By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES – The most recent council meeting was held on Tuesday evening, Sept. 14 in chambers at the town hall. This was the last council meeting before the municipal election, and the last meeting with John Spencer as mayor.
Among the topics discussed were the town’s union contract, funding for the Grand Bay Bottom Sewer, and regional policing shortages.
Mayor John Spencer told Council that the union contract with Town employees was near completion.
“We are busy negotiating a new contract with our inside and outside workers,” said Spencer.
Town manager Leon MacIsaac added that the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) had accepted the new contract, barring some details.
“It’s been voted on and agreed to by NAPE union members, so it’s just the wording, the final wording that needs to be decided on,” clarified MacIsaac.
“Now it’s just crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s on the lettering and the wording,” said Spencer
Spencer said that this takes one item off the next Council’s plate.
“That’s the second collective agreement that this council has finalized in a four-year term. So that’s great for the new council coming in,” said Spencer.
Grand Bay Bottom sewer funding
Council resolved to accept cost sharing funding as outlined in the department of transport infrastructure budget for Phase Two of the Grand Bay Bottom sewer project.
“So that’s our phase two. As you know, Phase One is done, well not completely done, but we’re getting there,” said Spencer. “Brook Street Storm sewer upgrades and reconstruction with a total budget of $751,486.00. This council agrees to provide the ultimate specific share value of $250,470.00 in funding for this project.”
Public Works report
There have been concerns regarding sidewalk accessibility in the town. It was recommended that a review be done on the street intersections and crosswalks to see if they meet the standards for accessibility.
“Records of these areas will be made so that during our maintenance and capital work projects that these upgrades can be undertaken. This will be done over a period of time,” shared Coun. Keeping.
In the Grand Bay West subdivision, the report focused on water pressure issues.
“We will need a boost pump of some sort, I would expect, and require some federal and provincial funding,” said MacIsaac. “But it’s best to have consultants or somebody with experience with that and figure out what that needs to be.”
“If we’re talking an emergency situation up there, if we have a fire, and we don’t have the pressure, look at the liability. So we’ve certainly got to look at that,” said the mayor.
Policing shortage meeting
Seven communities from along the Southwest coast sent representatives to the Bruce II to discuss ongoing police shortages.
“I’ll sum it up from a gentleman from Rose Blanche. He said ‘We don’t want to see a police car everyday, but we’d like to see a police car occasionally.’ The problem is that the presence of the police is not there, and it’s based on the fact that they don’t have the resources,” said Mayor Spencer.
The issue of reduced police presence has become a regional problem as opposed to just a Port aux Basques one.
“This summer they’re operating with four available cruisers for service within the community and the area. And the area goes from Codroy Pond, to Cape Anguille, down to Rose Blanche and La Poile. Every community there said the same,” shared Spencer.
The mayor was pleased with the turnout at the meeting, which included the police superintendent and the staff sergeant. At the meeting, delegates offered suggestions to the police representatives. This included switching up patrols that are noticeably routine.
“But the reality is that we live in an area of 9,000 people, and of those 9,000 people, most of them are concentrated in one area, and the fact is there is only one car out there, that car has to put its area of emphasis at the largest location,” said Spencer. We need a greater presence, and we need to continue to lobby for our police officers. Right now, we have six – they did not replace the seventh position which they took out of here. They did say that they will replace a position at that meeting that night, but I don’t think they meant the seventh position.”