CB Centre towns hope to be 'stronger together'

·2 min read

Four communities in Conception Bay Centre have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that they hope will establish a regional framework of cooperation and collaboration – but not amalgamation.

“Each of our communities holds within them significant, yet different culture and history, and each offers different and unique geographical qualities,” said Harbour Main-Chapel’s Cove-Lake View Mayor Mike Doyle during a press conference held at the Harbour Main Town Hall on Monday. “It is this we wish to build upon. We believe that we are stronger together. In the past we have competed against each other for grants. Now, this can be done in a more strategic manner, to support each other in acquiring grants and resources, and looking at how we can provide services better to our residents.”

Along with Doyle were mayors representing Avondale, Colliers, and Conception Harbour, respectively Owen Mahoney, Bridgett Chaney, and Craig Williams.

“Today marks a significant milestone for Conception Bay Centre. Today, we’ll be signing a memorandum of Understanding agreement to work collaboratively on a regionalization pilot project,” said Doyle.

So, whether applying for water and sewer projects, or purchasing salt and sand, the mayors agreed the regional approach will best serve the taxpayers pockets.

‘We’re mostly looking at saving our communities money,” said Williams.

One message that rang loud and clear from all parties was that regionalization is not amalgamation.

“I come from Alberta, and I moved to Newfoundland and fell in love with the province, and what I fell in love with was how unique each individual community is, and their special attributes,” said Doyle. “And I’ve been in other provinces and I’ve seen amalgamation and experienced it, and it seems to wash all that away, it’s just like a big whitewashed brush. And that doesn’t benefit anybody.”

The pilot project will be on a two-year cycle, with room to bring other communities into the fold over time.

Doyle said the memorandum is a nonbinding agreement, which any town can walk away from at any moment, and that individual communities have the option to opt in or out of project applications.

He noted the terms of reference and details will come in the following weeks.

Avalon MP Ken McDonald, who was on hand for the signing, said he anticipates other communities may follow suit.

“I think you’ve started something that will be very popular across the province,” said McDonald. “There will be many communities jealous of what you’ve done here today, and ready to jump on this bandwagon.”

Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News