Mayor wants new com­mit­tee to fo­cus on fam­i­lies

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

Lack of at­ten­dance

The letter was tabled at coun­cil’s June 20 reg­u­lar meet­ing, but is dated May 10.

The letter out­lines a num­ber of chal­lenges the com­mit­tee mem­bers say the have faced in re­cent years, in­clud­ing a lack of at­ten­dance and sup­port from coun­cil.

The letter high­lighted the poor at­ten­dance at this year’s win­ter car­ni­val, not­ing, “All events (with the ex­cep­tion of the se­nior’s card game) had at­ten­dance of be­tween two and five peo­ple.”

It also re­vealed a dis­pute over ac­cess to au­dio equip­ment, which mem­bers say they pur­chased from funds raised by the com­mit­tee.

The letter com­plained town of­fi­cials lim­ited their ac­cess to the sound sys­tem, and loaned the equip­ment to oth­ers, against their wishes.

The com­mit­tee had re­quested that the sys­tem be kept at a mem­ber’s home, rather than “un­der lock and key” at the town hall.

Sev­eral mem­bers of the com­mit­tee con­tacted last week by The Com­pass de­clined an in­ter­view re­quest.

“ We’re not talk­ing about this fur­ther. Ev­ery­thing we wanted to say is in the letter,” said Whe­lan.

Lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion

Mayor Coombs main­tains the au­dio equip­ment was the prop­erty of the Town of Har­bour Grace and the events com­mit­tee pur­chased it with funds al­lo­cated by the town, at coun­cil’s sug­ges­tion.

Coombs said he was sur­prised by the res­ig­na­tions, and was not aware the civic events com­mit­tee was un­happy with coun­cil.

“ There was a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” Coombs said.

Deputy Mayor Terry Barnes is coun­cil’s li­ai­son with the com­mit­tee. Barnes said he was aware mem­bers were frus­trated.

“ They put in a lot of work and a lot of time,” Barnes said.

Ul­ti­mately, he be­lieves the job was sim­ply too much work for the small group.

“Ev­ery­thing was done by the same five or six peo­ple,” he said. “It was just too much.”

Larger mem­ber­ship

Mean­while, the town is mov­ing for­ward with a plan to re­build the com­mit­tee.

Al­though the mem­ber­ship has not yet been con­firmed, “the new com­mit­tee will have around 12 or 14 peo­ple,” Barnes said.

In the past, the town had dif­fi­culty at­tract­ing vol­un­teers for the com­mit­tee.

Both Coombs and Barnes spoke care­fully when asked about the pre­vi­ous com­mit­tee, but both feel an in­jec­tion of new ideas and per­son­al­i­ties will ben­e­fit the town.

“ They’re a tremen­dous group,” Coombs said of the out­go­ing com­mit­tee, “and they’ve done a lot for the town.”

Coombs wants the new mem­bers to fo­cus on or­ga­niz­ing events for fam­i­lies with young chil­dren.

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