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Deer Lake councillor accused of conflict of interest in crematorium decision

Image courtesy Google Maps
Image courtesy Google Maps - The Western Star

A member of the Deer Lake council is being accused of a conflict of interest in relation to the approval of a crematorium in the town.

Coun. Myra Spence voted in favour of approving an application submitted by Parsons Funeral Home during a council meeting on Oct. 16.

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Owner David Parsons is also a councillor and recused himself from any discussion or voting on the issue after declaring he would be in a conflict of interest.

Spence did take part in the discussion and the vote, even though The Western Star has learned her husband’s company, Dan Spence Refrigeration Ltd., was listed on a contractor information sheet as part of the application package for the crematorium. 

Spence declined comment Friday and deferred the matter to Mayor Dean Ball, who said it is now a legal issue and has been turned over to the town’s legal counsel.

“We’ll leave it there,” said Ball.

“There’s a legal issue right now and we’ll let the lawyers take control of this and those accusations will be dealt with. I feel in my opinion that council has done everything in its power to do this the right and proper way.”

The accusation is not the only negative fallout from council’s decision to approve the development.

An appeal of the decision has been filed with the Western Regional Appeal Board. Residents of town have also gathered outside the town hall on Reid’s Lane prior to the last three public council meetings to protest the development. Many of those who oppose the decision say they are not against the crematorium, just its location on North Main Street near a school and in a residential area.

Council’s next public meeting is scheduled for Monday.

Council had hoped to bring in its 2018 budget that night, but Ball said they are not quite ready to do so.

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