By Chris Lewis/September 16, 2021
Ward 1 in CBS has an all-woman cast of candidates this time around.
The ward runs from the Flume Line on Topsail Hill to Manuels Bridge. Voters have a choice between Valerie Barter, Shannon Duff, and Shelley Moores.
All three share similar visions of what Ward 1 can look like in the future, and hope to get the opportunity to enact some of those changes by getting elected later this month.
Barter has been working in the violence prevention sector for close to 30-years, working at shelters including Iris Kirby House. She ran the Nain Transition House in Labrador for four years. Barter says that work gave her experience dealing with government as the groups she represented strove to enact change and create a better future for women and children in Newfoundland.
It’s the first time the mother of two has run for political office.
“I’ve been around government tables plenty of times through my work, but I figured now it was time for me to step into another role and hopefully be able to make some good, positive changes for this community,” Barter said.
She said street safety, especially having two daughters of her own, is high on her list of important issues.
In Barter’s opinion, parts of the ward need better lighting and sidewalks.
The turn near the bottom of Miller’s Road is very unsafe, she added, noting she and others have been asking for it to be addressed for years.
As well, the Town’s recreation complex is high on Barter’s priority list. She said it is important the community maintain a focus on recreation and continue to provide programming for young people here in the community, as opposed to having to leave town to participate in such activities.
“I know how community groups, organizations and government departments work,” Barter said. “If I picked up the phone and called someone, they’d probably know who I was.”
Duff, who works as a constituency assistant to Avalon MP Ken McDonald, ran for a councillor-at-large position in 2017, but didn’t make the four person cut.
She is hoping a more focused try at Ward 1 will be more successful.
Duff allowed that while she may not be familiar with every nook and cranny of the town as a whole, she is very well versed in the Ward 1 region.
The former used bookstore owner said ward 1 is a better fit for her, and a place she would like to help develop and reshape as time goes on. Duff said she would like to see the natural beauty of Ward 1 maintained and protected, rather than developed.
“Topsail Beach is an absolutely beautiful area,” she said. “I think if we worked on that a bit it could be a big draw for residents and future residents… It’s important to me that we make sure the tranquility of this area as a whole is maintained.”
Duff would also like to see Ward 1 get a dog park.
She is focusing a lot of her campaigning to online interactions.
The other candidate on the ballot, Shelley Moores, ran for the Liberals in CBS in the most recent provincial election. Moores said her passion for a chance to serve has not dwindled and she has shifted her focus to local government.
Moores is an active volunteer in the community having donated her time and energy to everything from school councils, the board that manages the Manuels River Centre, and the CBS Soccer Association.
As a potential future Ward 1 councillor, Moores said her priorities haven’t changed much since running provincially.
“I really believe in being a part of your community, and being a leader,” Moores said. “That doesn’t change from a provincial to a municipal level. I believe CBS has so much to offer, and that’s why I’m so involved in so many things here. I just want an opportunity to be able to bring new visions to the table and make our community even better than it already is.”
Following the last provincial election, Moores said she took some time to wind down, but heard from a number of people who urged her to take a look at municipal politics.
“I love CBS, and I want good things for CBS. In order for me to make that happen, or have any say in that, running in a municipal election is how I get started on that,” she said.
Moores said if elected she will work to bring more transparency to the way decisions are made at the Town Hall. She said it’s disappointing to hear that some people have lost trust in council.
“That’s a big priority for me: full transparency,” Moores said.
Economic growth is another priority, she said, with a focus on a long-term plan for Conception Bay South.
Moores said she is happy to see a full slate of women on the ballot for Ward 1.
“It’s great for our community,” she said.