Mike Power re­moved from Cupids coun­cil

Or­dered sewer line re­moval with­out proper per­mis­sion, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment re­port

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS

Mike Power has been re­moved from Cupids coun­cil fol­low­ing some is­sues with a sewer line in the com­mu­nity.

Ac­cord­ing to a 22-page re­port pre­pared by the De­part­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs and En­vi­ron­ment,

Power, along with for­mer coun­cil­lor Fran­cis Walsh, were linked to the de­struc­tion of a sewer line for a prop­erty on 432 Seafor­est Drive.

This de­struc­tion al­legedly came with­out the knowl­edge of other mem­bers of coun­cil at the time, de­spite the use of town equip­ment and the lack of any mo­tion for the ac­tion.

Start­ing with a reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ing dat­ing back to July 2011, the prop­erty on Seafor­est Drive has come up in Cupids coun­cil busi­ness on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, with the ini­tial men­tion of the prop­erty be­ing an ac­knowl­edge­ment it was large enough for con­struc­tion of a house, and that sep­tic/dis­posal fields would need to be ap­proved by the then-De­part­ment of Gov­ern­ment Ser­vices be­fore per­mits were is­sued.

Ap­prox­i­mately five years later, in Au­gust 2016, own­ers of the prop­erty, af­ter be­ing given proper ap­proval, hired a con­trac­tor to in­stall an ocean out­fall sep­tic sys­tem.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, the con­struc­tion process was brought to a halt by for­mer coun­cil­lors Power and Walsh, who re­port­edly parked their ve­hi­cles in an at­tempt to block en­try to the con­struc­tion site.

In an email ad­dressed to Min­is­ter Ed­die Joyce of the De­part­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs, the prop­erty owner states that they, along with their con­trac­tor, met with sev­eral coun­cil mem­bers, in­clud­ing Power and Walsh.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, it is stated the con­trac­tors were told by the for­mer mayor, Harold Ak­er­man, to con­tinue work and com­plete the in­stal­la­tion of the sewer line, that Power and Walsh were not act­ing on be­half of the town but as in­di­vid­u­als, and that the prop­erty own­ers were within their rights to call the RCMP.

The doc­u­ment goes on to ex­plain that the sewer line in­stal­la­tion was com­pleted within the fol­low­ing weeks, af­ter meet­ings with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Wa­ter Resources (now in­cluded within the De­part­ment of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs), as well as the fed­eral De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans, which both con­firmed that no in­volve­ment was nec­es­sary by ei­ther de­part­ment.

This con­fir­ma­tion was in­cluded in the min­utes of fol­low­ing Cupids reg­u­lar coun­cil meet­ings.

Re­moval

How­ever, months later, a let­ter was re­ceived by prop­erty own­ers from King re­quest­ing that the sewer line be re­moved as per sec­tion 2.2.2 Ar­chae­o­log­i­cal and Her­itage Resources.

“Again, we were blind­sided,” the let­ter to Joyce states.

The Com­pass reached out to cur­rent mayor of Cupids, Gor­don Power, who was deputy mayor at the time the re­quest was made. The mayor con­firmed the let­ter sent was re­quest­ing the re­moval of the sewer line, but no time­line was pro­vided, nor were any con­se­quences listed, were the prop­erty own­ers to keep the line as is.

In Novem­ber 2016, staff mem­bers re­moved the sewer line. Ac­cord­ing to in­ter­views the two work­ers did for the re­port, it was Mike Power who ini­tially or­dered them to de­stroy the pipe and fill the area back in. Be­fore do­ing so, they stopped by his home to re­con­firm the job at hand. Mike Power was on the phone with Walsh when they ar­rived, and Walsh also con­firmed the work needed to hap­pen.

How­ever, Gor­don Power told The Com­pass plans to re­move the line were not dis­cussed at any prior coun­cil meet­ings, and that no mo­tion was made for or against the de­struc­tion.

“Ev­ery­thing was checked out,” Gor­don Power ex­plained. “(The prop­erty own­ers) had ev­ery­thing in or­der, and we as coun­cil never gave the go-ahead for de­stroy­ing it.”

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, coun­cil re­ceived con­fir­ma­tion from the Pro­vin­cial Ar­chae­ol­ogy Of­fice that the prop­erty on Seafor­est Drive held no historic re­source po­ten­tial, con­trary to what was stated in the re­quest for re­moval of the pipe.

The doc­u­ment states that af­ter speak­ing with the own­ers, they stated they may pur­sue a small claims ac­tion against the Town of Cupids, and that a re­quest had been made that the town re­place the de­stroyed sewer line.

Gor­don Power con­firmed with The Com­pass that as of ap­prox­i­mately Thurs­day, Aug. 10, he was no­ti­fied Mike Power had been re­moved from coun­cil as a re­sult of the in­ci­dent.

In the af­ter­math of his re­moval, Kevin Con­nolly re­signed from his po­si­tion on coun­cil as deputy mayor, re­duc­ing the town’s num­ber of coun­cil mem­bers to three – not enough to hold quo­rum. Con­nolly was un­avail­able for com­ment prior to dead­line. Nom­i­na­tions for the up­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion will be ac­cepted Sept. 5 at the town hall in Cupids.

“They may take le­gal ac­tion against the town,” the mayor ex­plained. “Right now, we’re ask­ing for sug­ges­tions from Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs, and we got op­tions we’re look­ing over for the fu­ture of coun­cil.”

When asked if coun­cil would re­place the pipe, Gor­don Power said he doesn’t feel as though coun­cil has a choice in the mat­ter.

The Com­pass con­tacted Mike Power, who also con­firmed that he had been re­moved from coun­cil, but stated he could not speak on the mat­ter at length due to le­gal rea­sons. When asked for his rea­son­ing for the re­moval of the pipe, Mike de­clined to com­ment.

The Com­pass was di­rected to Mike Power’s lawyer, Bob Buck­ing­ham, for any fur­ther ques­tions. Buck­ing­ham could not be reached prior to dead­line.

“Right now, we’re ask­ing for sug­ges­tions from Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs, and we got op­tions we’re look­ing over for the fu­ture of coun­cil.”

Mayor Gor­don Power

Cupids mayor Gor­don Power

Mike Power

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