SPANIARD'S BAY, NL — Spaniard's Bay council nixed one of the last acts of its predecessor Monday night, eliminating a refundable permit fee for people looking to operate a flea market.
Coun. Eric Jewer, one of three members to serve on the previous council, originally supported the motions brought forward Sept. 11 by former colleague Brenda Seymour to address traffic concerns stemming from a semi-permanent flea market.
Seymour proposed introducing a refundable $10 fee for a two-day flea market permit issued at the town manager's discretion. Council ultimately passed the motion, as well as a second one related to a review of the policy following the Sept. 26 election.
"It kind of caught us off guard, that motion did," Jewer said Monday night, noting it was the last meeting of the previous council.
Upon further reflection, Jewer felt the permit system for flea markets did not make sense and would be needlessly taxing on town staff. He even indicated it could cost the municipality money.
"(The town's) not collecting any money, because after a couple of days they can bring their permit back and get their money back," Jewer said. "And also, if one of our town workers were called in on a Saturday, a $10 permit, if we ever got the money for it, would cost the town in wages up to $150, because the town worker would get called in on their day off or on overtime. Automatically, that's four hours pay."
Coun. Paul Ryan was among those who unanimously voted Monday to rescind the motions. However, he also acknowledged the flea market at the centre of this debate remains a problem for the town.
"Is that going to be looked into or reviewed to see if it's a business, because it does hold up traffic? It's a safety hazard. It does block off the road," he said.
Mayor Paul Brazil concurred council still needs to look at fixing the situation and said it's something the policy and procedures committee can investigate once it clues up work on another matter.
Deputy Mayor Darlene Stamp spoke of the need to be accommodating to flea markets.
"I personally love flea markets. We'll drive up around the bay just to go to a flea market. So you went out there, you have a bit of lunch, fill up the gas, go out shopping. So you do indirectly bring in revenue."
Brazil agreed, but added the town must ensure such ventures are not a nuisance to neighbours or the general public.
"Finding the balance is going to be a little bit tricky," he said.