Harbour Grace takes steps to fill staffing void
Questions persist about why senior employees abruptly left their jobs
There were obvious moments of tension in the chamber at the Harbour Grace Town Hall Jan. 29 during the regular council meeting.
The anticipated gathering, which hosted some 20 residents, seven councillors and three town employees, was hyped to offer answers to a staffing crisis facing the town that unfolded Jan. 22. Two newly hired management employees left their positions without notice, and the council had not given comment up until the meeting.
Barnes said the town requested to hold the meeting later this month, or sometime in March.
The mayor stressed the town is doing its due diligence, and offered reassurances that council remains committed to the project.
“The loan is there,” Barnes said in a recent interview with the Compass.
At the heart of the delay is whether it is feasible for the town to build a modern facility with two ice surfaces.
The belief is that running two ice pads could increase operating costs by as much as 40 per cent.
“We’d love to say we’ll have two, but can we afford two? Maybe, we just have to build one,” said Barnes.
“We wanted to make sure that whatever we take on, the town could afford without jeopardizing other projects.” — Terry Barnes
Barnes does not want to see his town have to raise taxes in order to make sure it makes its loan payments.
“It’s nice to say the loan is there, but we have to be able to pay, it back and at what cost to taxpayers?” he said. “We don’t want to drive taxes up.”
The decision has been observed as being a sound strategy, and something that should have been done under the previous regime.
“We wanted to make sure that whatever we take on, the town could afford it without jeopardizing other projects,” said Barnes.
These other projects would be projects like roads, as well as water and sewer.
Since the Carbonear-Harbour Grace district has gone red with Liberal MHA Sam Slade winning the recent byelection, there has been public worry the money, which was promised August of 2011, would disappear.
Barnes dismissed the notion, stating the money had been “signed off on.”