Joint coun­cil search­ing for ways to in­crease in­volve­ment

Northern Pen - - NEWS - BY CORY HUR­LEY

Eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is the pri­mary fo­cus of the Great North­ern Penin­sula Joint Coun­cil, but it is hard to make things hap­pen if there are not enough peo­ple at the ta­ble.

The last meet­ing be­fore a sum­mer hia­tus was sched­uled in An­chor Point Tues­day evening. It did not go ahead be­cause not enough coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tives at­tended to make a quo­rum.

Of the about 60 com­mu­ni­ties along the North­ern Penin­sula — the joint coun­cil rep­re­sents River of Ponds north — only 14 are in­cor­po­rated mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to joint coun­cil chair Gerry Gros. For the past year or so, Port au Choix, River of Ponds, and Main Brook de­cided against af­fil­i­a­tion with the joint coun­cil. That has left nine or 10 with a keen in­ter­est.

Gros said they ex­pected to have at least the five re­quired to hold the meet­ing Tues­day. Two peo­ple didn’t show, so it turned into a gen­eral dis­cus­sion.

At­ten­dance has been an on­go­ing prob­lem, he said, some­thing they plan to ad­dress be­fore or in early Septem­ber when things re­sume.

“It’s about try­ing to find a day and time that is suit­able for most peo­ple,” he said.

The mayor of An­chor Point said some of the coun­cil rep­re­sen­ta­tives are fish­er­men with busy sched­ules, so it is un­der­stand­ably hard to find times for meet­ings.

The mayor of St. An­thony at­tended the coun­cil meet­ing in his town the same evening, but at­tends most joint coun­cil meet­ings.

The po­ten­tial ben­e­fits are worth the con­tin­ued ef­fort, Gros be­lieves.

Is­sues such as eco­nomic de- vel­op­ment are key to the re­gion, and he be­lieves a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach is re­quired to gen­er­ate the most in­ter­est and make the great­est im­pact.

Re­gion­al­iza­tion has been on the coun­cil agenda for years. The mayor says that is some­thing the en­tire penin­sula needs to com­mit to, not just the in­cor­po­rated mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

“We want recre­ational fa­cil­i­ties and stuff like that, and our mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are hard pressed cash-wise to take any of that on,” he said. “If we had ev­ery­body on board, we could do more things.”

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