Brigus council comes up short
Mayor, deputy mayor to be named during Sept. 10 meeting
An understrength Brigus town council will officially be sworn in during a meeting on Sept. 10, with the five town councillors elected by acclamation this week deciding amongst themselves who will serve as mayor and deputy mayor.
Council is also expected to consider dates for a byelection in an attempt to fill the two vacancies, said town clerk/manager Wayne Rose, who also served as returning officer for the Sept. 3 nomination process.
According to the Municipalities Act, the town has 30 days to set a date for a byelection, and it must be within 90 days of when the byelection date was set.
Unlike in most other municipalities in the region, voters in Brigus will not be heading to the ballot box on Sept. 24, and Rose is concerned about the lack of interest from prospective candidates.
It’s his sense that citizens are comfortable with the way the affairs of the town are being managed, and don’t see the need to step forward.
“I had a feeling this might happen because there wasn’t much talk leading up to nomination day,” said Rose, noting it’s the first time since the mid-1970s that too few candidates stepped forward in order to warrant an election.
It’s likely a reflection of the town’s positive financial position, steady growth in the residential sector, and an overall upbeat feeling in the town, he added.
“Sometimes, like in Clarke’s Beach, it takes some things going on to bring people out of the woodwork to demand change,” said Rose, referring to the more than two dozen candidates who stepped forward for election in the neighbouring town.
Rose suggested it may be time to reconsider the number of elected seats for smaller towns such as Brigus, with perhaps a reduction from seven to five for towns with a population of less than 1,000.
“At least it would not be so hard to fill your seats,” said Rose.
Those filing nominations papers this week were incumbents Greg Hiscock, Byron Rodway, Ralph Trickett and Lorne Youden, while Shears Mercer Jr. is back after serving 13 years on council in the past. Rodway has served as mayor since August 2006.
The nomination process this time around was also unique in that it did not feature a separate ballot for mayor. Council voted 5-1 during a meeting in June to have a single ballot, with council selecting a mayor and deputy mayor. Rodway was the only member of council to oppose the motion.
Since it was incorporated in 1964, the town has offered a separate ballot for mayor on only two occasions — 2009 and 1990. The mayor was elected by acclamation both times — Mayor Rodway in 2008 and Dave Hiscock in 1990.
Meanwhile, the town has been functioning with only six members of council for the past year due to a resignation.
Two incumbents councillors, Faith Roberts-Pike and Roy Clarke, did not seek re-election.
There are roughly 500 homes in Brigus, with some 140 of those used as seasonal dwellings by non-residents.