New coun­cil­lor in Whit­bourne

Lionel Ro­drigues son of town’s for­mer mayor

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Lionel Ro­drigues didn’t al­ways have po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tions, but he does have plenty of af­fec­tion for the town he calls home.

So when news came that Whit­bourne’s town coun­cil needed to fill a va­cant seat, he de­cided to step up.

“I have a young fam­ily,” Ro­drigues told The Com­pass last Tues­day, a day af­ter nominations con­cluded, leav­ing him the lone can­di­date to come for­ward. “A part of it is a civic duty as­pect. I feel like if I’m go­ing to have some in­flu­ence on the en­vi­ron­ment that my kids are grow­ing up in, I should take a more ac­tive role in try­ing to do some­thing ben­e­fi­cial for the (town).”

The po­si­tion on coun­cil be­came avail­able fol­low­ing the sud­den pass­ing of Brent Cole. The town coun­cil­lor, who was also well known for his ad­vo­cacy work around the topic of moose-ve­hi­cle col­li­sions, died April 2 at the age of 51.

Ro­drigues’ fam­ily has a his­tory with mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics. His fa­ther Dr. Hi­lary Ro­drigues is a for­mer mayor of Whit­bourne. Lionel Ro­drigues is the gen­eral man­ager of Ro­drigues Win­ery and Sedna Nu­tra, two lo­cal com­pa­nies founded by his fa­ther.

“I think my fa­ther joined pol­i­tics for the same rea­son, to do some­thing ben­e­fi­cial for the town that he lived in,” said Lionel. “I guess I’m in a sense fol­low­ing in a sim­i­lar suit. I just feel that since I’m a res­i­dent here, I should put my­self on a block.”

There was a par­tic­u­lar news item that com­pelled Lionel Ro­drigues to run. He was among the many peo­ple in Whit­bourne dis­mayed by New­found­land and Labrador English School Dis­trict’s de­ci­sion to close Whit­bourne El­e­men­tary at the con­clu­sion of the cur­rent school year.

“The school being closed just doesn’t make any sense to me, so I fig­ure maybe by helping out with more mu­nic­i­pal (busi­ness), I might be able to have a big­ger voice.”

The next Whit­bourne coun­cil meet­ing is sched­uled for June 8.

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