Mayors talk about 2013 municipal election

Clayton Hunt
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Some leaving; some running again

Mayor Georgina Brushett of Milltown-Head of Bays d’Espoir and Rodney Kendall of St. Alban’s have been mayors of their respective communities for the past four years. While neither has made a firm commitment on seeking the mayor’s chair come September 2013 both said that they are leaning toward running for the positions again.

Coaster file photo

 With municipal elections coming up in 2013 a number of mayors in the Coast of Bays have said that they will not be seeking reelection to their local councils this time around. Some mayors are undecided while others said they are eager to throw their hats in the municipal election ring again.

Rodney Kendall, St. Albans

Mayor Kendall said that he had not made a final decision about entering the 2013 municipal elections as of January 20.

“It’s not an easy decision,” Mayor Kendall said, “as I enjoy this role, but it’s always good to have some new ideas and enthusiasm come on board.

“I’m weighing my options at this point in time – I may run for the mayor’s seat again, I may just run for a regular council position or I may stay away from council for a term or two.”

Mayor Kendall said that the Mayor’s position is very challenging, but he would like to see his community moving forward in the next four-year period.

He said, “If I run and get re-elected as Mayor our first priority would be to continue working on our infrastructure especially as it relates to the water issue in some areas of the community. The problem is not as severe as it was but we’re not out of the woods with this concern by any means. Hopefully, we can solve this problem entirely in the next few years and concentrate our core energy on other issues.

“We also need to keep working on our sewer upgrades, rebuilding our roads and on opening up subdivisions for new housing starts in the community.

“We’ve had 10 or more housing starts annually over the past few years. We’ve opened up some new ground but we still have more work to do in this area as well.

“This is very important as our population has pretty much stabilized in recent years, and we’re hoping to turn a corner in this important area.

“In keeping to this theme of growth, we also want to promote a healthy community and the youth in the area too in hoping some will stay and build their futures here.

“We also want to encourage business to establish in St. Alban’s. We’ve noticed some new businesses related to aquaculture set up in Grand Falls-Windsor. We will promote St. Alban’s as the place to start new business ventures related to this growing industry and we hope to attract new companies to the area.”

Doug Rose, Hermitage-Sandyville

Mayor Doug Rose has been a councilor in his community for 20 years and has occupied the mayor’s seat for about 18 of those years.

He said, “I feel that it’s time for a younger generation to come forward in this community to bring new ideas and new energy to the mayor’s role.

“I’ll be stepping out of the municipal political picture of the community come September as I won’t even be running for counselor this time out.”

Steward May, Belleoram

Mayor May has been involved in municipal politics in Belleoram for 29 years and has been mayor of the community for 18 years.

“I enjoy this role,” Mayor May said, “and I like working with and helping people. Yes, I’ll be running for council again this year.

“Our top priority over the next four years will be to work on the community’s infrastructure especially on improving our roads.

“We have a lot of heavy traffic now related to the aquaculture industry, our roads are too narrow in some areas and we need to see some key improvements in this regard.

Tom Caines, Rencontre East

Mayor Caines said that, while he has not made a final decision about being a part of the 2013 election, he is leaning toward throwing his hat in the political game again.

Caines has been a part of the community’s council for the past 25 years and has been mayor since 2006.

He said, “We need some major infrastructure work projects in this community in terms of wharves, finger piers and a new breakwater.

“The aquaculture industry has become important to Rencontre and this infrastructure will add to that growth.”

Gordon Hunt, Gaultois

Hunt has been a councillor in Gaultois for 12 yeas and has been mayor for the past four years.

“At this point I don’t think I will be running for council in September,” Mayor Hunt said.

“I’ve had enough and unless our plant reopens on some scale I doubt very much if I’ll be a part of the community’s next council.”

In 2012 Mayor Hunt said that one of the key frustrations a council faces in a small community is a very low tax base, which severely limits the projects a council can initiate and complete.

In it’s heyday of the 1960s and 70s, Gaultois had a population of approximately 700 people. With the downturn in the offshore fishery, which ultimately led to the closure of the community’s fish processing plant, Gaultois has less than 200 residents today.

Eric Skinner, Harbour Breton

Mayor Skinner said that he will be running for the mayor’s position once again in September.

He said, “This role of a mayor and councillors is very challenging, but I enjoy the challenge and I want to be a part of the community’s growth over the next four years.

“Out top priority over the next term will be to get the road from the Road Knob (Down Harbour) to the top of the Bridge (near Gus Hickey’s residence) upgraded and paved.

“Of course, there will be other challenges too, but I see this as our main goal in the next term of the community’s next council.

Of course, we will have to closely monitor the continued growth of the aquaculture industry in the community closely over the next four years in seeing the community move forward in this important economic activity.”

Mayor Skinner said that the community consolidated a large number of its bills in 1993 and the annual payment of $170,000 on this loan will be repaid in full by December of this year.

“With that extra $170,000 that we will have in 2014 we will be able to apply for 90-10 provincial related projects up to $1.7 million and have them paid for in one year.”

Mayor Skinner said that he is encouraging all residents with ideas on how to grow the town to come forward and offer themselves as candidates in September.

“ I suppose this council hasn’t been perfect over the past four years, but we did the best we could as a group of individuals with the finances we had.

“  There are probably residents out there who are currently sitting on the fence about deciding whether to run for council later this year. I would strongly urge them to run if they have new ideas and new enthusiasm to help us move forward.

“New blood, new ideas, new energy and new determination are always important in municipal politics.

“I ‘d like to see all residents who have that determination and energy to come forward and help the council in the next term. This is really important as Harbour Breton can continue to be a major player in the aquaculture industry in moving forward.”

Georgina Brushett, Milltown-Head of Bay dEspoir

Mayor Brushett said that she sees her role as mayor over the past four years as a great learning experience and that she is steering toward seeking the position again in September.

“ I feel in one sense that I’ve only just begun my work as mayor,” she said.

“I sincerely feel that I can help this community grow over the next four years and I’m strongly leaning toward that role again.

“I’d like to see all the organizations in the community each contribute at least one member to form a committee with a councillor to look at ideas in helping the community move ahead in the future.

“I strongly feel too that we need to work together as a region and with Central. The Grand Falls-Windsor area could very well be a part of our federal district after the 2015 federal election given the proposed change in the province’s federal electoral districts.

“This area has strong potential to grow economically in light of the ever expanding aquaculture industry and we can all prosper from this growth and activity.”

Mayor Brushett said that her community needs a full slate of councillors to help with continued growth after September 2013.

She said, “Currently I only have three councillors to help in managing the community. The more people working together on a team helps that group strengthen and remain strong.

“ I think people have to look at their community and have to respect and appreciate where they live to see what can be done. When people put their heads together they can do more in numbers than a small group can.

Max Taylor, St. Jacques-Coombs Cove

An article in the January 8, 2013 edition of the Coaster read as follows:

Taylor said that he is concerned that the upcoming municipal elections may not see a full slate of residents coming out in some communities to fill council seats.

He said that he will not be running for council in 2013 although he would be willing to help the new council in any way possible if asked for assistance by the councillors.

Taylor said, “I’ve been mayor of St. Jacques-Coomb;’s Cove for nearly 20 years of the Town’s 40-year incorporation. It’s time now for some younger people to come forward with new ideas, new enthusiasm and new energy.”

He said that young residents who work and plan to stay in the Coast of Bays should seriously consider getting involved in municipal politics in 2013.

 

Geographic location: Bays, Gaultois, Grand Falls-Windsor Belleoram Rencontre East Milltown

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