It was quite the twist to a fairly standard meeting of St. Anthony town council, last night, as councillors seemed to lose all composure when delving into Come Home Year matters.
© Staff Photo
Councillor Ralph Hedderson, in private members, started things off by stating that council is being bashed by Facebook members of the page St. Anthony Come Home 2015, with claims that council doesn’t support the upcoming Come Home Year.
He took issue with the administrator’s recent posting of the committee’s requests to council:
In-kind donation of Polar Centre for events (turned down and standard fee of $1,000 would apply), control of the bar (turned down because the arena owns the license and is non-transferable), and office space (approved, but only if no one wishes to rent the space).
“You’ve got a group looking to put an event off, you go put your event off. If you ask for something, you get your decision and if you can’t live with that…” said Hedderson.
“When it comes to council not providing any support, what was meant by that, is that this council, at the end of the day, would not sign a cheque to bail out a Come Home Year, that was our point.”
Councillors Dwayne Cull and Eric Boyd sided with Hedderson.
“For an individual to make a blank statement that ‘Town Council of St. Anthony is a bunch of idiots’, to me it’s absolutely ridiculous for them to say it when they didn’t know the facts,” said Boyd. “To take that crap from someone who don’t know the facts, is absolutely wrong.”
On the defense
Councillor Marilyn Walker, who is also chair of the Come Home Year committee, defended the statement.
She stated the post, on what council did and didn’t approve, was based on getting the facts out there.
Walker said there were a lot of questions and statements surfacing and hoped to clear the air with page members.
“You are judging us for what individuals are saying,” she said. “The statement we wrote, on what council’s decision was, isn’t that correct?”
Furthermore, she pointed out that the information is public knowledge and has even been published in the Northern Pen.
“Why would you bring it to social media then?” charged Hedderson. “I think the town should adopt a policy on social media too. You are accountable for your actions.”
Cull was in agreement as well.
Hedderson continued his argument.
“I saw that budget leading up to Come Home Year and everything was under control, and three months after it was over I had a $176,000 bill to pay out of the citizens’ taxes,” he said with a raised voice. “If you’re airing it on social media, put it all out there.”
He continued to press that the council stands by its decision and it shouldn’t have been rehashed.
Walker again reiterated page members were raising the topic and the committee wanted to let members know that council had made its decision on each request.
“We ended that response stating this would be our final statement on the manner,” said Walker.
With a little more civility starting to form, Boyd noted, “It’s sad because Come Home Year should be such a joyous occasion but it creates so much strife and bickering…because on Facebook no one is agreeing with anyone.”
It was a statement that ended the discussion and council resumed the rest of its meeting.