By Mark Squibb/November 18, 2021
Paradise Mayor Dan Bobbett and councilor Glen Carew attended the Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador 2021 Conference earlier this month armed with a list of priorities compiled by staff to bring to Municipal Affairs Minister Krista Lynn Howell.
The list, as presented to council on November 2, the day before the conference was set to start, included self-administration, secondary access on Outer Ring Road, changes to the Municipalities Act, a regional plan, the Municipal Elections Act, and concerns regarding additional operating costs due to federal requirements.
The items were presented without further explanation, and councilor Deborah Quilty’s question as to one of the them proved it’s vagueness.
Quilty, who said she was pleased with the list, inquired as to whether self-administration would include municipal enforcement, or if that should be added under a separate item.
CAO Lisa Niblock said that the self administration item actually related strictly to administration of major infrastructure projects
“We have all our engineering staff in-house, and there’s a limited amount of municipalities that can self administer, and we are one of them, but they are reviewing the process,” explained Niblock, who noted the town’s Director of Infrastructure & Engineering Chris Milley sits on a committee reviewing the matter.
“We would like to see the process finalized and moved ahead, so we would like council to advocate for that and continue to have that privilege to administer our own projects, because it definitely speeds up the process,” said Niblock.
Quilty said she would like to add enforcement to the list, especially as it relates to municipal officers’ ability to ticket speeders. She said this is especially important to deal with in-house, as Paradise does not have its own police station. Quilty added she was glad to see secondary access on the Outer Ring Road among the list of items.
“If there’s ways that we can implement a new road or a byroad that can get people in and out of Paradise, that would be a major plus for the Town,” said Quilty.
Anyone who has driven home in the nightmarish Topsail Road supper time traffic jam would no doubt agree.
Councilor Larry Vaters said he would like to see the Municipal Appeal backlog added to the list.
“We’ve got some issues going on in the town that have been stretched out, and we have residents that have got some items going on in their neighborhoods that are being appealed by some development and it’s taken some time for these things to be resolved through the system, so I’m hoping we can put this on the agenda as well to discuss with the minister,” said Vaters.
Both items were added to the list.
Councilor Patrick Martin said following the provincial election, council brought several such key issues to the attention of MHA’s Paul Dinn and Sarah Stoodley.
“And that’s something that we normally do after any provincial election, and we often meet with the federal members whenever we get a chance, as well as with the RCMP on a quarterly basis, before COVID,” Martin said.