Sev­eral is­sues take prece­dent at coun­cil meet­ing

Vic­to­ria coun­cil­lors give fo­cus to is­sues of re­cre­ation, pub­lic works

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­ins@tc.tc

The at­mos­phere was lively, en­er­getic and at times tense dur­ing the reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing Jan. 27 at the town hall in Vic­to­ria.

Coun­cil­lors were quick to give opin­ions, and had no prob­lem stat­ing their con­cerns when an is­sue was pre­sented.

Sev­eral big sit­u­a­tions were dis­cussed dur­ing the marathon, three-hour meet­ing.

Re­cre­ation ten­sion

Re­cre­ation com­mit­tee co-chair Coun. Jen­nifer Baker ap­peared vis­i­bly frus­trated while de­liv­er­ing an ad­dress from her com­mit­tee.

Last year the town an­nounced in­ten­tions to build a new skate­board park. The com­mit­tee — chaired by Vic­to­ria res­i­dent Holly Par­sons — went to work fundrais­ing, seek­ing do­na­tions and grants, as well as us­ing $4,000 from the an­nual bud­get to af­ford some $40,000 worth of skate­board­ing equip­ment.

Baker ex­plained the equip­ment was or­dered in Oc­to­ber, but an in­voice did not ar­rive to the town of fice un­til Jan­uary, al­though dated for De­cem­ber 2013. Town reg­u­la­tions pre­vent funds from each bud­get be re­al­lo­cated to the fol­low­ing year.

Baker could not fathom why the money, which was ap­proved in 2013, couldn’t pay the in­voice.

“I’m dis­ap­pointed,” she said. “This is money that was promised to the com­mit­tee.

“Re­cre­ation, her­itage, ev­ery com­mit­tee are not do­ing things for them­selves, they are do­ing it for the bet­ter­ment of the com­mu­nity.”

She con­tin­ued, say­ing there are mem­bers ready to give up the com­mit­tee — which is en­tirely vol­un­teer — be­cause of the is­sue.

This year the town al­lot­ted an ex­tra $4,000 to the re­cre­ation com­mit­tee, but that was a stan­dard in­crease the depart­ment was to re­ceive.

“I voted on the bud­get be­cause the money was there,” Baker stated. “Not be­cause the money from last year was in­cluded.”

Deputy Mayor Sharon Snooks, who chairs the fi­nance com­mit­tee and is the for­mer town clerk, said she be­lieves it is worth a se­cond look.

Coun­cil agreed, and the de­ci­sion was placed in the hands of the fi­nance com­mit­tee.

Bin is­sues

At one point Mayor Barry Doo­ley opened the floor to res­i­dents, which con­sisted of three lo­cals, to voice their ques­tions and con­cerns.

Lo­cal busi­ness own­ers Mel and Kate Clarke, who run Clarke’s Sal­vage on Swansea Road —a road without street sig­nage — were the only ones to ad­dress coun­cil.

NLL Re­cy­cling from St. John’s is said to have de­liv­ered a metal re­cy­cling bin for met­als on re­quest from the Clarke’s. It was placed next to the main road on Route 70. The com­pany did not re­spond to re­quests for an in­ter­view.

The Clarke’s re­ceived a let­ter from the town.

“The Town of Vic­to­ria sent us a let­ter stat- ing that we had to re­move the con­tainer be­cause we were ad­ver­tis­ing our busi­ness...,” she told The Com­pass. “They are say­ing that be­cause our busi­ness is in Swansea (Road), we can­not have this con­ve­nient drop-off for cit­i­zens.”

She ex­plained the con­tainer does not have any ref­er­ence to Clarke’s Sal­vage, thus is not ad­ver­tis­ing.

Doo­ley stated it was against the town’s reg­u­la­tions to have the con­tainer without a per­mit — which costs $25.

The cou­ple be­lieves they have helped get waste off the street, some­thing they said wasn’t hap­pen­ing at that time.

“When Mel and I see the filth and de­bris, thrown by road­sides and what many oth­ers have stock­piled on their prop­erty, we are

“I’m dis­ap­pointed. This is money that was promised to the com­mit­tee.” — Jen­nifer Baker

stymied that the coun­cil could be against a clean, safe and ac­ces­si­ble place for met­als,” Kate ex­plained.

Doo­ley said res­i­dents have com­plained, stat­ing oil and haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als as one of the rea­sons.

“This con­tainer is a sealed steel con­tainer,” Kate said. “If cit­i­zens put (car parts or cer­tain met­als) by a garbage bin or heaven for­bid, throw it in the woods, then there will be a con­tam­i­na­tion prob­lem. We were only try­ing to stop dump­ing, not (have) ad­ver­tis­ing.”

Coun. Glenn Clarke said it should be NLL, and not Clarke’s Sal­vage, who should be held re­spon­si­ble.

“We feel we are be­ing pe­nal­ized for be­ing a tax­pay­ing busi­ness,” Kate con­cluded. “We truly were only try­ing to of­fer a ser­vice to the town.”

Truck won’t be auc­tioned yet

A Vic­to­ria res­i­dent who had his 2006 Ford pickup truck im­pounded over a year ago will have to wait a lit­tle longer to learn the fate of his ve­hi­cle.

The coun­cil dis­cussed what should hap­pen with the ve­hi­cle, but Butt said she was still wait­ing on more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing what other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties do in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions.

Town clerk Shel­ley Butt also con­firmed a few weeks ago that an auc­tion was be­ing con­sid­ered to cover tow­ing and im­pound­ing fees.

This is the first time the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has faced the sit­u­a­tion, so coun­cil de­cided to seek ad­vice from an auc­tion­eer­ing com­pany about pro­to­col, in­clud­ing trans­fer­ring own­er­ship.

The ve­hi­cle’s owner, Ed Cole, still sternly states his ve­hi­cle was “un­law­fully” re­moved and con­cealed. It is still sit­ting in the work yard be­hind the mu­nic­i­pal build­ing.

Jen­nifer Baker is the co-chair of the Vic­to­ria re­cre­ation com­mit­tee. She had no trou­ble stat­ing her frus­tra­tion over a skatepark is­sue at the meet­ing.

Pho­tos by Melissa Jenk­ins/The Com­pass

Mayor of Vic­to­ria, Barry Doo­ley, meets with coun­cil on Jan. 27 at the town hall.

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