Philpott ready to lead Baie Verte as new­est mayor

Pri­or­i­ties in­clude progress on com­mu­nity cen­tre project, en­gag­ing the com­mu­nity

Nor'wester (Springdale) - - FRONT PAGE - BY CORY HUR­LEY

BAIE VERTE, NL — Bran­don Philpott en­tered mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics in Baie Verte part way through last term know­ing full well he would put every­thing he had into the role.

As a rookie politi­cian, he knew lit­tle of what to ex­pect.

He cer­tainly didn’t an­tic­i­pate be­com­ing the next mayor.

As one of two re­turn­ing coun­cil mem­bers in Baie Verte, that is ex­actly what tran­spired. He is the new­est mayor of the town, while Scott Furey — the other re­turn­ing coun­cil­lor from last term — is deputy mayor.

Along with new coun­cil­lors Shawn Rus­sell, Christopher How­ell and Ryan White, they make up five of the seven mem­bers of the new coun­cil.

At their first of­fi­cial pub­lic meet­ing – af­ter choos­ing the mayor and deputy mayor – it was de­cided nom­i­na­tion day for can­di­dates to fill the two re­main­ing seats would be Oct. 17. The by­elec­tion has been sched­uled for Nov. 7.

Philpott is ready to lead Baie Verte, a town un­der­go­ing a re­newal of growth in­vig­o­rated by a re­birth of the min­ing in­dus­try on the penin­sula.

“It is some­thing I al­ways thought about,” he said of en­ter­ing pol­i­tics. “You live in a place long enough, there are of­ten things you would like to see change or … done a lit­tle dif­fer­ently.

“Hon­estly, the best way to do that would be to put your name in the ring and take the plunge to try work­ing with the town and vol­un­teer­ing.”

A ca­reer teacher who re­cently en­tered the elec­tri­cian field, the 33-year-old mayor will have to jug­gle a hec­tic work sched­ule and run­ning a town. He is cur­rently on con­tract at Muskrat Falls, and has been con­duct­ing busi­ness by tele­phone from Labrador in the early stages of his term.

It is a juggling per­for­mance he says he is will­ing and able to do.

He found a pas­sion as a coun­cil­lor last term, and will now bring that en­ergy to the may­oral po­si­tion.

“I took a lik­ing to it a lot more than I an­tic­i­pated,” he said. “It is a lot of time and ef­fort, es­pe­cially for my­self. If I am go­ing to com­mit to some­thing, I like to give it all that I can.”

The town is mov­ing for­ward on the new com­mu­nity cen­tre project, and is in the process of clos­ing an agree­ment to ac­quire other ideas from res­i­dents on po­ten­tial com­mit­tees that could ben­e­fit the town.

“I would re­ally like to get more peo­ple in­volved in the town,” Philpott said. “I find we draw on a lot of the same vol­un­teers, which is ex­cel­lent to have a good group of peo­ple who vol­un­teer. But, I think if more peo­ple were more aware of what goes on in the town, they might be more in­clined to vol­un­teer.”

His im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion is on en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents to run in the by­elec­tion. Hav­ing five coun­cil mem­bers ac­claimed in this year’s elec­tion ap­pears to be a provincewide is­sue, said Philpott, but he hopes to see more than just two peo­ple in the by­elec­tion.

He be­lieves an elec­tion, if even just for two re­main­ing seats, would be healthy for the town.

The new mayor is lead­ing a town that has a new fire hall, re­cently com­pleted a ren­o­va­tion of Cen­ten­nial Field, worked to im­prove the Sam Blag­don Memo­rial Trail, and com­pleted other recre­ational im­prove­ments such as the town’s soft­ball field.

“I hope peo­ple get to con­tinue to see the im­prove­ments,” Philpott said. “Some­times it is slow go­ing, but a lot of work and ef­fort goes into it.

“I must say, so far the coun­cil­lors we have all seem to be very in­ter­ested and want to con­tinue to see what has hap­pened in the past cou­ple of years con­tinue on.”

FILE PHOTO

Scott Furey has been se­lected by coun­cil as the new deputy mayor in Baie Verte.

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