The mid-January freeze and thaw

Dave White
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With backyard ice rinks melting, groomed snowmobile trails flowing like streams and salt-water ducks again diving McIvers Island Tickle, the January thaw had outport Bay of Islands already looking like spring by Tuesday’s deadline. Pretty much everywhere else, too.

Harsher winds that hammered western Newfoundland for the best part of the new year’s fortnight now seemingly abated at least a while, temperatures risen above freezing and a third spate of rain inside the week have wishful thinkers wishing it so. Think again. Mid-January has been like that a few years now.

The withered brown grass and blossomed browner mud is expected to last but another day or two. Mixed precipitation, including freezing rain, figures in the picture for Friday.

Some 10-20 centimetres of snow are likely through the weekend and temperatures are forecast to fall to back to seasonal lows nearer –10 C through next week and beyond. Be cautious and prepared at home and when travelling.

While local snowclearing budgets gain some reprieve, municipal and provincial managers remain active and on alert keeping drainage and catch basins flowing as bigger rains and snow melt from what was left in the backwoods and on hilly bay terrain from November and December yet make their way to the sea.

No rise in taxes

The early start to winter weather this year offered no break in heating costs to people anywhere, but residents of hometown McIvers are doubtless glad to hear no tax increases are forthcoming from the new town council in the 2014 budget. Bills are being issued this month.

The most recent issue of the ‘Our Town’ municipal newsletter from Mayor Warren Blanchard’s newest administration notes that tax hikes are not needed “because (the provincial) government has made a large increase in the municipal operating grant it gives all municipalities each year.”

Additionally, the good local news for McIvers residents includes notice that, as of March 31 this year, “the town’s infrastructure debt will be paid in full.”

Waste not, want not

That being as it may, residents here yet face the burden of accommodating what looks to be a six-fold increase in garbage disposal fees this year.

With the forced closure of the nearby McIvers-Cox’s Cove dumpsite on Dec. 31 in light of the province’s new waste management strategy, some three tonnes of garbage previously collected and disposed there each week must now be transported to Wild Cove, some 30-km distant. That will add almost $30,000 annually to the cost for the 200-plus homes and businesses in the town. To save on transportation costs and site tipping fees, council is encouraging residents recycle recyclables, to compost kitchen waste and paper products as soil enhancers for flower and vegetable gardens, and to reuse or freely share with others some items which might normally be sent to the dump.   

Capital works priorities

Meanwhile, Atlantic Engineering, the town’s consultant on capital works, have prepared priority proposals for projects council desires to proceed with in the near future. Included are applications to undertake long-needed improvements on its Lower Cove Road, work on the town’s water-supply outlet and the upgrade of its chlorination system, as well as identified phases in both water and sewer extensions.

Love for Lud

A fundraiser, Love for Lud, will be held Saturday in support of retired fisher Ludrick Crane who is required to make repeated trips to St. John’s in his extended battle with cancer. A prize card game is slated for Golden Rainbow Seniors Club at 2 p.m., with a dance at the Cox's Cove Community Centre 8 p.m.

Dave White welcomes your Bay of Islands news and events information at  688-2003, or email at:

Organizations: Atlantic Engineering, Golden Rainbow Seniors Club, Cox

Geographic location: Bay of Islands, Newfoundland, Our Town Wild Cove Lower Cove Road

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