Priorities for a second term in office
Jerome Kennedy says he’s seeking a second term in office because “I still feel I have some unfinished business here in the district and ... in the province.”
The Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA will again represent his party in the district in the October provincial general election, having won the PC nomination by acclamation on March 3.
On the eve of that nomination Kennedy sat down with The Compass to talk politics — his first term in the political arena, and some ongoing issues and projects he would like to make his priorities for the next four years.
Presuming he is re-elected and the premier wants him to stay on as minister of Health and Community Services after the election, Kennedy says he has a number of provincial issues he would like to follow up on, not the least of which is decreasing wait times for people in need of health care.
Closer to home he says he has “some real important issues in the district,” including the opening of a new addictions treatment centre, hopeful- ly in Harbour Grace, and a new stadium in the town.
“ There are a number of big infrastructure projects I have left to obtain funding for,” Kennedy said.
The proposed addictions centre has not been without controversy. Last September, when a group of Harbour Grace citizens got wind that the SPLASH Centre ( former St. Paul’s School) on Lady Lake Road was being considered as the preferred site for the facility, they raised concerns about having such a facility in a residential.
The proposed facility “is still on the table for Harbour Grace.” However, he plans to have officials go back and speak with members of the community. “And if there is (still) overwhelming opposition from community members, we will have discussions with council and my officials as to whether or not it will proceed.
“If the people of Harbour Grace are that opposed to it, then we’ll look at all our options,” he stated.
Referring to the SPLASH Centre, he said, “my preference would still be to use the school. If we have buildings in rural Newfoundland and Labrador that are not being utilized, such as the old St. Paul’s School, it would be good to use that building.” However, he assured the people of Harbour Grace, “it’s not something that will be used at all costs, or without community consultation.”
Some $2 million was provided in last year’s provincial budget for the planning and development of an adult addictions treatment centre in Harbour Grace. The new treatment centre was to be designed to help meet the needs of individuals who require longer-term residential treatment, or those that have more severe and persistent addictions.
The new centre will complement the Humberwood Treatment Centre in Corner Brook, which provides short-term treatment.