The people of Harbour Grace deserve something

Nicholas Mercer
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Last week the province was treated to a smorgasbord of high profile news.
Treated might not be the right word for some of that news, but lets use it anyway.

Compass reporter/photographer Nicholas Mercer.

First, it was announced the St. John's IceCaps are likely destined for the hockey hotbed of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

That was followed shortly by news that caught everyone off guard, except for maybe those few in the know.

This was the resignation of Kathy Dunderdale as the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and the leader of the Progressive Conservatives. It was quickly followed by the announcement of former Finance Minister Tom Marshall as the interim premier.

It was followed by the Auditor General's Report. To say the least, it was a busy week in news.

After the past couple of days it seems like Conception Bay North told the rest of the province, "don't worry boys, we'll cover the rest of it."

That's when it came to light that the new facilities manager at the S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium in Harbour Grace and the new chief administrative officer had tendered their resignations, and at the same time no less.

In short order, Harbour Grace had lost two high profile, and very important, officials.

For outsiders, it just looks like Harbour Grace doing what Harbour Grace does best - dysfunction. But, look closer. The moves appear to have genuinely stunned elected officials in the community.

Stunned to the point where no one in a position of authority is talking.

Why isn't anyone talking? The Compass told its readers it would provide more information as it became available, but there has been very little.

To be fair, there have been brief overtures saying one side or the other are getting their thoughts together, which is fine. But, there needs to be something, anything.

The town is in disarray. The stadium is captain-less and the former town manager has retired. It's safe to call it a staffing crisis.

So, where are the town's elected officials?

In something such as this, not offering any explanation, even a partial one, does nothing to help the situation, or inspire confidence among citizens.

The longer they wait, the fishier it looks. As sad as it is to say, it's true. Nothing good comes of waiting. It forces the public to cast a suspicious eye over the situation, which helps no one.

Imagine if Bay Roberts Mayor Philip Wood had hid in a bunker after it was discovered his town had paid for a parcel of land twice? He could have lost the election, with voters questioning his leadership abilities in a time of uncertainty.

But, he didn't. Wood got out in front of the situation and laid everything out.

It's the template that should be followed here.

It is possible to see why those who resigned have yet to broach the subject publicly. Perhaps they are still stung by the decision they made. And, that is fine. After all, they are private citizens.

Having to resign from a new job is tough. In the conversations had with both individuals, it appeared both were enthusiastic to implement their ideas.

It's a shame to see them go, it really is.

Maybe, by the time this is read, both sides will have cleared the air.

We'll see.

Either way, the residents of the community deserve something.

— Nicholas Mercer is a reporter/photographer with the Compass. He lives in Bay Roberts and can be reached at nmercer@cbncompass.ca

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in the Jan. 27 print edition of the Compass.

Organizations: Progressive Conservatives, The Compass

Geographic location: St. John's, Thunder Bay, Ontario Newfoundland and Labrador S.W. Moores Memorial Stadium Bay Roberts

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Recent comments

  • steve
    February 04, 2014 - 05:12

    Just because no one from the town has commented on this doesn't mean anything wrong was done. Both ladies stated why they left and never implicated the town for any wrong doing. Its nice to see the that people are presumed guilty because they choose to wait until and appropriate time to speak. Also its time some councilors stop trying to rail road the mayor, stop their infighting and put our good tax dollars to good use ! We elected this council and we the public are NOT stupid, the actions of 4 councilors should not make the rest who work so hard look bad.

  • Mark
    January 29, 2014 - 21:38

    I live in Harbour Grace, and I'm ashamed at this council, as well as the previous ones. They have always been corrupted, ever since I've known. We need people who are competent to be able to do the job. Harbour Grace has gone down hill for years upon years, and now the cliff has gotten steeper. We need more transparency not just local but in provincial and federal governments. I'm sick of this and ashamed of Canada these days!!

    • Sylvia J. Wilson
      February 03, 2014 - 20:29

      Reply to Mark. Agreed. Perhaps the Council thinks they too can use Bill 29.

  • Bill
    January 29, 2014 - 12:35

    I live in Hr. Grace and I have a few things to say to this article and the reporter. I am not concerned about what happened. I'm sure when the time is right things will be said. Actually, I appreciate the fact that no one is speaking yet. There may be some hard feelings and the people involved probably want to cool down before they say something that can get them into a bit of trouble later. This is not the presidential election. This is not the big city of Toronto. This is small town Newfoundland. Why don't you act like that instead of trying to turn this into something it isn't? This article seems to be trying to stir up some kind of stink. It's not the be all and end all. I’d rather get the whole story in the end than listen to little tidbits throughout that would only serve up a melting pot of innuendo and speculation which lead to nothing more than rumours. I can only laugh at your idea that the resignation of a stadium manager and a town manager is anything in comparison to the Premier stepping down. I guess you believe the Germans lost the war because Hitler fart once back in 1937 and the power outages were caused by one too many mosquitoes landing on a high tension wire earlier this summer.

  • Amazed
    January 29, 2014 - 11:47

    I would hardly praise the town of Bay Roberts, or the Mayor for that matter, on anything. The Mayor sat on the bungled land purchase for quiet some time before addressing it - and that happened simply because it was made public. Maybe the Compass should have asked why a town employee in Bay Roberts was suspended last summer by the Mayor without due process only to have it rescinded the next day. As for the Town of Hr.Grace I am sure that the story will come out in due time - when one or both sides are ready. In the meantime, if we are going to look to "set the bar" for municipal government then Bay Roberts is a poor choice.

  • Amazed
    January 29, 2014 - 11:44

    I would hardly praise the town of Bay Roberts, or the Mayor for that matter, on anything. The Mayor sat on the bungled land purchase for quiet some time before addressing it - and that happened simply because it was made public. Maybe the Compass should have asked why a town employee in Bay Roberts was suspended last summer by the Mayor without due process only to have it rescinded the next day. As for the Town of Hr.Grace I am sure that the story will come out in due time - when one or both sides are ready. In the meantime, if we are going to look to "set the bar" for municipal government then Bay Roberts is a poor choice.

  • Skater
    January 29, 2014 - 08:58

    The people of H.G. are getting nothing but a small group of people infighting to get their own way. Each councillor wants to be the chief and unfortunately the town is not big enough to have significant change in a short time frame. Instead of informed open discussion they are using backroom tactics to be self-serving. What did the council walk out of a meeting concerning the stadium? No comment.

    • Sylvia J. Wilson
      February 03, 2014 - 18:57

      Reply to Skater.....too many Chiefs and not enough Indians? Actually, now that you put it that way, I believe you're exactly right,.