The complaints against Eddie Joyce certainly hit home to the members of COATTS (Cabin Owners against Trash Tax). They have been dealing with the minister of Municipal Affairs for several years and have not been able to get any sense out of him. Furthermore, they have been charged a tax for trash, and for fire protection without the usual voting rights that a democracy provides.
He has also threatened them with taxes for road construction and maintenance, water and septic work- as provided for in the Act. That would normally come under your municipal taxes, but the province has created a not-for-profit board — the Eastern Regional Services Board (ESRB) —and shut out all cabin owners from representation on the board.
When they write, phone or meet with the board or attempt to talk to Eddie Joyce, they are stonewalled. But the bills come. And interest is piled on top of the bills. Threats of a poor credit rating, and collection agencies and court action follow that.
And the garbage is not collected. For months.
And most cabin owners don’t have garbage containers — they take their garbage home to avoid bears and rats around their property. But Eddie Joyce has no interest in that. He sends complaints to the ERSB. And the ERSB sends them back to Eddie Joyce. And the threats keep coming in the mail for cabin owners.
Most people in cabin country could see that a garbage truck would have little business there — no garbage containers, locked gates, cut off by snow most of the year.
Water and sewer beyond the basic services already there are sufficient for the usual two month summer use. Two members of COATTs have documented that since December, they have had no collection. But they have received bills. And threats to their credit rating. And interest of 26.8 per cent. And threats of court.
It is my understanding that half of the appointments to ERSB only come from the elected officials of the City of St John’s and the other half from Eastern municipalities.
Cabin owners have no voice. Costs of water and septic, fire, garbage — the board has been given the power to spend this money and charge cabin owners without the consent of cabin owners. I believe this is how the American Revolution started — no taxation without representation.
In the meantime, Eddie Joyce has ignored the local Cabin Owners’ Associations created by the cabin owners. These elected groups have arranged road maintenance and other services for years, and meet yearly with cabin owners to agree to the level of service.
I understand these association were badgered for mailing lists. They did not release them because of privacy concerns.
So Eddie Joyce has created a duplication of services in these areas.
Now, huge amounts of money are paid for garbage trucks that are burning gas and coming back empty from cabin areas, sometimes with one or two bags. The garbage service has never been advertised. No sign on the road to alert cabin owners that they are being charged for a service. Lots of cabins receive no bills, while others are tormented by letters. And stories persist that Dwight Ball and Eddie Joyce live in districts where cabin owners are not taxed.
I noted that the Corner Brook mayor also had difficulty with Eddie Joyce in dealing with waste management. The basic reason is that the Regional Service Board act is illegal if it shuts out the taxpayer from representation on the board. And it fails because money is being spent on services that no one wants or needs and bullying methods are being used to collect payment for services that were not delivered. The province needs to fix this.