Letting his voice be heard
Mayor appalled by resident’s attack on town
The mayor of Harbour Grace says he is more than proud of his town and takes exception to Harbour Grace, its residents and council members being berated on the Internet.
“ It’s insulting, the town doesn’t deserve it and I don’t appreciate it,” says Don Coombs referring to the Facebook social networking site “ Speak loud and let your voice be heard in Harbour Grace.”
Resident Pauline Yetman established the site as a way of inciting residents to clean up and beautify the town.
The mayor feels it has only incited disappointment and rage.
“I don’t subscribe to Facebook, but I’ve read the comments posted on that website, they’ve been bought to my attention and I strongly disagree with what is being said about Harbour Grace,” he says. “It’s beyond disappointing and is really no way to try to solve an issue. She ( Yetman) has never contacted me to discuss her concerns and never requested a meeting ”
The s i te features photos of garbage, scrap, weeds and trees, which are strewn around the town.
The mayor feels Yetman has taken her quest to clean up the town too far.
“ That site contains pictures and names of some businesses in the town and I can tell you this they aren’t too pleased about that,” he said. “Some of the comments posted refer to the town being run by and controlled by an elite group of people. They even cite a religious denomination as contributing to some of it, which is foolishness. It’s too silly to talk about.”
”She ( Yetman) won’t be getting the opportunity to speak until she apologises to council for some of the remarks she made and has posted on Facebook.”
Coombs acknowledges more could be done to tidy up the town, but says Harbour Grace is no different than other municipalities.
“All towns have issues and our town is no different,” he says. “Do we have residents and businesses here that need to clean up their property? Yes we do and council is doing what we can to ensure that, but this is also the time of year when many properties are a mess and need to be cleaned up. It’s like that everywhere and when spring rolls around it’ll be done.”
Coombs feels the comments posted by members of the Facebook group about the money ($33,329) being used to extend the soccer complex behind St. Francis School are a personal attack on him.
“They (Facebook group) talk about it being a waste of money,” he said. “ Those comments were probably directed at me because I’m president of the CBN Minor Soccer Association. They say the money could be put to better use, put towards cleaning up the town. For some reason they believe the funding for the extension to the soccer field is coming from the town, but that’s not correct, not one cent of it comes from the municipality. It’s all federal/provincial money and only allocated for projects like the soccer field. They may not agree with it, but I have 500 kids in the soccer program who are quite happy the money
is going to the soccer field.”
According to Coombs the town has been making an effort to maintain the S.W. Moores Memorial Park, but won’t be able to honour Yetman’s request to fix the water fountains.
“ We had them checked out and they are beyond repair,” he said.
Coombs says he’s appalled by Yetman’s comments on the Kearney Tourist Chalet, which included referring to the site as a junkyard.
“It’s disappointing to know that’s what she thinks of Roger Pike’s donation of the Spirit of Harbour Grace plane and the funding for the Amelia Earheart statue and the other historic aspects of that area,” says Coombs. “She obliviously has no understanding of the importance of that area or of how many people show up here each year to have their photos taken by that plane. It’s a big tourist attraction and many towns in this province would love to have it in their area. Here she is calling it a junkyard… that’s unreal!”
Yetman has written a letter expressing her concerns to the town council and is hoping to speak at a meeting sometime this week. However Coombs says she will have to apologise to council first.
“ She made some pretty nasty remarks about council members including calling us useless,” says Coombs. “ I can understand people being frustrated. We (council) are far from perfect and there are lots of improvements to be made, but we are working for the betterment of the town. She won’t be getting the opportunity to speak until she apologises to council for some of the remarks she made and has posted on Facebook.”
Coombs feels Yetman who moved back to Harbour Grace from Mississauga Ontario last July, where she lived for the past 22 years, is presenting an unfair and inaccurate impression of Harbour Grace.
“ You don’t come into a town after being away for years and start complaining and tearing down,” he says. “ If she ( Yetman) wants to change things she should be meeting and working with council - instead of that she is publicly insulting and bashing both us and the town. This is a good little town and the people here are hardworking and they already have a lot of community pride. They don’t need anyone to give them any lessons in that. I can understand someone having concerns and wanting to make changes, but there is no need to go out attacking everyone or tearing a town down to do it.”
The mayor says if Yetman is so unhappy with the work of council she should have put her name on the ballot in the municipal election last September.
“ If it’s that bad here in Harbour Grace she ( Yetman) and her buddies should have run, voted us all out, themselves in and then ran the town their way,” he concluded.