Dudes in the cham­ber

Car­bon­ear elects all-male coun­cil; one of only two towns in re­gion to do so


Car­bon­ear may be the com­mer­cial and ser­vice hub of the Trin­ity Con­cep­tion re­gion, but fol­low­ing last week’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion, it now boasts another dis­tinc­tion that may not be as flat­ter­ing.

Of the 25 in­cor­po­rated mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the area from Bri­gus and Whit­bourne in the south to Old Per­li­can and Bay de Verde in the north, Car­bon­ear is now one of only two towns in the re­gion with­out any fe­male rep­re­sen­ta­tion on its town coun­cil.

The other is Bri­gus, though two va­can­cies are yet to be filled in that town.

By the time votes were counted in Car­bon­ear on Sept. 24, all seven seats avail­able on coun­cil went to male can­di­dates, while the three fe­male con­tenders — Brenda Trick­ett, Chris­tine Power and De­bra Brad­bury — were shut out.

There were 12 can­di­dates in the hunt for six at-large coun­cil seats, with the fe­males fin­ish­ing sev­enth, eighth and ninth, re­spec­tively. All three can­di­dates for mayor were male.

It’s the first time since 2005 that mu­nic­i­pal gov­er­nance in the town will be over­seen by an all-male con­tin­gent. In fact, in the 65 years of in­cor­po­ra­tion, only three fe­males — Nell Finn, Gla­dys Merer and Betty For­ward — have earned a seat on coun­cil.

Mercer re­signed in 2012, prompt­ing a by­elec­tion, while For­ward is fin­ish­ing her one and only term, hav- ing de­cided not to seek re-elec­tion. Sur­prise win As the town’s first-ever fe­male coun­cil­lor, Finn has earned a place in the his­tory books for Car­bon­ear. She first broke the elec­toral bar­rier in 1973, and re­mem­bers feel­ing sur­prised that she won a seat.

“I de­cided to run and thought if I don’t get elected, then I’m no worse off,” she re­called.

Finn was re-elected in 1977, but was un­suc­cess­ful in a 1981 cam­paign.

“I ran for the third time and there were two other women who ran be­sides me and nei­ther one got elected,” she ex­plained.

A civil­ian aux­il­iary ves­sel out of Long Pond was dis­patched to their aid, and just be­fore 7 p.m. on Sept. 25, Wood­ford and Smith aban­doned the Kozy, boarded their in­flat­able boat, and made their way to the ap­proach­ing ves­sel.

It was a suc­cess­ful res­cue, but Wood­ford said it was a close call he would not want to re­peat.

“I’ve spent a lot of time on the wa­ter, but that was as scary as it gets,” Wood­ford said Fri­day morn­ing, star­ing across the har­bour at his wrecked boat, which had been drift­ing for more than a day.

He iden­ti­fied Car­son Noel of St. John’s as the owner of the aux­il­iary ves­sel that came to their aid, say­ing Noel and Keith Wil­liams “saved our asses.”

The res­cue ves­sel was un­able to take the Kozy in tow be­cause “they didn’t have the re­sources on­board,” said Wood­ford.

The Coast Guard made a cou­ple of at­tempts to dis­patch one of its ves­sels in or­der to re­cover the Kozy, but cir­cum­stances forced them to abort each time, said Wood­ford.

By Fri­day morn­ing, any hopes of a suc­cess­ful sal­vage were dashed.

Wood­ford re­cov­ered a small ta­ble. That was it.

Both men were just thank­ful to have lived to tell the tale.

“We had a close call,” said Smith, an ex­pe­ri­enced fish­er­man.

Photo by Melissa Jenk­ins/ Spe­cial to The Com­pass

Brenda Trick­ett was a can­di­date for the Car­bon­ear coun­cil elec­tion Sept. 24, but she was hit by a truck five days prior, leav­ing her un­able to cam­paign. She be­lieves her in­jury con­trib­uted to los­ing a coun­cil seat by 21 votes.

Photo by Terry Roberts/the Com­pass

Wayne Wood­ford (sec­ond from left) and Rhodie Smith (sec­ond from right) of Spa­niard’s Bay are seen chat­ting with two en­vi­ron­men­tal re­sponse spe­cial­ists from the Cana­dian Coast Guard. They are Dave Humphries (left) and Don Fitz­patrick.

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