Cupids res­i­dents rally for Mike Power and town’s au­dit re­port

Mike Power ad­dresses re­moval from coun­cil

The Compass - - Sports - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Res­i­dents of Cupids ral­lied to­gether in sup­port of Mike Power, fol­low­ing some com­mo­tion re­gard­ing the town’s au­dit re­port.

On Mon­day night, Aug. 21, Cupids town hall was packed with mem­bers of the com­mu­nity fol­low­ing con­cerns re­gard­ing the town’s re­cent au­dit re­port.

Power is a former mem­ber of coun­cil, hav­ing been re­moved af­ter the de­struc­tion of a sewer line with­out proper author­ity from coun­cil. Power was at the fore­front of Mon­day night’s rally, and said he and other res­i­dents want to see an ex­pla­na­tion about the re­port.

Power said the re­port in ques­tion is only 37 per cent com­pleted, and is rid­dled with is­sues.

“We’re here to take back the town,” Power told The Com­pass min­utes be­fore the rally be­gan, “and to raise aware­ness for this au­dit that’s be­ing done. They’re try­ing to sweep it un­der the rug, and we’re try­ing to ex­pose it – the way it should be.”

Power said the aim of Mon­day night’s rally was to see some answers to res­i­dents’ ques­tions re­gard­ing the re­port. He said they want an ex­pla­na­tion, and he would like to see the re­port com­pleted.

Fur­ther­more, Power noted the need for a trans­par­ent coun­cil – some­thing he hoped to see as a re­sult of the up­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions. He added that res­i­dents of Cupids did not know as much about the town as they should, and that a new coun­cil, start­ing from scratch, would be the only way to achieve what he felt the com­mu­nity needed.

Some res­i­dents who plan to run for coun­cil in Septem­ber were in at­ten­dance at the rally, and sat at a ta­ble fac­ing the crowd.

Power’s re­moval from coun­cil came from the de­struc­tion of a sewer line on Seafor­est Drive, which Power, along­side former coun­cil­lor Fran­cis Walsh, di­rected with­out proper per­mis­sion from coun­cil. Power was a big player in the re­port be­ing made public, and said he feels as though the is­sues out­lined within the re­port are be­ing pur­posely ig­nored by coun­cil in an ef­fort to hide things he feels the public de­serves to know.

When asked what he felt was be­ing hid­den, Power said “every­thing. What­ever they can. I mean, they’re hid­ing this au­dit.”

Rally at­ten­dees were given small cards upon en­ter­ing Cupids town hall, which out­lined a mo­tion made in Oc­to­ber 2016 to re­quest prop­erty own­ers on 432 Seafor­est Dr. re­move the sewer line based on the Arche­o­log­i­cal and Her­itage Re­sources Sec­tion 2.2.2 of the Cupids Mu­nic­i­pal Plan 2014. The card goes on to list former deputy mayor Chris­tine Burry, and coun­cil­lors Gord Power, Mike Power, Fran­cis Walsh, and Kevin Con­nolly as be­ing in favour of the mo­tion, with only Harold and Dar­rin Ak­er­man be­ing op­posed.

In a 22-page govern­ment doc­u­ment out­lin­ing the events lead­ing up to the pipe’s de­struc­tion, it is stated a let­ter was sent to the prop­erty own­ers re­quest­ing the pipe’s re­moval, but did not in­clude a time­line, or con­se­quences should the re­moval not take place.

Around a month later, Power di­rected town staff to de­stroy the sewer line, with­out proper author­ity from coun­cil. Fol­low­ing the pipe’s de­struc­tion, coun­cil re­ceived a let­ter from the Pro­vin­cial Arche­ol­ogy Of­fice stat­ing that the prop­erty had no historic re­source po­ten­tial, and there were no con­cerns with de­vel­op­ment of the prop­erty.

Sup­port

Mon­day night’s rally saw dozens of Cupids res­i­dents who not only wanted answers for the au­dit, but also wanted to sup­port Power.

“We’ve got a pe­ti­tion here – peo­ple want me back. They don’t agree with what hap­pened,” Power ex­plained. “We got around 200 sig­na­tures out of 350 to 400, max­i­mum, vot­ers in Cupids.”

At around 7 p.m., Leonard Martin and Power spoke to the ap­prox­i­mately 75 at­ten­dees of the rally. Martin ex­plained the pur­pose of the rally was to spread a mes­sage, stat­ing that not only did they want to see some­thing done about the au­dit re­port, but also that they did not agree with Power’s re­moval.

“I want to be able to vote for who­ever I want, and the fact that Mike can’t run for the next two years is not right,” Martin said to the crowd, who fol­lowed with ap­plause. The two years men­tioned by Martin high­lights the fact that, fol­low­ing re­moval from coun­cil, Power is in­el­i­gi­ble to run for a seat on coun­cil for a pe­riod of two years.

Power went on to state that ap­proval was given to the prop­erty own­ers on 432 Seafor­est Dr., al­low­ing them to in­stall the sewer line. How­ever, he added the ap­proval came with­out proper author­ity, sim­i­lar to his de­struc­tion of the line, which came about with­out proper per­mis­sion.

How­ever, a 22-page govern­ment doc­u­ment out­lin­ing the events states that prop­erty own­ers had re­ceived ap­proval from the then-De­part­ment of Govern­ment Ser­vices for the sewer line in 2011, which had been ex­tended mul­ti­ple times be­fore the line’s in­stal­la­tion in August 2016.

Power also noted the prop­erty own­ers did not have the per­mits re­quired for such a de­vel­op­ment, not­ing they re­quired per­mits from the De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Oceans, the Arche­ol­ogy De­part­ment, and Cupids coun­cil it­self. Power added that they lacked all three.

“If some­one has per­mits for their prop­erty be­fore sell­ing you that prop­erty, they can’t sell you the per­mits as well,” Power ex­plained. “That’s not how it works – you have to get your own per­mits.”

The govern­ment doc­u­ment con­tra­dicts parts of Power’s state­ment, how­ever, not­ing that coun­cil had re­ceived no­tice from Ser­vice NL in Septem­ber 2016 stat­ing that prop­erty own­ers had re­ceived the nec­es­sary per­mits from their de­part­ment. The doc­u­ment goes on to in­di­cate that no per­mit was nec­es­sary from DFO, nor from the former De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Con­ser­va­tion.

Fol­low­ing Power’s re­moval from coun­cil, Coun. Kevin Con­nolly re­signed from his seat. Con­nolly was in at­ten­dance dur­ing the rally, though no cur­rent mem­ber of coun­cil was in at­ten­dance.

Af­ter Mon­day night’s rally, Power said he was sat­is­fied with the way things were go­ing.

“I think it went pretty good. Lots of sup­port, I didn’t see a sin­gle neg­a­tive body in the room,” Power said.

Power also told The Com­pass that although he is un­able to ap­peal his re­moval, he will be go­ing to court, along­side his lawyer Bob Buck­ing­ham, re­gard­ing the re­moval of the sewer line.

“At the end of the day, I think there’s a lot more to them kick­ing me off coun­cil than just that sewer line,” Power said out­side the town hall. “They want to hide things, and I was get­ting in the way of that. This sewer line was just a good ex­cuse to get me out of it.”

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Former Coun. Mike Power ad­dressed ques­tions and con­cerns dur­ing a rally at Cupids town hall.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Former Coun. Kevin Con­nolly re­signed from his seat on coun­cil fol­low­ing Power’s re­moval. Con­nolly was in at­ten­dance dur­ing the rally and spoke up on some of his con­cerns.

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