Street Paving Program Moves to Westside

FullSizeRender-7The city’s $3.7 million street paving program for 2016 is in full swing. Contractors have completed their work in the Curling area of the city and have now moved to the Westside of the city.

The city’s paving contractor, Marine Contractors, has already milled much of Lundrigan Drive in the Lundrigan Drive Business Park in preparation for paving.

IMG_2877As well, upper Sunnyslope Drive has been milled with a section of the sub-grade materials having had to be replaced prior to paving. This road is still closed to through traffic.

Dyke’s Road off O’connell Drive has been milled as well as Oake’s Rd., upper Country Rd., and sections of Green Garden Rd and Hendon Drive.

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Our Contractor paved Country Road today and has moved on to pave Green Garden Road this afternoon.

There is still a significant amount of work to do. We ask motorists to use caution in these areas or to avoid if possible.

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Daily updates are issued by the city on our website and through our social media to alert the public as Marine Contractors moves from one street to another.

 

Bartlett’s Point Redevelopment Nearing Completion

IMG_2349After years of planning and much work, the transformation of Bartlett’s Point into a new City Park is nearing completion.

The land was purchased by the City in 1998 however it was not until 2009 during my first term as Mayor that the City undertook to invest $100 000 in the development of a municipal park on the site. We were also successful in working with ACOA to invest an additional $160 000 into the project later that same year.

The Corner Brook Stream Development Corporation was engaged to carry out the design and ground work at the 6.7 acre site, and a significant amount of work was carried out, however by 2012, work had stalled as funding had run out.

IMG_2352Given the importance of this project to the City, we have continued to seek out funding for this project and earlier this year we were very pleased to join our MP Gudie Hutchings in announcing that the Federal Government, through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, has agreed to invest close to $94,000 for improvements to Bartlett’s Point Park. The City of Corner Brook is also investing another almost $100, 000 this year to support completion of Bartlett’s Point Park.

IMG_2369The project includes upgrades to the entrance, parking area and site lighting, installation of playground equipment, improvement to beach access, installation of a rock wall and pavers, and improvements to signage. This project will help complete the construction necessary to open the park to the public in this fall.

 

Mayor Pender appointed to FCM Standing Committees

FB_Federation_of_Canadian_MunicipalitiesAs Mayor of the City of Corner Brook, and a member of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Board of Directors I was recently appointed to serve on several standing committees of the FCM Board.

FCM’s Board of Directors comprises elected municipal officials and affiliate members from all regions and various-sized communities throughout Canada. It forms a broad base of support and carries the municipal message to the Government of Canada.

The Board of Directors sets policy priorities that reflect the concerns of municipal governments and affiliate members. It meets quarterly to develop policy positions on key national municipal issues.

During the quarterly meetings, the various standing committees meet to discuss and develop policy positions on these key issues. These recommendations are then forwarded to the Board of Directors who discuss and adopt the recommendations.

All positions on FCM’s Board of Directors are filled by election on an annual basis, with the exception of those designated for affiliate members and the immediate past president, as outlined in the FCM by-laws, during the Annual Conference.

2015_boardFCM’s Board of Directors established standing committees to enable more comprehensive discussion and provide the board with recommendations on priority policy and program issues. Each committee has municipal elected officials and board members.

As a Director on the FCM board, I have recently been appointed to participate in the following standing committees;

1. Environmental Issues & Sustainable Development:

Green economy, climate change adaptation, clean air, water, waste, wastewater, brownfields, toxic substances (including pesticides), energy, invasive species, green infrastructure

2. Social Economic Development

Housing and homelessness; cultural and community infrastructure, immigration and municipal‐Aboriginal relations, aging.

In addition to my participation n these two standing committees, I will also participate in both the Atlantic Caucus as well as the Rural Forum.

I look forward to participating in FCM’s programming, policy and advocacy work on behalf of all Canadians and Canadian municipalities.

Our next FCM Board of Directors meeting will be held in Oakville, ON September 14-17, 2016.

Corner Brook Launches New Web Site

image2On Tuesday, I  officially launched the City’s new website today at City Hall along with our City Manager, Melissa Wiklund.

The City of Corner Brook has been working on a new website for six months. The new site reflects the needs and viewing patterns of residents, businesses, and visitors. Staying connected with the community and beyond is essential.

As a City we strive to provide exceptional service, openness, and transparency. We are becoming more relevant, adapting, transforming and embracing our world of change.

image1-1“I would like to acknowledge the excellent work of City staff in completing this extensive project,” said City Manager Melissa Wiklund. “Every department has been responsible for revising information based on the services they provide to our residents, businesses, and visitors. The deployment and launch of our new website is a demonstration of the City’s commitment and team approach to providing service excellence to our community and to all stakeholders.”

Cornerbrook.com will have new features and improved functionality, and it is designed to give website users a better experience. The new site will look completely different to the previous one and is fresh, modern, and uncluttered. Additionally, the new website includes: an improved layout; easier navigation; advanced functionality and performance; great mobile experience; and easier searching ability.

By streamlining the majority of our web content we’ve been able to present it in a way that makes navigating around the site easier. The City of Corner Brook’s new website will expand the ability of citizens to find everything they need to know online, and better serve and communicate with citizens.

Let’s make Corner Brook Litter Free

13939540_979855092142885_1814426731961253698_nAs a city we all take great pride in the natural beauty that Corner Brook has to offer.
We work very hard to keep our city clean and attractive for our residents, business community and tourists.

We know that most people appreciate our efforts and that most people do go out of their way to keep our city litter free … But unfortunately that isn’t everyone.
We can complain and we can shame but perhaps the best way is simply to lead by example. If you see litter on the ground how about simply picking it up and disposing of it properly.

If you notice a particularly messy spot, let us know and we will send crews to investigate and take appropriate action.

Business owners can also help by keeping the property around and in front of their businesses clean and tidy.

13935137_979855082142886_7791697303891778245_nOur employees take great pride in the work they do to keep our city clean but we can’t be everywhere all the time, so let’s Team Up to Clean Up and together we can keep our city tidy and clean for everyone.

 

 

Here are a few facts:

  • We regularly use our Madvac sucker to pick up litter. (unfortunately it is down for repairs at the moment)
  • The City of Corner Brook has placed in the 80+ waste containers throughout the city
  • Public Works crews change garbage containers daily.
  • The team is out daily cleaning up around the garbage bins.
  • We also send the sweeper out if a street has had heavy rain or is very dirty.
  • Report a ‘litter hot spot’ if you spot illegally dumped garbage, overflowing street bins or an unusually dirty public space, staff will investigate. Call 709-637-1666

13935070_979855032142891_6799081164911655974_nA clean, litter free green public space, sidewalk or street is a beautiful thing for every resident, visitor, and business.

Remember: it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure our city’s public spaces stay that way. We need every resident to please do their part.

Make a commitment to not litter. The results will be obvious.

Corner Brook spending $3.7 Million on 2016 Paving Program

The City of Corner Brook Asphalt Pavement Program commenced on July 18, 2016 in the Curling area. Under this year’s program the City will spend $3.7 million on paving our city’s streets. As a council we are focused on keeping our commitment to improve city streets to meet the needs of our residents.

 

Allen's Road

This is the largest street paving program in the City’s history. Good roads have undeniable socio-economic benefits, and are essential to our community. As Mayor and Council we committed to focus on improving city streets.

 

Accessing long-term, stable funding for our municipality is essential to achieving this goal. This year’s $3.7 million investment in our streets program combines a $838,886 federal gas tax instalment with our regular capital investment in addition to money set aside from the land sales in the Lundrigan Drive Business Park area which makes for the largest single investment ever in our streets program and which totals $10 million over the past 3 years that this council has been in office.

13895122_973357556125972_5831059071154665284_nIn determining which streets will be paved a number of factors are considered including: traffic volumes, pending capital projects, visual inspections on the condition and structural quality of roads.

The planned possible streets identified for the 2016 Paving Program include:
– Allen’s Road
– Armstrong Ave
– Atlantic
– Broadway
– Brookfield Ave
– Brosnan Street
– Burke’s Road
– Church Street
– Commercial Street
– Confederation Drive
– Country Road
– Corporal Pinksen Memorial Drive
– Crestview Ave
– Curling Street
– Dykes Road
– East Ave
– Edinburgh
– Foresthill
13879315_975108882617506_3706543775560584483_n– Fudge’s Road
– Gibbons
– Golden Glow
– Greenings Hill
– Grenfell Drive
– Griffin Drive
– Hendon Drive
– Hillside Road
– Humber Road
– Ingrid Ave
– Lundrigan Drive
– Main Street
– Maple Valley Road
– Mt Bernard
– Oakes/Green Garden13906968_973357546125973_7167077847629935876_n
– O’Connell Drive
– Park Lane
– Park Street
– Phillip Drive
– Pikes Road
– Poplar Road
– Pratt Street
This list is subject to change.

911 Call center Update: 12 new jobs coming to City

City Hall new 2Plans are proceeding for the opening of the 911 Public Safety Answering Point Service Office at Corner Brook City Hall in January 2015. The establishment of a province-wide 911 Centre is a new initiative in Newfoundland and Labrador being spearheaded by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Since being designated as a 911 PSAP site on August 28, 2014 our officials have been working very closely with officials of the 911 Implementation Project Team in making sure that Corner Brook is fully equipped and ready to commence operations.

The province-wide 911 service has garnered significant attention since announced in August. In September, Council awarded the tender for fit-up of the NL 911 Bureau on the ground floor of City Hall to Whitestone Developments Inc. Work is progressing quickly on this project. Once operational, the center will be a 24/7, 365 day operation with two employees assigned per shift.

City Hall new 3In total the Center will create twelve new jobs: a supervisor, eight full-time employees and three relief operators. A public job competition was advertised for the positions earlier this fall and we hope to have the hiring process concluded in the next few weeks. We will be working with the 911 Implementation Project Team in ensuring the successful candidates meet all the requirements of the position. The 911 operators will be unionized employees with the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

Given the particular skill set required for these positions we determined the jobs best-suited members of CUPE Local 768 (Inside Workers). The responsibility of the 911 operators include answering and evaluating 911 emergency and non-emergency calls for the law enforcement agencies (RNC and RCMP), Fire Departments, and health services; determining which emergency service is needed and relaying the call to the appropriate emergency service provider for the caller’s area.

In accordance with Article 29 of the Collective Agreement with CUPE Local 768, Council was obligated to consult with CUPE on the establishment of any new positions at the NL911 Bureau to determine their suitability as members of Local 768. After consulting with officials from Local 768 both sides quickly reached an agreement to have the 911 operators become members of the inside workers union.

Implementation of the province-wide basic 911 service will also result in operational changes for our City and region as it pertains to responding to emergencies.

Previously, the RNC provided 911 services to communities in the Corner Brook/Humber Valley/Bay of Islands region. With the establishment of a PSAP in Corner Brook, communities that previously received fire dispatch services from the RNC will no longer receive this dispatch service.

To help alleviate the concerns of neighbouring community, Council agreed to provide fire dispatch services to area fire departments currently served by the RNC for a fee of $2500/year for up to 50 calls For those communities that receive in excess of fifty (50) calls there will be a fee of $25.00 per call. It is up to the individual communities to determine if they wish to avail of the fire dispatch service. All communities in the Bay of Islands / Humber Valley region with the exception of Pasadena and Corner Brook normally receive less than 50 calls per year.

City Hall New 1As both police services (RNC/RCMP) and health services have their own dispatch services this change only affects fire services. Until the 911 PSAP is fully operational we do not anticipate transferring the Corner Brook Fire Department dispatch to the 911 PSAP. It may take several months before this change will take place.

The City of Corner Brook is very excited to be playing a major role in the expansion of the 911 service in the province and we are looking forward to the launch of this new service.

Facts on 911 service:

–  Commencing January 2015, the City of Corner Brook will be the primary service answering point for emergency calls from Goobies West and Labrador.

– The 911 Center will be situated at Corner Brook City Hall.

– The center is expected to receive approximately 50,000 calls per year.

– The Center will employ 8 full-time employees, three relief operators and a 911 Supervisor.

-The 911 Center will provide 24/7 service, 365 days a year

Corner Brook’s New Water Treatment Plant

As many people are aware, the city’s new water treatment plant and distribution system is nearing completion.

IMG_5703The new water treatment plant is highly sophisticated and includes a number of additional steps in water treatment that goes way beyond the basic water disinfection system that we have been used to for years.

Many people will recall the infamous “Beaver Fever” or Giardia outbreak in the city back in 1992 that led to demands for something better than simply screening and chlorinating water for residents of Corner Brook, Massey Drive and Mount Moriah.

Over the past 20 years, several studies have been done on the distribution system and treatment requirements and a number of proposals were put forward.
The original project cost of $ 36 million soon ballooned to over $50 million, with the federal and provincial governments picking up $24 million and the city taking on almost $ 27 million to see the project through to completion.

IMG_5687The project also included a complete redesign of the water distribution system, which included moving from two water supplies to one, the installation of new water reservoir tanks, a new high pressure main water line along West Valley Road and O’Connell Drive to Curling, new pressure reducing valves and a new $26 Million water treatment plant.
The new treatment system was specifically designed to treat the city’s water and a pilot evaluation was carried out to ensure that the proposed design for treating the raw water was effective and that the chemicals selected will produce the desired results while minimizing overall costs.

IMG_5699The Primary process uses a Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) system with 3 DAF trains.
Water flows through the plant by gravity feed and there are several fail-safes to prevent flooding of the plant. Once the water has been treated, it is pumped to 2 large tanks that are located at the plant and from there to the distribution system.

As the design below shows, the new system will use a number of chemicals that are added and then removed through the flocculation and clarification processes. Next, the water is filtered and treated with UV light to remove any remaining parasites, chlorine is added and then the water is sent to the distribution system.

water TreatmentThe plant is designed to produce up to 30 million litres of clean, safe water per day and each and every litre of water that goes through this plant will cost significantly more to treat than the current system – in fact we are estimating it will cost approximately $1.2 to $1.5 million more per year for water treatment.

The more water we use, the more it costs. There is however, one sure way to reduce that cost, and that is to reduce how much water we use, and in particular, how much water we waste – and if we all do our part, it can add up to big savings for everyone over time. In fact, the chemicals used in the process account for approximately 50% of the total cost. Therefore every litre saved will reduce the operating cost of the plant!

Budget Time: some thoughts.

IMG_3082Budget time is fast approaching. Council and staff have been working diligently to find ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency without reducing services. As you can imagine, this is a daunting task in the best of times, but it is an even greater challenge as we approach 2015 and the significant costs of operating our new water treatment plant while meeting the needs of residents and meeting our contractual obligations with our employees. While there has been some growth in revenues, it is not sufficient to meet our future needs.

In December 2013, my council introduced our very first budget for 2014. At the time we stated that “Council’s objective in this budget is to ensure that every tax dollar is used as efficiently and effectively as possible. From day one, our Council has set out with a clear mandate to reduce expenses and to find ways to provide better, more cost effective services, while holding the line on taxes and fees.” And we are committed to continuing to find cost savings while providing quality service to our residents in improved roads, snow clearing, parks and leisure services and more.

I have always felt that as Mayor and Council, we must lead by example. Among my Council’s very first acts was to implement a wage freeze on our own salaries for our full term in office, we eliminated cell phones and blackberry devices for City Councillors and we reduced council and staff travel and eliminated other expenses.

IMG_2936We also implemented a temporary freeze on hiring, out of province travel and discretionary spending which resulted in a $1.2 million surplus for 2013 which was applied to the city’s existing debt which stands at a very acceptable 15% of expenditures. Most of our current debt is due to borrowing associated with the new $50 million water treatment plant, but it is still well below the 30% debt servicing limit set by the province.

For 2014, we also had to deal with the loss of the Provincial municipal operating grant (MOG) in the amount of $666,000 per year, $17,000 in NL Liquor Corporation Grant and an estimated $150,000 in reduced poll tax as we brought in measures to eliminate students from the poll tax rolls.

IMG_5688 In addition to this loss revenue of approximately $ 800 000, we had to absorb new costs which included $400,000 in additional waste collection and disposal costs and a projected $400,000 to operate the new water treatment plant for the last 3 months of 2014 based on an annual operating cost of between $1.2 and $1.5 million. In other words, we were dealing with a difference of about $1.6 million for 2014 from the previous year.

IMG_0514Yet, while there were significant increases in expenditures, operational spending in Budget 2014 actually decreased by 1.5% from the 2013 levels while we kept our contractual obligations to our employees which included a wage increase of 4.25% for the city’s firefighters, and a 2.0% increase for all other employees – and this without any reduction to service levels.

Budget 2014 predicted total expenditures of $30,281,300 million which was 2.91% or $908,000 lower than the 2013 Budget of $31,189,800.

Residential property tax remained the same for 2014 at 8.0 mils, the commercial property mil rate remained at 12.5 mils and the general commercial business tax mil rate at 17.0 mils in 2014 and there were no increase in any fees. In fact in 2014, we actually eliminated the landscaping deposit to reduce the burden on home builders and encourage new homes.

Our preliminary estimates for 2015 show a shortfall of approximately $1.7 million, $1.2 million of which is directly associated with the new water treatment plant. Increases in employee wages and other fixed costs account for the rest of the shortfall. With 10 000 units in the city, this equates to $170 per unit that we need to find either through new revenues, further cuts to existing expenditures or a reduction in services.

New COuncil 1.jpg-largeOver the next few weeks council will be working with staff to find savings where possible, however, as you can see from the 2014 budget, we have made significant cuts already while absorbing both major operating increases and a reduction in revenues. We must also realize that some of the reductions introduced throughout 2014 cannot be sustained forever or we run the risk of reductions in service levels.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of the budget process. I invite your comments as to what is important to you and how we might meet these fiscal challenges we are all facing.

If you would like to see the 2014 budget along with comparisons to previous budget years, please click on this link.

Council expediting hiring process for new City Manager.

IMG_3330Corner Brook city council is moving forward with the hiring process to find a new City Manager. Recruitment of a new City Manager was one of the recommendations from our Organizational and Operational Review.

Candidates will be be recruited throughout the province and Atlantic Canada and a job posting, which can be viewed below, has been placed on the City’s website with a closing date of November 5, 2014.

The City of Corner Brook is seeking an experienced and talented administrator to provide practical senior leadership to the City of Corner Brook.

IMG_3082The City Manager supports and implements the vision of Council and is responsible for the overall management and administration of the city. The successful applicant will lead an experienced management team and will work closely with elected officials to provide options, information and professional advice to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of public services.

The ideal applicant must be able to work closely with the mayor, council, government officials and all stakeholders in our city including citizens, businesses, community organizations, unionized and non-unionized staff.

This individual must have a genuine desire to work for the benefit of the people of Corner Brook and must also possess well-developed communications, interpersonal and organizational skills.

This position is contractual for a period of five years and may be extended with the agreement of both the incumbent and the City. The salary and benefits are in accordance with the existing salary and benefits package established for this position.

CLOSING DATE: November 5, 2014 (by 5:00p.m. NL time)

COMPETITION NO: 2014-45 CW