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More Town funding for library would be a ‘huge burden’ says Wabush Mayor

Wabush Mayor Colin Vardy told TC there’s a lot of anticipation in the town, waiting to see if Wabush Mines will be sold and possibly reopened.
Wabush Mayor Colin Vardy told TC there’s a lot of anticipation in the town, waiting to see if Wabush Mines will be sold and possibly reopened.

A recent study of the provinces library system says that municipalities should be contributing more to that service.

In fact, it says the municipalities in this province are almost at the bottom of all provinces that contributed. Only Prince Edward Island was lower.

There were many recommendations that will be studied in an effort to make the services more efficient. However, the idea of having towns pay more isn't going over well with Wabush Mayor Colin Vardy.

"There is a constant effort to download costs and services to municipalities, but in the case of Wabush, we only collect tax on properties and businesses, the province gets the sales tax and payroll tax," Vardy told the Aurora.

The mayor said he feels the town already contributes a good share to the library in Wabush. That library was slated to close when government announced closures, but then reversed many of them.

Vardy told the Aurora "The library is in our municipal building, they don't pay rent or pay for upkeep, or even electricity. We even make a financial contribution, so we think we are making a fair contribution."

The study suggests that there could still be library closures after further review. Vardy can't speculate about the Wabush library, he says there has been no discussion at council about the Wabush library since the release of the report.

In addition, Vardy says the municipality already pays for services other towns don't have to worry about.

“We pay to operate a swimming pool when the provincial government uses taxpayers money to operate pools in places like Corner Brook, Gander, St. Johns, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay,” said Vardy. “I'd like to see government contribute money so the pool could be used as a low impact exercise facility for those who need that kind of service for health reasons.”

"As well people in Labrador West fundraise a lot to buy equipment for the local hospital, we pay our fair share," Mayor Vardy told the Aurora.

Vardy said the town has seen its share of difficulties in the past few years, but he remains optimistic for the future.

Right now though he told the Aurora "we can't take any more financial burden from the province expecting us to pay more for services like our library, they have to realize the position we are in."

It's not certain when and how the government will act on the recommendations in the consultant’s report.

Vardy told the Aurora "We will keep a close eye on it."

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