A Sey­mour-smith show­down in Spa­niard’s Bay

Two high pro­file can­di­dates gun­ning for mayor’s chair; nine oth­ers in hunt for six coun­cil­lor posts

The Compass - - NEWS - BY TERRY ROBERTS edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Out­spo­ken town coun­cil­lor Brenda Sey­mour came for­ward on nom­i­na­tion day Sept. 3 to en­sure the race for mayor in Spa­niard’s Bay will be a hotly con­tested and lively af­fair.

But that’s not all she was mak­ing head­lines for last week, with Brenda and her hus­band, Martin, help­ing pre­vent a crime early Tues­day morn­ing. But more on that later.

Sey­mour was “on the fence” for sev­eral weeks about whether to run for mayor, but said a re­cent ar­ti­cle in The Com­pass, and en­cour­age­ment from sup­port­ers in the town who wanted a choice on the sep­a­rate bal­lot for mayor, were de­ter­min­ing fac­tors in her de­ci­sion to seek the top elected post.

Her op­po­nent, fel­low coun­cil­lor and for­mer town clerk/man­ager Wayne J. Smith, ap­peared poised to oc­cupy the mayor’s chair with­out much of a fight just days ago.

Deputy Mayor Tony Men­chions had been touted as a pos­si­ble con­tender, but an­nounced he did not have time to pur­sue the job.

It wasn’t un­til Sey­mour read an ar­ti­cle posted to cb­n­com­pass.ca on Aug. 22 — it later ap­peared in the Aug. 27 print edi­tion of The Com­pass — that she de­cided to run for mayor.

In the ar­ti­cle, head­lined “Will Wayne Smith be chal­lenged for mayor in Spa­niard’s Bay,” Smith spoke about the mer­its of a com­bined mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Spa­niard’s Bay, Har­bour Grace and Up­per Is­land Cove. He also crit­i­cized the cur­rent provin­cial-mu­nic­i­pal 90/10 cost-shar­ing for­mula for in­fra­struc­ture projects, ar­gu­ing that it might be time for mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to pay a larger share in or­der to get more projects ap­proved.

— To read the ar­ti­cle, visit: http://www.cb­n­com­pass.ca/News/Lo­cal/2013-08-22/ar­ti­cle3359916/Will-Wayne-Smith-be-chal­lenged-for-mayor-in-Spa­niard­sBay%3F/1 —

Sey­mour said the ar­ti­cle touched a nerve.

“If I’m that much op­posed to what he’s think­ing, rather than sit through an­other term as coun­cil­lor, I fig­ured I should try to change it. So I de­cided to go,” Sey­mour said when con­tacted last week.

Sey­mour is ada­mently op­posed to amal­ga­ma­tion, but whole­heart­edly sup­ports greater re­gional co-op­er­a­tion.

“Any­thing we can share, I’m all for it if it means cut­ting costs. But to unite? I do not see it hap­pen­ing in the near fu­ture. The peo­ple want to re­tain their in­di­vid­u­al­ity. I think they will work bet­ter to­gether if they are sep­a­rate,” she stated.

For the record, Smith ac­knowl­edged there ap­peared to be very lit­tle sup­port for amal­ga­ma­tion, and stated that it was not part of his plat­form.

A step back­ward

Mean­while, Sey­mour is also op­posed to any tam­per­ing of the fund­ing for­mula, call­ing Smith’s views “off the wall.”

“The purse strings are closed tight. But that will not be for­ever, and when it be­comes avail­able again, we don’t want to be pay­ing 30 per cent more than we have to pay now,” she said.

Sey­mour, who turns 49 later this month, was elected to coun­cil in 2009, and has made a name for her­self as a no-non­sense, for­ward-think­ing mu­nic­i­pal leader who’s not afraid to speak her mind.

She had a testy re­la­tion­ship at times with out­go­ing Mayor John Drover and his daugh­ter, Coun. Sheri Collins, over is­sues such as the town’s emer­gency prepard­ness plan. Collins is seek­ing re-elec­tion.

She also made provin­cial head­lines sev­eral years ago fol­low­ing her dis­missal from the vol­un­teer fire depart­ment over al­le­ga­tions that she over­stepped the chief ’s au­thor­ity on the is­sue of train­ing. She was later re­in­stated fol­low­ing a re­view of the sit­u­a­tion, and is now a cer­ti­fied Level I fire­fighter.

She de­scribed some of her ex­pe­ri­ences in re­cent years as “tu­mul­tuous,” but noted that she is in­spired to “push even harder” when faced with ad­ver­sity.

Masked men

If elected, she plans to con­tinue sup­port­ing the pro­posed busi­ness park in Til­ton, ex­plore ways to bet­ter use tech­nol­ogy to run the town’s af­fairs, and pro­mote a coun­cil that is open and ac­count­able.

“I get the feel­ing that res­i­dents feel dis­as­so­ci­ated with their coun­cil and what goes on up there,” she said.

Sey­mour and her hus­band, Martin, also made news last week af­ter help­ing foil what ap­peared to be an at­tempted armed rob­bery early Tues­day morn­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by CBC News, Brenda called the RCMP af­ter wit­ness­ing three men get out of a truck and put masks on their faces out­side a con­ve­nience store at ap­prox­i­mately 5:30 a.m. Brenda’s hus­band boarded his car and fol­lowed the three sus­pects to an un­paved road off Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way.

He blocked the road with his ve­hi­cle, and the RCMP later ap­pre­hended the sus­pects.

Brenda said their reaction is sym­bolic of her per­son­al­ity, which is to stand up for what she be­lieves in.

“There are peo­ple watch­ing and if there’s any way of do­ing any­thing to thwart their ac­tions, we’re go­ing to do it,” she told CBC News.

In tough

Mean­while, Sey­mour will be in tough in her bid to win the mayor’s chair, and the out­come is by no means a cer­tainty.

Smith, who turned 65 this past win­ter, served as the town clerk/man­ager for 24 years, and was elected to coun­cil in 2009.

When asked about the fact there will be a race for mayor, Smith said he wel­comed the chal­lenge.

“It makes me want it even more,” he said on nom­i­na­tion day.

As for the six coun­cil seats that are up for grabs, nine can­di­dates are in the run­ning, in­clud­ing four in­cum­bents — Colli n s , Tony Do­minix, Eric D. Jewer and Men­chions.

Also seek­ing a seat are: Paul G. Brazil, Su­san Marie Gosse, Gary Mercer, Lewis E. Shep­pard and Delores (Strick­land) Squires.

Brenda Sey­mour

Wayne Smith

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