Former stadium committee member angry with Harbour Grace council
Says decision to replace entire group amounts to ‘a kick in the face’
A member of the former stadium committee in Harbour Grace is lashing out at the town council for deciding earlier this year to replace it.
Coun. Kathy Tetford read Pamela Whelan’s letter towards the end of the March 8 council meeting, following some discussion about whether it was permissible for the councillor to read it. The letter had not been received prior to the typical deadline for getting onto the agenda.
In a letter dated March 6, Whelan identified herself as a valuable contributor to the town who served on many town committees. Last year, she responded to a request seeking residents willing to serve on a committee for the new Danny Cleary Community Centre. She said six meetings took place before the committee learned through informal channels it was being replaced.
“In fact, I voted for you, the current council, on the premise that the last council commonly had far too many of their friends on committees in order to control what went on in these types of meetings. Ironic, isn’t it?”
Whelan was hurt and disappointed by the decision to replace the committee, feeling it showed the town did not value her time.
“It’s a kick in the face. It says to me, ‘ Thanks for coming out, but we don’t need you anymore’ … I might be loud. I might be opinionated. I might not agree with you. However, I have a valuable set of skills to offer. This town does not exactly have a huge volunteer base. It’s certainly not big enough to turn people away.”
She also advised the town it doesn’t need to bother sending a thank-you note, as had been discussed at a previous council meeting.
“I will vote this fall and I will campaign against those of you who have orchestrated this conundrum. A $20-million facility will need more creative and articulate minds to make it work. I would suggest you don’t turn its supporters away.”
Coun. Hayward Blake, after Tetford finished reading the letter, commented on what he perceived to be a failing of the past committee.
“Committees of council should be reporting back to council, as we saw tonight (and) as we’ve seen with the Harbour Grace Heritage and Redevelopment Committee … There was never, ever a report that had come back from (the former stadium) committee,” he said, noting it did not make any requests of council or provide meeting minutes. “So as someone who sat around this table, one can see it as a nonfunctioning committee.”
Town CAO Michael Saccary said he had not sent any thankyou notes as of the date of that council meeting because he could not obtain a list of members for the former committee, despite asking multiple people. Coun. Gordon Stone also disputed an assertion in the letter that this would be the third committee to look after the stadium under the term of the current council.
“This is not the third committee — this is the second one,” he said.
Tetford was critical of the move to dissolve the original committee, contending it should include representation from users groups like the minor hockey association and local figure skating club.
The new committee met for the first time on Tuesday, March 7. Tracy Shute and Joy Sparkes are non-council members, and were joined for the first meeting by Stone, Coun. Tony McCarthy and Saccary. According to Stone, it will support stadium administration by offering ideas and report back to council. Meetings will take place every second Monday.
The new committee tasked to help with administrative matters at the Danny Cleary Community Centre is under fire from a former member of the now-defunct committee it replaced.