Big names on bal­lot for Car­bon­ear mayor

Frank Butt, Ge­orge Butt, Sam Slade vie for votes in three-way race

The Compass - - News - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON edi­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

The 2017 may­oral race in Car­bon­ear looks to be quite the bat­tle, with three strong can­di­dates vy­ing to claim a sin­gle seat.

Two cur­rent coun­cil mem­bers — Mayor Ge­orge Butt Jr. and Deputy Mayor Frank Butt — and for­mer mayor Sam Slade all hope to at­tract the most votes once polling sta­tions close Sept. 26.

Mayor Butt (of no re­la­tion to the deputy mayor) earned that ti­tle fol­low­ing a 2014 by­elec­tion vic­tory over for­mer deputy mayor Ches Ash. A few months ear­lier, it was Slade who earned his third-con­sec­u­tive term in the mayor’s seat. Slade sub­se­quently re­signed after he was elected MHA in the for­mer dis­trict of Car­bon­ear-Har­bour Grace, re­plac­ing the un­ex­pect­edly de­parted Jerome Kennedy.

All in­cum­bent coun­cil mem­bers are seek­ing to re­gain a seat, with Bill Bow­man, Ed Goff, David Kennedy, Ray Noel and Brenda Trick­ett all in the mix. Also run­ning for coun­cil seats are Ash, Danielle Doyle, Steve Dun­phy, Amanda Hu­lan, Vic­tor Jenk­ins, Chris O’Grady, Melissa O’Keefe, Mal­colm Sey­mour, Ches Shep­pard, Gre­gory Short, Alex Slade and Pe­ter Snow. Ge­orge Butt Jr. Ge­orge Butt Jr. had a pre­vi­ous stint as mayor fol­low­ing the sud­den death of Claude Gar­land in 2004. A year later, Slade de­feated the in­cum­bent mayor, though Butt Jr. was able to re­gain a seat on coun­cil in 2009.

The cur­rent mayor feels the last four years have been good ones for coun­cil. In an in­ter­view with The Com­pass, he em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of work­ing to­gether as a group and get­ting along with town staff and other groups with a stake in the com­mu­nity, such as the fire depart­ment.

“I’m a team player,” said the mayor, a 26-year vet­eran of coun­cil who works for Canada Post. “I mean, a mayor is only so good as his coun­cil, so I can do that. I’m after prov­ing that.”

In a day and age where funds from higher lev­els of gov­ern­ment are scarcer, Mayor Butt em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of main­tain­ing a di­a­logue with the lo­cal MHA and MP.

“There’s al­ways a lit­tle ex­tra from some depart­ment or some new pol­icy,” he said, not­ing he keeps in touch with rep­re­sen­ta­tives in St. John’s and Ot­tawa reg­u­larly. “So when you’ve got good com­mu­ni­ca­tion with th­ese fellers, you’re up on that.”

Mov­ing for­ward, Mayor Butt sees projects to help Car­bon­ear grow as a pri­or­ity item. He’s hope­ful a de­vel­op­ment on va­cant land south of Cana­dian Tire and the pro­posed ho­tel for Crocker’s Cove can go a long way in strength­en­ing the town’s econ­omy. The mayor also ex­pects the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Car­bon­ear Down­town De­vel­op­ment Plan will fur­ther re­vi­tal­ize that area, and he notes there are a num­ber of road projects one phase away from com­ple­tion and others like Ma­haney’s Lane that de­serve up­grades.

Sam Slade

Slade’s at­tempt at re­turn­ing to pol­i­tics comes al­most two years after he lost a nom­i­na­tion bat­tle to cur­rent Car­bon­ear-Trin­ity-Bay de Verde MHA Steve Crocker in a dis­trict with re­drawn bound­aries.

“I al­ways knew when the time arose again that I would have an­other crack at the mayor’s chair,” Slade said.

With 20 years of ex­pe­ri­ence on coun­cil and two-full terms served as mayor, he knows the po­si­tion very well. Slade feels he still knows how to best con­nect with res­i­dents.

“I al­ways had a very good rap­port with peo­ple,” he said. “I al­ways gave them the op­por­tu­nity to come to me and meet with me … Ev­ery Wed­nes­day from Oc­to­ber up un­til March, I used to have the mayor’s clinic. That was re­ceived greatly by the peo­ple, where the peo­ple could come in off the street, and if they had a con­cern or any­thing re­gard­ing coun­cil or their own con­cerns, they could come in and have a chat with me.”

This time around, Slade has added po­lit­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence through his two years in the Con­fed­er­a­tion Build­ing as a Lib­eral MHA. Slade said he learned a lot there and knows quite a bit about mov­ing around the sys­tem to get things done at a provin­cial level. With a Lib­eral gov­ern­ment now in of­fice, he knows quite a few peo­ple in high up places.

“Ed­die Joyce is a good, close per­sonal friend of mine. The premier him­self (Dwight Ball) is a good, close per­sonal friend.”

While he can find no fault with how the cur­rent coun­cil has oper­ated over the last few years, Slade has ideas about where he’d like to see things move go­ing for­ward.

“Car­bon­ear is a grow­ing com­mu­nity. We have lots of busi­nesses out there right now that sup­port the town. There’s the po­ten­tial of more busi­nesses com­ing to town, such as that ho­tel there in Crocker’s Cove … We’ve just got to be ag­gres­sive enough as a coun­cil to go out and pur­sue that.”

Frank Butt

Among coun­cil­lor hope­fuls in 2013, busi­ness­man Frank Butt had the sec­ond high­est vote to­tal and, fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Slade, be­came the town’s deputy mayor. He’s now clos­ing in on com­plet­ing his first term on coun­cil.

“It took the term to fig­ure out where the town needed to go and what needed to be changed, I guess,” the deputy mayor said when asked about why he’s run­ning for the mayor’s seat. “I’m sure like any job that you take, you spend the first bit of time get­ting your feet wet.”

A vol­un­teer fire­fighter who is also pres­i­dent of the Car­bon­ear Down­town Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, Deputy Mayor Butt said he fully un­der­stands the town’s role in help­ing the com­mu­nity. He’s par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in strength­en­ing the town’s busi­ness com­mu­nity and find­ing ways for it to grow.

“Not just the re­tail. We have to get into man­u­fac­tur­ing — some­thing that’s go­ing to cre­ate jobs. With jobs, peo­ple move in. Some peo­ple may de­cide to stay in Car­bon­ear. Some peo­ple might stay out­side. But if you can get 10 or 15 per cent that are go­ing to stay in Car­bon­ear, your pop­u­la­tion will in­crease, and your busi­ness tax base will in­crease. And by in­creas­ing your tax base, you won’t have to in­crease res­i­den­tial taxes.”

While he might not have as much ex­pe­ri­ence as others run­ning for the mayor’s seat, Deputy Mayor Butt be­lieves he can bring some­thing fresh to the ta­ble.

“As they say, I guess, ev­ery­thing is bet­ter with age, but some­times when you (stay) in a po­si­tion for too long, you be­come com­pla­cent and you just don’t have the en­ergy or the drive to think out­side the box … I’m go­ing to be able to have the en­ergy to get out around town, let peo­ple know what’s go­ing on, pro­mote the town from a busi­ness and cit­i­zen per­spec­tive, and you’ve got to have the en­ergy. You’ve got to hus­tle. You can’t just hope that things are go­ing to take place in your town.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Car­bon­ear Deputy Mayor Frank Butt is look­ing to move on up in mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Ge­orge Butt Jr. was elected mayor of Car­bon­ear in a 2014 by­elec­tion.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Sam Slade was de­clared mayor of Car­bon­ear in the 2005, 2009 and 2013 gen­eral elec­tions.

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