Grand Bank Town Council briefs
Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews said a new fiscal framework for municipal funding was a hot topic during the recent Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) Symposium in Gander.
The mayor noted discussion on a new agreement between the provincial government and municipalities will culminate at the MNL’s annual convention in Corner Brook this October.
He said he received a commitment from MNL president Churence Rogers while in Gander that the organization would not sign off on an agreement that is detrimental for rural towns and communities in the province.
“We have to get a fair shake, and if we don’t get a fair shake, and they bring this in, that’s it for the next number of years. We’ll be treading water forever.”
Mayor Matthews said regionalization was another common theme at the Symposium.
“I’m thinking, if we don’t do something about fire services or recreation or animal control, somebody is going to tell us what to do. It’s better to do it on our terms, sit down with our neighbouring community and work out some issues.”
••• Town manager Wayne Bolt acknowledged he was expecting a quote on the cost to clean up the old Forward and Tibbo Building site last week.
The structure, which had become a safety concern, was demolished back in January, but a significant amount of the debris was left on the property over the winter.
Mayor Rex Matthews acknowledged, “We have to finish that job, and it’s our responsibility to do it.”
••• Stray animals continue to be a concern in the community.
Mayor Rex Matthews indicated a cat with a litter of five kittens was recently found under a house and were being kept at the town’s shelter.
“It’s posing some issues because the vet is gone for six weeks,” he acknowledged.
It was noted the SPCA in Clarenville was contacted to take the animals but its facility was full.
Town clerk Cathy Follett indicated she had left a message with the Burin Peninsula SPCA inquiring about the possibility of availing of its foster program.
Mayor Matthews suggested it’s up to pet owners in the town to be responsible.
He said the town is planning to work on a policy with the Burin Peninsula SPCA.
••• Norman Drakes has signed on as the new chair of the Grand Bank Come Home Year Committee while Sharon Barnes is the group’s secretary.
During council’s meeting on Apr. 28, Mayor Rex Matthews indicated George Cooper had resigned as chair, and expressed concerns about the event’s future for next summer, given the difficulties in attracting volunteers.
After briefly talking with Mr. Drakes, he suggested the outlook to be more positive.
“We should have an answer, I guess, by the next meeting or two whether or not we’ll be full out.”
••• A review of council’s policy on furniture rental from the Bait Depot has been completed.
A decision has been made that the tables and chairs will no longer be removed from the building other than for council purposes.
An outstanding rental agreement for June, however, will be honoured.
The change stems from concern about potential damage to the furniture.
It was noted during a previous meeting the tables and chairs cost approximately $15,000.
••• Council is considering identifying isolated town-owned property where residents can store wood.
Planning and Development chair Councillor Roger Brooks indicated several concerns had been received following a request to lease town-owned land in the Courtney Street area to stockpile timber.
Mayor Rex Matthews suggested the town put the proper terms and conditions in place and designate an area behind the Grand Bank Municipal Centre for wood storage.
The idea of a second location in another secluded area was also floated.
Coun. Brooks agreed the committee would consider the idea and promptly get back to town manager Wayne Bolt.
••• Required safety upgrades to operate the Grand Bank Regional Theatre Festival from its home in the Samuel J. Harris Building this summer were progressing last week.
Town manager Wayne Bolt indicated 15 fire detectors were to be installed throughout the three levels of the building while fire resistant Gyproc was also scheduled to be put up by the end of the week.
If approved once the work is complete, the theatre portion of the building can be used for this year but all other sections must remain vacant.
Mayor Rex Matthews said the future of the remainder of the structure is the next big question.
“If the (Heritage and Tourism Committee) wants funding, maybe this is the time they should start looking around,” he suggested.