New Corner Brook council sworn in

Adam Harnum
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Pender announces wage freeze on council salaries, no tax hike

CORNER BROOK — The room was full at the council chambers in the Corner Brook City Hall Sunday afternoon for the installation ceremony of Charles Pender as Corner Brook’s newly appointed mayor, as well at the five new councillors and one returning member.

“I think I can speak on behalf of all of us in saying that this is your city hall and your council,” said Mayor Pender, who returns to the top post for a second term following a four-year absence.

Pender was quick to get down to business and said there are several pressing issues which need to be addressed.

The mayor went on the record and promised there would be no new taxes or fee increases in 2014, including an amendment to freeze the Jan. 1, 2013 salary rate for this council’s term of office. That will be debated at the first public council meeting on of council on Oct. 7.

He also said Corner Brook will be more open and accessible for business — which he said will be prompted soon via a meeting with business leaders to hear concerns, as well as the formation of a business advisory committee.

“With more business comes more jobs, prosperity and growth,” said Pender as he sat before residents, council and city representatives.

He then highlighted council’s intention to make the city more attractive and affordable — even to those who are more vulnerable and have been impacted through the increased rate of taxes — particularly families and seniors — which Pender said will be addressed through a seniors advisory board aimed at improving upon the lack of activities available to these individuals.

The new mayor was also vocal about the need for his council to address the issue of health care in the region — specifically, working with the provincial government as well as municipalities in the area to ensure the city gets a new hospital with necessary services to meet the needs of the entire region.

To do so, council plans to call upon the expertise of local citizens and physicians through the establishing of a health-care advisory committee to work with council to assist in recruiting physicians and their families.

Following the ceremony, councillors Tony Buckle and Keith Cormier expressed their enthusiasm for the council’s decision not to increase the burden on taxpayers.

“I think it’s a great move,” said Buckle.

“It’s not about money, we love this city, that’s why we’re here.”

Cormier said the decision on the wage freeze will set a good tone to set right out of the gate to establish the council’s intention to be “thrifty” with the taxpayers’ money.

“We’ve spent far too much money,” he said, adding that the most important thing for him moving forward is to analyze the budget to “find efficiencies and savings for the taxpayers of Corner Brook.”

Buckle was less focused on budget commitments and more concerned with a renewed push for the proposed new hospital in the city.

“Collaboration, common sense, openness and transparency will be the cornerstone of everything we do,” Pender said in closing, as he to described the qualities of what he calls “a working council who are truly representative of the city that we all serve.”

Following the swearing in of the new council, Bernd Staeben was declared as the new deputy mayor.

Organizations: New Corner Brook council

Geographic location: Corner Brook

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  • Sally
    September 30, 2013 - 10:31

    It will be interesting to see how Pender votes on the issue of a council pay freeze. He wanted to freeze council salary in 2005 levels. Will he want to roll back to those council salaries. Interesting to note Chaisson first order of business was to ask for a council freeze. She "didn't want" the salary so why doesn't she ask for council pay to be rolled back. One of her last votes in the previous Council was to vote herself a 2% pay increase. Different equals the same.

  • Eager Beaver
    September 30, 2013 - 09:11

    So looking forward to the new council bringing in more significant business to the Corner Brook area; we're crossing our fingers and our toes. There are a few 'Newfies' out there who want to come home!

  • Lyndon West
    September 30, 2013 - 08:07

    I hope that the mayor and council will do what they say they will do. My question to them is,,, with the costs to the new court house ??? WHY IS THE ROOF OF THE NEW COURT HOUSE STILL LEEKING ? IT HAS BEEN LEEKING EVER SINCE IT WAS BUILT. QUESTION # 2. WHY ARE THERE PLYWWOD WALL`S ON THE OUTSIDE OF A BRAND NEW COURT HOUSE ?. HOW STUPID DOES IT MAKE THE NEW COURT HOUSE LOOK. PLEASE GET RID OF THOSE STUPID PLYWOOD WALL`S AND FIX THE ROOF FOR GOD`S SAKE.