Clean-up time

Har­bour Grace res­i­dent wants clean up day held in town

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BYDENISE PIKE

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.

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