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Former Clarenville council candidate submits document of public concerns to town

Pearl Martin is throwing her hat in the ring for councillor in the upcoming Clarenville municipal byelection. JONATHAN PARSONS/THE PACKET
Pearl Martin is a former candidate for the Clarenville municipal byelection. FILE PHOTO
CLARENVILLE, N.L. —

While Pearl Martin’s bid to become a Clarenville town councillor came up 33 votes short last month — it hasn’t stopped her from putting some of her campaign work to good use.
Martin talked with many town residents, compiling concerns and suggestions into a document. Now, she’s submitted the list to the town in hopes council will continue to take into consideration what’s important for people in the community.
Martin told The Packet she wanted to make sure the many issues were still acknowledged and that’s why she forwarded them to council.
With 33 separate topics brought up, Martin said some issues were more frequently discussed than others. She highlighted a few of what she thought were the most common complaints.
She says White Hills Ski Resort was a common point of conversation.
“Many people that contacted me hadn’t realized that White Hills belonged to the Town of Clarenville,” said Martin. “And they couldn’t understand why the town was always loaning them money year after year.”
She adds those same people expressed why the town still maintains the resort if it’s not financially feasible. Others wondered why it couldn’t be expanded to year round facility to offer more community activities and have a better chance to turn a profit. They suggested RV parks, motorbikes and other summertime outdoor ventures near the property.
Others also questioned the rationale of a poll tax in today’s municipal climate. Martin says people were calling it, “an outdated system.
“People who are renting contacted me and said, ‘We’re paying rent and homeowners who owns this property are paying property taxes on it. Why should we have to pay poll tax, too?”
Some of the residents of Shoal Harbour believe their area of the town is not receiving the same level of service as the rest of Clarenville.
This includes town signage, the possibility of using the name of Clarenville-Shoal Harbour, and ensuring there are more town flower pots beyond the causeway area of Shoal Harbour.
While she doesn’t necessarily agree with all the points of view she’s compiled, she recognizes residents’ rights to have their voices heard.
“I was just a sounding board, and this is the result of the sounding board.”
She says she’s glad to be able to present the opinions of such a large demographic of different citizens: Young and old, outspoken and those who don’t speak up.
She submitted the document to council this past week in anticipation of the regular council meeting for the town.
When asked if staying involved through the letter is an indication she wants to run again in the next municipal election in two years, Martin says she’s still not sure.
Provided her health is still good — she’ll consider it when the time comes.

Jonathan.parsons@thepacket.ca
Twitter: @jejparsons
 

Some of the 33 items on Pearl Martin’s list from community members:
• Because the Ted Cooper Centre was sold, there is currently no free-standing structure as a remembrance to Ted Cooper. A suggestion was made to rename the ball field in Shoal Harbour as a memorial to Ted Cooper. There is presently a room at the stadium bearing his name but some residents believe the ball field’s new name would be on par with the namesake building.
• Why does the by-law enforcement officer allow people to put out heavy garbage as much as two weeks before the pick-up date? It was noted this process is probably dangerous, certainly unsightly and definitely embarrassing if you happen to have out-of-town guests. 
• Sight lines at various intersections: Brush and trees are permitted to grow along road sides, making it almost impossible to see oncoming traffic. One in particular, Mills Siding, is already a blind corner.
• Stanley Park needs to be restored seems to be another issue. The Stanley family donated the land back in the 70s. The park received a lot of usage but, over the years, has deteriorated and has not been kept up.
• The Age Friendly Park: Not accessible for the elderly due to long-term construction. Question: Why has it taken so long to get this work completed?
• Cost of property taxes needs to be addressed. Many feel current rates are too high. 
• Road conditions are a major issue. Many believe road improvement needs to be a major focus.
• Construction of bus shelters so children would be both safe and dry. Currently, children who are lining the sides of the streets, waiting for their bus, is definitely an unsafe situation for them and for drivers.
A complete list of the 33 concerns was published on Pearl Martin’s Facebook page as well.
 

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