Lots of in­ter­est in Spa­niard’s Bay mayor’s seat

Nine­teen can­di­dates al­to­gether for seven spots on coun­cil

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

SPA­NIARD’S BAY, NL — In the af­ter­math of a four-year term that wasn’t short on con­tro­versy, many res­i­dents of Spa­niard’s Bay are in­ter­ested in help­ing form the next town coun­cil.

A to­tal of 19 names will be on the bal­lot Sept. 26 when res­i­dents go to the polls. Deputy Mayor Paul Brazil, Coun. Tony Do­minix, Todd Crane and Hed­ley Fong are run­ning for mayor.

Tony Men­chions, the town’s mayor for the last cou­ple of years fol­low­ing the res­ig­na­tion of Wayne D. Smith, is not seek­ing that po­si­tion this time around, but he’s not done with mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics. He’s one of 15 can­di­dates for the other po­si­tions on coun­cil.

Cur­rent coun­cil­lors Eric Jewer, Lewis Sheppard, Brenda Sey­mour and Tracy Smith are all seek­ing re­elec­tion. The chal­lengers in 2017 are Char­lotte Bishop, Hay­ward But­ler, Der­rick Butt, John Churchill, Sherry Lun­dri­gan, Paul Ryan, Danny Smith, David Smith, Dar­lene Stamp and Jennifer Wil­son.

Paul Brazil

Deputy Mayor Brazil is com­plet­ing his first four-year term on coun­cil. Be­yond the coun­cil cham­bers, he’s spent many years spear­head­ing the town’s re­cre­ation com­mit­tee. Brazil is also on the verge of re­tir­ing from a po­si­tion with the Depart­ment of Fi­nance.

“I wanted to see if there was a way that we could turn the town around a lit­tle bit,” Brazil said when asked why he’s run­ning for mayor. “I’m one of those peo­ple who just can’t let go. I’ve been part of this town do­ing vol­un­teer work, and I sup­pose I just don’t know when to stop.”

Hav­ing watched a spot­light shine on his town fol­low­ing the mass res­ig­na­tion of fire­fight­ers and a ha­rass­ment scan­dal — sub­se­quently ad­dressed in a re­port paid for by the town that largely vin­di­cated fire­fight­ers — Brazil wants to fo­cus on events that strengthen com­mu­nity spirit.

“We’re not long gone through our Lassy Day con­cert. That was a suc­cess. I sup­pose we had be­tween 400 and 600 peo­ple come par­tic­i­pate in that … Same way with the Canada Day cel­e­bra­tions and Canada’s 150th birth­day. It was a lit­tle bit spe­cial this year and we in­vested a lit­tle bit more money into it … We just want to keep that mo­men­tum go­ing.”

His de­sire to first get in­volved with coun­cil fo­cused on spruc­ing up re­cre­ation in­fra­struc­ture in the com­mu­nity. Brazil has wit­nessed some im­prove­ments there, and he now hopes more at­ten­tion can be paid to the stag­nant busi­ness park project, where ac­tiv­ity has ceased for at least two years.

Tony Do­minix

Coun. Do­minix has been on coun­cil for seven years, hav­ing served on a variety of com­mit­tees. He cur­rently in­stalls wind power and so­lar en­ergy pan­els for a liv­ing and has lived in the com­mu­nity for 25 years. Do­minix be­lieves he could do a lot for Spa­niard’s Bay as mayor.

“I’ve got good re­la­tions with the MHA (Pam Par­sons) and the MP Ken McDon­ald,” he said. “I’m al­ways on them for some­thing, or to try and get some­thing. And I’ve al­ways been for the town try­ing to get stuff.”

Tourism is an area where Do­minix feels the town could do more work, sug­gest­ing it should look at hir­ing an eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties the town is oth­er­wise miss­ing out on. He be­lieves such a po­si­tion could also help with the busi­ness park.

“Other towns have got de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cers,” he noted, ad­ding Spa­niard’s Bay could ex­plore shar­ing the cost of that salary with another town in­ter­ested in ben­e­fit­ting from that ser­vice.

Do­minix sees a need for Spa­niard’s Bay to leave the past be­hind and look to­wards op­por­tu­ni­ties that will boost the town’s prospects and gen­er­ate rev­enue for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. He said the town should be more proac­tive in pur­su­ing ven­tures that can cre­ate jobs in Spa­niard’s Bay.

Do­minix also be­lieves the town is close to se­cur­ing the sup­port nec­es­sary to fix up and take over the lo­cal wharf, which is cur­rently looked af­ter by Fish­eries and Oceans Canada’s Small Craft Har­bours. Do­minix ties to the lo­cal har­bour au­thor­ity stretch back 15 years.

“They’re talk­ing $1.6 mil­lion, and when it be­comes avail­able, with fed­eral monies, Spa­niard’s Bay is on the top of the list. That’s some­thing that I started and I’d like to see fin­ished.”

Todd Crane

Crane is a new­comer to mu­nic­i­pal pol­i­tics. Last year, he got in­volved with the Con­cerned Cit­i­zens of Spa­niard’s Bay group that lob­bied coun­cil to fol­low through on its prom­ise to or­der a fire depart­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tion. He has since at­tended a num­ber of coun­cil meet­ings.

Pro­fes­sion­ally, he’s an ex­pe­ri­enced ed­u­ca­tor who for the last 11 years worked as an ad­min­is­tra­tor in schools. He’s called Spa­niard’s Bay home for 40 years.

“I guess I have a real soft spot for the com­mu­nity and what’s go­ing on in the com­mu­nity,” Crane told The Com­pass. “I guess that’s why I’ve looked at run­ning for mayor.”

With a de­sire to spur change in the com­mu­nity, Crane ini­tially in­tended to seek a reg­u­lar seat on coun­cil. How­ever, with en­cour­age­ment from oth­ers, he’s de­cided to run for mayor.

“Lead­er­ship is a big thing for any town,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence with lead­er­ship … I’ve dealt with the pub­lic. I’m al­ways deal­ing with par­ents, politi­cians, rep­re­sen­ta­tives, (and) form­ing part­ner­ships.”

He would like to work on the busi­ness park and ad­dress some unan­swered ques­tions, cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple in Spa­niard’s Bay and find ways to en­hance re­cre­ation. Crane also be­lieves se­niors de­serve more from the town.

“I think we need to sup­port them in dif­fer­ent ways. The things I’m hear­ing around town, some­times I feel like th­ese peo­ple are for­got­ten about, and I think we need to bring them into the lime­light again.”

As for coun­cil, Crane em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment where all mem­bers can work to­gether.

“We’ve got to for­get about it and not em­bark on the past cou­ple of years, but we’ve just got to move for­ward.”

The Com­pass at­tempted to con­tact Hed­ley Fong, but he could not be reached for com­ment.

PHO­TOS BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Paul Brazil is the cur­rent deputy mayor of Spa­niard’s Bay.

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