Is the race on in Grand Bank? After informally announcing his candidacy earlier this summer, Grand Bank Mayor Darryl Lafosse made it official Friday – he will seek a second turn as the town’s top officer.
And at the same time, former mayor Rex Matthews announced he was going to try to unseat Mr. Lafosse, to reclaim a position he held for some close to two decades along with the role of town councillor.
The two squared off in the last municipal elections in 2009 when Mr. Lafosse pulled out his initial win.
Municipalities need strong government, particularly at this time, when funding sources are diminishing with reduced taxation as businesses close up or leave, and aging infrastructure continues to take its toll on municipal budgets. A lot of municipalities are becoming retirement communities, with seniors for the most part to list among their constituents.
Many towns are reportedly on the precipice of bankruptcy and councils are struggling to deal sometimes with day to day issues that confront them.
Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador has been lobbying the provincial government for years to reinstate an adequate Municipal Operating Grant system, or to put a new funding regime in place to allow municipalities to survive. That body believes it’s now on the verge of a new funding arrangement.
All towns on the Burin Peninsula need to generate the type of interest Grand Bank is realizing with a mayoralty race. In Marystown, two new candidates have announced their intentions to seek election for the first time, but at least one current councillor is also suggesting he’s no longer going to seek re-election.
In recent municipal elections, too few towns have actually needed an election with a good many forced to select a council by acclamation or appointment, to round out the full compliment of councillors needed.
Municipalities are at a pivotal, and some may even suggest crisis, stage in their operations. Will they survive over the years to come?
That question might never see a positive outcome if residents don’t become involved, and put themselves out to the community offering their talents and expertise.
Communities don’t exist or survive because it’s always someone else who took the lead and got the job done. Each one of us needs to do our part and contribute, if we hope to see any future for our children and grandchildren in the community we raised our families.
Are you involved? If not, why not?
George Macvicar, Editor/Manager