Thirty-seven years and count­ing

Claude Gaudette un­de­cided on an­other term as coun­cil chair­man

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY ERIC MCCARTHY

He’s not sure what will hap­pen when his cur­rent term ex­pires in three years time, but, al­ready, Claude Gaudette has 37 years ex­pe­ri­ence as chair­man of the St. Felix com­mu­nity coun­cil.

The coun­cil ac­tu­ally got its start as a com­mu­nity im­prove­ment com­mit­tee (CIC) in 1977, and shifted to a com­mu­nity coun­cil sev­eral years later.

Gaudette and Don Landry took on lead­er­ship roles. It was borne out of res­i­dents’ con­cerns about a dump in their com­mu­nity.

“It was low land. It filled with wa­ter spring and fall and there were rats and car­casses,” he re­called.

There were 12 homes within 500 me­ters of the dump and ev­ery­one was fed up with the sit­u­a­tion.

“It took us all of 1977. We had to have meet­ings and we had to have a bunch come up from Char­lot­te­town for a meet­ing at the Parish Cen­tre in Tig­nish,” Gaudette said.

The CIC was formed that fall with 11 coun­cil­lors.

Landry took on the chair­man­ship and Gaudette was vicechair­man.

At the an­nual meet­ing the fol­low­ing Fe­bru­ary, Gaudette took over as chair­man and he has held the po­si­tion ever since, go­ing un­op­posed at ev­ery elec­tion meet­ing.

Un­less there is a con­tro­ver­sial is­sue on the ta­ble, res­i­dents’ at­ten­dance at coun­cil meet­ings is usu­ally sparse.

Al­though Gaudette has ad­vised his coun­cil they should be look­ing for a new chair­man when the po­si­tion comes up for elec­tion in less than three years, he ad­mits he hasn’t really made up his mind on whether he will re­of­fer.

“I tell peo­ple it’s the pen­sion plan,” Gaudette jokes about his coun­cil longevity. Ac­tu­ally, he’s rarely ever col­lected even an hon­o­rar­ium.

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