Disgusted, dismayed and defeated
I was born and raised in Carbonear, and am a long-term resident of the town. I say longterm minus the “proudness” associated as a citizen of this community and the recent announcement by Senator Fabian Manning regarding Small Crafts and Harbours funding for communities hit by Hurricane Igor has left me, well, let’s say, astonished, bewildered, disgusted and most of all angry.
There have been times as a citizen of this community I felt like it was my duty to comment on issues that I may have not agreed with in part or total, but I did not act. However, today I have no other choice and I find myself compelled to voice my concerns, albeit to some who may not like it. But as they say in French, Cést la vie.
As a tour boat operator and past member of the Harbour Authority of Carbonear, I am somewhat privileged to happenings in the daily operations of the Carbonear public wharf. The facility is more than just a wharf. It’s a hub if activity. We still have commodities being purchased and sold, shipped and received, though not as much as was years ago.
Without the facility, what would we have? Let’s say a tsunami entered our bay and the wharf was destroyed. Who would care? Small Crafts and Harbours? Fisheries and Oceans? Not likely.
If it were destroyed, it would not be replaced. Why? Because there are fully functional and viable alternatives in Harbour Grace and Bay Roberts, not to mention Ochre Pit Cove, Bay de Verde and Old Perlican.
And what about the Town of Carbonear? Outside the few fisherpersons that are serving or previously served on council or committees, the rest would not know if the Carbonear public wharf even existed. I won’t single anyone out, but whether it’s today’s council or past councils, nothing has changed and it won’t change. Why? Because council members just don’t get it. Remember I used the word “ hub” to describe the wharf?
Before I elaborate on that, I might as well include Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy and Avalon MP Scott Andrews in this eclectic group because their voice is much like ours — mute.
I try to patronize as many local businesses as I can in Carbonear. But after reading a recent article in The Compass about efforts to attract new business to the town, it makes me wonder. Are we to include ourselves in similar breath as Mount Pearl being a “ bedroom community” servicing the larger centres?
I congratulate Provincial Fitness and others for establishing themselves on Water Street, as I too hope in time to make my own contribution to the revitalization of that area, but maybe I just don’t get what our elected council is trying to promote in that article. Where is the manufacturing? Where is the upgrading of our shipping facility at the Carbonear public wharf? It’s just not there.
Are we forever allocated to housing starts? Have we lowered ourselves to squabbling over whether or not a road was classified as a road or not?
Spaniards Bay jumped over the eight-ball and has secured a very very viable industrial park. As the old adage goes: “If you build it, they will come.” Even though they lack a harbour facility, they have managed to forge ahead and secured some major tenants.
If you want to look at a harbour, the next time you go for your Sunday drive then drive no further than Bay Roberts, a town that seems to want to work with — and willingly develop — their harbourfront area.
I walk down around the wharf in Carbonear and it looks terrible. A washout at the entrance to the building and a slipway unsafe to use. So as I scanned the list of funding recipients, nowhere did I see Carbonear. Our heritage town of the 1600s, our “Hub of the Bay,” nowhere to be seen.
I have to tip my hat to Herb Butt (chairperson) of the Harbour Authority of Carbonear and the board of directors who tirelessly and voluntarily try to bring our facility to the forefront in endless conversations and correspondence to those who are willing to listen.
Today, I end my life as a mute spineless jellyfish and I have acted. I can only hope that my ramblings might inspire someone else to do the same. Governments change, and it is up to you and I to make our voices heard. We could find ourselves in a municipal quagmire and if we don’t make our thoughts and actions known at the municipal level then we don’t have a chance of our voices being heard at the provincial and federal level. Dean J. Penney