LE­GAL­IZA­TION, ATVS, AND MEN­TAL HEALTH: COV­ER­AGE OF MNL’S AGM IN GAN­DER

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties met in Gan­der for an­nual con­fer­ence Oct. 3-6

The Central Voice - - Front Page - KYLE GREENHAM kyle.greenham@gan­der­bea­con.ca

May­ors and coun­cil­lors from across New­found­land and Labrador con­gre­gated in Gan­der this past week.

The 68th an­nual Con­fer­ence and Trade Show, hosted by Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador (MNL), ran from Oct. 3-6.

On the fi­nal morn­ing of the con­fer­ence, rep­re­sen­ta­tives gath­ered in Gan­der’s Joseph R. Small­wood Arts and Cul­ture Cen­tre to dis­cuss and vote on a va­ri­ety of res­o­lu­tions.

Be­fore the mo­tions were pre­sented, both MNL Pres­i­dent Tony Keats and Vice Pres­i­dent Sheila Fitzger­ald stressed that the work to­wards re­gion­al­iza­tion is a piv­otal goal for the prov­ince.

Crown land dis­posal

The read­ing of a res­o­lu­tion to lobby pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment on the di­vesti­ture of Crown lands was met with cheers and ap­plause.

The res­o­lu­tion would see mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties be able to ac­quire own­er­ship of Crown lands in their dis­trict at no cost.

Mayor Percy Far­well of Gan­der spoke in ap­proval of the mo­tion, men­tion­ing that it is a mo­tion many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are ea­ger to see brought for­ward.

“Marys­town pur­chased a piece of Crown land years ago that had no value and we built an in­dus­trial park with it,” said Marys­town Mayor Sam Sy­nard, voic­ing his ap­proval. “Over the next 10 years with that prop­erty, Marys­town will col­lect $8 mil­lion in de­vel­op­ment fees and prop­erty tax.

“It will not only ben­e­fit the peo­ple of Marys­town, it ben­e­fits the re­gion.”

Far­well agreed that Crown land is a valu­able as­set that of­ten goes un­der­used and this res­o­lu­tion could mean ma­jor eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties for the re­gion.

Men­tal health sup­ports

A res­o­lu­tion call­ing for greater co-op­er­a­tion and co-or­di­na­tion for men­tal health ini­tia­tives was met with a unan­i­mous 100 per cent ap­proval by the rep­re­sen­ta­tives in at­ten­dance.

“I’ve been in­volved in the men­tal health field for years and I don’t think I need to give stats for the crises that ex­ist in our com­mu­nity,” Coun­cil­lor for Por­tu­gal Cove-St. Phillips Tina Neary said. “The need for sup­port and care has never been greater and this can help some of our most at-risk res­i­dents – young and old.”

The mo­tion calls for a task force with health au­thor­i­ties and other elected of­fi­cials to de­velop and ex­pand men­tal health sup­port, with a spe­cial em­pha­sis on is­sues faced by youth and the in­creas­ing num­ber of youth sui­cides.

Il­le­gal all-ter­rain ve­hi­cle use

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives car­ried a res­o­lu­tion for the De­part­ment of Jus­tice and Ser­vice NL to re­view leg­is­la­tion on the fines and penal­ties re­lated to im­proper ATV use.

Mayor of Holyrood Gary Goo­bie stressed the promi­nence of all-ter­rain ve­hi­cle use across the prov­ince. With a steady in­crease in th­ese ve­hi­cles be­ing seen on main streets and by­roads, the safety risk to pedes­tri­ans and other mo­torists is also on the in­crease.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of op­er­a­tors are mind­ful and re­spect­ful, es­pe­cially when trav­el­ling through the com­mu­nity,” Goo­bie said. “Un­for­tu­nately, there’s a hand­ful of of­fend­ers in many com­mu­ni­ties who have demon­strated no re­gard for pub­lic safety.”

The res­o­lu­tion calls for a penalty where if an ATV op­er­a­tor is found guilty of dan­ger­ous or im­pru­dent driv­ing, they should have the ve­hi­cle seized and im­pounded un­til the owner com­pletes a safe-driv­ing course.

Mayor Gerry Gros of An­chor Point also voiced his sup­port for the mo­tion.

Fire­fighter cour­tesy light

Coun. Derek An­thony of Pasadena ex­pressed his ap­proval of a cour­tesy light for vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers.

For fire­fight­ers who have to re­spond to emer­gen­cies in their own ve­hi­cles, this flash­ing green light would sig­nal other ve­hi­cles to safely get off the road and let the fire­fighter re­spond to the emer­gency in a much faster time.

The res­o­lu­tion also calls for a pub­lic aware­ness cam­paign to cor­re­spond with the use of th­ese cour­tesy lights.

An­thony also noted that there is no of­fense as­so­ci­ated with ig­nor­ing this light as it is done as an act of cour­tesy, and it does not re­quire any changes in traf­fic leg­is­la­tion. Sim­i­lar cour­tesy lights are used in Que­bec and Al­berta.

The mo­tion was car­ried with 92 per cent ap­proval.

KYLE GREENHAM / THE CEN­TRAL VOICE

Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties New­found­land and Labrador Vice Pres­i­dent and Mayor of Rod­dick­ton-Bide Arm, Sheila Fitzger­ald, read out res­o­lu­tions the morn­ing of Satur­day of Oct. 6, as may­ors and coun­cil­lors from across the prov­ince weighed in on the is­sues.

KYLE GREENHAM / THE CEN­TRAL VOICE

Mayor of Tor­bay Craig Scott voices his sup­port for a res­o­lu­tion to pro­tect wa­ter­sheds and wa­ter sup­ply ar­eas with­out ex­pos­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to fi­nan­cial risk.

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