New role

L’Anse au Loup deputy mayor takes on chair po­si­tion for CCL

The Labradorian - - FRONT PAGE - BY MELISSA JENK­INS

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

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Trent O’Brien is the deputy mayor of L’Anse au Loup and the new­est chair­man of the Com­bined Coun­cils of Labrador.

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