Thirty-seven years and counting
Claude Gaudette undecided on another term as council chairman
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.