CBN Joint Council at a crossroads
First meeting since September elections to be held Oct. 30 in Clarke’s Beach
Town councils around the region were not the only ones to experience change in the aftermath of the Sept. 24 municipal election.
Once the dust settled, the Conception Bay North Joint Council was left without three-quarters of its executive.
Only George Butt, Carbonear’s deputy mayor, who serves as the chairman of the executive, was left standing. Gone are treasurer Dave Murphy (Harbour Grace), secretary Roland Andrews (Clarke’s Beach) and vice-chairman Garry Bendell (Clarke’s Beach).
All three went down to defeat in the municipal election.
Several high-profile and longtime municipal leaders, including John Drover (Spaniard’s Bay) and Arthur Burke (Victoria), also decided to to retire from politics.
The changes come at an inopportune time for the council.
Attendance at monthly meetings was on the rise, issues were being addressed and, according to some, the concept of greater regional co-operation was being taken more seriously by municipal leaders.
It would not be outside the realm of possibility to believe this mass exodus could be construed as a step backwards for the council.
However, Butt said he does not think that will happen.
“I don’t think it kills any momentum,” he said.
Butt completes his term as chairman at the council’s annual general meeting, scheduled for Oct. 30 in Clarke’s Beach.
The joint council is comprised of councillors from Brigus to Victoria. Each town is allowed two voting representatives, although an unlimited number of elected officials can attend meetings.
Meetings are held on the last Thursday of every month, and locations are rotated around to the various municipal buildings in the region.
The council is designed to tackle issues at the regional level.
Past issues on the agenda have been waste collection, water issues, increased police presence and luring additional medical professionals to the region.
The council also looked at addressing the regionalization of essential services. Things such as fire protection and first responders have been on the agenda in recent months. Often, professionals in these fields would address attending members at meetings.
Butt said the new council executive will still address those issues and many others. “I’m sure that will continue,” he said. Although he may not be a member of the executive come next Wednesday, Butt said he will still stay on as one of two representatives for Carbonear.
“We’ll keep it alive,” he said.
Hopefully, there will be new energy coming forward from different towns. — Clarke’s Beach Mayor Betty Moore.
Re-igniting the flame
Prior to the AGM in 2012, meetings were sparsely attended and it appeared the council was on its last legs.
“It was pretty dull,” said Butt. “It was a little bit gone.”
However, with the election of the latest executive, things began to turn around. Meetings where characterized by healthy, progressive discussion, with an overall sense of co-operation and unity.
With a new executive set to come online on Oct. 30, some see it as a chance to get more towns involved in the process. There are scores of new councillors in all parts of the region, and the hope is they can get involved and bring something different to the table.
“Hopefully, there will be new energy coming forward from different towns,” said Clarke’s Beach Mayor Betty Moore. “My hope is that they won’t run into any problem getting a new executive.”
With this new energy, there are sure to be fresh ideas on how towns can continue to work together in the interest of building the region.
Regardless of who is on the executive, Moore said she hopes they will continue to carry on the initiatives currently being looked at by the council.
“There was a sense around the table that they were more interested in working together, and hopefully that is going to continue,” she said.
The CBN joint council can be a useful tool when dealing with the provincial government, especially since the area served by the council includes portions of three different provincial districts, including Harbour Main, Port de Grave and Carbonear-Harbour Grace.
Government may be more inclined to look at regional issues coming from a concentrated body of towns rather than on an individual community basis, observers say.
Dean Franey, a newly elected member of the Bay Roberts town council, said he plans on attending the meeting this week.
“I think it’s something that can be used to our advantage,” he said.
Carbonear Deputy Mayor George Butt is the outgoing chairman of the CBN Joint Council executive.