Lab West cit­i­zens of­fer sug­ges­tions at pre-bud­get con­sul­ta­tions

Wide range of top­ics dis­cussed

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - FRONT PAGE - BY MIKE POWER

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.

PHOTO BY MIKE POWER

Labrador City Mayor Karen Old­ford was one of those who at­tended the pre-bud­get con­sul­ta­tions on Feb. 7

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