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EDITORIAL: Cheers & Jeers Oct. 7

The former Hoyles-Escasoni Complex in St. John’s. —
The former Hoyles-Escasoni Complex in St. John’s. — Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Cheers: to markups. As Booth High School is in the midst of being torn down by private purchasers, here’s a look at another former government property that was sold off and is now back on the market. The Hoyles-Escasoni Complex went on the block in 2016 and sold for $650,000 to the only bidder. At the time, the province argued it was a good deal for taxpayers, because there were environmental liabilities that had to be addressed, the buildings would cost $4 million to demolish, and selling the property would save the government $100,000 a year in maintenance costs. Well, the purchaser’s finishing up the environmental cleanup on the property, and the buildings and their 7.8 acres of land, zoned commercial, are back on the market. They can now be yours for the low, low price of … $8.9 million.

Jeers: to messing up good work. Friday, line-painting crews were hard at work putting new white lines on Prince Philip Parkway. Also on Friday, as usual, early-morning drivers in a rush used the parkway as their personal raceway, swerving back and forth across the newly painted lines to gain that crucial 7.6 seconds of additional time in the drive-thru lineup somewhere.

Jeers: to conflicting interests. As cleanup of a massive fish die-off continues in the Harbour Breton area, it’s useful to think about where the regulatory buck stops when it comes to aquaculture, even in provinces like ours where the provincial government is so keenly on side, even investing in the industry. Here’s a quick reference from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans: “Aquaculture takes place in every province and in Yukon. Many provinces also have major powers and responsibilities related to aquaculture management and industry development. Provincial and territorial governments use their own acts and regulations to, amongst others: issue and administer leases, tenures and permits of occupation for aquaculture sites, with the exception of Prince Edward Island where Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has this responsibility; issue licences and permits, except for British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, where DFO undertakes licensing; issue land and water use permits, where required; establish Codes of Practice to manage environmental impacts as a condition to obtain an aquaculture licence; regulate waste management, fish health and fish escapes …” Maybe sometime soon we’ll even be told how many fish actually died in the latest occurrence.

Jeers: to all that is old being new again. This is from an Associated Press investigation into Catholic clergy in the United States: “Nearly 1,700 priests and other clergy members that the Roman Catholic Church considers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living under the radar with little to no oversight from religious authorities or law enforcement, decades after the first wave of the church abuse scandal roiled U.S. dioceses, an Associated Press investigation has found.”

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