John Parsons won’t be seeking re-election when the Town of Lark Harbour goes to the polls next month.
Parsons served for about four years as a councillor in the town before moving into the mayor’s chair five years ago.
“I think it’s time to step away for awhile,” he said earlier this week a hint of reflection in his voice.
But by stepping away it’s likely Parsons won’t get to see the amalgamation of Lark Harbour and York Harbour through to completion. It’s a project he’s worked on for a couple of years and had hoped would have been “put to rest” by now.
As Parsons puts it, the two towns at the end of the south shore of the Bay of Islands have worked for years “in a spirit of co-operation,” so joining together just makes sense.
The towns share a fire department, a church and a school, while committees contain volunteers from both.
Parsons said both councils have done “a marvellous job” taking the amalgamation process as far as they could, and all the leg work has been done.
The document on amalgamation, including some requests by the towns, has been presented to cabinet and Parsons thought they would have heard something by now.
He said it’s possible changes within government over the past couple months may be contributing to the delay. When former Municipal Affairs minister Steve Kent left cabinet to run for leadership of the PC Party, the portfolio was handed to Dan Crummell.
But hearing something soon has become rather important.
“We’re down to the eleventh hour,” said Parsons.
The towns put off elections last fall as they worked through the amalgamation process. Under provincial legislation they have a year to hold elections and that year is coming to a close.
Parsons said the towns are now just following due process and have scheduled elections for Sept. 23.
The voters lists for both towns are being updated and the plan is to hold nominations on Aug. 27 and 28 in both town halls.
He said the amalgamation could still happen and, if so, the elections won’t be held.
If not it will be up to the two new councils to decide how they want to approach it.
A request was made to speak with Crummell about the file, but The Western Star did not receive a response as of press time.