resolution imaging on the seabed, it lets us find very small objects at very long ranges. It was designed primarily, initially for military applications, but now it's getting a lot of attention in the oil and gas sector and we just finished some major projects there offshore. These things sell for around $350,000 to $400,000 a pop. So they're not flying off the shelves like hamburgers or stuff that, but there is a market for them."

Kenny said at first Kraken sold the sensors to other companies for use in their robots. "But then we said, let's move up the food chain, let's start building our own robots and adding value to our own building and material costs."

Along the way, Kenny said, Kraken Robotics has leveraged significant investment with the company going public three years ago on the TSX. "We're exporting to 10 countries we have 60 people, (including) 10 PhDs, and as a small company we're pursuing about $250 million worth of business internationally right now,” said Kenny. “So we are not hunting elephants. The technology has been validated. But this is not about the boat, this is about the sailors, it's about the team that allows us to get where we are today. This is not the Karl Kenny show, this is the Kraken show."

A while ago, Kenny said, the people at Kraken sat back and looked for ways to increase its profit margins on sales, someone it was able to do.

"Our average selling price now ranges from $50,000 to over $3 million (U.S.) a pop,” he said. “This is a very broad portfolio… So we got good margins out of this which allows us to invest continually into our R&D. And that's one of our strategies, relentless innovation to be able to drive these products to these types of customers - Lockheed Martin, Boeing, the US Navy, Atlas Electronic in Germany, Ocean Infinity. These guys aren't fools, so the level of due diligence that's done in our company in terms of commercial, technical and intellectual property is pretty intense."

This fall, Kraken technology is been used by Ocean Infinity in a project offshore Newfoundland. Ocean Infinity is also an investor in Kraken, Kenny noted. The international marine surveying company is running sea trials on two underwater robots offshore Newfoundland on a ship that is using Bay Bulls as its local port. The underwater visualization gear is Kraken technology.

"This is the way of the future," said Kenny. "We're going to be taking people out of harm's way and putting robots down deep. We're operating at depths of up to 6,000 metres, the full ocean depth, to get down deep and find everything from underwater mines to pipelines to cables to treasure."

Kraken recently won awards for technology that is being used in offshore wind farms, Kenny noted.

"You've got to know where the money is, you've got to go to where the money is," said Kenny. "I see a lot of small companies blow their brains out by chasing opportunities they can't ever realize, they run out of cash and then they die… We firmly believe that robots are changing everything, everything from manufacturing to production to medical, we've all heard about the Google self-driving cars, we're going to see the same thing in our world. The dull, dirty and dangerous jobs that humans are doing today, machines should be doing... And the market is growing significantly. It's a huge, huge opportunity for us."

Kenny’s speech drew rapt attention from audience members, a good many of whom pressed him with questions and requests for advice.

"So what have I learned so far? I've learned a lot,” Kenny said. “I've learned you win, I've learned you lose, and I've learned you make money and I've learned you lose money. And as I said earlier, it's not about your boat, it's about your team, it's the sailors round that that, that's what's going to get you there. And the most important things in life aren't things. I used to think it was. But after you buy a couple of fancy cars and you get all that stuff, there are more important things. Money to me just gave me financial independence, it just gave me a little jingle in the jeans (so) that I didn't have to do crap that I didn't want to do... Don't be miserable. How many people do I see who are miserable in their job and they're not happy. Do more of what makes you happy, whatever that is. When Dad was alive, we used to go rabbit hunting up in Fermuese. And I'd say, 'Dad, there's a rabbit, there's a rabbit, there's a rabbit, let's go chase the rabbit.' And he said, 'No, no, no. We're going to get one rabbit, because if you chase a whole bunch of rabbits, you're going to go home hungry.' So the lesson there is stay focused on what you do. And it's hard sometimes, particularly in small technology companies... Stay focused on what you do. Also know where you're going. And if you don't have the courage to cannibalize yourself, if you don't have the courage to continue to innovate, the competition will and you will be out of business."

Posted on November 8, 2018 .

Bay Bulls Council Celebrates Its Municipal Founding Fathers

By Craig Westcott | Irish Loop Post

Their portrait sits on the wall of the council chamber inside the town hall, their smiling faces looking down on the current crop of citizens who have volunteered to serve on Bay Bulls council. Earlier this month, the current group honoured the founding fathers of the town’s municipal council by holding a special ceremony to thank them for their contribution.

Three members of the town’s first council, elected when the Town was incorporated in 1986, have since passed on. Their family members joined the four founding councillors who are still alive to accept plaques of recognition from Mayor Harold Mullowney, who offered a heartfelt thanks to the current council’s first predecessors.

Mullowney thanked Town staff Sandra Cahill and Askley Wakeham for making the event possible. "This was put together largely by Ashley and Sandra, who went back through the records and gathered tremendous information," said Mullowney.

The mayor said he was glad so many showed up to recognize the town's first councillors.

"We all owe a debt of gratitude to those who've gone before us," said Mullowney. "In many ways, they’ve set the standard for the Town of Bay Bulls. They were a tremendous group of volunteers. They gave their successors a base from which to grow, and we’ve certainly worked at that and tried to grow the town over the years. I still remember when I first came on council over three decades ago and we had a budget of less than $100,000. It’s 15 times that now, so we’re growing continuously, and we’ll continue to grow in this area. In many cases, those who went before were an inspiration to us. They were mentors to us, and they’re still there to help us when we need it, on occasion, and for that we’re very grateful. Their dedication and commitment is not to be forgotten and will be acknowledged here today, and they will be remembered for this. Again, our most heartfelt thanks. "

Mullowney then read a poem about volunteers and the dedication and selflessness they show for others.

"We are still completely a town run by volunteers, and this is a volunteer position," the mayor noted. "There are a lot of towns in this province that are not completely volunteer. I remember at a joint council meeting in Ferryland a few nights ago, we asked how many towns were paying any stipend. I don’t think there was a single town on the Southern Shore taking a stipend; they all are completely volunteers. So, it’s great that we can still find some individuals to step up and take that on."

After the reading, Mayor Mullowney handed out plaques to each of the first councillors, or their loved ones. Betty Mulcahy, wife of the town's first mayor, the late Alphonsus, or Phonse Mulcahy, accepted the plaque. She also cut a ceremonial cake in honour of the occasion. Jill Hearn, daughter of the late Ambrose Hearn, who was a first councillor and the town's second mayor, accepted on behalf of her family. Gordon Williams Jr. accepted the plaque on behalf of his late father, Gordon Williams Sr. First councillors Dave Walsh, Kenny Williams, Irene Ploughman and Bud O'Brien were all on hand to accept their plaques personally.

Ploughman well remembers those years on the town's first council.

"I guess I was in my active days," said Ploughman. "I was with the (fisheries) union, fighting for union workers’ rights, and I thought I’d give it a try and I got elected. Surprise, surprise!"

Ploughman can't remember how many people ran for election that first year, but recalls it was a fair number. She was the only woman to win a seat.

"I was the first woman and they were all mostly businessmen except for Kenny and Phonse, or Mr. Hearn," said Ploughman. "But you were up playing with the big boys. It was alright, you know. We got some things done."

Ploughman said the men treated her fine and were respectful towards her.

Like many town councils, the new one in Bay Bulls had to consider whether water and sewer services were feasible.

"Water and sewer was discussed, but it was way out of reach for our first council," said Ploughman. "We were worried about not trying to overtax the people of our community. We had to be trained and broken in. It was different.”

Walsh, who ran the local Foodland supermarket, one of the busiest at the time in the Sobey's chain, was the only person elected who had some municipal experience. He had worked as the chief assessor with Metroboard. In fact, it was the looming expansion of Metroboard into Bay Bulls that motivated the local business community and citizens to establish a council.

"Well, I knew what was coming, so I figured we could do a better job on our own, and I think we did," Walsh said. "A lot of red tape was overcome. We just used common sense, but it’s not that common anymore... So we got together and we thought we’d like to have a little input into our own destiny. And I must say, they were a great crowd of volunteers, and not only those of us who served on council, but also the people in the community. They were all behind it."

Walsh served six years on council, four of them as Deputy Mayor. He remembers the first election drew a large turnout of interested candidates.

"Phonse was the man," said Walsh. "He came first."

Walsh placed a very close second.

"But none of that matters, you know," said Walsh. "We just took it that way: whoever had the highest vote was the mayor, and that’s the way we did it. Gordon Williams and Ambrose Hearn, and Phonse Mulcahy, they were great fellows to work with, but now they’re all gone."

Fortunately for the town, that first council, with as diverse a cast of characters as has ever served, were all smart individuals and all dedicated to looking out for the community's best interests.

"It was energy plus," Walsh allowed. "I figure the first town council was like the Energizer bunny. It was just go, go, go. But we balanced our budgets, moved forward one step at a time, got familiar with everything, went to some meetings, learned a little bit about what it’s about. It was a great learning experience."

Walsh looks back on those years fondly, and not only because of the council experience. He and his family loved living in Bay Bulls, he said. "On a personal level, the happiest days of our lives were up here, working alongside of each other and serving the people of Bay Bulls and the Southern Shore," said Walsh. "It left a big impact, a big footprint on our lives. To speak on behalf of the remaining four (councillors), it was certainly an honour and a privilege for us to serve."

O'Brien too has many memories of the first council. At the time he was owner of the town's fish plant and the biggest employer in the area. He played a key role in convincing the provincial government to let Bay Bulls form its own administration instead of falling under the auspices of Metroboard.

O'Brien said Metroboard had a been a headache for a while, sometimes interfering whenever somebody in the community wanted to build or develop anything.

He remembers talking about Metroboard with local businesswoman Rosemary Gatherall and the pair decided to call a meeting of 10 or 12 people in the town who might be like-minded, such as Terry Crane and Gordon Williams.

O'Brien arranged a lunch meeting with the deputy mayor of Municipal Affairs and put the questions to him as to how the people of Bay Bulls could go about getting their own council. "He said if you've been able to totally exist without it (a council) you're better off, but if you can't exist without it, you're going to be forced into something like this Metroboard," said O'Brien. "He said, 'Perhaps you are better off with your (own) council.'"

The deputy minister had further advice, O'Brien recalled - not to overburden the town's tax base by spending too much on heavy equipment.

"I said, ‘The Bay Bulls crowd will not be fond of paying taxes,'" said O'Brien. "'We've got to make sure we keep those taxes very low. And I've got a vested interest in that. I don't want to pay high taxes either. I own a business and I'll be the one who is grabbed (for extra taxes).' So we went home and we called together those 10 or 12 people and we said, 'Now boys, let's put together a committee to put this other crowd (Metroboard) out and to put in a council.' And we did. And we had lots of people who ran, and boy, we had a good council. It was a lot of fun."

O'Brien said the new council set the mil rate at 1.5 mils, the lowest on the island. "So that didn't hurt anybody," said O'Brien. "And we said it's impossible to have water and sewer. Bay Bulls is huge, it's long. If you went from the Quays on the southside right down to Gunridge on the North side, you're talking about four or five kilometres… The other thing was street lighting. We figured we were going to need 30 street lights. I said, 'Why don't we put one on every second pole?' They thought that over... and so we did that. And we worked it like that."

Despite the collection of strong personalities, O'Brien said there were no big rackets. The first council was greatly aided, he said, by the personality of Phonse Mulcahy, who was a retired government worker with a huge interest in his community. "Phonse did a lot of work," said O'Brien. "He'd get out of his bed every morning and he'd go right around the harbour and he'd notice things."

O'Brien said the first council also understood the importance of helping businesses and not hurting them.

"It was an interesting council," said O'Brien. "Now sometimes they have trouble getting quorum. We never did, they were all interested and they all put in their two cents worth."

Posted on November 8, 2018 .