Town Council surprises many with new Deputy Mayor
Town Councils in Happy Valley-Goose Bay have, traditionally, chosen a Deputy Mayor based on the person who received the most votes during the municipal elections.
This year, Tony Chubbs came first with 1,188 votes. But the new Happy Valley-Goose Bay Town Council decided to stray away from by electing a Deputy Mayor who did not receive the most votes.
Instead, the six councillors and Mayor, chose Cora Hamel Pardy as Deputy Mayor via secret ballott. Hamel Pardy came second in the municipal election with 1,154 votes.
In an interview after the meeting was adjourned, Mayor Jamie Snook expressed his confidence in Hamel Pardy as Deputy Mayor.
“It was unanimous that this Council wanted Cora Hamel Pardy as Deputy Mayor and I’m very happy for her,” said Snook.
Snook says after meeting with councillors nearly every day since the election, he got to know his colleagues well. He considers Hamel Pardy a good Deputy Mayor because she is “diplomatic.”
“We took a week to get to know each other and our individual strengths,” said Snook.
Chubbs, like all the other councillors, congratulated Hamel Pardy on being chosen Deputy Mayor. But, after the meeting, he admitted he had hoped his fellow councillors would choose him for that position.
“I was disappointed,” said Chubbs. “When the election was held…I did have the most ballots, I had a lot of support.
“There have been expectations from the public that the person with the most votes would be (Deputy Mayor).”
Nonetheless, Chubbs says he is still committed to the Council and still believes in his colleagues.
“I’m disappointed (with the decision) but I’m not soured on council,” says Chubbs.
After naming Hamel Pardy as Deputy Mayor, the Town Council continued the meeting by making two surprising announcements regarding Nalcor and the Muskrat Falls project.
The Council unanimously agreed to pull out of the Lower Churchill Community Liaison Committee, which was followed by an oath, taken by each Councilor, promising that they will not sit on the Nalcor Board if given the opportunity.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay’s previous Mayor, Leo Abbass, sat on the Nalcor Board and some residents considered it a conflict of interest given the impacts Muskrat Falls is having on the municipality.
But Snook said the announcements were important, because residents wanted their new Council to be transparent and have no potentially conflicting relationship with Nalcor.
“This (Council) is going to be independent,” said Snook. “We’re taking things forward with a fresh outlook.”
Snook pointed out the oath taken by him and the rest of Council is not a swipe at Leo Abbass or a direct criticism of the previous council.
“I don’t want to comment on previous Councils,” said Snook.
Former Deputy Mayor Stanley Oliver used to be the Council’s representative on the Lower Churchill Community Liaison Community. But Oliver did not feel that the committee was useful.
The committee is made up of representatives from Nalcor and community representatives from the Upper Lake Melville region. The purpose of the committee is to allow the community leaders to bring concerns regarding the Muskrat Falls project to Nalcor.
Oliver applauded the new Council on removing itself from that committee, saying it was something he recommended to the previous Council.
“To me it was all smoke and mirrors,” said Oliver.
“I’m glad council backed out of it, because that was my recommendation…the important questions weren’t being answered (by the committee).”