Editor's note: This article first appeared in the Jan. 22 print edition of The Compass
The rapid growth of the Town of Bay Roberts has prompted the creation of a new municipal position in the community. Officials have decided to designate a new director of public works and technical services.
"The Town of Bay Roberts is growing and we felt we needed to add this extra piece as a part of our team," said Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood.
At the Nov. 27 regular council meeting, councillors voted to accept the hiring of Bay Roberts resident Shawn Elms to fill the new position.
"We are pleased with the hire," Wood told The Compass.
He said there were a number of "impressive candidates" who applied.
"Based upon his experience, qualifications and suitability we arrived at (Elms)," said Wood.
Elms brings a wealth of experience. He is a certified engineering technician and most recently worked for the Department of Municipal Affairs.
The experience Elms has with the department is sure to be an asset to the town, said the mayor.
"Obviously, he is familiar with municipal affairs, who we have a lot of dealings with," said Wood. "He certainly knows the tendering process. These are some of the things that he will be responsible for."
Elms' primary role as the director of public works will be to give advice on all of the town's works issues.
"This includes proposed developments, capital works projects and even some of the smaller projects, like putting in catch basins," said Wood. "He is also going to be our engineering liaison with the engineers that we work with.
"He will co-ordinate all of our outside activities."
With these tasks assigned to Elms, Nigel Black, the town's chief administrative officer, will be freed up to concentrate on other concerns in the community.
"It'll also free up our works foreman (Pat Foley)," said Wood.
While on the subject of Foley, Wood said the hiring of Elms is "not directly a replacement" of the longtime town employee.
"The idea is for Shawn to work with Pat and Pat to work with Shawn," he said.
With the addition of Elms, the town's stable of employees has grown to 21.
Elms started his new position early last week and was in council for his first meeting on Jan. 8.
"As long as there are items pertaining to public works, I'll be at meetings," he said.
Steering committee expansion
With the recreation facilities in Bay Roberts aging, the topic came up about a new multi-purpose facility in the community. Currently, the Bay Roberts Swimming Pool and the Bay Arena are 43 and 26 years old, respectively.
"We feel like the time is right for the pursuance of a community centre, meeting place and sports centre," said Coun. Walter Yetman. "There hasn't really been an investment in an indoor recreation facility since the Bay Arena."
Yetman, speaking on behalf of the recreation/community centre steering committee, requested that council support and allow an expanded committee to recommend "a location for the proposed building, a design that gives consideration to affordability and possible future expansion that could include, but not be limited, to a new pool, office space, meeting rooms, multi-purpose, rental space, and walking track, support from surrounding communities to simply state that the area is in need of such a facility and that such a facility would benefit the region."
The motion was passed unanimously.