Warding off a ward system
Bay Roberts council shoots down new voting system
The Town of Bay Roberts voted down a motion earlier this month to adopt a ward system for the next municipal election.
The move was met with negative reaction from the other members of council. The motion was defeated 5-1, with votes against coming from councillors Walter Yetman, Gerald Greenland, Wade Oates and Clarence Mercer, as well as Mayor Philip Wood. Coun. Melvin Walsh was absent.
Brought forward by Deputy Mayor Bill Seymour, the motion could have seen the town broken up into three wards, which would be represented by two councillors.
Seymour outlined that Ward 1 would include Coley’s Point, Country Road and Bay Roberts West, Ward 2 would be Shearstown and Butlerville, while Ward 3 would be comprised of Bay Roberts “proper.”
If the motion had’ve been adopted, it would have grown the council to eight representatives, up from the seven in place now.
“Sometimes those areas should be represented on this council to have an even vote,” said Seymour. “That’s why I wanted to go with the ward system, see that there’s strength in each area and have more voice in council.”
Seymour made the issue public prior to the March 12 meeting with a letter to the editor printed in The Compass.
“I feel that council has done a wonderful job … and commend all involved for that,” Seymour wrote in the letter. “That being said, I believe that as an evolving town new ideas and innovative ideas are encouraged and welcomed.
“The Town of Bay Roberts has shown that it is capable of responding to change. A ward system is the next logical step in the evolution of our great town.”
The arguments against such a system ran along the same lines.
Each councillor centred on the division amongst citizens and councillors that could come with such a system.
“It has come up a number of times over the years,” said Coun. Greenland. “I think that having each ward, everyone would be more aggressive to get things done for their ward, rather than as a town on whole.”
Bay Roberts council already has representatives from Bay Roberts, Coley’s Point and Shearstown.
Wood said such a process is not one that can be settled in one sitting. It would involve public consultation and setting various guidelines.
I think a motion such as this is almost a twoor three-year proposition,” said the mayor. “You would have to have input from the public, you would have to study where are the boundaries, you would have to find out who would be eligible to vote and who would be eligible to run in a particular area.”
Bay Roberts will be hosting the Atlantic ByLaw Officers Association Conference from June 17-19.
Meetings will be held at the Avalon Wolverines Search and Rescue Building and will include seminars on investigative interviews, firearms awareness, effective radio procedures and the real cost of animal control, amongst others.
Need for a sweeper
Municipal enforcement officer Perry Bowering highlighted the need for a road sweeper for the town. The sweeper would be used to paint traffic lines on the roads in the community.
“I can’t emphasize enough the need for road signs to be put down as quickly as possible,” said Wood. “People have become used to them now.”
“It’s the appearance of them, too. It’s just the cleanliness of it,” added Yetman.
With the purchase of a sweeper, the town would be able to put lines on its roads whenever the winter weather broke.
Bowering also brought up the issue of house numbers in the community.
Some residents are still lagging behind in having their civic numbers displayed prominently on the front of their homes.
Bowering has approached two contractors in the town for help in this matter. They’ve agreed to put numbers on their houses as they finish construction on them.
Bowering has approached homeowners in the past. “It’s about educating them as you go,” he said. House numbers are important for residents as it allows emergency personnel to respond to calls quickly and effectively.
The Bay Roberts Heritage Advisory Committee is in the midst of planning the 100th anniversary of Cable Avenue, a historic street in Bay Roberts.
After a meeting with Lisa Wilson and Dale Jarvis of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, a number of plans came to light for the avenue.
Bay Roberts councillors Clarence Mercer (left) and Gerald Greenland.
Deputy Mayor Bill Seymour tabled a motion at the March 12 Bay Roberts council meeting that would see the town go to a ward system. It was defeated 5-1.