Baie Verte will have a new mayor in com­ing weeks

Clar Brown’s only term had its ac­com­plish­ments and dis­ap­point­ments

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - FRONT PAGE - The Town of Baie Verte’s nom­i­na­tion of can­di­dates for mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion to council will be Sept. 5 be­tween hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the town of­fice. BY CORY HUR­LEY THE NOR’WESTER

Baie Verte Mayor Clar Brown says any con­cerned ci­ti­zen who wants to im­pact the fu­ture di­rec­tion of the town they live in should take a run at mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics.

Ad­mit­ting he had no pre­vi­ous in­ten­tion to run, he says this was the rea­son he put his name for­ward in the last mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

It was time con­sum­ing and, at times, frus­trat­ing work — with lit­tle mon­e­tary re­im­burse­ment, he said — but his four years on council were sat­is­fy­ing, ac­cord­ing to the long-time res­i­dent.

“It has been re­ward­ing for me,” he said. “It has taken up a lot of my time, es­pe­cially if you want to be hands on. Most may­ors in small com­mu­ni­ties re­ally get in­volved in a hand­son way. A num­ber of us (on council) did.”

Brown says he served his in­tended one term, and will walk away sat­is­fied with what was ac­com­plished. At the age of 68, he said it is time to fully en­joy re­tire­ment with his wife Nancy.

When the cur­rent council as­sumed lead­er­ship, the mayor said the new fire hall project was un­der­way, but with many ques­tions sur­round­ing it. The project has since been com­pleted, with the ex­cep­tion of Clar Brown, mayor of Baie Verte, will not be seek­ing re-elec­tion in the up­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

sev­eral mi­nor things. In fu­ture, he be­lieves it is in­cum­bent upon the town to strengthen its fire depart­ment from a re­gional per­spec­tive, while main­tain­ing its train­ing and re­sources.

The plan for a new com­mu­nity cen­tre un­der this council was quashed be­cause of fi­nances. How­ever, the town is about to as­sume con­trol of the for­mer Beothuk Col­le­giate/ Baie Verte High fa­cil­ity and will turn that into a com­mu­nity cen­tre. Pro­gres­sion and com­ple­tion of that project will fall upon the next council.

Brown was par­tic­u­larly proud of the re­newed fo­cus this council brought to re­cre­ation in the town. The Sam Blag­don Me­mo­rial Trail has been up­graded and work will con­tinue to com­plete that project. Cen­ten­nial

Park has been re­placed, and only mi­nor beau­ti­fi­ca­tion work re­mains. Two new dugouts were erected at the soft­ball field.

“The big­gest em­pha­sis to­ward re­cre­ation is, you have to main­tain re­cre­ation fa­cil­i­ties,” he said. “You can’t let them de­grade on their own. When you have to fix them again, it costs quite a bit of money.”

The town also un­der­went con­sid­er­able staffing changes, high­lighted by the hir­ing of new chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer (CAO) Brian Peach. The town is cur­rently seek­ing a new fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer.

It wasn’t all rosy dur­ing the term. In fact, the mayor ad­mits there were sev­eral frus­tra­tions in run­ning the small town, which has seen a re­cent boost from the min­ing in­dus­try.

He said there are a lot of prob­lems with in­fra­struc­ture, par­tic­u­larly roads. With gov­ern­ment no longer of­fer­ing a 90/10 funding split, he said the small town can’t af­ford to re­place de­te­ri­o­rat­ing in­fra­struc­ture at 50/50 cost shar­ing. He also said the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment is not main­tain­ing Route 410 and other roads un­der its ju­ris­dic­tion through­out the re­gion.

“There is no in­di­ca­tion that in the next five years there is any money for up­grades for that,” he said. “If you don’t do any­thing in five years, and the in­fra­struc­ture is de­plorable, what you are go­ing to have to do (later) is al­most next to im­pos­si­ble. It will be be­yond re­pair.”

Brown said when he ran for council, he as­sumed if a town made a com­pelling case for funding and could af­ford its share — at the 90/10 for­mula that ex­isted — the money would be made avail­able.

“We haven’t got­ten any mu­nic­i­pal cap­i­tal works funding for the last two years, un­less some­thing comes now in the next month or so — and that wouldn’t have any im­pact on this year, it will be for next year,” he said.

The mayor said council meet­ing min­utes were avail­able to res­i­dents and, if asked, he would be open with res­i­dents about town op­er­a­tions. But he said he was dis­ap­pointed with the level of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween council and its res­i­dents. That doesn’t re­flect poorly on what was achieved though, ac­cord­ing to Brown.

“I see the results around town,” he said.

He con­sid­ers Baie Verte to be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a mini, con­trolled boom strength­ened by a volatile min­ing in­dus­try. He hopes it is some­thing for the town to grow from, and be­lieves eco­nomic devel­op­ment is the key to its fu­ture.

He said the town is in good shape for a new council, but, like many ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, there is con­cern about the level of in­ter­est in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics. Brown said he be­lieves a cou­ple of mem­bers of the cur­rent council plan to run in the up­com­ing elec­tion, and there has been talk of in­ter­est from a few peo­ple in the com­mu­nity.

The mayor has been en­cour­ag­ing some prom­i­nent com­mu­nity vol­un­teers he be­lieves would make good coun­cil­lors to run. He has some ad­vice for those con­tem­plat­ing it.

“I have heard peo­ple say they want to be on council be­cause they want one spe­cific thing to change,” he said. “Don’t do that. Get­ting on council with a sole pur­pose is not what it is about. You have to look at the big pic­ture. You have to look at all res­i­dents, not just one as­pect — not just youth or just se­niors.

“If you do cam­paign, don’t make too many com­mit­ments. You can’t re­solve them all, but you can start some of them.”

Brown hopes there is need for an elec­tion in Baie Verte. He be­lieves it is healthy for the town to have peo­ple run on a plat­form and to bet­ter en­able res­i­dents to elect peo­ple they want lead­ing them for the next four years.

“It’s re­ward­ing,” he said. “I would rec­om­mend it to any­body.”


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.