Dis­gusted, dis­mayed and de­feated


Dear edi­tor,

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


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