This is the house that Coleman built

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Company offers accommodation to staff travelling to St. John’s for medical treatment

Becoming aware this week of the purchase of a property on Freshwater Road in St. John’s by Coleman Management Services, The Telegram wondered if the company might be expanding a grocery store in the area. It turned out to be something quite different.

On the property, at the corner of Freshwater Road and Linscott Street, sits a white, two-storey home.

This house on Freshwater Road is owned by Coleman Management Services and is used by Colemans staff travelling to and from meetings in St. John’s. It is also used by staff forced to travel for medical reasons, according to a company representative. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

It is a place to stay in the province’s capital city for Colemans staff in town on business. It has also been offered to staff travelling to St. John’s for medical treatment, according to Colemans spokeswoman Judy Bennett, in response to questions.

Colemans has about 800 employees in the province, she said, with a management group of about 30 people.

“Over the years, several of them travelled to St. John’s for medical reasons and we use the house for that reason,” Bennett said Tuesday afternoon, noting it has recently been used for an employee tackling cancer treatment.

“It’s very expensive to travel to St. John’s for cancer treatment,” she said, speaking by phone from Corner Brook.

In a recent transaction, one that drew The Telegram’s questions, Coleman Management Services took on a $300,000 mortgage for the property.

“That’s the first I’ve heard of that,” said Matthew Piercey, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society Newfoundland and Labrador, when asked about the idea of a private company offering a company-owned property for employees to use when travelling for medical reasons.

When it comes to helping with the high costs associated with medical travel to the province’s capital — say those without friends or relatives to stay with — the Canadian Cancer Society in Newfoundland and Labrador offers Daffodil House, with 24 rooms and 24-7 support staff.

But Daffodil House is currently running 80 to 90 per cent full occupancy on average and, Piercey told The Telegram, that number factors in weekends, when medical treatments are not scheduled and people often plan trips home.

“We have a wait list all the time,” he said, estimating the lists often runs between 20 and 30 people, depending on the date.

Calling well ahead of time gives you a better chance of getting in. Yet it also means if you require a place to stay on short notice, you’re even more likely to be out of luck.

With that said, “we’ll actually help you find another location if we are full,” Piercey said.

Other options include the Agnes Cowan Hostel and several hotels offering discounts and various supports for guests in town to complete required tests or take treatments.

In terms of helping with costs, the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation has a program offering support for cancer patients who are having a hard time financially as a result of their need for treatment.

Eastern Health offers the Cancer Patient Navigator, helping to direct individuals to programs designed to help cover travel costs and accommodations, including the province’s medical transportation assistance program.

The medical transportation assistance program does not, however, cover costs up front but rather through set reimbursements, based on expenses filed.

As for expanding Daffodil House, Piercey said another 24 rooms could be added this week and they would still fill up, but it would be a real challenge to keep up at the other end with the annual operating costs for the facility. Daffodil Place relies on fundraisers and donations to continue operating year to year.

Another location providing accommodations related to travel for medical treatment is Ronald McDonald House, offering 15 suites in St. John’s to families with children who require treatment for illness or injury and who are travelling at least 80 kilometres for help.

At Ronald McDonald House, spokeswoman Christine Morgan said she had not heard of any private companies offering employees who are in a similar situation a place, a house, in which to stay.

 

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Daffodil House, Coleman Management Services, Canadian Cancer Society Newfoundland and Labrador Ronald McDonald House H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Milton Spracklin
    March 21, 2014 - 09:51

    I have friends that work at Colman's, and I have known about this house for years. It must be used for this reason well over 15 years at the least. He treats his employees very well, and I believe that he will treat his fellow Newfoundlander's just as well.

  • Thomas
    March 20, 2014 - 21:22

    If they have a $300,000 mortgage, it was obviously purchased about now! What timing he has. Does he pay $15 an hour minimum wage all of a sudden as well to his workers?

  • Former Employee
    March 20, 2014 - 16:05

    As a former employee of Colemans, I can say that have always had a house on Freshwater Road . Any time someone came in town from outside of St. John's that's where they would stay. It wasn't this house though, it's the house 2 doors down. I was at Colemans for many many years and this house was always in the picture

  • santo
    March 20, 2014 - 13:09

    This article should have said how long this house was being used in this regard. However, I did know someone who, back in 2005, told me how the Coleman company owned a home here in St. John's and staff used it when traveling to St. John's on business. That was 9 years ago, so whether it was this house or another, it's something that the Coleman company has been doing a while. Let's hope that Mr. Coleman is a business man like Mr. Williams was. Mr. Williams did a pretty good job managing the province..... didn't he?

  • Robert
    March 20, 2014 - 09:44

    I suppose I was vaguely aware that Coleman's Supermarket must be owned by a Mr. or Mrs. Coleman. And I can honestly say I had never heard of Mr. Coleman until he put his hand up expressing interest in the PC leadership. And it would seem to me that with the prospects highly in his favour of being our next Premier (if only for a few short months) it would be nice to know something of the man and what makes him tick. So I rather think that the Telegram has done good if only to enlighten those of us who don't get out and about so much as others would have you believe they do. My very 1st thought regarding this article was that it sure is a long ways from the Fish Merchants of our past that still haunt the halls of our governments!

  • Uneasy
    March 20, 2014 - 09:26

    This article makes me uneasy. There is an underlying tone here (and in much of what the Telegram writes these days) that if a private business or business owner does something positive, it must somehow be shady or underhanded. Not sure if this was intentional, or just how it reads, but this sort of mentality in the media is becoming a real problem in this province. Businesses providing unique and innovative benefits to employees is not uncommon. It's great that all these non-profits exist to offer lodging, but if a business chooses to offer it directly to employees, shouldn't this be viewed as a positive??????

    • E Kennedy
      March 21, 2014 - 10:13

      I so agree with you. The article starts with the focus of the company's ownership of the house then drifts to Daffodil House.... The purpose of the author made me uneasy too.

  • FRANK
    March 20, 2014 - 08:58

    AT LEAST ,HE IS TRYING TO HELP PEOPLE ARE YOU ?????????????????

  • Dawn
    March 20, 2014 - 08:57

    Wasn't this house only purchased in January 2014. What is the story on staff using it over the years when they travel for medical appointments? I would say it was purchased for a place for people to stay during the election

    • Kilgore Trout
      March 20, 2014 - 10:53

      The article doesn't elaborate here does it? Perhaps it was leased or rented in the past and only recently purchased. Perhaps this is something Ms. Fitzpatrick should clarify.

    • Corner Brooker
      March 21, 2014 - 10:19

      The Colemans have had a house in St. John's for many years for meetings and for staff who have to travel for treatment. I've stayed in their property before as have several acquaintances who have had to travel for treatment. This is not something new and was done a long time before Mr. Coleman put his hand up in the PC race. It seems that people have lost the ability to believe that a company can be good to its employees (and others - they've extended their hospitality to non employees too). I find that sad.

    • Corner Brooker
      March 21, 2014 - 10:27

      The Colemans have had a house in St. John's for many years for meetings and for staff who have to travel for treatment. I've stayed in their property before as have several acquaintances who have had to travel for treatment. I am so grateful for their generosity. Not only in this way, but in many ways in our province. This is not something new and was done a long time before Mr. Coleman put his hand up in the PC race. It seems that people have lost the ability to believe that a company can be good to its employees (and others - they've extended their hospitality to non employees too). I find that sad.

  • Art Stevenson
    March 20, 2014 - 08:46

    Kudos to Coleman Management Services for stepping up to plate. It is sad to see this article lose sight of that. I am a 4 year patient surviving throat cancer and I think it is encouragaging to see Companies step forward to assist their employees. I traveled 100 kms one way M-F for treatments. Well done.

  • Kilgore Trout
    March 20, 2014 - 08:35

    Let's get straight what this article was really about. The Tely found out that Colemans purchased a house in St. John's and wondered whether it was for Frank once he becomes PC leader and how presumptuous of him etc etc. It just turned out that this wasn't the case, but that shouldn't stop an article from being written!. I highly doubt that Coleman would live on Freshwater Rd haha!

    • Jay
      March 20, 2014 - 11:11

      Kilgore, You're dead on. You caught them in the act. Then after the fact the Telegram pretends they thought it was for a grocery store expansion. The Coleman's store right around the corner has been there for years, and now the Telegram has some interest in a speculated expansion. What a joke. Shame on you Ashley, or whoever told you to go after this one.

  • Cashin Delaney
    March 20, 2014 - 07:59

    "That’s the first I’ve heard of that,” said Matthew Piercey, CEO of the Canadian Cancer Society Newfoundland and Labrador, when asked about the idea of a private company offering a company-owned property for employees to use when travelling for medical reasons." We are caught between a white collar welfare world that needs an NGO to solve every problem govt doesn't want to face. When capitalists decide to do something that doesn't require a crowd of fancy pants to manage it, some bayman-anarchy-capitalist solution that doesn't involve a standing staff of professional , HOW WAS THE VALE TRIAL ASHLEY, first you heard of that to I suppose?

  • Darlene
    March 20, 2014 - 06:35

    Wow and how long has the telegram been publishing...I knew about this house years ago...not much too report on now hey...too funny...cheers

  • Steve
    March 20, 2014 - 06:19

    All you have to do is ask, most management are human also.

  • Crazy
    March 20, 2014 - 05:17

    Please explain it to me, what has this got to do, with the leadership bid? Nothing, Lets Frank stated by giving us his policy. Not looking for sympathy votes.

    • JJ
      March 20, 2014 - 09:20

      So you have a problem with Philanthropy?