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Grand Bank council calling on new fisheries minister to review clam decision

Grand Bank harbour.
Grand Bank harbour. - SaltWire Network

Council briefs – July 18

GRAND BANK, N.L. – Grand Bank council is hoping the new federal fisheries minister will consider reviewing and reversing the decision on Arctic surf clams.

A motion was passed to write a letter to Jonathan Wilkinson during council’s meeting on July 18 making that request.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replaced former fisheries minister Dominic LeBlanc with the North Vancouver MP during a cabinet shuffle earlier in the day on July 18.

In February, LeBlanc announced a new license for Arctic surf clams would be issued to the Five Nations Clam Company, a new entity is made up of First Nations from the four Atlantic provinces along with Quebec.

Previously, Nova Scotia-based Clearwater Seafoods Ltd. held the only licenses for the species, processing them in Grand Bank.

The decision was also made to give the new entrant 25 per cent of the existing total allowable catch (TAC).

Mayor Rex Matthews said he held a conference call with Clearwater earlier this month. The company is continuing to harvest clams, he said, noting there was otherwise little to report.

“When that quota is taken in, well, I guess we’ll get into decision time,” he said.

Tires not a hazard

Town manager Wayne Bolt said an accumulation of tires at a property in the Gunville area outside Grand Bank has been investigated and deemed not to be a hazard.

Concern was raised about the tires during council’s meeting on June 18.

Bolt said the tires were being used to build up a road and can be used for such a purpose as long as certain stipulations are met.

Speed bumps purchased

Council approved the purchase of four speed bumps and leg screws at a cost of $700 plus freight during the finance committee report.

Town manager Wayne Bolt confirmed with the leg screws, the speed bumps are removable.

Garbage bin purchase

Council ratified to purchase 11 garbage bins at an approximate cost of $1,100.

The bins have already been bought and placed around town. Matthews said residents have responded positively to the bins.

Truck goes to tender

Approval was given to go to tender to sell the town’s Ford Ranger pickup truck.

The vehicle will be sold as is, where is.

Redevelopment project tender

Bolt said the tender for the first phase of the town’s downtown and waterfront redevelopment project would be ready to go out within a couple of days.

Once it is issued, there will be a two-week deadline to submit bids for the work, he said.

“The beauty about this is it doesn’t have to go to Municipal Affairs to get approval. Once it comes in, between the engineers and ourselves, we can approve it,” Bolt said of the tendering process.

Timelines will be put in place to complete the work, he said.

A condition of the funding for the project is that the money must be spent this year, he noted.

A motion was also passed later in the meeting to acquire of two parcels of land in front of the Grand Bank Harbour Authority building.

Bolt, who said the land would be useful for the redevelopment project, indicated he had been contacted by an official with the federal government informing him they were available.

Nature trail work

Recreation director Tom Burton said workers recently spent three and a half days sprucing up the town’s nature trail.

Alders and brush had been cut away from a significant portion of the trail, he said, adding the next step was to do some trenching.

Coun. Jack Burfitt noted the trail has been cut nice and wide but, having visited recently, pointed out there were a few muddy areas.

Burton, who called the improvements a work in progress, said hopefully those areas would soon be fixed.

“We’re fully aware of where the trouble spots are,” he said. “It’s just getting that time now once we get the piping in to do some trenching.”

Swimming pool stats

Burton presented a report on the Grand Bank Swimming Pool comparing use of the facility from June 15-30 for 2016 and 2018.

Among the stats, 1,124 people used the pool for public swims during the period this year as compared to 617 two years ago. Family swims had 128 users in 2018 compared to 119 in 2016. The number of people for lessons was also up this year, 55 compared to 40.

Meanwhile, two sessions of aerobics in 2018 attracted 43 users compared to 19 for one session in 2016, and six children’s swim sessions this year brought in 135 users, while there were eight swimmers for just one session two years ago.

The facility was rented 16 times this year compared to 18 in 2016.

The pool didn’t open in 2017 until July 1, so comparable statistics were not available.

“I was a bit shocked with the public swim,” Burton said. “It doubled.”

paul.herridge@southerngazette.ca

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