Baie Verte mayor seizes opportunity to have pre-budget say


Published on February 15, 2017

Baie Verte Mayor Clar Brown, pictured alongside an unidentified recorder, attended the pre-budget consultation in Grand Falls-Windsor last week.

©Randy Edison/TC Media

Baie Verte Mayor Clar Brown was one of a select few from the Green Bay-White Bay areas to make the trip to Grand Falls-Windsor for the provincial pre-budget consultation.

Brown believes the effort was worthwhile.

“I think every council, if you get that chance, should take that opportunity to have your say,” he said. “Or else, the opportunity for things to change is not going to happen as fast.”

He acknowledged there are flaws alongside the benefits of the new procedure.

Most notably for the area is the lack of a session in Springdale, which had been the case prior to the more recent move to the regional hearing in Grand Falls-Windsor. The mayor believes the distance to travel in the winter season impacts the number of participants from the Green Bay-White Bay area.

There were less than 50 people at the session, down from about 100 a year ago, said Brown.

The mayor believes discussions pertaining to areas of cost savings for the province was a healthy one. The session no longer allows participants to openly present their hopes for funding as in years previous, but he says there is ample opportunity for municipal or organizational representatives to do that throughout the year.

Hearing media reports with Finance Minister Cathy Bennett that the majority of Budget 2017 is complete, Brown wonders the true impact people can have on this year’s direction.

The mayor says there were a lot of similarities and concerns expressed from the region’s representatives at the session.

“One real concern is there is going to be an impact on spending,” he said. “No more taxes, but there is going to be bigger impacts on government spending — and a lot of government spending is on public employees,so they are going to feel the bulk of it.”

Applications from the province for municipal capital works hasn’t been issued yet, said the mayor, so the town has yet to file its requests. Also, the area did not see much road work identified in the five-year plan. Brown said highways such as LaScie and Seal Cove road are in poor condition, and Baie Vert highway is deteriorating.

“We need some work and, if you don’t see anything in the five-year plan, what are roads going to be like in five years,” he said. “There’s not much hope.”

Written submissions are also being accepted for the consultation process in c/o Pre-Budget 2017, Department of Finance P.O. Box 8700 Main Floor, East Block Confederation Building St. John's, NL A1B 4J6

Submissions may also be emailed to budget@gov.nl.ca or faxed to (709) 729-0393.