By Chris Lewis/September 9, 2021
You could say the Ward 4 council race in CBS is a battle between candidates whose first names begin with the letter M.
Mike Petten, Maureen Harvey and Melissa Hardy are the three candidates on the ballot. The Shoreline reached out to all three candidates but did not receive a response from Hardy prior to publication.
Petten, who grew up in Foxtrap, said he has spent most of his life in Conception Bay South. He repairs medical equipment for hospitals across Newfoundland and in the Maritimes.
He described himself as a people-oriented person, which he hopes is a trait that will translate well to politics.
This is Petten’s first time taking a shot at politics but said he has been an avid viewer of the Town’s council meetings since they became available online, and has become more and more interested in the issues faced by his fellow taxpayers.
Petten said there seems to be a strong desire for change in the way council is run. And he wants to be a part of that change.
“One of the greatest things that is lacking in CBS right now is a commercial tax base,” Petten said. “We don’t need to tax the small mom and pop shops more, but we do need to look at ways of bringing more businesses in. That could be small, medium, large, big box stores. Whatever it takes to increase our commercial tax base.”
He hopes that will fund more Town facilities such as a performance center, multi-use facility, and perhaps even an extra swimming pool.
“Residents don’t want to have to leave to access those types of facilities. They live here, they want to do it in their own community,” he said.
Traffic safety, Petten added, is another major concern of residents from what he has gleaned. Especially in his ward.
He would like extra signage, and an increased presence of either the RNC or municipal enforcement officers. That would be a potential deterrent for people who are speeding, he said.
“Even on Route 60, there’s a lot of dangerous intersections. Like in Foxtrap, from Dunn’s Hill Road on to Route 60,” Petten added addressing an area that is outside his ward. “The first solution there would be to eliminate a left-hand turn. That would add an extra safety feature right now and give council time to set up a committee with residents, council and law enforcement to see what can be done to address this.”
Harvey, meanwhile, may be a rookie when it comes to running for office, but she is probably the most experienced municipal person on the ballot in CBS this time around. Harvey served as Town Clerk of CBS for 16 years, worked in the parks and recreation department with the City of Mount Pearl for five years, and for the last 11 years, until her recent retirement, worked in the Mayor and councillor’s office in the City of St. John’s. Her brother happens to be Richard Murphy, the retiring incumbent in Ward 4. And her late brother Pat Murphy, was also a well known CBS councillor in the 1980s and 90s.
Harvey said she is intimately aware of the issues facing municipalities in the province.
“Although they may change from place to place, the core issues remain the same,” Harvey said. “I’m aware of what people want and what they expect.”
Harvey said she couldn’t run for office in CBS before because she feared her day job working for other municipalities would place her in a conflict of interest on some issues. But now she is campaigning full tilt, on an electric bicycle no less
with campaign signs strapped to the back.
This way, Harvey said, she gets to have fun during the process while also hitting all of her key points: being creative, innovative, and environmentally friendly while promoting active transportation as she gets out to meet people.
Harvey said she has a passion for CBS, having lived in the community most of her life.
“I see lots of things that could be happening here,” she added. “Quite honestly, I feel like I have a lot to give. I have a lot of experience that I want to bring to the table.”
Harvey said cleaning up the community is high on her list of priorities. That includes getting certain properties cleaned up and clearing the Town of debris.
Although she sees this as a tough sell, Harvey said it is important in the long run if council wants to attract more businesses and residents.
Harvey also wants to see her ward get more attention from the town. She said CBS needs a community center, and a better developed ‘Gateway.’
“The potential here for improved development is huge,” Harvey said. “This could be the hub of CBS, similar to what Manuels is right now. I’m one voice, but I’m a loud voice and I don’t mind speaking my mind.”