Changes com­ing to Bay Roberts coun­cil

Two vet­eran coun­cil­lors step­ping away in Septem­ber; two oth­ers un­de­cided


The Com­pass con­firmed last week that two long­time mem­bers of the town coun­cil in Bay Roberts will not be seek­ing re-elec­tion in Septem­ber.

As well, two more long­time coun­cil­lors are still un­de­cided on what they will be do­ing when the next round of mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions are called.

Coun­cil stal­warts Clarence Mercer and Melvin Walsh will be step­ping away from the ta­ble, each hav­ing served the town for mul­ti­ple terms.

Deputy Mayor Bill Sey­mour and Coun. Ger­ald Green­land have still not made a de­ci­sion about whether to place their names on the bal­lot.

Both Sey­mour and Green­land have been mem­bers of the Bay Roberts coun­cil since 1993.

Mayor Philip Wood will be seek­ing re-elec­tion as mayor. It is un­known whether he will be chal­lenged for the chair.

‘Ex­cel­lent may­ors’

Walsh was elected for the first time in 2001 and will be com­plet­ing his third term as a coun­cil­lor.

In that elec­tion, Walsh gar­nered some 902 votes.

He has worked along­side three dif­fer­ent may­ors — Wil­bur Sparkes, Glenn Lit­tle­john and most re­cently Philip Wood — in his 12 years as an elected of­fi­cial.

“I’ve worked with three ex­cel­lent may­ors,” said Walsh.

The coun­cil li­ai­son with ur­ban mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and mem­ber of the pub­lic works com­mit­tee, Walsh is look­ing for­ward to “do­ing dif­fer­ent things” with his free time come Septem­ber.

“I’ve en­joyed coun­cil for sure, but I’m at the point in my life where I want to en­joy other things,” he said. “I have a place down south and I want to spend more time down there and spend more time with the fam­ily. “Just en­joy the rest of my life.” Be­ing with the town since 2001, Walsh has seen the town grow and evolve to the point where it is the largest town in the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion re­gion.

“I’m proud of the fact that we’ve started to or­ga­nize the town and progress in an or­ga­nized way,” he said. “I was re­spon­si­ble for re­de­vel­op­ing most of the rules and reg­u­la­tions in the town and I feel proud that we’re mov­ing in a way that will see the town much bet­ter in the fu­ture.”

In his 12 years as a mem­ber of coun­cil, Walsh has seen the de­vel­op­ment of many ar­eas.

“There are more busi­ness and more peo­ple mov­ing into town,” he said. “Our recre­ation area has grown. We’ve im­proved recre­ation in ar­eas like But­lerville and Shearstown.”

Mov­ing on

Mercer was first voted in as a coun­cil­lor in 2005. In that elec­tion, Mercer gar­nered the high­est num­ber of votes amongst elected of­fi­cials with 1,046.

Mercer echoed Walsh’s thoughts when asked about his rea­sons for not plac­ing his name on the bal­lot for a third term.

“I have three grand­chil­dren and time is mov­ing on,” he said. “At 60 years old, there is more to life than pre­par­ing for coun­cil.”

How­ever, just be­cause he is step­ping away from the ta­ble, does not mean Mercer is step­ping away from his town.

“I will be con­tin­u­ing to vol­un­teer for the town be­cause I have a great love for the town,” he said.

Mercer is coun­cil’s li­ai­son with the tourism com­mit­tee and is with the cul­tural foun­da­tion. He said he has en­joyed the eight years he spent on coun­cil.

“I think we’ve es­tab­lished quite a bit in this town,” said Mercer.

The de­vel­op­ment of the Bay Roberts Cul­tural Foun­da­tion stands out to Mercer amongst all that he has ac­com­plished in his time of ser­vice to the coun­cil.

“Since that’s been done, we’ve brought cul­ture alive in the Town of Bay Roberts,” he said.

For ev­i­dence of this, one has to but look at the list of ac­tiv­i­ties planned for the rest of this year in the town.

But, Mercer said the ev­i­dence of the pos­i­tive work done by the foun­da­tion is not just found in the amount of ac­tiv­i­ties put off.

“We’ve got plans to of­fer schol­ar­ships and so on to stu­dents, we’re go­ing into schools, we’re de­vel­op­ing projects with the schools. So, this thing has legs, so I’m very proud to be one of the found­ing mem­bers and the chair of that com­mit­tee.”

Coun. Wal­ter Yet­man could not be reached for this story, but he is widely be­lieved to be run­ning for his third term as mem­ber of coun­cil.

The fresh­est face on coun­cil, Wade Oates, con­firmed that he will be seek­ing re-elec­tion.

Oates came on board af­ter win­ning a by­elec­tion in 2011, fill­ing a seat cre­ated fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of for­mer mayor Glenn Lit­tle­john, who is now MHA for Port de Grave. “I love it,” said Oates. Re­tir­ing coun­cil­lors will not be the only change around the ta­ble in Septem­ber.

Long­time town clerk Shirley Hawe will also be re­tir­ing af­ter 35 years with the town.

Coun. Melvin Walsh

Mayor Philip Wood

Coun. Clarence Mercer

Coun. Ger­ald Green­land

Deputy Mayor Bill Sey­mour

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