Un­fin­ished busi­ness

Pri­or­i­ties for a sec­ond term in of­fice

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

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.

Ad­dic­tions fa­cil­ity

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.

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