Mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion races heat­ing up

Coun­cil bal­lot fea­tures 13 names, in­clud­ing four in­cum­bents

The Compass - - Front page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­

The first round of nom­i­na­tion days came and went last week, with sev­eral com­mu­ni­ties in the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion ia area fi­nal­iz­ing their list of can­di­dates. There are sure to be some in­ter­est­ing elec­tion bat­tles to keep an eye on, as you’ll find out in a few sto­ries spread through­out this week’s edi­tion of The Com­pass.

A coun­cil­lor near­ing the end of his first four-year term is ready to chal­lenge the cur­rent mayor of Bay Roberts for the town’s top elected po­si­tion.

Mayor Philip Wood and Coun. Ge­orge Sim­mons are go­ing head-to-head in the up­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion. Vot­ers in Bay Roberts will have plenty of de­ci­sions to make, as there’s also a full slate of 13 can­di­dates vy­ing for the re­main­ing six coun­cil seats.

Deputy Mayor Wal­ter Yet­man is seek­ing re-elec­tion, as are coun­cil­lors Char­lene DaweRoach, Dean Franey and Wade Oates. Coun. Bill Seymour re­cently con­firmed to The Com­pass his de­ci­sion to re­tire from pol­i­tics af­ter 24 years on coun­cil. Also run­ning this year is Silas Bad­cock, Danny But­ler, Jake Collins, Frank Deer­ing, Gerald Fen­nemore, Jim Fran­cis, Travis How­ell, James Mur­phy and Ge­off Seymour.

Philip Wood

Mayor Wood, a for­mer teacher and school ad­min­is­tra­tor, first joined Bay Roberts coun­cil in a 2008 by­elec­tion. He was elected again the next year and, fol­low­ing Glenn Lit­tle­john’s move into provin­cial pol­i­tics, be­came the town’s mayor in 2011. He won the 2013 may­oral race, hand­ily de­feat­ing

Ge­off Seymour.

“I’m cer­tainly very, very happy to stand on my record, my ac­com­plish­ments and achieve­ments dur­ing my time on coun­cil and as mayor,” he told The Com­pass last Thursday, one day af­ter nom­i­na­tions closed. “I think the town has done well in the past num­ber of years. We’ve cer­tainly shown a lot of growth.”

He high­lighted the re­turn of a full-time RCMP de­tach­ment to Bay Roberts as a ma­jor get for the town. In terms of mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices, Wood iden­ti­fied curb­side re­cy­cling pick up as a good ini­tia­tive in­tro­duced over the last four years. He also made men­tion of spe­cial tax dis­counts for se­niors, drink­ing water im­prove­ments, the Goose Pond walk­ing trail, re­cre­ation up­grades, water and sewer up­grades, on­go­ing road­work and the town’s strong fi­nan­cial po­si­tion.

“As I say, I’m cer­tainly proud of the record, and I cer­tainly don’t take credit for all that. I think it takes a coun­cil and it takes the staff to im­ple­ment some of those things.”

His ca­reer in teach­ing in­formed his lead­er­ship style, Mayor Wood said. He also em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of com­mit­ting your­self fully to the role of mayor, not­ing it in­volves a lot of hours.

“I think that’s very im­por­tant, be­cause it’s more than just at­tend­ing some meet­ings on a Tuesday night. It takes much more than that.”

Look­ing ahead to the next four years, Wood wants to con­tinue with nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture up­grades. Ad­vo­cat­ing for the re­place­ment of Co­ley’s Point Pri­mary will be on his agenda, and he also wants to see the town’s busi­ness park project gain some trac­tion.

Ge­orge Sim­mons

Coun. Sim­mons, a re­tired RCMP of­fi­cer who spent 36 years on the force, was first elected in 2013.

“All of my work­ing life has been work­ing with and serv­ing the pub­lic,” Sim­mons said when asked why he de­cided to run for mayor. “I felt that I had the en­ergy and the com­mit­ment to step for­ward and to carry it to the next level.”

Sim­mons ad­mit­ted to learn­ing a lot over those four years about the in­ner work­ings of a mu­nic­i­pal­ity, and he be­lieves there’s still more to learn on the job. A for­mer com­mand­ing of­fi­cer for the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion RCMP de­tach­ment, he con­sid­ers him­self a strong leader.

“I see my­self as bring­ing an air of in­clu­sive­ness, which means in­clud­ing ev­ery­body,” he said. “I see my­self as bring­ing lead­er­ship, a de­ter­mi­na­tion, and I be­lieve that I bring a lot of in­tegrity. My main fo­cus will be on hon­esty and trans­parency.”

Like Wood, Sim­mons is pleased to see that Bay Roberts is in such a strong po­si­tion fi­nan­cially. He’s also pleased by its con­tin­ued growth as a com­mu­nity.

“I think there are some ini­tia­tives that we need to fol­low up on, and I would in­clude in those the re­place­ment of the Co­ley’s Point school, which I be­lieve is a very high pri­or­ity.”

Sim­mons wants more con­crete ac­tion to ad­dress waste­water treat­ment in order to com­ply with new fed­eral reg­u­la­tions. He also sees roads, pedes­trian safety and polic­ing as is­sues that need to be ad­dressed.

“My key fo­cus on coun­cil is work­ing for and with peo­ple and un­der­stand­ing the needs of peo­ple and try­ing to help wher­ever I can,” he said. “Along with that, in any way, mov­ing the town for­ward so we can be bet­ter sit­u­ated in the fu­ture. I guess I’ve learned a few things, and I’ve got lots left to learn, but that’s a process.”

The ad­vance poll in Bay Roberts is Sept. 23, with elec­tion day across New­found­land and Labrador sched­uled for Sept. 26. El­i­gi­ble vot­ers un­avail­able on those days can opt to ap­point a proxy voter to vote on their be­half.


Bay Roberts Coun. Ge­orge Sim­mons.

Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood.

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