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.”

At­lantic con­fer­ence

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.

House num­bers

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.

Cen­te­nar­ian road

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.

Pho­tos by Ni­cholas Mercer/the Com­pass

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.

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