Coming out of its recent annual general meeting (AGM), the president of the Combined Councils of Labrador (CCL) believes he’s seeing a revitalization of the group.
Trent O’Brien, who is also the mayor L’Anse-au-Loup, says this year he felt there was more interest and passion at the meeting than in recent years.
“The last number of CCL AGMs I attended, we didn’t have the same level of interest from the delegates,” he told the Northern Pen. “We still had lots of delegates, but it kinda felt like people had given up on the combined councils.
“This year, I saw a lot of people who were passionate about their issues and really wanted to engage with the combined councils to get our help in issues.”
Since being elected president of the CCL at the 2017 AGM, O’Brien says he’s tried to have the CCL engage in a more open dialogue with the local community councils.
He feels his way of discussing issues with the communities has played a role in generating enthusiasm, but also believes people are starting to recognize they need to engage the organization more if it’s going to be effective.
“If they are going to bring us their issues and ask for our help, that makes it a whole lot easier for us to be more active in our communities,” he said.
“If they want this organization to be able to do things on their behalf, then they got to work with the organization. They can’t expect the CCL to know everything.”
According to O’Brien, the vice-presidents will also have to play a central role in the CCL.
The organization’s executive structure includes five vice presidents who represent five regions of Labrador.
O’Brien said because the vice-presidents have more first-hand experience with the issues in their regions, they are more qualified than the president to speak on those things.
He’s optimistic about the new executive, noting vice-presidents did speak out often at the AGM.
“Due to a number of different factors, we ended up with a lot of vacant positions on our board going into the AGM,” he said. “Coming out of it, we got a full executive again and they seem like they’re going to be very engaged and energetic board to work with.”