By Craig Westcott/September 30, 2021
For Frank Butt, Tuesday’s election win was not only a reaffirmation that the voters of Carbonear still want him in the mayor’s chair, but also the beginning of an opportunity to set council on a more cohesive path.
The re-elected mayor was a PC candidate in this past winter’s provincial election, losing to Liberal incumbent Steve Crocker, so Butt and his supporters may have been forgiven for feeling a little trepidation heading into this fall’s municipal contest. However, the voters soundly supported the gas bar and convenience store owner against his biggest critic on council, school teacher David Kennedy. When the votes were tallied, Butt had garnered 1,336 votes to Kennedy’s 776.
“It was a resounding result,” Butt allowed. “It feels pretty good.”
Butt was reached as the last 400 votes of the night were yet to be counted. They would determine who else will serve on this term of council.
“There are some pretty close races there,” said Butt. “I’m looking forward to having the new blood there.”
Butt said the past council wasn’t as cohesive as he would have liked. “If I can get two or three people who can work with me, we can get more work done than normally,” he ventured.
Butt said the main issue he is looking forward to tackling is the same one he left off on – the preservation of all existing medical services at Carbonear General Hospital. It was one of his main reasons for running again, he said.
“I was alone (on council) in speaking up (about the Health Accord),” Butt said. “I had no support from my fellow councillors, I did it alone and I will do it alone again if I have to as mayor. I want to see services at Carbonear General Hospital at least maintained, but I also want to see services improved.”
Butt said the hospital reinforces Carbonear’s place as the hub of the bay. “I’ve spoken to many individuals who have moved into Carbonear for no other reason than Carbonear General Hospital is in our back yard and if the services there are reduced, then maybe these individuals will have to move to a larger centre, St. John’s for example.”
Butt is looking forward to the first meeting of the new council on October 12.
“Hopefully we’ll get some new blood in there, some new ideas and some positive thinking,” he said. “I had some big ideas that didn’t quite get finished because of the COVID and the other issues that were at hand there, but I will advocate for the town. The residents are my top priority and I will do what I can to see that the issues of the residents and the corporate citizens are addressed.”