HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L.
If one were to look on the website for the provincial department of Municipal Affairs there are four regional appeal boards listed for the province. One for central, one for the east, one for the west and one for Labrador. However, there has never actually been an appeal board set up for Labrador until now.
The province is in the process of setting up a Labrador Regional Appeal board for the first time and have been looking for members since at least July of this year.
Traditionally, appeals arising from Labrador have been heard by the western board, which meets in Deer Lake a few times a year.
Municipal Affairs Minister Andrew Parsons told The Labradorian he doesn’t know why there wasn’t always a Labrador board.
“We have four distinct regions, we have eastern, western, central and Labrador,” he said. “Where my head has been is that there are a lot of qualified, interested people in Labrador who would like to be a part of an entity like this.
“We’re not talking about a huge cost expenditure by any means and to me Labrador appeals should be heard by individuals in Labrador.”
Happy Valley-Goose Bay Deputy Mayor Bert Pomeroy is happy an appeal board is being set up in Labrador and that it would make the process accessible by allowing people to easily be there in person instead of via a teleconference or the cost of travel.
“It will be beneficial to communities in Labrador,” he said. “There aren’t a lot (of appeals) filed, but hopefully they’ll be heard quicker. For us to appear at those appeals in Deer Lake would be costly, so now hopefully we can appear in person regularly.”
There are currently two appeals before the regional appeal board from Happy Valley-Goose Bay and one from Labrador City. Pomeroy said in both appeals regarding the local council they would like to get them heard sooner rather than later but aren’t sure when the appeals will be heard or by which board.
“I got the impression they wanted to leave them for the Labrador board, but in both those appeals we want those heard as soon as possible so we can move on with those particular issues,” Pomeroy said.
One of the appeals from Happy Valley-Goose Bay is a demolition order for a property on Hamilton River Road and the other is a data centre that was issued a stop work order in August and was ordered to remain shut down pending the outcome of the appeal.
“I empathize with businesses like that,” Parsons said. “If you make an appeal you want it heard as soon as possible. That’s inherently frustrating and I understand that.”
He said he would think that which board hears the appeal would depend on how quickly they would want it dealt with, but wasn’t sure which board would hear them.
He said finding people as been a bit of a challenge but they are close to setting the board up.
According to an Access to Information request made by The Labradorian, there are at least three individuals that have had their names forwarded to the Independent Appointments Commission, which would make quorum.
Municipal Affairs put out several calls to individuals and elected officials to forward names of people to consider for the board. Once those people go through the application process the names are forwarded to the Independent Appointments Commission to select the board members.