BAY ROBERTS, NL — An honourary award, a tax recovery summary, information regarding a major upcoming street hockey tournament and other updates were addressed at the Feb. 13 council meeting in Bay Roberts.
Coley’s Point Primary was one of the major talking points during the meeting. Mayor Phillip Wood spoke about a meeting council had with Department of Transportation and Works Minister Steve Crocker and MHA Pam Parsons on a number of issues, including the new school, adding how pleased he was with government’s desire to continue moving forward with the school project.
“The minister expressed (government’s) commitment to the project, and he said the latest they’re expecting children to go into the new building would be Jan. 1, 2021,” Wood said. “There’s expected to be more monies in this budget, and they’re going to start the tender drawings. Then, the tenders and all that will be called.”
Though it wasn’t clear whether the project will start in 2018, some construction will begin in 2019 with sights set on a September 2020 opening date, just in time for the school year.
“Based upon that, the meeting was definitely very positive and from my perspective, I’m optimistic that they will carry forth with what they said,” Wood added.
Wood congratulated Rick Edmunds, newly elected fire chief for the Bay Roberts Volunteer Fire Department, who was present in the gallery.
The mayor also made a special presentation to Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman, currently the longest serving member of Bay Roberts council with 12 years under his belt as a councillor.
Yetman received the award from the Department of Municipal Affairs commending his service to the community – an award given to every long-standing councillor in Newfoundland as they reach certain milestones in their careers as council members.
“These awards are given to individuals who have served on municipal councils who have accumulated 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, and 35 years of service,” said Wood, reading aloud from a letter from the department, signed by department minister Eddie Joyce.
“Boy, what do you say to something like that?” Yetman said proudly as he accepted the award.
“I just want to thank the residents of Bay Roberts for letting me do this. A big thank you to staff, and the volunteers. It’s been an amazing 12 years working with everyone.
“Team Bay Roberts, you can always count on them whenever challenges come up, and it’s just been really great so far.”
Toward the end of Tuesday night’s meeting, Yetman brought up the award once again. This time, his focus was on a previous member of council, Bill Seymour, who was a councillor for 24 years – one year under the mark for receiving an award for 25 years of service.
Yetman questioned why the sequence of awards took a sudden shift from intervals of four years into five years once the 20-year mark had been reached. He said Seymour deserved an award for his many years of service to the community.
“I noticed when (Wood) read off the years, it went 12, 16, 20, and then jumped to 25. We serve four-year terms, so that doesn’t really make much sense to me,” Yetman said.
“I’d just like someone to make a strong point to the Department of Municipal Affairs that Coun. (Bill) Seymour served 24 years, and he should be recognized properly for that.”
Tax recovery summary
Chief administrative officer Nigel Black presented a tax recovery summary to council.
The summary is a means for the town to consider the outstanding tax amount at the end of each year, report the findings to council and submit the figures to Municipal Affairs. This year’s summary was presented alongside a summary from the fourth quarter of 2017 and 2016 for comparison.
When questioned whether the town is making any progress with tax recovery, Black said it is, with the balance decreasing this year compared to previous years.
“I think that’s definitely a good sign for us,” Black said. “It does still require some additional work, though. There’s some large outstanding accounts, and if we could deal with them it would make a substantial difference.
“We are making progress, but it’s an ongoing battle … and it always will be.”
Council accepted Black’s summary, which will now be forwarded to Municipal Affairs.
Light the Lamp
Light the Lamp, a major street hockey tournament coming up this June in Bay Roberts, was discussed during Tuesday night’s meeting.
The tournament is organized by sports and recreation director Ian Flynn and a committee.
Some numbers were brought forth to council, detailing how big an event the tournament will likely be. According to a document distributed to councillors, 72 teams are already registered for the under-15 event, with only 17 from the area. The remaining 55 teams are from across the province, with communities such as Grand Falls-Windsor, Logy Bay and Clarenville on the roster.
Council foresees the tournament being a major economic boost for the community, with an anticipated 3,000-4,000 visitors to the town over the weekend.
So far, the Bay Roberts Hotel has been completely booked for the weekend of June 24 and the Silverwood Inn has only three rooms remaining.
Councillor Geoff Seymour said the committee is currently reviewing different locations to host the tournament, ensuring roads used are out of the way for residents coming and going through the community.
“It’s going to require a strong volunteer base,” Seymour said. “There’s going to be a lot of people around, so even things like traffic control and all that is going to be important.
“We’re going to need a lot of folks out there volunteering, but I don’t think that’s going to be much of a problem for this town.”
Seymour also spoke about the Shearstown Estuary, a topic that came up in a recent meeting due to the presence of hunters in the area.
During that meeting, it was deduced that while the estuary was not protected from hunters, hunting in the area is prohibited due to the proximity of residential buildings and a school zone.
A motion was carried for signs to be placed in the estuary to ward off potential hunters in the future.
As of Tuesday night, Geoff reported the signs had been put in place with no issues, and he hopes to see similar problems avoided in the coming years.