© Submitted photo
A voter places a ballot in a ballot box.
CORNER BROOK — Churence Rogers will be watching closely over the next few days as nomination days are held in communities across the province for the upcoming municipal elections.
Rogers is president of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL). He’s also the mayor of the Town of Centreville-Wareham-Trinity.
“From a community perspective if we want our communities to be sustainable for the long term and provide decent services to our citizens, somebody’s got to step up and take a leadership role,” said Rogers of why people should get involved.
Rogers said he doesn’t know if there’s such a thing as an ideal councillor, and notes that all over the province there have been some great and some not-so-great ones with varying educational and professional backgrounds and life experiences.
“When you look at the characteristics of a councillor, to me it’s very simple: it’s somebody that has to be committed to the community,” said 15-year veteran who will be on the ballot once again on Sept. 24. “They have a community perspective on things and they’re prepared to make decisions that’s in the best interests of the community and not any particular individual group.”
Rogers said people offer themselves up as candidates in municipal politics out of a sense of community service because they want to see their cities and communities progress.
“I don’t think people are in it for the financial reward,” said Rogers of the renumeration a councillor receives. “It’s the sense of gratification, and probably doing something good for their town, or their city or community.”
When it comes to encouraging people to run, Rogers said he’s been putting a focus on young people. However, Rogers said it’s hard getting them to sign on. Whether its nurses, teachers or construction workers, Rogers said they tell him that raising a family and balancing work and life commitments is a full-time job when you have young kids. And many tell him they would consider it when their children are older.
“At this stage of their life it’s tough for them to find the time and it’s a big commitment to run for four years and serve on a municipal council even in a small town.”
And he understands that. Still it’s a job with challenges and Rogers said the number 1 challenge today is finding the dollars to get things done.
“Councillors have to make some tough decisions sometimes about what they can and can’t do, and then try to balance that with keeping the taxation level at a point where they can sustain their municipality.”
He said raising taxes is easy to say, but when you have to justify that to people, your family and friends, some find it challenging.
“When I walk out the door in the morning the first people I see walking the street or the first people I bump into are people that I’m affecting on a daily basis with the services we provide here and the things we do for them.”
(Unless otherwise stated the nomination period runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
— Aug. 27
Massey Drive, town office
-Howley, town office
-Cox’s Cove, town office
-Hampden, town office
— Aug. 28
-Corner Brook, council chambers, city hall
-Gallants, town hall
-Meadows, town office
-Hughes Brook, town hall
-Stephenville, town office
— Aug. 29
-Gillams, town office
-St. George’s, town hall
-Jackson’s Arm, town office, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
— Sept. 3
-Mount Moriah, town office
-Humber Arm South, town office in Benoit’s Cove
-Irishtown-Summerside, town office
-McIvers, town office
-Pasadena, town hall
-Deer Lake, town office
-Woody Point, town office, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
-Norris Point, town office
-Rocky Harbour, town office
-Stephenville Crossing, town office
-Port au Port West, -Aguathuna, Felix Cove, town office in Port au Port West
— Trout River and Steady Brook will hold two nomination days, on Aug. 27 and 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. In Trout River prospective candidates can file their intentions at the town office and in Steady Brook at 32 Wilton Street.
— Birchy Head-Shoal Brook will also accept nominations on two days, Aug. 29 and 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the town office.