Harbour Grace resident wants clean up day held in town
If at first you don’t succeed, try try again! Following that motto, a Harbour Grace woman believes there is genuine interest among citizens in cleaning up their town.
“Many hands make light work and that’s what it’s going take to clean up Harbour Grace,” says resident Pauline Yetman, who over the past few weeks has been very vocal about the condition of the town.
“ But I believe in this town and I believe residents want to do what they can to help clean it all up. “
Yetman says her once historic town is now a bit of an eyesore.
“It’s littered with garbage and discarded pieces of rusted metal and equipment. It’s strewn around the sides of the road, in the beaches and tossed behind buildings,” she says.
In an attempt to get the town clean up Yetman posted photos of the rundown buildings, scrap and garbage on her personal Facebook account (social network website). Within days the Facebook group “Speak Loud and Let Your Voice be Heard in Harbour Grace” was established.
Then she wrote a letter expressing her concerns to members of the Harbour Grace town council and requested to speak at a March 8 regular council meeting, but Mayor Don Coombs denied that request. Coombs felt Yetman owed the council and town an apology for some of the comments posted on Facebook. However when Yetman, who was sitting in the back of the council chambers during the March 8 meeting, spoke up and apologized for some of the remarks, the mayor threatened to have her removed from the room.
“He asked for an apology and I gave it,” Yetman told The Compass afterward. “He didn’t say it had to be in written form or at a certain time or date. I thought he was waiting for me to give it then and I also thought once I gave it, I would be able to speak. Not only did that not happen, but he threatened to call the police.”
Yetman says she isn’t picking on the mayor or trying to make him look bad, she just wants the town cleaned up.
“ The mayor should be focussing less on me and the Facebook page and more on addressing the issue of cleaning up the town,” she says. “He isn’t a victim here. I’m not out to get him. He is the mayor and he has to take responsibility for the disgrace the town is in. All he has to do is take a walk around town and see the mess and his eyes will be opened. I’m just asking him to listen to the people, to read the letters that have been printed in The Compass and the e-mails posted to their website and take a look at the remarks on Facebook, maybe then he would see what I am trying do.”
Yetman feels some councillors, as well as many residents, share her concerns.
Last Thursday March 18 she sat down with a member of council to talk about what can be done to clean up the town. She is also in the process of organizing a cleaning committee made up of residents.
“I’ve been told council has tried for years to get the town cleaned up but nothing ever happens. They have attempted to organize a clean up day but no one shows up. I want to prove this view wrong,” says Yetman. “I want to challenge residents in the town to volunteer their time, come out with their weed eaters and garbage bags and trucks to haul it all away with.”
Yetman says if a clean up day is organized, people will support it.
“ They’re already telling me they will,” she says. “I can’t get over the number of people who are calling me or walking up to me when they see me around town and saying they agree and support me. I have gotten a lot of encouragement. If a clean up day is held I believe people of all ages will come to help out.”
Yetman says the cleanup day could end with a big barbeque for the volunteers. She also believes businesses would be willing to chip in some snacks for the event.
“I’m going to pursue this idea of a clean up day,” she says. “I won’t give up on trying to bring this town up from the garbage that is killing it. I’m not out to discredit the mayor or council and I am not trashing the town... that’s already been done.”
Photos by Pauline Yetman SIGN - This sign posted on the steps leading to the beach in Harbour Grace warns people not to enter and for good reason - the steps are over grown and rickety.