A race to watch in Upper Island Cove
Veteran councillor challenges incumbent mayor for top post
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.