Spaniard’s Bay con­sid­ers MEO role

Deputy Mayor says of­fi­cer would be ben­e­fi­cial, some coun­cil­lors dis­agree

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Spaniard’s Bay Deputy Mayor Dar­lene Stamp has sug­gested the town should hire a mu­nic­i­pal en­force­ment of­fi­cer. Find out why.

Spaniard’s Bay coun­cil is re­view­ing the pros and cons of hir­ing a mu­nic­i­pal en­force­ment of­fi­cer (MEO) for the com­mu­nity.

Dur­ing a reg­u­lar meet­ing of coun­cil on Oct. 1, Deputy Mayor Dar­lene Stamp brought forth the idea of the town cre­at­ing a po­si­tion amongst town staff for an MEO to bet­ter en­force mu­nic­i­pal by­laws and other reg­u­la­tions within the town’s lim­its.

Stamp put forth a mo­tion for Mayor Paul Brazil to reach out to neigh­bour­ing com­mu­ni­ties to drum up in­ter­est in the idea of a cost-shar­ing en­deav­our be­tween Spaniard’s Bay and any other com­mu­ni­ties who may be in­ter­ested in hav­ing an MEO.

How­ever, be­fore any mo­tions were car­ried, the idea sparked some de­bate among coun­cil­lors, some of whom said an MEO could prove to be a fi­nan­cial bur­den to the com­mu­nity in the fu­ture.

De­spite this, Stamp said hir­ing an MEO could also be ben­e­fi­cial for the town, as she saw it as a means of not only en­forc­ing the town’s rules and reg­u­la­tions, but also en­sur­ing the safety of the com­mu­nity’s res­i­dents.

“Some of the ben­e­fits our town would have? An en­force­ment of­fi­cer could deal with park­ing is­sues within the town, noise com­plaints, things like that,” said Stamp. “Waste col­lec­tion, other nui­sances in the town could all be han­dled by an en­force­ment of­fi­cer. A lot of the com­plaints that we’re get­ting around town, we have no way of ad­dress­ing. If we had a mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cer, then we could ad­dress some of those con­cerns.”

While some of Spaniard’s Bay’s more pop­u­lated neigh­bours, such as Har­bour Grace, Bay Roberts, and Car­bon­ear, al­ready have MEOs in place, Stamp noted that there are still smaller com­mu­ni­ties nearby, such as Bri­gus or North River, who could likely ben­e­fit from shar­ing the cost of hir­ing an MEO to help main­tain by­laws within those com­mu­ni­ties, as well.

How­ever, some coun­cil­lors present at Mon­day night’s meet­ing felt as though the idea of hir­ing an MEO could pos­si­bly bring along some is­sues for the town as well. Coun. David Smith noted some of the du­ties out­lined for the MEO, such as noise com­plaints and park­ing is­sues, are al­ready han­dled by the lo­cal RCMP de­tach­ment in Bay Roberts.

“I would be against it, ei­ther way. If this is go­ing to be cost­shared, then how much time is this in­di­vid­ual go­ing to spend in Spaniard’s Bay? Some of the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties listed here are usu­ally han­dled by the RCMP, and un­less we’re go­ing to come up with some by­laws and fine peo­ple, I don’t see how some of these other (du­ties) are go­ing to be en­forced,” said Smith.

“When it comes to man­dat­ing fines and ev­ery­thing else, then I think costs are go­ing to sky­rocket, be­cause you’re go­ing to end up in court, and ev­ery time we go to court we have to hire a lawyer. So, I would be against it.”

On top of this, Smith ques­tioned whether or not the over­time pay­ment for this po­si­tion is some­thing that had been dis­cussed, ad­ding that he felt there would likely be sit­u­a­tions where an MEO would need to be called in on a week­end, de­spite work­ing Mon­day through Fri­day.

“I can see the costs sky­rock­et­ing out of con­trol here,” he said.

Stamp fol­lowed this up by point­ing out the mo­tion put forth was not to make a con­crete de­ci­sion and, in­stead, was sim­ply to look into the costs, and the pos­si­bil­ity of shar­ing those costs with neigh­bour­ing towns. How­ever, she still felt as though an MEO would be a very ben­e­fi­cial in­vest­ment.

“We get nu­mer­ous com­plaints within this town, and we al­ways get the state­ment that we can’t do any­thing be­cause we don’t have any­one to en­force the reg­u­la­tions,” Stamp said. “How can you do it? You don’t have an en­force­ment of­fi­cer, you can’t do it. We can’t con­tinue to just ig­nore peo­ple’s com­plaints and con­cerns.”

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Coun. David Smith

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Deputy Mayor Dar­lene Stamp

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