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Differences with the province played role in Downer’s decision to resign from Western Regional Service Board

Downer.
Downer. - Western Star file photo

Don Downer had intended to step away from the Western Regional Service Board once September’s municipal elections had taken place.

But in June the former chair of the board stepped up his plan and tendered his resignation.

Downer spoke to The Western Star by phone from his home on the east coast on Thursday.

He said at the time of his resignation he was starting to have some differences with the provincial government.

Downer said he wouldn’t go into detail on those differences, but a year ago Municipal Affairs Minister Eddie Joyce said he felt it was time for Downer, who had been with the board since 2011, to step down. Joyce’s comments at the time included that Downer probably should not be the chair of a western Newfoundland board if he no longer lives in the region.

“I’m leaving that a blank,” said Downer when asked it that influenced his decision to step down early.

“There’s no secret that I did have differences.”

Downer said when he decided to resign he only had another three or four months to go anyway.

“It was simply a case of cutting my losses and cutting my ties with the area and with the board.”

Downer said the fact he and his wife had already relocated to the east coast, a move that came earlier than planned, was a factor in his decision.

On Wednesday Joyce announced that the province’s plan to study the entire provincial waste management strategy, including an operational and financial analysis and an assessment of potential solid waste management technologies that will support the goals and objectives of the strategy.

Asked his opinion on that study, Downer said he felt the same about it today as when the minister first announced it about a year and half ago, and that was to review any program after 15 years is a good thing.

However, he thinks some things he’s hearing on the direction they could go — in particular high heat incineration — would be a mistake.

Downer said the board has looked at that and it is a very expensive process that he has reservations about, especially for putting it small communities.

“However, if that’s what they want to do the review on, more power to them. I don’t think it would make any sense to take back anything that the plan has evolved up to now.”

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