2016 in­ter­est­ing year for Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay

The Labradorian - - NEWS - BY EVAN CAREEN

Happy Val­ley- Goose Bay Mayor Jamie Snook said 2016 was an event­ful year, with many things the town is proud of.

He said one of the high­lights early in the year was in March when Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay hosted the Labrador Win­ter Games.

“That was a huge suc­cess,” he said. “All the other com­mu­ni­ties in Labrador were in town and it’s cer­tainly an event that brings ev­ery­one in the re­gion to­gether. We had a third-place fin­ish this year and Lieu­tenant­Gov­er­nor Frank Fa­gan was in town so we got to host him.”

Snook said there was a lot of cap­i­tal works done in the town in 2016, such as the new splash­pad, the moun­tain bike park and nu­mer­ous play­ground up­grades. Ad­di­tion­ally, more work was done on the Birch Is­land Restora­tion and Trail Project.

“A lot of peo­ple were happy to see the de­vel­op­ment on Birch Is­land move for­ward,” he said. “The Healthy Wa­ter Labrador project had a lot of work hap­pen this year on that project, which is great for the town in a num­ber of ways.”

Snook said the project, which helps pro­tect a wet­lands area and show­case the his­tory of the town, was one of the projects they high­lighted when the town hosted the Stew­ard­ship As­so­ci­a­tion of Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties of New­found­land and Labrador in the fall.

The de­mo­li­tion of the Robert Leckie School was an­other highlight in 2016, Snook said.

“We worked with the school board and it fi­nally came down after a num­ber of years in dis­re­pair, so that was an­other project we were a part of to help re­vi­tal­ize the town,” he said.

In Oc­to­ber, con­cerns over methylmer­cury and the North Spur dam at the Muskrat Falls project came to a head with protests in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay, St. John’s and across the coun­try. At the time, Snook and other area may­ors had ad­vo­cated for a place at the ta­ble to dis­cuss the is­sues, stat­ing that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties had been left out of the loop.

Snook said they are proud of their ad­vo­cacy re­lat­ing to the project, which has had, and will con­tinue to have, a huge im­pact on the town.

“As a town, we were quite vo­cal ad­vo­cat­ing for mu­nic­i­pal in­clu­sion in de­ci­sion-mak­ing pro­cesses and we cer­tainly joined in with many con­cerned res­i­dents on is­sues such as methylmer­cury and sta­bil­ity of the North spur,” he said. “Ev­ery com­mit­tee of coun­cil is gen­er­ally ac­tively in­volved with Muskrat Falls in one form or an­other so that’s sort of been a story for the last three years. It was no dif­fer­ent in 2016.”

The town also signed a new col­lec­tive agree­ment with mu­nic­i­pal work­ers. Snook said that was im­por­tant, with mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions com­ing later this year, as it al­lows the new coun- cil to set­tle in with­out hav­ing to deal with that is­sue right away.

The town also adopted a huge bud­get for 2017 year and man­aged to keep the mil rate the same.

Snook said the mil rate and the in­crease in in­come thresh­olds for dis­counts on town taxes stood out to him as things he is par­tic­u­larly proud of.

He added there were also three big projects in the bud­get that coun­cil worked hard to get in there. They in­clude: the Labrador Well­ness Cen­tre project, the repaving of Kel­land Drive, and the construction of two more wa­ter wells.

“Th­ese are three am­bi­tious projects that we’re work­ing on in the bud­get,” he said. “To do that and keep the mil rate stay sta­ble and to get it done on time was a lot of work; we were pleased with that as well. It sets us up for a lot of work next year.”

Snook said 2017 will be an­other in­ter­est­ing year for the town, one that is sure to keep coun­cil busy.

FILE PHOTO

Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay Mayor Jamie Snook said the past year had a lot of tri­umphs and chal­lenges and 2017 will be just as in­ter­est­ing.

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