Towns say govt. didn’t do enough to get word out
Municipalities in the region are speaking out this week following a meeting last Tuesday that was intended to elect a new Regional Service Board to implement the province’s Waste Management Strategy throughout all communities in the Emerald Zone.
The meeting, held in Springdale, was not attended by all municipalities in the zone, and ended without a board being elected after it was determined the Baie Verte Peninsula weren’t educated enough in the matter to proceed with the board.
Officials from the Department of Municipal Affairs agreed to host meetings on the Baie Verte Peninsula at a later date.
During last week’s meeting Pilley’s Island Mayor Dennis Vincent, who is also Chairperson of the Green Bay Waste Authority, said it was possible some towns weren’t aware of the meeting and that was why they weren’t in attendance.
“Everyone was sent a notice,” said one of the officials from the Department.
“You’re always going to get some that aren’t going to show up,” reasoned another official.
Municipalities were informed either by email or regular mail of the meeting. The email version of the invitation, which has been obtained by the Nor’wester, had the subject line “Circular - Waste Management Committee Meeting.”
It was sent on February 7, 2014 – less than two weeks before the meeting was scheduled in Springdale.
“Good Afternoon: Please see the attached circular.” the email said – prompting people to have to click on an attachment to read a memo explaining what it was all about.
“It is time to begin planning for the closure of unlined landfills in your region,” read the last line of the memo. It went on to explain the date, time, and location of the meeting, along with the purpose – “to form a committee for Baie Verte-Green Bay Region.”
The Nor’wester contacted some municipalities this week who weren’t at the meeting.
One municipality, that asked to remain anonymous, said it was totally unaware of the meeting or its purpose.
When asked about the email, the town searched its computer archives and did manage to find the email, but said it was overlooked because of the vagueness of the subject and content.
“We get so much email from so many people, it didn’t look like it was all that important – I guess we overlooked it at the time,” they said.
Barbara Colbourne, Mayor of Lushes Bight-Beaumont, said they found out about the meeting when it was too late to attend, from a sign posted in another community.
“I saw a sign posted up in South Brook saying their council meeting was postponed because of this meeting,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about it – that was the first I’d heard of it.”
When asked whether they received an email, Colbourne said they checked again, and couldn’t find where an email had been sent to the town.
Based on emails obtained by the Nor’wester, Lush’s Bight-Beaumont was on the list of recipients for the email sent to local towns.
However, Colbourne said more effort should be made by departments to ensure
“More should be done to get the word out to towns about the importance of these meetings,” she said. “If they’re going to do away with what we’ve got, then the least they can do is send out proper invitations to the meetings.”