Lab West citizens offer suggestions at pre-budget consultations
Wide range of topics discussed
When government boards are making decisions, they should consult local expertise.
That was one of the main points made by Labrador West citizens at the pre-budget consultation held in Labrador City on Tuesday night, Feb. 7.
Peter Reccord of Labrador City pointed to the proposals and decisions around the management of waste in Labrador.
He noted the initial proposal called for one landfill site to serve Upper Lake Melville, Churchill Falls and Labrador West.
It would have meant trucking waste more than 500 kms. Local citizens questioned the logic of transporting waste for that distance, especially in winter when temperatures of -30 and lower, creating the possibility of having to heat up the garbage for transfer to the landfill.
There was concern about cost, and many questioned whether this was the ‘greenest’ solution.
In the end, a temporary waste facility — meant to be a 10-year solution — was set up in Labrador West to replace the old incinerator. That temporary facility is still in place.
Reccord said that example, is why it’s important for government to consult with local people before setting up anew service, or going ahead with a project.
About 18 citizens braved one of the coldest days this winter — the windchill was -40 — to attend the pre-budget hearing, led by Liberal MHA Graham Letto.
To start the session, Letto outlined the financial picture for the province: a deficit of $1.5 billion for a population of just over half a million people.
Letto told the crowd there are no tax increases in the upcoming provincial budget, but reductions will have to be made to save money.
On the question of saving money, the Labrador West crowd had some suggestions.
Labrador City Mayor Karen Oldford suggested technology is to the point now where the province should look at implementing a single smart card for residents — containing their driver’s license, MCP card and library card in one single card.
Other features could be added or deleted and the smart card could be processed at one centre, instead of having to go to the various offices and carrying multiple cards.
Several people suggested meetings, presentations and consultations could be done using the Internet to stage ‘virtual’ meetings and conferences, which would be much cheaper than flying to a location and using hotels.
Labrador City Mayor Karen Oldford was one of those who attended the pre-budget consultations on Feb. 7