2016 interesting year for Happy Valley-Goose Bay
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.
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.