New councillor in Whitbourne
Lionel Rodrigues son of town’s former mayor
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.