Town chided for pace of response
Deputy Mayor Ches Ash says quicker action needed on assortment of issues
Carbonear’s deputy mayor, Ches Ash, has expressed frustration with the length of time it takes council to respond to ongoing issues in the town.
Citing council’s slow response in dealing with some “ unsightly scenes” around town, Ash said at the Nov. 15 council meeting: “ We have a business operating as a scrap unit without a business permit in the midst of a residential area. There is a very, very definite possibility of contamination from gas, grease and oil.”
He was referring to a property at 37-39 Valley Road. Council has decided to send a clean-up order to the registered property owners. At least two previous clean-up orders had been sent to the occupants.
While some clean-up had taken place in the past, the problem is a recurring one, going back more then a year, according to town administrator Cynthia Davis.
Ash said, “I think we need to take a look at how we respond to such issues and streamline the way we do things.” He said there are several other outstanding issues which have not been resolved.
“ We need a more efficient and effective way to do things.”
Ash said he was not criticizing staff, but stressed the need to recognize the situation and improve it.
Mayor Sam Slade said he understood Ash’s concerns, but stated, “sometimes we (council) have to follow a process, and council is not above the law. We have to do things that are politically correct.”
Ash responded: “I don’t accept that we can’t move forward on some of these issues. To work on something that is not resolved in 12 months is not good enough.”
Coun. Gladys Mercer agreed, adding she could think of issues that have been ongoing for years without any resolution.
Mercer said there are areas of town that need extensive clean-up, where council orders have been ignored or not obeyed.
She said the process should be as simple as giving the property owner 30 days to clean up a property. If action is not taken, she said, the town should carry out the clean-up and charge the costs back to the property owner.
Ash expressed concern that the town may never recoup its costs.
Coun. David Kennedy disagreed with Ash, and suggested the town has improved its response to such issues.
“ Unfortunately, the town doesn’t have the money to clean up (everything),” Kennedy said.
Slade added, “this council has made some significant strides over the last year and the town is growing.”