Cupids residents rally for Mike Power and town’s audit report
Mike Power addresses removal from council
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.
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.”
Former Coun. Mike Power addressed questions and concerns during a rally at Cupids town hall.
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.