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Paradise councillor gunning for spot on federal board

By Mark Squibb

Paradise councillor Larry Vaters is vying for a seat on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) as a representative of Newfoundland and Labrador.

He requested permission from council last week to do so, and council approved his request.

“I’m so excited that councillor Vaters has put his name forward,” said councillor Elizabeth Laurie. “It’s an incredible honour to have someone from your council and your town and your province be a part of the FCM Board of Directors.”

The nomination does come at a cost to council — the Town will cover Vaters’ travel costs for meetings, which staff estimate at $7,500 — but Laurie noted that former councillor Sterling Willis served on the FCM for a number of years and the benefits outweigh the cost.

“There is a cost, but the benefits that we received as a council from councillor Willis being on that board were ten-fold,” said Laurie. “I have no doubt that councillor Vaters will represent the province well, and our town well, and so I wish him luck, and I really, really hope he is going to be successful.”

Each councillor in turn wished Vaters their very best.

“I think you will make good representation for the Town of Paradise, as well as the province,” said Patrick Martin. “Your voice will be heard, I’m sure, if you’re successful in the election.”

Councillor Deborah Quilty said having Vaters at the table would be good for Paradise.

“If there’s an agenda we have that we want to bring forward to the FCM, you’re right on the spot,” said Quilty. “Once you’re elected and get on that board — and I know you will — we will have an agenda for councillor Vaters to bring to the FCM, particularly in relation to transportation and the road network and all the funds that might be available for us.”

Vaters said he appreciated council’s support.

“If successful I’ll do my darndest to represent the province well, and I’ll be doing my darndest to ensure that I can be successful in this run,” he said.

The elections are held annually, and this year’s will be held on May 25.

“The FCM explores key areas to find out how to help build stronger communities while advocating for programs and tools that empower us municipalities,” noted Laurie. “FCM’s board of directors comprises elected officials and affiliated members from all regions and various sizes of communities throughout Canada. The board of directors sets policy priorities that reflect the concerns of municipal governments and affiliate members.”

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