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PAB council plans for municipal elections

Port aux Basques council chambers during a meeting in early Feb. 2021. From left: Town Clerk Julia Ingram, Coun. Chester Coffin, Jerome Battiste, Deputy Mayor Todd Strickland, Mayor John Spencer, Coun. Justin Blackler, Jim Lane, Melvin Keeping, Town Manager Leon MacIsaac, Economic Development Officer Shauna Strickland.

By ROSALYN ROY

PORT AUX BASQUES – Coun. Melvin Keeping felt poorly and teleconferenced in for the most recent of council, held once again in Chambers on Tuesday night, Mar. 30. All other councillors and four members of the public attended with pandemic measures still in effect.

Among the topics discussed were more efficient methods of snow removal and initial plans for the municipal election this fall. Here are some of the highlights.

Snow clearing tips

Greg Sheaves appeared as a delegate to offer some advice to Council about more efficient ways to clear snow that might also result in saving money by speeding up removal efforts following a winter storm. Sheaves, who has 42 years of experience, spoke about a dump site plan, how to build a ramp when clearing snow to avoid getting stuck or resorting to an excavator, and how operators can avoid back tracking.

“Never travel with a half a basket and you see it over and over,” offered Sheaves. “Never double-handle snow. You’re paying double wages, burning double fuel, and wear and tear on the equipment.”

Lights out

The burnt out street light at Legallais that has almost resulted in a pedestrian-vehicle collision on more than one occasion was scheduled for replacement on Thursday, Apr. 1. The light at Hilltop Lane has also been replaced. A list of other areas that still require maintenance has been sent to NL Power, and Town will continue to follow up. Lighting issues at the weigh scales are also on Council’s list of areas. Town Manager Leon MacIsaac is working with the province to have those fixed.

Causeway cost

Shoring up the Grand Bay West causeway is expected to cost $7,500. Wind and sea erosion is taking its toll and new armour stone is needed.

“It is washing away there,” admitted Mayor John Spencer.

Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) sent a letter requesting support since traditional fundraising methods have not been permitted. Council noted that it receives far more requests for financial support than it can possibly fulfill. Council voted instead to support the Ronald McDonald House and the Daffodil Place as it does every year.

“You’re still supporting the same cause. It’s just more locally connected,” observed Coun. Justin Blackler.

Gravel gone

Residents of Forseys Lane have asked Council to replace the gravel road that has washed away or been plowed down and now threatens to expose buried sewer lines. Town last put new gravel down in 2019 and Public Works will visit the area first to take a look before fixing it up again.

Municipal election details

Town will continue to have separate elections for Mayor and for Council. The election has been scheduled for Sept. 28 and there will be no advance polls, although proxy voting will be permitted.

The nomination period is currently scheduled for Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, and there will be one full day to submit nominations, lasting from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. on the appointed day.

It is anticipated there will be a need for 12 Deputy Returning Officers and 12 Poll Clerks for each of the polling stations, and extra staff may need to be required to sanitize the stations for voters depending on what COVID-19 protocols remain in place this fall.

A mobile voting station for those in long-term care homes or with mobility issues will also be made available, as it was during the last municipal election. Town Clerk Julia Ingram and the Alternate Returning Officer will be passing out those ballots.

During the 2017 Mayoral contest, Spencer claimed victory by only 4 votes, but over 10 votes there’s a financial cost for the candidate requesting the recount.

“Anything over 10, there will be no (automatic) re-count,” Ingram told Council.

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