LNS REPRESENTATIVES SPEAK WITH CFBS ABOUT TODAY'S DISCUSSION WITH NFLD/LABRADOR OFFICIALS REGARDING ACCESS TO NEWFOUNDLAND
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 20, 2020 – LNS REPRESENTATIVES SPEAK WITH NFLD/LABRADOR ABOUT ACCESS TO NEWFOUNDLAND ISLAND
CFBS spoke this afternoon with Randy Jones, Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, and Wanda Beaudoin, Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, regarding the meeting that had taken place this morning with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier, Dwight Ball, Minister Hon. Lisa Dempster, and Mayor and Chairperson of the Combined Councils of Labrador, Mr. Chad Letto of L'anse au Clair.
The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the discuss the demands of the people of the Lower North Shore to have access to Newfoundland island following the recent protest at the federal wharf in Blanc-Sablon, which had caused hours of delays last week to the schedule of the Qajaq W. ferry operated by Labrador Marine Inc.
Listen to the interview with Warden Jones and Mayor Beaudoin by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
Breaking News .... Protest in Blanc-Sablon at Federal Wharf to End Temporarily While Talks Take Place
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 17, 2020 – THE PROTEST ENDS TEMPORARILY IN BLANC-SABLON
More delays being experienced today for Labrador Marine Inc. passengers and employees as local residents from the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, approximately 20 in total, continued to gather peacefully at the federal wharf today. However, with a new development this afternoon, the protest will end temporarily as leaders from the region will have a meeting on Monday with Newfoundland and Labrador.
Speaking this afternoon with Wanda Beaudoin, Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, and Randy Jones, Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, CFBS was informed that a meeting will take place on Monday with local leaders on the Lower North Shore, Randy Jones and Wanda Beaudoin, as well as with Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball, Minister Hon. Lisa Dempster, and Mayor and Chairperson of the Combined Councils of Labrador, Mr. Chad Letto of L'anse au Clair. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the protest and what can be done in regards to possibly granting access to residents of the Lower North Shore. This may not mean that a solution will be quickly at hand, however this will be the first part of talks to take place since the protest began yesterday morning.
CFBS was also made aware this afternoon that Quebec Premier, François Legault, has been made aware of the protest situation in Blanc-Sablon. No word yet on if communication between the two provinces will take place to address to concerns of the region.
Protest organizer, Melissa Lavallee, said the protest was arranged because many people of the area are upset at not being able to have ease of access to Newfoundland island. Many from the region depend on having access to essential services in Newfoundland, like eye exams, veterinary services, access to major retailers for school supplies, as well as access for those who contribute to the economy of Newfoundland from the Lower North Shore by having property or cottages on Newfoundland island.
Keep in mind that since the middle of June, the border check point between our two provinces was lifted at L’anse au Clair/Blanc-Sablon by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, giving residents of the Blanc-Sablon area access to neighboring Labrador communities. However, to have access to Newfoundland, residents outside of the Atlantic bubble would have to apply on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website for an exemption order to be allowed to travel to the island. Which does not guarantee that all who apply will be accepted for exemption.
So far today, the two crossings at Blanc-Sablon have been delayed for the Qajaq W. and for now, the protest will hold until the pending outcome of Monday's meeting.
More to come ....
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 16, 2020 - A Table Discussion Between the Mayors of Blanc-Sablon and L'anse au Clair with CFBS radio
CFBS was speaking with the Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, Wanda Beaudoin, and the Mayor of L'anse au Clair, Chad Letto, about the following topics:
Listen to the interview with Mayor Beaudoin and Mayor Letto by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 16, 2020 – BLANC-SABLON, QC.
* NOTE THIS IS A DEVELOPING STORY BEING UPDATED *
Local residents from the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, approximately 20 in total, gathered peacefully at the federal wharf this morning in Blanc-Sablon since 6:00 am to protest not being able to have ease of access to Newfoundland island. They have delayed the Qajaq W. from offloading the vehicles and passengers, as well as delayed the turn around departure to St. Barbe, Newfoundland.
Since the middle of June, the border check point between our two provinces was lifted at L’anse au Clair/Blanc-Sablon by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, giving residents of Quebec’s Lower North shore access to neighboring Labrador communities. However, to have access to Newfoundland, residents outside of the Atlantic bubble would have to apply on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador website for an exemption order to be allowed to travel to the island.
On July 6th, CFBS reported on the information from Labrador Marine Inc. stating that residents of Blanc-Sablon and area could travel without a requirement for exemption. Then two days later on July 8th, Labrador Marine Inc. issued an update on their website stating: "There seems to be a miscommunication regarding people wanting to travel from Blanc Sablon & area on the Qajaq W. Until the process is clarified LMI will require an essential service letter or exemption from CMO of NL from those residents. Failure to provide same will result in denial of access to the vessel.” When CFBS spoke with Dave Leyden, Operation’s Manager for Labrador Marine Inc., later by email to inquire as to why the request for exemption was once again in place, he said: “The info we had previously from the Gov said travel for Blanc Sablon and area people was allowed without documentation. Apparently there is some miscommunication between Gov departments on this. Therefore, we have had put the documentation requirement back in place.”
CFBS also reached out to Premier Dwight Ball’s office on the matter, asking why was the direction given and then seemed to have been backtracked shortly thereafter. The information received by email from the Premier’s office, although not giving much more information, was that residents of Blanc-Sablon who want to travel to the island of Newfoundland are still required to apply for an exemption to travel and that his had not changed.
CFBS was at the protest this morning to speak with the protest participants and ferry goers. Melissa Lavallee from Blanc-Sablon, who is part of the peaceful protest, had this to say about their purpose today in delaying the ferry service: “People have been travelling back and forth through our area (Quebec), stop in our stores, then go back to Newfoundland in the same day and not even follow quarantine, but we can’t even get on the ferry! It makes no sense. I don’t think that the Newfoundland Government even knows where we are located. From Old Fort to Blanc-Sablon, we are limited to 60 km’s of road, we have had 0 confirmed cases of COVID here since the beginning of the pandemic! We have to think of the stress on mental health for everyone. We have had a lot of community support as well, from the Mayor, the SQ, and others.”
CFBS also spoke with travellers from Labrador who were waiting in Blanc-Sablon this morning to cross on the Qajaq W. to Newfoundland. Many seemed to understand the reason why the local residents of the area were upset. One gentleman, who preferred to be unnamed, told me that if people can come into Quebec as they please, then it should be the same the other way, then quoted “If it is good for the goose, it should be good for the gander.”
As of 9:30 am this morning, the protesters have allowed the gates to open to offload the passengers and vehicles from the St. Barbe arrival earlier this morning. As of that time however, there was no departing vehicles yet allowed to load on the ferry from Blanc-Sablon.
UPDATE 10:35 AM: Vehicles were being allowed to load the Qajaq W. for the departure from Blanc-Sablon, Quebec to St. Barbe, Newfoundland. CFBS had been informed that the protest will continue during the next scheduled crossing this afternoon at 2:30 pm local time.
Speaking by email this morning with Dave Leyden, Operation's Manager of Labrador Marine Inc., Mr. Leyden had this to say about the protest ongoing: "There’s nothing LMI can do as regards this situation. We operate the service under contract to the NL Provincial Government and as such are handling COVID19 as per direction given."
UPDATE 2:55 PM: The protest continues at the federal wharf in Blanc-Sablon with the arrival of the 2nd ferry crossing of the day from St. Barbe, Newfoundland. The protesters, now 22 in total, have agreed to allow the ferry to offload and then they will delay the loading of the ferry for departure for an undetermined amount of time.
UPDATE 4:15 PM: Labrador Marine Inc. employees were permitted to load the vessel for departure from Blanc-Sablon by the protesters. This was the last departure from Blanc-Sablon for the day. CFBS was informed by Melissa Lavallee, organizer, that the protest will continue tomorrow morning at the federal wharf in Blanc-Sablon.
CFBS will continue to follow the updates from the protest at the federal wharf in Blanc-Sablon.
NEWS - JULY 14, 2020 - THE SONGS OF LOVE FOUNDATION SPREADS JOY TO CHILDREN WITH PERSONALIZED SONGS DURING HEALTH OR LIFE CHALLENGES ONE SONG AT A TIME
In April of 2018, I had the pleasure of meeting a lady named Heidi at the Give Kids the World Village resort in Kissimmee, Florida, during our daughter's Make A Wish trip to Disney World. Our 8 year old daughter, Khloe, was born with special needs as well as a rare epilepsy syndrome called HHE, which has contributed to many health complications. Heidi was at Give Kids the World on behalf of The Songs of Love Foundation, a nonprofit organization that creates free, personalized, original songs to uplift children and teens currently facing tough medical, physical or emotional challenges.
The talented team was kind enough to create for our Khloe a beautiful personalized song, this song has and continues to make her smile, laugh, clap, and dance with joy each time that we have played it for her. It has been a magical experience, one that has meant a lot to us, and will forever be cherished as a part of our journey. We were lucky to have received a second song this year just in time for her 8th birthday, which was super special to us. Each “song of love” is professionally produced with lyrics containing the child’s name and references to all of his or her favorite activities, things, people, and pets. Songs are written and performed in any language in the musical style that the child likes best (kids, pop, R&B, rap, rock, alternative, etc.), by many talented singer/songwriters.
Listen to my interview with The Songs of Love CEO and Founder, John Beltzer, by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview). As well, take a moment to listen to the personalized song that was created for our daughter Khloe, so you can understand how much love, dedication, and work is put into each Song of Love by the singers, songwriters, musicians, and everyone at the foundation.
With many personal thanks to The Songs of Love Foundation, and special thanks to the songwriters: Rebecca, Marti, Nicole and Julia as well as to the orchestra leaders: Lee and Toby Cooperman.
If you know a child or teen that is currently facing a tough medical, physical or emotional challenge, give them the joy of having a personalized song by contacting the Songs of Love Foundation. Here is the link to the online song request form: https://www.songsoflove.org/request-a-song/
Be sure to check out the Songs of Love website: https://www.songsoflove.org
Songs of Love on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SongsOfLove
Songs of Love on Twitter: https://twitter.com/songsoflove
Songs of Love on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/songsoflovefdn
Songs of Love on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/songsoflovefdn
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 13, 2020 - QUEBEC ANNOUNCES MANDATORY WEARING OF A MASK INDOORS IN ALL PUBLIC PLACES ACROSS THE PROVINCE ON JULY 18TH
At the daily press brief this afternoon, Premier François Legault announced the mandatory wearing of masks in all indoor public places. This new government requirement will begin on Saturday July 18th for all public businesses across the province.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 13, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
An update from the Administrator of the Centre de Services Scolaire du Littoral, Philip Joycey, regarding:
Listen to the interview with Mr. Joycey by clicking on the sound file below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
Residents of the Blanc-Sablon Area Once Again Need an Exemption or Essential Service Letter to Cross on the Qajaq W.
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 8, 2020 - MUNICIPALITIES OF BLANC-SABLON TO BONNE-ESPERENCE
Residents from the Blanc-Sablon area to Old Fort once again are requested to have an exemption or essential services letter to be able to book passage on the Qajaq W. ferry to Newfoundland island.
CFBS was made aware of the change this morning as a statement is now posted on the Labrador Marine Inc. website stating: "There seems to be a miscommunication regarding people wanting to travel from Blanc Sablon & area on the Qajaq W. Until the process is clarified LMI will require an essential service letter or exemption from CMO of NL from those residents. Failure to provide same will result in denial of access to the vessel. "
CFBS was trying to get clarification on why this change has once again taken place. We were speaking by email with Dave Leyden, Operation's Manager at Labrador Marine Inc. on Monday July 6th, at that time he stated that passengers from the Blanc-Sablon area are permitted without a requirement for exemption. When I asked if the communities to Old Fort are also included, Mr. Leyden stated that Labrador Marine Inc. would not turn anyone away from that area. He also noted at the time that this only meant that the ferry would allow passage, anyone travelling would still need to confirm with the Newfoundland government for any quarantine requirements.
In an update by email this morning to CFBS, Dave Leyden, Operation's Manager at Labrador Marine Inc. gave an update on the situation. He stated: "The info we had previously from Gov said travel for Blanc Sablon and area people was allowed without documentation. Apparently there is some miscommunication between Gov departments on this. Therefore we have had to put the documentation requirement back in place. Labradormarine.com has now been updated with this requirement. We will update the website again once we have full clarification that travel is allowed."
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 6, 2020 - LOURDES-DE-BLANC-SABLON, QC.
There is a new resident of Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon who is getting quite the welcome from locals, meet Warrior the paint horse! Warrior is the newest addition to the Letemplier/Jones family of Lourdes, owned most lovingly by Carlie Letemplier and her parents Daniel Letemplier and Joanne Jones. Warrior is a 5 year old male paint horse, affectionate and friendly, he greets those who stop by, intrigued by his visitors, and interested in sniffing you out to say hello!
I had the pleasure of stopping by over the weekend with my 8 year old daughter to meet Warrior, an absolutely beautiful animal, who loves all the attention that he receives. But if stopping by, please respect the family rules of not feeding Warrior or touching him without the family being present, to ensure his safety and yours. My daughter was wearing a straw cowboy hat, I think Warrior was eyeing it as a snack as he kept sniffing it. My daughter laughed hysterically when while I was taking a selfie with Warrior, he licked my ear.
So how did Warrior come to call Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon his home? Joanne Jones explained that as a small child, their daughter Carlie Letemplier was always obsessed with horses. Her Pepe told her that if she still loved horses by the age of 12, that he would get her a horse and build her a stable. That interest and passion never went away, and so began the story of Carlie and her Warrior.
Dad (Daniel Letemplier) and Grandpas (Kevin Letemplier and Normand Jones) along with Uncle Jason Jones got to work on building the horse's barn and stable area. The family began looking for a horse at the stable in Reefs Harbour, Newfoundland. The owners of the stable had 3 beautiful horses, but Warrior was the most affectionate and really loved attention from people. Once it was decided that Warrior would be the newest member of their family, there was a bit of juggle to get him over to Blanc-Sablon with all the restrictions of COVID-19, but he finally made it here in June.
Carlie can be seen riding Warrior along the waterfront in Lourdes, he has been welcomed with lots of excitement to his new home, the local grocery store brings him veggies and fruit, everyone is very excited to see such a magnificent animal. Warrior will be with the Letemplier/Jones family until October or November where after he will winter back in Reefs Harbour, Newfoundland due to the cold climate here, but then will return next spring to Lourdes.
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 6, 2020 - MUNICIPALITIES OF BLANC-SABLON & BONNE-ESPERENCE
Residents of Blanc-Sablon to Old Fort can now book ferry passage from Blanc-Sablon, Quebec to St. Barbe on Newfoundland island with Labrador Marine Inc.. Important to note however, after mixed information being received this morning on exactly which communities are allowed to reserve ferry passage, is that for the time being ferry bookings do not seem to include the rest of the Lower North Shore municipalities. So specifically, residents living in the Municipalities of Blanc-Sablon (including Blanc-Sablon, Lourdes-de-Blanc-Sablon & Bradore) and Bonne-Esperance (including Middle Bay, St. Paul's & Old Fort) may book passage to St. Barbe, but at this time the rest of the Lower North Shore are not confirmed to be able to cross on the ferry.
Speaking this afternoon with Dave Leyden, Operation's Manager at Labrador Marine Inc., he said that passengers from the Blanc-Sablon area are permitted without a requirement for exemption. When I asked if the communities to Old Fort are also included, Mr. Leyden stated that Labrador Marine Inc. won’t turn anyone away from that area. He also noted that this only means that the ferry will allow passage, anyone travelling would need to confirm with the Newfoundland government for any quarantine requirements.
CFBS was also informed today that some Quebecers from our area are having trouble with being accepted for accommodations on the island even after being told that they are allowed to travel to Newfoundland by ferry. With this being a problem for some, it would be good to keep in mind to verify all details of your travel itinerary to the island before booking a passage to ensure your plans will not experience any set backs due to COVID-19 restrictions in another province. Keep in mind that the province is not open to Quebec residents right now as we are not included in the Atlantic bubble. This may change around July 17th with the new announcement from the Newfoundland government.
LOCAL NEWS - JULY 1, 2020 - MAYOR WANDA BEAUDOIN GIVES AN UPDATE TO THE POPULATION
An update from the Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, Wanda Beaudoin, regarding:
Listen to the interview with Mayor Beaudoin by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
Possibility of border control point being lifted to Labrador may not be announced until June 8th at the earliest
LOCAL NEWS - JUNE 2, 2020 - BORDER INFO CLARIFICATION AND AN UPDATE FOR THE POPULATIONS
CFBS was speaking this afternoon with the Mayor of L'anse au Clair and chair person for the Combined Councils of Labrador, Mr. Chad Letto, about the questions being asked about lifting the local border patrol controlled by the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador, and also received some information to clarify for the population about crossing the border and what is expected by Newfoundland/Labradorians upon your return into the province from Quebec.
For residents of Newfoundland/Labrador, you should only be crossing the border into Quebec for essential reasons, to which when you return you do not need to isolate. Shopping is not considered an essential reason for cross border travel into Quebec, should you cross for this reason, upon return, you would be required to isolate for 14 days. Ferry arrivals from the island should direct themselves to the border without stopping at stores in the community of Blanc-Sablon, in order to avoid isolation requirements, as well as those crossing the border from Labrador to go to the ferry terminal in Blanc-Sablon.
Mayor Letto also wanted to express his understanding to the concerns from people of both Southern Labrador and neighbors on Quebec's Lower North Shore on wanting to see life return to normal and cross border interaction to resume as it was prior to the pandemic. Mr. Letto acknowledged that these times are trying for everyone, but expresses the need for patience from the populations as local leaders work together to try and find a solution to the border control point still in place, while respecting the health and safety of everyone in Newfoundland/Labrador and in the neighboring border communities of Quebec.
Meetings continue to take place with elected officials on the Lower North Shore and leaders in Labrador, a positive dialogue continues in this direction. As well, a meeting is scheduled with Premier Dwight Ball and the leaders of Labrador communities this weekend on Saturday June 6th to discuss this file. However, at this time, nothing will be considered for the possible lifting of any border restrictions until June 8th during the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador COVID-19 press brief when the moving to level 3 in the province will be considered. Important again to note, this is the earliest date that this announcement may be made, but does not mean that the control point will be lifted on this date.
LOCAL NEWS - JUNE 2, 2020 - JOIN THE FUN ON COMMUNITY CLEAN UP DAY!
June 5th is World Environment Day and to celebrate, the Coasters Association is inviting the communities of the Lower North Shore to participate in a Community Clean Up Day!
CFBS was speaking today with Marilyn Moffat, Youth Engagement Coordinator, and Chelsey Thomas, Director of Youth Development at the Coasters Association, about the great initiative they are working on to get people interested in cleaning up their communities and to be proud of the beautiful places we call home by getting involved!
Garbage bags are being supplied in each community at the Municipal offices and at certain stores all along the Lower North Shore! To find out more, listen to the interview with Ms. Moffat and Ms. Thomas by clicking on the sound file below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS - JUNE 1, 2020 - COASTERS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER BORDER ENTRY REFUSALS
"Why can't us Coasters cross over the border today into Labrador if our neighbors in Labrador can now come and shop freely in Blanc-Sablon? We have had 0 COVID-19 cases on the Lower North Shore since the beginning of the pandemic!"
This is the pressing question and statement of the day, which was asked over and over to CFBS this morning by residents of the Lower North Shore. CFBS has been flooded with phone calls and messages since opening the station this morning, as news quickly spread that the Quebec controlled check point at the border in Blanc-Sablon was removed early this morning. Hello Big Land? Not just yet. Residents on the Quebec side of the border were upset to find out that this still meant that entry into neighboring Labrador would not be permitted, as the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador check point was still in place.
So what does this mean?
Quebec has lifted check point restrictions for the Lower North Shore, Blanc-Sablon and Kegaska, to continue with the province's plan of deconfinement. Residents can now travel from one area to the next, but recommendation to limit travel to essential is still given as a suggestion. If you travel outside of your region, self isolation is now recommended to Quebecers, but no longer mandatory.
Why can't we go to Labrador?
Labrador's guidelines for travel have not yet changed to welcome in non-essential travel from outside the province. That means, for now, it is a no to taking a pleasure ride for shopping and taking in some beautiful Labrador scenery. CFBS was speaking this morning with Wanda Beaudoin, Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, she confirmed that a meeting had taken place today between local leaders on both sides of the border to have a discussion about the remaining Labrador/Quebec border check point controlled by the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador. The general consensus of the meeting seemed to be positive, as was also confirmed by Lisa Dempster, MHA for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair, on a social media post on her Facebook page. But this does not mean that we will be seeing this check point lifted in the next day or so, another meeting was to take place tonight between the local leaders and then at the end of the week with Premier Dwight Ball, as mentioned today at the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador COVID-19 press briefing.
CFBS also attended this press briefing to address questions about the Quebec/Labrador border in neighboring Blanc-Sablon/L'Anse au Clair, and if we could get a timeline of when it will be lifted for Quebecers to gain entry. Although positive comments were made by Premier Ball addressing the close ties of the border communities, importance of cross border business and the camaredie of Labrador South with the Lower North Shore in not seeing a border between our two provinces, one important factor remains, Quebec right now has more cases and as their neighbor, Newfoundland/Labrador will have to take this into consideration.
Upon questioning, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, also stated that non essential travel by Newfoundland or Labradorian residents into a non-bordering community of Quebec would require 14 days of isolation and also discussed the cross border understanding that was in place for essential workers, students attending school and those seeking essential services. But the answer was not clear when CFSB asked Dr. Fitzpatrick about Labrador residents coming into Quebec for shopping since the border is now open for them to enter into Quebec, as once again essential movement was mentioned, however reports from locals today state that many Labrador residents were seen at the local stores in Blanc-Sablon, raising many questions by local residents.
So is the border being monitored by the Government of Newfoundland/Labradaor patrol on a 24 hour basis? The answer currently is no.
At 4:40 pm (Quebec time), CFBS went to the border to check in on how things were going to find no one was there. The Government of Newfoundland/Labrador check point is not currently being patrolled from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am (NFLD time). With this knowledge widely being shared on social media, the question raised by many is: Does this make sense to tell Quebecers that they cannot enter for non-essential reasons during the day, but no one is there to enforce the rules at night?
Important to note, a local resident of Blanc-Sablon was at the Quebec/Labrador border location while I was there watching the passing traffic. He told me that he was taking a tally of Quebec and Labrador license plates and the direction of movement. After a 1 hour time frame from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm (Quebec time), this was the traffic that he had noted:
It is not clear however on the purpose of travel for these vehicles, if they were indeed those travelling for essential cross border reasons. But one has to wonder if leaving people to decide themselves on if they should cross the border during non-patrolled hours is the right approach to take.
CFBS will continue to follow the developments at the local Quebec/ Labrador border as they unfold.
LOCAL NEWS - JUNE 1, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
CFBS was at the Quebec/ Labrador border this morning to verify if the check point has now been removed there, which was being patrolled by the Sûreté du Québec under provincial directives since March 28, 2020.
Speaking this morning with Officer Jonathan Harvey with the Sûreté du Québec in Blanc-Sablon, he has confirmed that the check points they were patrolling are now removed at the Quebec/Labrador border, the federal dock, and the airport in Blanc-Sablon, as well as the control point in Kegaska.
Officer Harvey also stated that the Sûreté du Québec will continue their presence at all prior check point areas for sensitization of the population, as well as to ensure peace and safety. The region is now open, so now isolation from travel outside the region is recommended, but not mandatory. Also, should anyone have any questions regarding travel, or info about COVID-19, please call the Info COVID-19 line at 1-877-644-4545.
Speaking this morning with Wanda Beaudoin, Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, she informed me that a meeting had taken place today that she had attended by phone with with Lisa Dempster, MHA for Cartwright-L'Anse au Clair, Chad Letto, Mayor of L'anse au Clair and Chair Person for the Combined Councils of Labrador, representatives from the Newfoundland/Labrador health department, along with Mayor Roderick Fequet of the Municipality of Bonne-Espérance, and Warden Randy Jones of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent. Mayor Beaudoin said the purpose of the meeting was to have a discussion about the remaining Labrador/Quebec border check point controlled by the Government of Newfoundland/Labrador.
Mayor Beaudoin said that she feels it was a positive table discussion. All the information gathered from this meeting will now be presented to Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Newfoundland and Labrador's chief medical officer of Health.
Mayor Beaudoin also expressed her disappointment that the information regarding the border being open was made aware to her by a news story shared on social media, rather than a call to notify her office or the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent in advance regarding the Lower North Shore check points, as would be expected as leaders of the region.
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 28, 2020 - MAYOR WANDA BEAUDOIN GIVES AN UPDATE TO THE POPULATION
An update from the Mayor of the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, Wanda Beaudoin, regarding:
Listen to the interview with Mayor Beaudoin by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 21, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
CFBS was speaking today with Gabrielle Anderson-Shattler, the new member coordinator at Voyages Coste. Working from Chevery, Gabrielle will be able to assist members of Coste with marketing strategies, member development, and contribute with the implementation of a three year development plan among other things.
Listen to the interview with Ms. Anderson-Shattler by clicking on the sound file below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS – MAY 13, 2020: NORTH SHORE – CISSS PRESS BRIEF COVERAGE
A press briefing was held this afternoon by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord (CISSS de la Côte-Nord) regarding the COVID-19 situation on the North Shore.
Coasters have been asking if there is a date set for the opening up of the Lower North Shore check points, especially since the Premier began giving dates for the lifting some road blocks this month. At the CISSS de la Côte-Nord press briefing today, it was stated that Public Health has extended dates for the road check points in Blanc-Sablon, Kegaska, Sacré-Coeur, and Tadoussac, until at least May 31st. The roadblock east of Sept-Îles will be moved to Kegaska by Friday, opening up the Minganie MRC.
This decision that was announced this afternoon by Deputy Director General, Dyane Benoît, was approved earlier this morning by most of the elected leaders of the Côte-Nord. For the Lower North Shore, the date of lifting the control points remains undetermined. All residents are asked to continue the integration of social distancing measures, and to avoid any gatherings outside of household units.
The importance of wearing an artisanal mask in public settings was also discussed, especially in situations where a person cannot respect the social distancing of 2 meters. To do shopping, if wearing an artisanal mask, it can give better protection to you and those around you. Hand washing and and social distancing cannot be stressed enough, those with any symptoms are reminded to call 1-877-644-4545.
Dr. Richard Facheoun, medical consultant to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, also gave an an update regarding a new COVID-19 case confirmed on the North Shore today in MRC of Sept-Rivières. It has been two weeks that the North Shore had no new cases announced, until today. Although it is important to note that with the opening of regions, the CISSS had already stated that a reemergence of cases could be expected. Of the 114 confirmed cases currently on the North Shore, 109 are cured as of today, leaving only 5 active cases in the region. Residents of the Lower North Shore can expect to see increased COVID testing in the coming days, as the CISSS plans to increase testing in isolated areas throughout the North Shore. The goal is to watch the spread of the virus. The testing will take place in schools, workplaces and the penitentiary as well.
Caregivers were also mentioned in the press brief today, caregivers are reminded to watch their health for symptoms of COVID-19, and should they feel ill, to not present themselves at their post. To answer questions from the population about family caregivers integration into family work areas, you are invited to call 1-833-677-6243.
With the fact that the Lower North Shore has had 0 COVID cases since the beginning of the pandemic, many local residents have been asking CFBS to inquire if some restrictions could be lifted within the Lower North Shore territory, like possibly allowing small social gatherings of 5 people, or if seniors could have some of their restrictions lifted, like a visit from a family member. The response to this question today from Dr. Ricahrd Facheoun is: “We are currently evaluating several options and as soon as a decision is made it will be communicated to the provincial level very quickly.”
Information was also requested by CFBS regarding those who travel off the territory. For example: If you live in a household with a person who has just traveled to say, Quebec City, the traveler is being asked to isolate upon return. But, the other members of the household who did not travel are not required to isolate as well. This leaves many questions as to why the whole household unit does not need to isolate.
Dr. Facheoun stated that isolation after returning from a trip outside of the region is "preventive isolation." So, the other family members who have not traveled do not need to be in solitary confinement. However, if the person in isolation has symptoms, is tested or becomes ill, then the other members will be in isolation as well.
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 12, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
CFBS was in contact last week with the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord (CISSS de la Côte-Nord) regarding information on important questions that were sent in to CFBS by our listening audience. The questions are regarding different COVID-19 situations for the population of the Lower North Shore, and what protocols are in place for these situations.
Pascal Paradis, Communications advisor, Human Resources, Communications and Legal Affairs for the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, responded by email with the answers, the following is his response to our inquiries after consulting with Public Health:
1. What is the position of the CISSS regarding health measures for the fisherman of the Lower North Shore returning to the water with a lack of essential services at the wharves they will be docked at, like running water and washrooms? Do you feel this will fit within the health requirements?
Answer: Measures were discussed with the MRC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the CISSS and the Fisherman’s Association, to everyone’s satisfaction, and they will be implemented.
2. Will there be isolation requirements asked of fishermen when returning home if they fished in another region?
Answer: A protocol was set out and measures are provided in this regard; otherwise, isolation is recommended outside work.
3. There are families in each community that have special situations where they should be allowed to visit another family member's home, like humane reasons, or for those with decreased mental health. Is the CISSS working with public health to allow certain situations to be approved with the local authorities?
Answer: We are awaiting developments in this regard. If there are critical situations, such as humanitarian reasons, mental health, etc., the CISSS must be contacted in order to implement the appropriate measures.
4. Following the death of a COVID patient if they are from the Lower North Shore, can their body be repatriated back to their community and if so, would the body need to be cremated or embalmed?
Answer: Yes, the body can be repatriated, based on the acceptance of air carriers and following their conditions. The INSPQ published regulations and recommendations on that matter. There is no obligation to cremate the body if safe transportation is possible. However, the time factor poses a limit, because according to the protocol, we have 48 hours to dispose of a body that was refrigerated but not embalmed.
5. If a COVID patient passes away in a community without crematory services, is there a burial protocol that would have to be adhered to, can there be transmission of the virus from a deceased body?
Answer: Yes, according to the regulations published by the INSPQ, there may be a risk of transmission from a deceased body; that is why we must follow the INSPQ regulations.
6. Is the CISSS currently working on a deconfinement plan for the Lower North Shore, or are we not yet at this stage in planning for the Lower North Shore?
Answer: The different steps are currently being set out, based on the provincial plan. More details to come.
CFBS thanks Pascal Paradis for taking the time to answer the questions we had sent. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19 or symptoms, you can call 1-877-644-4545 or local 1-418-644-4545.
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 8, 2020 - BLANC-SABLON, QC. TO OLD FORT BAY, QC.
A simple thank you seems so inadequate to thank all of the essential employees who are risking their lives during these challenging times to make sure that our families are safe. CFBS decided that it was only fitting to honour all the essential and front line workers in our broadcast audience, from Blanc-Sablon to Old Fort Bay, by hosting an Essential Workers Day on our airwaves beginning at 8am this morning. Listeners were treated to speeches from local leaders; the Mayor of Blanc-Sablon, Wanda Beaudoin, the Mayor of Bonne-Espérance, Roderick Fequet, the Warden of the MRC du Golfe du Saint-Laurent, Mr. Randy Jones, as well as a message of thanks to the local essential workers from the Coasters Association.
The event was a day filled with great music, many talented local artists from the Lower North Shore submitted songs to CFBS after a request was placed on the Facebook group for Lower North Shore talent called 'Back Home Connection.' There were so many awesome songs sent to us that we just have to share them with you, scroll to the end of this article the hear the speeches and music. Even our dear friend, Newfoundland artist Jim Payne, joined in on the honouring. Jim sent us a special song as well for the event, which you can find below. The audience were also invited to send in special messages to the essential workers and local businesses expressing their thanks.
CFBS invited the communities to submit the names of local essential workers since the beginning of this week on our Facebook page. In total, almost 300 names were submitted of residents from Old Fort to Blanc-Sablon. The names were entered into our prize draw of fabulous items donated by the communities and municipalities for the workers. A huge thank you to: Velma Butt, Melvina Maurice, Viola Ryland, Sherry Lee Letto, Lloyd Hobbs, Betty Hobbs, Dorothy Griffin, Lois Woodland, Lorraine Griffin, Koren Wellman, the Municipality of Bonne-Espérance, and the Municipality of Blanc-Sablon, for the generous donations of the prizes.
To the essential workers, we thank you for your commitment and dedication; thank you for your compassion, collaboration, and courage; thank you for providing care and the much needed local services, most importantly, thank you for giving us hope and bringing us light during these times of uncertainty and fear. You are the true heroes and we appreciate you and your sacrifices, more than words can say. From all your friends at CFBS radio.
Listen to the speeches and songs by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the file).
Speeches and messages from local leaders for the event:
Songs from talented artists for the event:
Thanks again to all from CFBS radio for making our event fabulous!
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 7, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
Parents on the Lower North Shore were faced with a very big decision recently, regarding if the time was right to send their children back to school. The Littoral school board begins school again on Monday May 11th, on a voluntary basis for primary students. Many parents have been voicing their opinions on the matter on social media, some are for, some are against the idea, and others are deciding to take the wait and see approach on if the time is right.
Students will have to adapt to the new reality of school life during the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many parents to question how the children will accept the new restrictions that they will have to follow with social distancing of 2 metres, increased hygiene measures, and no extracurricular activities among other changes. The school board will have a new routine of hygiene measures to prevent an infection in the CSL schools. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers will be available throughout the schools for easy access.
A letter sent to parents last week from the Administrator of the CSL, Mr. Philip Joycey, stressed that "A safe, healthy and successful return to school is our priority."
CFBS reached out to Mr. Joycey to inquire on the projected attendance numbers of the CSL schools to reflect what is the amount of students returning to classes on Monday. Here is the breakdown by percentage of students in each CSL school sent to CFBS by email from Mr. Joycey, CSL Administrator:
Ecole Kegaska - Kegaska - 100%
Ecole St. Joseph - Port Menier - 100%
Ecole Gabriel Dionne - Tête-à-la-Baleine - 100%
Ecole Mecatina - La Tabatiere - 92 %
Ecole Scheffer - Blanc Sablon - 39 %
Ecole St. Augustine - St Augustine - 64%
Ecole Harrington - Harrington Harbour - 50%
Ecole Netagamiou - Chevery - 50%
Ecole Mountain Ridge - Old Fort Bay - 12%
By email, My. Joycey also stated that parents whose children are not currently registered, must notify the school one week in advance of sending their child back to school. On-line resources will still be available until the end of the school year.
Important to note, secondary school students at this time will not be returning to class under the current guidelines. However, secondary students are to be contacted by their teachers, as well as to receive educational materials at home.
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 6, 2020 - NORTH SHORE
A search is underway currently in Minganie for survivors following an incident on the water involving a canoe that saw 2 individuals sent overboard into the water on the Petite Rivière du Milieu.
Speaking with Denis Chartier of the Sûreté du Québec in Blanc-Sablon this morning, he confirmed that the SQ is currently involved in the search. Mr. Chartier said that 1 man is currently missing from Natashquan following the accident, the other individual involved was found alive, the current state of his health is not known.
Mr. Chartier also said that a Sûreté du Québec helicopter from Baie-Comeau is on its way to the area from Baie-Johan-Beetz and Aguanish to assist in the search for the still missing individual as well as a team of divers.
The local Rangers are also assisting in the search effort. More to come ....
Warden of the MRC, Mr. Randy Jones, not pleased with DFO's decision to go ahead with the fishery for our region
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 3, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
The Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, Mr. Randy Jones, is not pleased with the recent decision of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to go ahead with the fishery on the Lower North Shore. Fishermen in Eastern Quebec were asking Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to postpone the fishing season to ensure workers and residents of small fishing towns aren't unnecessarily exposed to COVID-19.
CFBS obtained a copy of the email written on May 1, 2020 to Minister Jonatan Julien, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Minister Responsible for the Côte-Nord Region, which was written by Warden Randy Jones, expressing his displeasure with the recent refusal of the request of the Association of fishermen of the Lower North Shore to close the fishing season for 2020 on the Lower North Shore territory.
In the email, Mr. Jones stated the following:
"I have just been informed that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has said no to the request of the Association of fishermen of the Lower North Shore to close the fishing for 2020 on our territory. I am insulted and completely disappointed with this decision.
Everyday, we see the Prime Minister of Canada in front of the cameras telling people how important it is to comply with government guidelines. The 2 meters distancing, to wash hands, and stay in isolation. It is the same thing for our Premier of Quebec. It's always the same message. The amount of people becoming infected continues to increase and our province has double the numbers with more population like Ontario. As of yesterday, 944 more cases. I know I'm not a genius, but there's something wrong with this picture.
We have been in isolation for almost two months and the fishing season will open and now no isolation with the boats from Newfoundland, the boats of Sept-Iles, of the Magdalen Islands, and all the other villages that will end up in Kegaska. We have been informed that just for unloading on the dock, they are going to have 27 people, not counting fishermen. In addition, Hydro Quebec is about to return with another 100 people to continue their work on electrical line. The population of this village will triple.
The Lower North Shore has 16 villages, and for all practical purposes, they are 16 CHSLD's. From Kegaska to Blanc Sablon, we are all an endangered population. And I sincerely believe that with the actions taken by our governments the last nails have just been put in our coffin.
Fisheries and Oceans and MAPAQ did not consider it important to consult us to find out if we were able to comply with the guidelines in place by the authorities. From Kegaska to Blanc Sablon, there is no dock that is able to give showers and toilet for fishermen. Not just one, but none of them. Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans, and MAPAQ, are all in the same boat and are too concerned about politics, rather than doing the right thing.
That Being said, for the safety of my population, I ask for an emergency meeting with our two Deputies, Our Minister of Regions, the Minister of MAPAQ, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans. and our Doctor of Public Health, Dr. Trepanier. In addition, the director and president of the Associations of fishermen. It's really not right to endanger the lives of our people." - Email from Mr. Randy Jones, Mayor of Gros Mecatina and Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent.
Speaking with Mr. Jones this morning, he informed me that he is in the process of having a meeting this afternoon with Marilène Gill, Vice-Chair on the Standing Committee of Fisheries and Oceans, with Dyane Benoit, the Deputy Director General of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, with Marc Fortin, the President Director General of the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, and possibly Dr. Stéphane Trépanier, the Public Health expert. In this meeting, Mr. Jones hopes that they can try to find a solution to this pressing situation.
Mr. Jones said that this a serious health issue to the Lower North Shore people, "We are not ok to send our population out on the waters and fish in these conditions, then to return home and to possibly put their families in danger" he added.
CFBS will continue to follow this story, more details to come.
"If we are going to make a mistake, but on the side of safety, then I can live with that" says Randy Jones, Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent about keeping the LNS check points in place
LOCAL NEWS - MAY 1, 2020 - LOWER NORTH SHORE
An update for the Lower North Shore from the Warden of the MRC du Golfe-du-Saint-Laurent, Mr. Randy Jones. We discussed the position of the MRC on opening up the Lower North Shore check points, ongoing issues with the fishery, and requests for vehicles to be transported on the M/V Bella Desgagnés, which is operated by Relais Nordik Inc.
Listen to the interview with Mr. Jones by clicking on the sound files below (click on the speaker icon next to the sound file and a media player will open up to hear the interview).
LOCAL NEWS - APRIL 30, 2020: NORTH SHORE – CISSS PRESS BRIEF COVERAGE
A press briefing was held this afternoon by the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de la Côte-Nord (CISSS de la Côte-Nord) regarding the COVID-19 situation on the North Shore. The press briefing was led by Ms. Dyane Benoît, the Deputy Director General, Dr. Richard Fachehoun, medical consultant to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord, and Dr. Stéphane Trépanier, Public Health expert.
Ms. Dyane Benoît, Deputy Director General, opened the briefing by speaking about the recent announcement by the Government of Quebec for the planned opening of certain regions of the province. For the North Shore, the planned opening will be on May 18th, Minganie and the Lower North Shore’s control points will remain without an opening date at this time. The CISSS asks that people avoid travel from one region to the other if not essential. Working from home is still encouraged if possible.
Preventative measures are still asked to be respected; such as social distancing of 2 metres, and hand washing. Public gatherings continue to be prohibited, even with the re-opening of regions and nicer weather, we must abstain from this.
With regards to activities resuming with many businesses, the population is invited to visit the website of l'Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) at www.inspq.qc.ca for proper measures to be put in place for businesses and shops for their re-opening. There are printable checklists and prevention guides for all workplaces. These tools are for employers and employees of all sectors. The CISSS is preparing in the coming days/weeks to support the concerned partners of businesses that will be opening, schools and daycare centres.
The CISSS de la Côte-Nord is counting on the responsibility of all to respect the instructions put in place since the beginning of the pandemic.
There were no new cases this week on the North Shore, stated Dr. Richard Fachehoun, medical consultant to the CISSS de la Côte-Nord. “You know, it’s true that we have started the progressive adjustments.”
According to Dr. Fachehoun, there will need to be three conditions to optimize results for the progressive adjustments:
Dr. Fachehoun would like to remind the population that the actions of individuals is important for limiting the transmission of COVID-19, especially during the adjustment phase. We do not want to risk going backwards.
With the recent announcement by the Government of Quebec of police check points and road blocks beginning to be lifted in the Month of May, CFBS inquired as to what is the position of the CISSS regarding the lifting of road blocks on the Lower North Shore in the near future. Dr. Stéphane Trépanier, Public Health expert, answered that he had spoken with the mayors of the Lower North Shore on Tuesday regarding this. The mayors are requesting that check points and road blocks remain in place. It is the position of the CISSS to continue the points of control on the Lower North Shore and Minganie until May 18th, at which time it will be reassessed if the need should be extended further.
At the last CISSS press brief, CFBS inquired about the services available for mental health in the region, especially with the added stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CISSS had reminded the population of the Info Social 811 telephone service line, but CFBS asked today for clarification if there are follow ups done with callers who contact the Info Social 811 service. Dyane Benoît, the Deputy Director General, stated that there are follow ups done with anyone who contacts the service, and that follow ups are conducted by a psychologist or a social worker.