BY ALEX VIETINGHOFF
NORTHERN LIGHT STAFF
19 JUN 2012 03:14AM
The Aquinian health & fitness column: “Reshape Your Life”
The Northern Light (paywalled)
BY ALEX VIETINGHOFF
NORTHERN LIGHT STAFF
19 JUN 2012 03:14AM
A Bathurst city councillor says people who live near the Bathurst Marina on Queen Elizabeth Drive are worried that the RV parking lot will turn into a trailer park.
At the June 11 special public Bathurst city council meeting, councillor Hugh Comeau said now that the Marina offers long-term camping, which Comeau defines as being from May to September, some residents of Queen Elizabeth Drive have called him because they were concerned that the area would transform into a trailer park. He said they are concerned with extra traffic, noise, parties and lessening of the property value of the area.
Councilor Scott Ferguson echoed Comeau’s statements, saying he too had received calls.
The difference between RV parking and a trailer park is that RV parking doesn’t include long-term stays, while a trailer park does. According to Comeau, the previous president of the Bathurst Marina made a rule that there was to be no long-term parking.
The current president, Paul Boudreau, said that he had never heard or seen this rule. Boudreau made a presentation at the June 11 meeting where he told council that long-term camping is necessary in order to keep the marina afloat financially.
There is now a rule that 49% of the RV parking at the marina is allowed to be long-term stays.
Boudreau said that the marina does not make a profit and it merely breaks even year after year. Boudreau himself is a volunteer, and even the security offered is done by volunteers and only runs until 11 p.m.
“We’re even at the end of the year. We don’t make a dime. We’d like to be able to save some money to not have to go after the government, …and fix everything that needs to be fixed,” said Boudreau.
Boudreau told city council that the Marina is following every rule, and that they currently have three confirmed seasonal campers. He said that because there is lots of construction in the Bathurst region right now, there has been increased business, with 26 campers last weekend. He added that marina camping is a good thing, as it promotes tourism in Bathurst. Councilor Danny Roy raised concerns about the lack of 24-hour surveillance, saying that campers might wait until 11 p.m. when they know security is gone, then start partying loudly.
Boudreau said that people camp to relax, not to party, and there is a three-strikes warning policy to boot people out if they continue disturbing the peace.
Caroline Hachey lives near the Marina on Queen Elizabeth Drive. When contacted by The Northern Light, Hachey said that she and her husband are accustomed to noise during concerts or events at the Marina, and aren’t concerned at this point.
“I think that on Fridays and Saturday nights it’s so loud that if we can live with that, we can live with whatever the RVs are going to do. It’s not something that bothers us.” said Hachey. Coun. Comeau acknowledges that not everyone on Queen Elizabeth Drive is against the RV camping at the Marina. He said some people are even for it. But he said people who bought their properties on Queen Elizabeth Drive did not have the intention to live next to a trailer park.
Comeau suggests that not allowing long-term camping will alleviate all the concerns of the Queen Elizabeth Drive residents. He said that everyone is used to campers who stay for a few nights and leave, and nobody has a problem with that.
In 2009, the city helped the marina by installing a dumping station at a cost $30,000.
There is no current work by the city towards the development of a new trailer park. RV parking has been a project looked into by the city since as early as 2005. The city had looked into having an RV park at Youghall Beach, but that didn’t pan out because they would need to install sewage, and they wanted to charge overnight stay fees, but would have then had to involve the Department of Tourism.
In 2009, the city began pushing for an RV park at the marina, but not for long-term stays.
The property behind the House of Lee restaurant has also been looked at as a potential venue, but that has not come to fruition, due to numerous issues.
“That property was looked at for an RV park. But the city is not in the position to establish a business in the city. We don’t do that, we don’t run a business,” said Coun. Comeau. “So it would have to be a privately owned operation. We could perhaps help them out with the fill, land, things like that.
“So it’s basically up again for discussions at the city council level. We’ll sit down shortly and decide what we want to go forward with over the next four years, our mandate, and if that happens to be one of them then it will come up again, but I won’t be pushing for it, that’s for sure,” concluded Comeau.
Chris Pelkey spent his summer in Malawi helping poor businesses grow.
Pelkey, a fourth-year electrical engineering student at the University of New Brunswick, wanted to help Malawi develop and gain experience that he could bring back to Canada.
Pelkey worked for a company called Rent-To-Own. His job was to travel with two staff members that he would train. One of them learned how to use electrical equipment, and the other used a record-keeping program that Pelkey designed. He also met with Rent-To-Own’s agents to figure out what type of skills they lacked.
Pelkey said Malawi is very diverse.
“The capital city had a huge shopping mall that was nicer than anything we have in Atlantic Canada,” he said. “That was sort of juxtaposed with this rural village I was in where the house I was staying in didn’t have electricity, the toilet was a hole in the ground and there was no running water. So every morning we’d go and collect water in a wheelbarrow and bring it back to the house.”
According to Pelkey, Cabanda, the town he stayed in, has an average annual income of around $200 or $300 a year. There is a lot of poverty, but everyone has food, water, a roof over their heads and clothes on their back. People rely on each other to survive. A brother might take care of their sibling’s children if they aren’t being fed enough, or another family would supply someone with food. He said their life isn’t as bad as big charitable organizations make it out to be.
When you go to the mall to do your Christmas shopping, you might be approached by people who show you pictures of diseased African children or sad-looking orphans and tell you that there are thousands of villages with people like this who need your help. These are the messages that Pelkey disagrees with.
“I think it’s really humiliating, the way that they portray Africans, and it’s not an accurate picture. It does happen in certain situations, but those situations are very few and very far between,“ he says.
“You wouldn’t see them unless you really went looking for them. You know those pictures you see of kids with flies all over them and they can’t even do anything about it? I didn’t see that once. I never saw someone that was so hungry that they were just bones. It’s not accurate at all.”
Sarah Lyons worked as a fundraiser for World Vision’s child sponsorship program. World Vision is a Christian international aid organization that, according to its official website, wants to address poverty through the development of communities. Lyons, an arts student at UNB, said she researched which organizations are trustworthy before applying for a job.
“[World Vision is] not about giving anybody fish. It’s about teaching everybody to fish, giving them all the equipment that they need to fish, and then teaching them how to maintenance that equipment and maybe produce it themselves,” Lyons said. ”It’s self sufficiency.”
Lyons used Money Sense Magazine’s Charity 100 list to pick World Vision. The list grades 100 of Canada’s charitable organizations on things like the percentage of spending going into programs, the compensation of the CEO or highest paid salary member, fundraising efficiency and governance/transparency. World Vision has an overall grade of B+, roughly in the middle of the international aid rankings.
Lyons admits some charitable organizations try to show the worst scenarios to get pity from people.
“Maybe some of them are depicting an accurate situation where there are people that they want to help, but a lot of them are just fudging it up to get your money.”
Lyons also warns that some organizations spend a lot of the funds collected on administration and employee salaries.
“In 2008 my sister went over to Africa and she volunteered at a couple of different places . . . She ended up at a terrible organization where half of her money was pocketed ‘for administration,’” Lyons says. ”On Christmas, the kids didn’t get any toys, they didn’t really have adequate food to eat, and then there was no power that day.”
Tina Reissner sponsors a child through World Vision. She was approached at the Regent Mall this summer while shopping with her fiancé. She was impressed because the girl who approached her assured her the money she donates goes towards education, water and food for the children, and not just World Vision’s administration. But Reissner’s fiancé was skeptical.
When the woman showed them a picture, her fiancé said, “Am I going to go to a friend’s house and see that same picture on his fridge?”
The World Vision worker said she’s heard of organizations that do that, but hers doesn’t.
“She said she was actually going to visit that village this Christmas, and she would check on [the child] for us,” Reissner said. “She kind of went into more detail, she started talking about how she sponsors six different children and she showed me one particular child that she sponsors, and she showed me pictures of the whole family. Then she started to cry, because she’s so emotionally invested in what she does. Then of course I started to cry, then my fiancé was like ‘OK. Let’s write the cheque now.’”
Reissner pays forty dollars a month to sponsor 4-year-old Shukula. She gets pictures of him and writes him letters, and said to her family he feels like her children’s younger brother.
Both Pelkey and Lyons agree that if someone wants to help third-world countries, they should do lots of research first.
Lyons recommends Money Sense Magazine’s Charity 100 list, or asking experienced volunteers for guidance.
“If you know somebody like me who’s been over to Africa, and you know you want to help, and you want to give your money, it would really help if you knew that it was going somewhere.”
Pelkey said even buying fair trade products is an easy way to help.
“It’s not going to solve the problems overnight if one family starts buying fair trade products, but it is a good system. It’s helping people where they need it, and helping in a way that’s sustainable.”
“Another way to help out is just to understand the realities of what is happening over there. Read up about it, get to know the situation a little better, so when you do decide to support an organization, you’ll know which ones are maybe a little better or a little worse.”