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Joint Council members differ on accepting local service districts into group

Is there a place in the Great Humber Joint Council for local service districts?

That was a topic of much debate around the table during the council’s monthly meeting in Corner Brook on Saturday.

The discussion was sparked by a request from Little Rapids to have a seat at the table.

Wayne Bennett, deputy mayor of Howley, felt that if the local service districts had a place on regional waste management committees then why not at Great Humber Joint Council.

But while Steady Brook councillor Leona Gillett was OK with having them at meetings, she said they should not have any voting privileges.  

However, a few members pointed out local service districts were once members of council.

Pasadena councillor Malcolm Turner said he’d welcome their presence and they should be members with full rights. “Because it’s been there in the past.”

There was some concern expressed that allowing them at the meetings would open the meetings to the public. But Pasadena Mayor Otto Goulding noted with the media present the meetings were public. He also said other members of the public have sat in on meetings, including himself long before he was a municipal councillor and was with the Humber Valley Development Association.

In the end a motion was passed to invite Little Rapids to the next meeting.

President Josh Carey said after the meeting the invitation is meant to bring them to the table for a discussion on what it is they want to receive from the Great Humber Joint Council and what the council expects of the local service districts.

“There is controversy surrounding it,” he said, and noted the Southwest Coast Joint Council does not allow local service districts at its table.

“Because many of the decisions that are made at an incorporated municipal level, while there are similarities there are substantial differences between those and the issues of a LSD (local service district).

“Local service districts are basically there to provide garbage collection and to provide other smaller types of services. They don’t provide near the level of service that an incorporated municipality is expected to and provides. Nor do they collect taxes, they collect a local service fee.”

Carey said that explains the reason why people see some friction between the two.

“But some of the fear as well is that if you elevate the local service districts to the same voice and the same level of autonomy inside of a Great Humber Joint Council that you’re actually saying they’re on the same playing field, and they are not. And they never can be from a service delivery perspective. It can’t happen that way.”

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