Kevin Costello is the new mayor of Holyrood.
Deputy Mayor Curtis Buckle began the council meeting of February 9, held virtually due to this week’s COVID cluster in Mount Pearl, by declaring his intention to not seek the position, which opened after Gary Goobie gave up the chain of office last month.
Buckle asked council to elect a new mayor to serve the remaining months of the term. He called on veteran councillor Jim Joy to bring forward a nomination. Joy nominated Costello.
“Kevin brings a welcome education as an engineer and the respect of the entire council for his common-sense approach to municipal issues,” said Joy.
Councillor Kim Ghaney seconded the motion, adding it was an honour to do so.
Council voted unanimously to appoint Costello, who was then sworn in as mayor.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, and council colleagues, along with the citizens of Holyrood, for their encouragement over the past few days, as I’ve been making the decision to take on the role of mayor of this wonderful town,” said Costello.
Reading from the Municipal Council Handbook, Costello reflected on the duties of the position, and assured those listening he was up to the task.
“I will make a commitment to my team, and to the residents of Holyrood, to put my best effort forward each and everyday, as our town continues to grow and prosper,” he said. “I cannot guarantee that I will not make mistakes along the way, as I am only human, but I want you all to know it will not be intentional. I hope that my leadership style of being open and honest will enhance our ability to allow Holyrood to be a great place to live, work, learn, play, and invest.”
Costello thanked former mayor Gary Goobie for his years of service, and to wish him well on future endeavors.
Later in the meeting, councillor Sadie King made a motion to hold a by-election to fill the vacant seat on council, but soon made it clear she intended to vote against the idea herself.
“As chair of the finance committee, I feel it is not in the best interest of our town to hold an election at this time,” said King. “So, I’m asking councillors if they would not support this motion. An election at this time, whether it is a by-election or a full election, is going to cost the same amount of money, which is in the range of $10,000, and we only have a few months left until we are going to elect a new council. So, even though we’re one councillor short, I’m sure that if we all work together, we can still achieve what is best for Holyrood and save our money at this time.”
Councillors Joy, Ghaney, and Roger Myette echoed similar sentiments, with Myette and Ghaney noting COVID is also a reason to hold off until the September vote.
In fact, the only member of council to vote in favour of a by-election was new the mayor, who argued a by-election would be a benefit.
“I still think it would be very beneficial for our town to hold a by-election, and my reasons for seeing that is I can foresee a large turnover in council the next term, and with that being said, I think it would really give a head start to the next council coming in, if we can bring someone in now and give them five or six months of experience, and then hopefully they would stick around for the next election,” said Costello. “I was hoping we would get to the point where we would agree on the by-election, but it doesn’t seem that way.”
The town also provided an update on Tuesday regarding the Crystal Carnival.
Two weeks ago, the town announced it would host a mix of virtual and in-person events. Due to the Covid cluster forming in the metro region, the town has cancelled all in-person events, including skating at Boland’s Pond, a wine and chocolate event, snowshoeing, drive-in bingo, a wine and paint night, a senior’s tour, mug-making event, dart tournament, fireworks, and the Crystal Dip, amongst others.
Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News