By Mark Squibb/September 23, 2021
The September 14 Bay Roberts council meeting was the last before the municipal election, and for Mayor Philip Wood and councilor Wade Oates, it was likely their last meeting ever in the chambers.
Neither man is running for re-election this term.
Oates has served for 10 years, coming in mid-term in a by-election
“After serving for 10 years on council, it’s hard to believe that this is my last meeting as a town councilor,” said Oates. “When I look back over the past decade, I’m pleased to see that the town has grown. There have been numerous accomplishments in the areas of infrastructure, recreation and tourism. I have tremendously enjoyed working with the committees and hope I was able to contribute in some meaningful ways.”
He thanked residents for their support.
“But, the time has come for me to move on and make room for new councilors who have fresh ideas and other perspectives to offer,” said Oates. “There are candidates on the slate who have lots to offer, and I know they will receive the same support, encouragement, and respect that I received from residents during my time on council.”
He further added his thanks to fellow councilors and staff members.
Oates was sent off with a round of applause from council.
Following Oates farewell speech, each member of council gave a short speech of their own, addressing both their time spent on council and hopes for the future, as well as thanking fellow members of town council, town staff, and residents to varying degrees.
The first to follow Oates, was Silas Badcock.
“It’s been a great fours year,” said Badcock. “There’s been some bumps in the road — literally— but I think we’ve done a great job as a council. We’ve had some great ideas. Moving forward, I’ve put my name out there again and hoping for re-election, but of course that will be at the pleasure of all our residents.”
Councilor Geoff Seymour spoke next. “I’m not going to say much about the future because we can’t control that, but I will make a comment on the last four years, with some quick thank-you’s,” said Seymour. “While we haven’t agreed some nights on some things, at the end of the day we’ve all agreed that it’s the betterment of the town that’s more important than any individual agenda.”
Next up was Frank Deering, who just finished his first term as councilor.
“I’m very proud of what we have accomplished over the past four years,” said Deering. “Everything we did in the town was for the betterment of the citizens of the town, we never did it for ourselves. I think we have a lot more work to do, so I’m seeking re-election to continue with the work.”
He concluded by saying he hopes the next four years will be as good as the first.
Next spoke Dean Franey.
“I love this town,” said Franey. “I moved away for a little bit and came back, and like councilor Oates said, I can’t imagine living anywhere else, I don’t intend to live anywhere else… Like councilor Seymour said, we don’t always get along, but we’ve always maintained a good relationship with each other, because hopefully we all have that same goal, and that’s the betterment of the town.”
Current deputy mayor and mayor elect Walter Yetman spoke next, and first addressed departing councilor Oates.
“Councilor Oates, it’s been a pleasure,” said Yetman. “I’ve been here 16 years now, and I was here when you came in on the by-election… and you had your own style. Councilor Oates came in, no fluff, no drama, no nothing, he just sat there and what you wanted to say was what you said, and what you said meant something.”
Yetman chocked up a little as he acknowledged his acclamation to the mayor’s chair.
“I’m extremely grateful and humbled to accept the position,” said Yetman. “I have a lot of passion for this community, and this is probably why I’m getting like I am. I’ve been here a long time and I want to continue the work, and this has been a great team, I’ve got to say. The past four years have been awesome.”
Yetman said this particular group of councilors have had differing opinions, but that the end of the day folks can agree to disagree.
“It’s a great relationship to have, and that’s how you make progress in a community, through respectful dialogue, and agreeing to disagree, but coming up with the best solutions,” said Yetman. “Excellent dialogue is what we need, and that is what we’ve done. And thanks to the leadership of Mayor Wood for allowing us to do that. And it’s going to continue. I know we’re going to have a good group come back, and we’re going to make a lot of progress. Like councilor Badcock said, there’s bumps in the road, but there always will be bumps, there always will be challenges ahead, and we have to deal with it. We have an excellent staff here, second to none, and with good discussion and good teamwork, and a positive attitude, we’re going to do great.”
Wood finished the meeting with a few words of his own — his last as mayor of Bay Roberts.
“I would wish you all the very best in the upcoming election,” said Wood. “I would wish all the candidates, of course, the very best in the election. I wish everyone well. As someone mentioned, whoever gets elected, I’m sure they will have the best in mind for what this community is all about. It’s been a great 13 years — some challenging times, but some very rewarding times. As has also been referenced, we have done a lot over the past 10 years. You look at where we have come with our recreation facilities, where we have come with our green spaces, where we have come with our infrastructure needs and buildings, and the many special events that the town runs, where we have come with our fire department – we bought a number of new fire vehicles, and of course we thank the fire department and all the volunteers there. And all within budget. Always within budget. We have done great finically. This has been a good council, it’s been a council that has been dedicated to this town. You’ve worked hard, and I thank you for your efforts.”