L’Anse au Loup deputy mayor takes on chair position for CCL
Trent O’Brien takes on the role as chairman of the Combined Councils of Labrador.
Trent O’Brien is passionate when it comes to the people of Labrador.
The deputy mayor of L’Anse au Loup has always been vocal about what he would like to see the Big Land become, and now he has the opportunity to have his voice heard.
The 30-year-old was named the new chairman of the Combined Councils of Labrador (CCL) a few weeks ago at the organization’s annual general meeting. But going in to the event in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, O’Brien had a vision he wanted to bring to light.
“It was clear to me that the CCL was headed down the wrong path,” he said last week. “It was losing the interest of its membership, it was losing its position as a voice for Labrador and if action was not taken, it would eventually just cease to be.”
Since 2015’s AGM, O’Brien has been considering the chair role. He’s very active in his community, has been on numerous boards and has been a voice for the people of Southern Labrador when there were infrastructure, transport and other issues in the region.
Now, he has a goal of creating a unity among Labrador municipalities, sharing concerns and taking an active approach to solutions.
“It is my position that CCL has great potential to work on behalf of towns and people in Labrador, and that potential is being under utilized,” he said. “I hold the belief that if CCL is to continue, it must be revitalized and repositioned within the hearts and minds of the communities it represents. The organization must move to a more inclusive model and take a more proactive approach to the issues in Labrador than it has done in the past.”
For the next two years, O’Brien will call and chair meetings of the group, but he is expecting to have an active roll, communicating with the towns as a collective.
His priorities are not to his own area, rather they are to Labrador as a whole. But O’Brien does have several Southern Labrador issues he wants to continue to fight for.
For one, he would like the fixed link study completed as soon as possible.
“In the meantime, we also need to see something done to improve the ferry service on the Strait of Belle Isle; both the vessel and on-shore facilities,” he said.
He wants to see a new or improved ferry for the Blanc Sablon to St. Barbe run in place of the MV Apollo.
“It is underpowered for operations in winter conditions (that) are found in this area,” he explained. “The vehicle lanes are not wide enough to accommodate the types of traffic the vessel is transporting, and as such it is not uncommon to hear stories of someone’s vehicle getting dinged by another passengers door, for passengers to have to crawl out through doors on the opposite side of their vehicles etc.”
Another big issue that faces Southern Labrador, and also part of the region as a whole, it the paving of the TransLabrador Highway. But he would also like to see the roads paved from Black Rocks to Pinware. This area gets plenty of vehicular traffic over the summer from tourists, and the roads are in need of resurfacing.
Although he lives in Southern Labrador, he wants to ensure all Labradorians feel represented at the CCL, and made that message known when he was named chair.
“All I knew for sure is that I had a vision for what CCL could be, and how it should operate to create more value for the towns and people it represents,” he said. “I spoke to those points often over the last number of years, and continued to show my vision for CCL while we were at the AGM.”
The previous chair was Didier Naulleau, mayor of Pinware. He has taken on the role as Labrador’s representative on Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador.
“It is my position that CCL has great potential to work on behalf of towns and people in Labrador, and that potential is being under utilized. I hold the belief that if CCL is to continue, it must be revitalized and repositioned within the hearts and minds of the communities it represents. Trent O’Brien
Trent O’Brien is the deputy mayor of L’Anse au Loup and the newest chairman of the Combined Councils of Labrador.