BAIE VERTE, NL — Baie Verte Mayor Brandon Philpott joined the Nor’wester for a question and answer session about the upcoming year.
Q: What’s your top municipal priority for 2018?
A: For us, it would be trying to get our community centre, some portion of it, up and running. It is gravely missed in our area and is something we were hoping to get done a while ago, because we thought we were going to have it included in our fire hall.
A: We have the mining conference coming up again now, and it is already a question of where is it going to be (held). We would really like to have some sort of facility … even to renovate the current gymnasium and cafeteria area in the new portion of the building, just to have it as a muster station. That was something we used our previous community centre for, but now we have nowhere for that. If something happens in the town and we need a muster station, it is something we are lacking big time.
Q: What are some of the challenges your town is facing in 2018?
A: Trying to secure funding for all these various projects and all the issues we are experiencing in this town. We have upgraded our water treatment here a significant amount. But the sewer treatment is only to deal with the end of the line. We still have issues with everything under the ground going through the town.
They are two other things we put on our capital works projects — studies to examine our existing infrastructure.
Q: Is there a plan in place to address possible difficulties?
A: We are trying to ensure all the applications filled out are more detailed. We have a new CAO here (Brian Peach) who is a lot more familiar with a lot of these reports and what we have been doing in the past.
Also, a lot of times we focus heavily on provincial grants, so we are trying to look at everything we can get federally and provincially, every avenue we can to try to avail of something that will further us quicker than just waiting for the province to do something.
Q: What is one thing the provincial government could do or change that could help municipalities do better in the future?
A: It would be funding. I realize there is only so much to go around. Especially for the sewer portion, they want everyone to clean up – and believe me, I am a big advocate for that too, I really wish we weren’t doing what we we’re doing (flushing untreated sewage into the ocean) –and it is OK to make these policies and say follow these regulations, but to let you go adrift yourself to try to figure out what you have to do and how to do it – I just find it hilarious.
Q: What are some of the new things you’ve learned since becoming mayor?
A: It is just not being a councillor and trying to lead the rest of council, and create a direction all of us can focus on and look at.
I am trying to make people more involved. As the mayor, I am trying to put a very big emphasis on supporting our volunteers. They are ultimately providing a service to the town here that is the best-cost option.
When you have someone willing to do something for the betterment of the town, I just don’t understand why we wouldn’t whole-heartedly make sure we support them and encourage them to keep doing it.”