A race to watch in Up­per Is­land Cove

Vet­eran coun­cil­lor chal­lenges in­cum­bent mayor for top post

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS THE COM­PASS

The bat­tle for the top elected post in Up­per Is­land Cove is be­ing de­scribed by some in the com­mu­nity as one of the races to watch in the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion re­gion when vot­ers go to the polls on Sept. 24.

In a two-man race that many are say­ing is too close to call, long­time Mayor Ge­orge Adams is be­ing chal­lenged by vet­eran town coun­cil­lor Craig Mercer.

Both are very well-known in the com­mu­nity, and both are said to have a loyal fol­low­ing among the cit­i­zenry.

Mercer, who has served as a coun­cil­lor for 12 years, said his de­ci­sion to chal­lenge Adams is not a re­flec­tion of his opin­ion of the cur­rent lead­er­ship, but more about what he can bring to the job.

“I thought about run­ning for mayor (in 2009), but the tim­ing was not right then,” said Mercer. “This time, I’ve had a num­ber of peo­ple say­ing to me, ‘We’d like to see you run.’ So I de­cided to take a shot.”

Mercer, who works in health care, de­scribed him­self as a life­long vol­un­teer with groups such as the fire depart­ment and recre­ation com­mis­sion, and added: “I feel I can do a great job for the com­mu­nity.”

Mercer, 43, promised what he called a change of lead­er­ship style, one in which all coun­cil­lors will be en­cour­aged to play a prom­i­nent role in the town’s af­fairs.

When asked if that was a crit­i­cism of Adams’ style of lead­er­ship, Mercer replied: “We have a good coun­cil. We agree on a lot of is­sues. But I would like to see coun­cil­lors be more in­volved.”

Adams, a re­tired school teacher, has served as mayor since 1999, and ran un­con­tested in 2005 and 2009. He wel­comed the chal­lenge this time around.

“That’s a sign of healthy democ­racy,” said Adams, 67. “I have no prob­lems in con­test­ing an elec­tion. I feel fine with this sit­u­a­tion. I think my track record as a mu­nic­i­pal leader will put me in good stand­ing.”

Adams said there are sev­eral is­sues he wishes to “bring to a suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion” if elected to an­other term, and made spe­cial ref­er­ence to hous­ing growth, fund­ing part­ner­ships with the fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments, and sup­port for the fire depart­ment and recre­ation com­mis­sion.

Mean­while, Up­per Is­land Cove is a town of roughly 685 house­holds, and there’s an over­all sense of op­ti­mism and growth in the com­mu­nity. Since 2010, for ex­am­ple, there have been 37 new homes built in the town.

As such, many are not sur­prised at the level of in­ter­est in the elec­tion, with fea­tures a sep­a­rate ballot for mayor and six at-large coun­cil seats.

In all, there are 12 peo­ple in the run­ning, in­clud­ing all six in­cum­bents. The town coun­cil has been func­tion­ing with a va­cancy since the death of Llewellyn Coombs on Sept. 22, 2012.

In ad­di­tion to Adams and Mercer, the fol­low­ing sit­ting coun­cil mem­bers are also seek­ing re-elec­tion: Eve­lyn Adams (deputy mayor), Wal­ter Linthorne, Kim Mercer and Valen­tine (Val) Slaney.

Those seek­ing to win a seat are: Daniel Coombs, Cindy Dob­bin, Steven Gree­ley, Philip Lun­dri­gan, John Lynch and Dar­ren Mercer.

An ad­vance poll will be held Sept. 21.

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