Spaniard’s Bay council frustrated, alarmed by Ridge Road standoff
By Mark Squibb/May 19 2022
Spaniard’s Bay councillors say they are frustrated after facing what they are alleging was a week of harassment, much of stemming from a resident who blocked a town road.
Councillor Darlene Stamp said the Town received a number of letters regarding the kerfuffle on Ridge Road.
“If we got into a situation where someone threatened to block the road completely, and we have emergency vehicles that need to access it, if the road was blocked, how do emergency or fire services get up there?” asked Stamp.
“We have a resident with the Ridge half blocked off, how do we react?” asked Stamp. “What’s our legal right when it comes to dealing with this? I don’t think any council member should be harassed. I don’t think any staff member should be harassed. And I don’t think any resident should be harassed. Because we have a resident now who feels that he is in the right to protect his property, but yet, residents are stopping to harass him. So, where do we go as a town? How do we handle these situations? So, I would like for the mayor to bring that up and get some guidelines and policies. Because we can’t continue to get in this situation… it’s tearing the council apart because we have all different ideas, so there has to be a set policy on how to address these type of situations.”
Stamp claimed members of council were harassed when they showed up to the town hall for that night’s meeting. She didn’t name who was doing the alleged harassment.
“Our town is trying to take a new approach and try to develop a better future for families, we’re trying to move forward with big grants, but even tonight, we got harassed at the door,” said Stamp. “It really threw our council off.”
Stamp made a motion that the mayor raise the topic at the next CBN Joint Council meeting.
Stamp added that residents can feel free to complain, “but when it comes to making threats of blocking roads, and the safety of the residents, of emergency vehicles and ambulances, what do we do? Do we alert someone that this person might block the road, what happens if the road is blocked? I think we need some kind of procedure for this.”
Stamp said many people on the Ridge are upset because the road is blocked, and that it isn’t fair to residents.
Mayor Paul Brazil clarified the road was ‘restricted,’ not blocked.
Councillor Paul Ryan said the town has contacted the RCMP, but to no avail.
“We got the same response this time as we got the last time,” agreed Mayor Brazil.
Ryan said the Highway Traffic Act states that no one has the right to block a roadway.
“But the RCMP do not want to do their job, and that’s it,” said Ryan.
“This has been a rough week,” said Stamp. “This has been a week of hell. And it’s all because of resident harassment, incidents going on, conflicts on council.”
Brazil said the situation stems from speed bumps.
“We get caught between competing interests,” said Brazil. “You have people not wanting the speed bumps there, and then you have an individual that demands that they remain. So, how do you win in that case?”
“And Paul, everyone on this council, I truly belive, is here to try and make it things better for the town, and when people say, ‘You’re useless,’ ‘You’re not doing anything for us,’ it’s not a very nice feeling, when your spending hours and hours trying to do things,” said Stamp.
Mayor Brazil said harassment deters folks from running for council or volunteering their time.
“It’s the Facebook stuff, and the people following you around with a camera in your face and all that kind of stuff, that says, ‘What am I going to put myself through that for, if I’m only trying to volunteer my time, and we have to put up with this kind of stuff to try and do it?’” said Brazil.
“Who would volunteer in this community at this time with the amount of negativity on Facebook, and that we experience,” agreed Stamp. “Who would want to run for council under these circumstances? If someone from outside, like a doctor, is looking to move into this community and looks at the stuff that goes on like this, they’re going to say, ‘I’m not going into that community.’”
Councillor Tony Dominix, however, felt differently about the matter.
“People are going to pay their taxes, and they want something for their money, and they don’t want to be forced to do this stuff, to come down to this level to do it,” said Dominix. “You’ve got to have thick skin to be on council, because I’m after putting up with a lot the seven or eight years I’ve been there, and it’s no fun, but I’ll take it on the chin like everywhere else.”
Dominix said people have the right to let out their frustrations.
“His last letter wasn’t directed at anyone, it was just the stuff he was going to do, and so far as I’m concerned, go right ahead and do it,” said Dominix. “The RCMP couldn’t do anyting before, and they’re not going to do anything now… and in regard to the Highway Traffic Act, that’s in regards to provincial highways, so the town, that’s a different ballgame altogether.”
The motion that Mayor Brazil raise the issue at the CBN Joint Council passed unanimously, though Dominix added the Town would have to consult with Municipal Affairs before any further action is taken
Brazil encouraged all councilors to partake in that Joint Council meeting, which is held over a Zoom call.
He referred to the motion as a ‘fact-finding exercise.’