Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I really thought that I would have some great stuff about the York Street station to blog like mad about by now.
The truth is that when I was by last weekend nothing has happened yet.
Has anything happened inside?
I don't know. I can't see in there.
I'm not complaining and certainly don't see a problem with waiting another extra week or so.
Heck, it's been years already!
I'll make a point to drive by in the next day or so and let you know if anything is going on.

Oh, remember the blog I did about the sale of my mom's house?
It got worse.
That offer we reluctantly accepted was thrown away by the buyers who realized that they would have problems.
So it went back on the market and very quickly another of the vultures swooped in and threw an offer that was even worse.
But we accepted it.
Screw it. I just want it over with.
The deal closes in November and so will that chapter.
We're trying to head to Ontario next week to pick up my items.
We will have to rent a trailer but first have to pay to have a trailer hitch installed onto the truck.
I hope I don't have problems with the trailer like Steve did when he left for Winnipeg.
We'll get it done and drive away from Ontario with no plan to go back again for a while.

Stay well,
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Just a Quickie

I'm just on my way out but wanted to post this link to the article in this morning's Daily Gleaner.
There is a better photo of the artist's rendition as well.

My wife found this article on too which is in Toronto. I thought that was pretty cool.
It's just a little one

I just took the attached photo a minute ago as I am on my way downtown. I'm helping at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival this weekend.

This will be one of the last times we have to see a picture like this of our little station.
About time, isn't it?

Stay well,
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ready? Here we go!

All righty then. Here we go.
This may get a little wild but bear with me and I'll try to be as organized as possible.
In case you haven't guessed I'm talking about this morning's press conference about the York Street Station in Fredericton.
I'll try to keep these blogs to the point but I doubt I'll be able to keep them short.

First, here is a link to an article in today's Daily Gleaner. Shawn Berry interviewed me late yesterday afternoon in anticipation of today's news.

Secondly, I'm pasting the official release that was given to everyone at the Centennial Building today.

(You won't have to be of legal drinking age to go into the station. Or to read this article.)

As follows:

Sept 18, 2009

Details of York Street train station liquor outlet announced

Details of the plan to refurbish Fredericton's York Street train station into an Alcool NB Liquor retail outlet were announced today by Alcool NB Liquor.
Greg Byrne, minister of finance and minister responsible for the New Brunswick Liquor Corp., said that he is very pleased that such a positive solution has been found to the issue surrounding renovations of the former CP Railway station.
"This is great news for Fredericton, and the newly refurbished station will assure that the station is restored to its former prominence in the city centre area," said Byrne. "The new building will enhance the capital city and be enjoyed for many, many years.
"The new liquor outlet will be about 1,247 sq. metres (about 13,425 sq. ft.), and will incorporate the existing 318-sq.-metre (3,425-sq.-ft) train station, as well as a new, 929-sq.-metre (10,000 sq. ft.) structure at the rear.
The outlet is scheduled to open in August 2010.
"The train station area will house a wine boutique and product sampling counter, with a food preparation area and room for specialty product displays," said Dana Clendenning, president and CEO of Alcool NB Liquor. The products, checkouts, cold room, warehouse and offices will be located in the new structure, and each will be open to the other.
"The exterior of the station will be restored by J.D. Irving Ltd., as per the federal Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act.
The interior brick walls will remain intact, and the historical detail will be incorporated in the interior décor. The new store will be a unique concept for Alcool NB Liquor.
"This is such a good-news story for residents of Fredericton and the supporters of local heritage," said Environment Minister Rick Miles. "I believe that this project will stimulate enhancements to the downtown area of the city."
Alcool NB Liquor will lease the refurbished building and new structure under a 20-year lease. The location meets all of the corporation's key criteria, including a central and visible location, ample customer parking, easy access, and improved service to the downtown core.
"During the past 15 years we have worked continuously to realize a viable development that would enable the restoration of the train station," said Stew Valcour, vice-president, J.D. Irving Ltd. "We are very pleased to be working with Alcool NB Liquor. We appreciate the support that many in the community have given to these efforts. As part of our commitment we will be ensuring a trail access as part of the Sentier NB Trails network. During the next three weeks we will begin the replacement of the roof, which will secure the train station for the winter."
"I would like to congratulate everyone at Alcool NB Liquor and J.D. Irving Ltd. who were involved in bringing this matter to a resolution," said Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside. "I think it is wonderful news for Fredericton."
MEDIA CONTACTS: Nora Lacey, communications, Alcool NB Liquor, 506-452-6453; Mary Keith, communications J.D.Irving Ltd., 506-632-5122; Marc Belliveau, communications, Department of Finance, 506-453-4138

All stakeholders involved have been told that they have the full support of myself and the membership of the Fredericton Friends of the Railway Inc.
I am very happy about this.
Thankfully I was not required to be at the head table for the announcement.
MLAs Rick Miles and Greg Byrne, Stew Valcour - Vice-President of J.D. Irving, Fredericton Mayor and good pal of mine Brad Woodside and President and CEO of Alcool NB Liquor were seated at the front.
I was introduced by Rick Miles as well as representatives of other groups that were in attendance.

Absolutely every media outlet in the province was there and I was interviewed by pretty well all of them!
It's going to be difficult to link to them all but I will try.
All I can say is to watch the news if you are here in New Brunswick.

It's funny but the most extensive coverage will be at Charle's blog!
I'm serious! He was right there for everything!
He interviewed me on video and recorded me being interviewed by the television stations.
Just go there. He already has a picture up of the artist's rendering of how the station will look.

Much more to come.

I snatched this picture from Steve Boyko's blog. Thanks Steve. :)

Stay well,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just another day I guess

It's hard to figure out how I feel about today.
We sold mom's house today after it being on the market for about a month.
It's a bit of a relief to have that part of the story coming to an end. I just wish that these things weren't so adversarial though.
You see, we had our realtor evaluate the house and recommend a value to ask for.
I remember what my mom and stepfather paid for it and was a little stunned by how much less we were putting on it.
I decided that was the way it is. The markets have been improving but are still working their way back up after the latest nasty recession.
What I was not happy about was that a few weeks later our agent threw it at us that we needed to reduce the price.
What?? Why?? I asked.
But, I'm out here in New Brunswick and the agent and my step-sisters are in Ontario, closer to the action and getting a better feel of the market mood.
So we reduced the price.
We were having quite a few showings but no offers.
I was still convinced that our price was more than fair.
Then a couple of days ago we were presented with an offer that stunned me.
It was an insult really. If mom and Tom were alive they would throw it back at them and tell them to screw off!
At least that's what I was thinking.
Two of my step-sisters, my brother in law and the agent were pretty convinced that we could not do better than this.
One of the problems was that the word was out that the house has no-one living in it and it is part of an "estate sale".
So the vultures circled and lowballed us. We didn't stand a chance and accepted their offer.
Don't get me wrong. I'm glad that we have gotten this over with and can finally get the estate settled.
It's all part of the closure, isn't it?
Now I have to figure out when and how to get back there to get my grandfather's desk and other items to be brought back to New Brunswick.
I guess another road trip is in our future.

Tonight at open Council it was confirmed that I am Chair of the Water and Wastewater Committee again.
I actually knew this a couple of weeks ago after meeting and talking with the Mayor.
He felt that I am ready to resume my duties as Chair again.
We told the other Councillors in the closed meeting the other day.
Today it was there for the public to know. Right in the agenda it had my name as Chair.
For all one of the members of the public in attendance.
Actually she was there from the radio station.
Before I was elected onto Council I was usually the lone member of the public in attendance apart from the media.
My first meeting back as chair is next week.
I'm actually looking forward to it. We have 2 new committee members joining us.
One is Bill O'Donnell who used to chair the Committee before the last election when he was not re-elected.
I have always liked and admired Bill a lot. He was one of the hardest working Councillors I ever knew.
It was a shame that he was not re-elected but there were two of us seeking positions that were not incumbents.
One Councillor did not seek re-election but someone else had to go if myself and Gisele were to get in.
Unfortunately Bill was the one.
During campaigning I continually spoke of my support for Bill.
I believe the Mayor had spoken to Bill in the past about coming back to the committee as a public member. I know that I mentioned it to him a time or two.
I'm glad he's joining us.

Lastly, today I received an emailed invitation for Friday morning's press conference. I had already told them that I will be there but replied in the affirmative regardless.
It was pointed out to me that I am to be there 1/2 hour earlier to get an advanced briefing of the details of the plan.
Not bad. This should be very interesting.

Okay, I'll say goodnight now.
Stay well,
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Why thank you! I would be happy to be there!

I received a call this afternoon from a young lady from NB Liquor inviting me to a press conference on Friday morning.
It will be at the Centennial Building downtown.
As you may have guessed the topic is the proposed future of the York Street Station.
MLAs Rick Miles and Greg Byrne will be there along with representatives of J. D. Irving Ltd.
She didn't say but I'm hoping Mayor Brad Woodside will also be there.
He's been fighting this battle as hard as anyone.
I'm not sure if Premiere Graham will be there or not.
Looks like I have to put the suit on and look presentable again.

I will report fully after the conference.
Wish me luck!
Hopefully they won't ask me to speak. :)

Stay well,

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Monday, September 14, 2009

Goodbye Patrick

I just heard a short while ago that Patrick Swayze has passed away this evening.
Another loss of great talent to that horrible disease.
Such a shame.
I actually saw it mentioned in Twitter first and quickly confirmed it looking in Google news.
Information travels so fast now doesn't it?
Immediately we hear sad, horrific, happy news from around the world.
I had mentioned in my Facebook that Dirty Dancing was a great movie but my favourite Patrick Swayze movie was "Red Dawn".
Then one friend mentioned "Ghost". Of course, how could I have forgotten that amazing movie?
Then another friend mentioned "Point Break". I also loved that. It made me wish I was a skydiving surfer.
"Road House" was pretty good and included an outstanding Canadian Jeff Healy, who we also lost to that disease not long ago.
So many wonderful memories of so many great movies.
Why did it take losing him to make me remember how awesome he was?
Goodbye Patrick.
Please give Farrah and Bea big hugs for me.

Stay well,

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Friday, September 11, 2009

But you didn't hear it from me!

I'm not saying but I'm just saying.
This is on the front page of today's Daily Gleaner.
I did speak to Mr. Berry yesterday and gave him my comment for him to use when he ran this piece.
Plus, it's been on every radio station this morning.
Geez, even Premier Graham couldn't wait until it was official before saying something!
I'm just passing along the message.
That's not really telling is it?

NB Liquor makes tracks to station

Published Friday September 11th, 2009

Deal | Crown corp. says new store to be twice the size of old one on King Street A1 By SHAWN BERRY

Fredericton's historic train station is getting a new lease on life.

Better days ahead: NB Liquor is taking over the York Street Train Station, where it plans to build a liquor store.
The provincial government has given NB Liquor the OK to rent the Fredericton landmark owned by J.D. Irving Ltd."
A deal has been negotiated with JDI for NB Liquor to lease the refurbished York Street Train Station," said Fredericton-Silverwood MLA Rick Miles on Thursday.
The York Street Train Station has been a focal point of debate over heritage properties in the city. In recent years, residents have grown concerned that the roof would collapse in winter under the weight of heavy snow.
Details of the lease deal weren't available Thursday.
While a media conference is expected next week, Premier Shawn Graham let out word of the deal during a funding announcement Thursday for the Fredericton YMCA.
"We're going to be back here soon for another important announcement for a little railway station down at the bottom of the hill," he said.
Officials from J.D. Irving said they continue to pursue a development on the site that will facilitate the restoration of the train station.
"We are hopeful of good news in the near future. We are unable to comment further," said company spokesman Geoff Britt.
NB Liquor CEO Dana Clendenning confirmed there's an agreement, but he wouldn't discuss specifics, such as the price.
"The terms and conditions are still being kept confidential,'' he said. "They're not finalized. We will have a press conference next week.''
Clendenning did say the location will be run as a corporate store that will have a unique design and unique services.
He said the Crown corporation likes the location given the easy access, ample parking and the store's proximity to the downtown, residential areas and university campuses.
NB Liquor was criticized for its decision to abandon the downtown when it closed its store on King Street last year.
The new store, he said, will be about twice the size of the King Street one.
The liquor store deal, which will see the property rejuvenated, is expected to help spur commercial development on about eight acres of surrounding land, Miles said.
"It's hoped that this project will stimulate redevelopment in that area of the city," he said. "It's been eyesore for too long."With the cost of restoring the train station pegged at $2 million, J.D. Irving said it would need to redevelop the property in the context of a larger business venture.
Mayor Brad Woodside said it was time for something to get done.
"I think this is as good as it gets in terms of news for Frederictonians. I say that because we have been subjected to this eyesore for so long," Woodside said from Collingwood, Ont., where he's attending meetings of the board of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Woodside has been vocal about the need to do something to the property.
"I meant what I said ... People have been upset with me every time I stood up and made it an issue, but I was determined to see a resolution."
Under the Heritage Railways Stations Protection Act, the owner of a historic train station isn't obliged to fix it up, but must get a ministerial order from the federal Environment Department to alter the structure or demolish it.
The nature of the federal legislation left the city powerless to intervene, Woodside said.
"There was absolutely nothing that I could have done. If there was, I felt seriously enough that I would have taken someone to court."
Tim Scammell, president of Fredericton Friends of the Railway Inc., a community group that has pressed decision-makers to keep the station from crumbling, welcomed the news.
"I think that's absolutely wonderful. We've been waiting six long years for this," he said Thursday.
"I always said I don't care who goes in and takes care of it, as long as it's fixed. I'm glad it's going to be saved because otherwise we were heading down that track of being lost forever."
Members of Branch 4 of the Royal Canadian Legion were reportedly working on a proposal to buy the station.
The choice was logical, members said, given that the last glimpse of home for many local servicemen who served in the two world wars was the train station.
Clendenning said NB Liquor acknowledges that the station played a pivotal role in the lives of many New Brunswickers and especially those who headed off to war.
"We are discussing ways of recognizing the role that the station played in the transportation of veterans to and from the Second World War."

For the record, I am totally on side with what is being discussed here and have advised all stakeholders that I am willing to be there and assist every step of the way.
A few years ago I did criticize Brad Woodside for what was (was not) going on to preserve the station but we have long since pitched tents in the same camp and gave joined forces.
But this isn't anything official!

Stay well,

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I really don't like keeping secrets, but I promised...

I'm going to limit what I say here because I made a promise.
But I will say that I'm happy about this.
I'll leave this alone until an official announcement next week but this is the message that I just sent out to the members and supporters of the Fredericton Friends of the Railway Inc.
In case you don't recall, this is the group dedicated to saving the York Street Station in Fredericton.
After 6 years I'm looking forward to some good news.

Hello everyone. This is Tim Scammell.
I am very sorry that nothing has been sent out in such a long time but there was really nothing to tell.
Until now.
First off I want to say that I am again the President of the Fredericton Friends of the Railway.
Steve Boyko did a great job while he took over the position but sadly we lost him to the west.
He moved to Winnipeg a short while ago but is still in contact whenever he is needed. 

Now, the worst kept secret in Fredericton today over Twitter and Facebook is that there is some big news to be officially released next week about the York Street Station.
You are not going to hear it from me before the official announcement because I gave my word that I would not say until then.
But I WILL say that I am VERY happy about it. If the MLA's and City Councillors wish to leak it before next week that's their choice but I promised that I am waiting.
(I HATE keeping secrets!) 

Now, for those that wish to follow what is about to happen please make note of this address
This is my personal blog.
Up to now it has been sometimes political (as I am a Councillor in New Maryland), and often very personal and somewhat emotional blog.
In the next week or so I think that it's going to take a drastic turn as it follows what is about to transpire.
Please start to follow the blog and feel free to contact me anytime. It would be nice to know that you are still out there and that your voices have been heard.
I'm also on Twitter under @timrs2001 and plan on Tweeting things as they happen.
I may not send out these emails very often so the blog and Twitter will be best for following. I'll leave you with that.
It's good to be back and I really look forward to bringing good news soon.

Fredericton Friends of the Railway Inc.

Stay well,

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

At the risk of being repetitive, I'd like to repeat myself.

This is my second blog for today.
I started it a while ago and it could have waited but something arrived in the mail today that is tied to this.
I don't mean to carry on about any topics too much but I'm not done with "A Letter From the Western Front" quite yet.
I had sent a message to the creator Daniel Kanemoto saying how glad I was to see the video back up after being gone for so long. I also linked him to my last blog about it.
I received this email from Dan a few days later.

Hi Tim -

Thanks for the kind words, and for helping to promote my work. I really appreciate it. I'd be happy to send you a copy of my new movie, ARTICLES OF WAR - what's your address?
Also, I recently updated my website and put up a remastered HD version of WESTERN FRONT - you can check it out at:

(Be patient - it takes a while to load!)

Hope all is well,

Isn't that nice of him? Remember my blog a short while ago about people who have a sincere appreciation for their fans?
There you have it. A wonderfully talented person who takes a couple of minutes to thank a fan.
It made my day.

I should also point out that Daniel's talents have not gone unnoticed by others who know a thing or two about talent.
In 1999 Daniel won the Gold Medal in Animation at the Student Academy Awards for "Letter from the Western Front" while at New York University.
This award is presented every year by the ​​Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
That very same Academy that hands out that little golden guy Oscar every year.
I was thrilled when I read that.

I received the "Articles of War" DVD in the mail today. I haven't watched it yet but from the trailer (also on the website) I can tell that it's another emotional one.

I went to Dan's site and downloaded the remastered HD version of Letter from the Western Front.
While it was downloading my son Boo came into the room and asked what I was doing.
I told him that I was downloading a very special movie. I asked if he would like to see the Youtube version while we waited. He said that he did.
When I got to the Youtube page Boo saw my comment in the comments section on the page and asked "This makes you cry?"
"Every time." I replied.
He looked thoughtful after I said that.
Coincidentally, he had just finished watching "Saving Private Ryan" a short while before this.
I'm not sure how I feel about my 11 year old son watching a movie like that but my initial feeling is that it is a good thing that our kids realize the true horrors of war and how lives are really lost and affected forever.
I was about to find out that my initial feeling was pretty good.
I started the Western Front video playing on Youtube.
Boo and I watched it.
As it was starting he asked me if it is a true story.
My answer was that this particular story was not but the situation itself has been happening thousands and thousands of times for centuries and centuries all over the world.

When it was over and the end music was playing I looked at Boo.
I'm proud to say that he had tears in his eyes.
He made no attempt to hide them from me either.
He has seen me cry far too often, especially over the past year or so, and knows that there is no shame in crying.
To see that the horrors of war had this effect on him struck a chord in me that my wife and I are doing something right and are on the right track.

Back to the story...

A couple of minutes later the download of the HD version finished.
I had honestly not intended on watching it at that moment since it was bedtime.
What the heck, I thought. I wanted to see how the quality was.
Boo sat down to watch it with me.
Oh my. What a difference!
I expanded the display to cover my entire computer monitor and the image was crystal clear.
I saw images in there that I could never have noticed before. Little things that Dan and his associates must have laboured to include and assemble when creating the film but I had never noticed before.
Absolutely amazing.

I wanted you to see this film before. Now I insist that you see it in HD!

Boo and I didn't say a word for a while when it was done. But the lumps were in our throats and tears in the corners of our eyes.

One more thing of note.
I'm sure that everyone realizes the impact that music has on the emotion and intensity of things that we watch.
The music for "Letter From The Western Front" was composed by an outstandingly talented chap named Ryan Shore.
Have a look at his web site here.
A really great thing about his site is that there are .mp3's of his music which you can download.
In fact, this BlackBerry I am writing this blog has several of Ryan Shore's pieces on it.
I was happy to see that Ryan also composed the score for "Articles of War".
I know what type of emotion to expect.

I'm not going to rush into watching it but wait until I have a few minutes to sit down and watch it all, and then sit and think about it afterwards.
I want Tiny and Boo to watch it with me.

Daniel, thank you so much for sending the DVD. It will be watched many many times. I guarantee it.

And again thanks for everything that you do.

You keep making them and we'll keep watching them.

Stay well,

Double Header!

I'm going to do something rare and post 2 blogs today.
I could do them together but I don't want one to take away from the other so separate they shall be.
A couple of things to mention.
First of all, are the boys really tired today, as I expected.
After a summer of running around outside and excitement they had to spend a full day inside a school.
I was right about them being somewhat bewildered and confused but it will all work out fine.
Heck, they figured out how to work their combination locks on the first day!
I think it took me several years to get that down smoothly.
One things that ticks me off a little is that the boys have been put into separate classes.
That isn't so bad but I think that we should have been consulted about it.
Twins are a different dynamic than regular siblings and needs a bit more thought.
In elementary school that choice was left up to us.
We started them together for the first couple of years.
Then we decided to separate them to avoid the chance of one doing better than the other and inferiority feelings arising.
That didn't really work out so well so they were put back together and all was well again.
I'm trying to figure out what they want to do.
Trying to get a straight answer is proving to be impossible.
I'm thinking that after spending so much time together this summer that they're looking forward to a but of space apart.
But I'm also thinking that as the year goes on they will want to be closer again.
Maybe I'm wrong. We'll see.
For now we may just keep it as it is and see how it unfolds.
It was a wild scene this morning I'll tell you.
I think almost every single parent decided to drive their kids. Traffic was crazy.
The location of the new school used to be a neighbourhood park.
In fact, part of the schoolyard used to be a baseball diamond. My friend had a geocache hidden behind it. It's gone now.
I'm sure the local residents were thrilled with the way this all worked out.
They lost a peaceful park and gained a yard full of wild energy.
It sure is a nice school though.
Although I can't help but notice that whenever a new school is built the exterior always resembles a prison.


Blog number 2 to follow.

Stay well,

Monday, September 7, 2009

Next stage is a Go...

Here we are.
Another Labour Day is over. Another summer has wrapped up.
And another milestone comes along tomorrow morning.
Our two little monkeys begin a brand new school tomorrow. Off to grade 6.
When I was their age grade 6 was still part of elementary school, or public school as I had always known it.
Now, at least here in New Brunswick, middle school starts at grade 6. In my day it was known as junior high school.
I remember when I started junior high it was a brand new school. Just finished construction in time for the new school year.
I can still remember the smell of Highland Junior High on the very first day.
The place was huge! At least it felt like it.
It was compared to McNicoll Public School.
The whole thing was overwhelming and very intimidating to me. I wondered how I would ever figure out where everything was and what rooms were which.
Of course after a few months the place was as familiar as my house. Piece of cake.
What was I worrying about?
That was grade 7.
Our little dudes are only heading into grade 6. That's a heck of a difference in a year of a little guy!
I would be terrified.
But I'll tell you. Our guys aren't nervous at all. They are really looking forward to it.
We just put them to bed about 1/2 hour ago but they're not even close to being sleepy.
What a feeling that must be to them.
I'm thinking back to how small they were starting at New Maryland Elementary School. I remember that first day we walked them to school and stood with them as they lined up to go into their proper room.
They wanted us there with them as much as we wanted to be there with them. That was an awful lot.
Then they walked through the door and into the start of the first stage of their educational ship.
Seems like it was just yesterday but like a thousand years ago at the same time. Man, time is weird that way.
We were all set and figured out where they had to be tomorrow morning to catch the bus.
I was thinking how sad it was that we would not be there to see them head into the school for the first time.
They've grown up an awful lot since public school.
Now they wear size 11 shoes like I do and they are almost 5 and a half feet tall.
At 11 years old...
I can't believe it.
I was thinking that it would have been nice to be there. But things have changed for them. They don't need us there any more.
Then this evening I was outside barbecuing dinner and the back door opened and Tiny came out.
He said "Dad, would it be okay if you and mom drove us to school tomorrow? Just for the first day?"
I acted like I was thinking about it and said "Sure, that should be okay."
How did I possibly hide how thrilled I was that he asked me that?
I'll have to be really casual if I want to get a picture of them walking in.
If I'm lucky I'll still get a kiss goodbye when we drop them off. If nobody is looking of course.
Am I worried about them?
You're darn right I am.
That's what parents do.

Stay well,

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry