John Hickey wants mayor’s seat back in Happy Valley-Goose Bay
John Hickey. — TC Media file photo
Former Cabinet Minister and MHA John Hickey is going back to his political roots, as he seeks the mayor’s seat in the upcoming municipal election in Happy Valley-Goose Bay next month.
In an exclusive interview with TC Media, Hickey confirmed he is, indeed, taking another stab at political life.
“I do plan on putting my name forward for mayor,” said Hickey. “I retired from provincial politics in 2011 and I have had a couple of years to do things I wanted to get done. But the time has come to take another look at this.”
Hickey served as a town councillor starting in 1989, before serving as mayor for a four-year term from 1999-2003, when he first entered the race as MHA for the Lake Melville district in the 2003 general election.
Hickey said his eight years’ experience as a cabinet minister and MHA for Lake Melville should bode well for him in the race, which as of now has only one other official candidate — Jamie Snook, who also officially announced his intentions earlier the same day as Hickey.
Hickey said he sees many challenges ahead for the town as it relates to development.
“Muskrat Falls will continue to move forward; we have to remain vigilant about 5 Wing Goose Bay; there are many new families moving to the area — we have to prepare for growth over the next several years,” said Hickey.
He said because he is retired, he has the time to spend in the mayor’s seat should he be successful, and with a good council in place, it’s time to move the agenda forward for the town.
“The role of municipal council is to ensure the town is prepared — running the recreation facilities, planning for new development, more land development in the future. … Happy Valley-Goose Bay is the hub of central Labrador, and all other regions of Labrador have an impact on this community.”
Hickey was adamant that the proposed new hydro rates recently put forward by NL Hydro would be one of his priorities should he win the election.
“We need to prepare for these public hearings and make a good case to keep our rates where they are,” he said, adding the low electricity rates are one of the biggest draws for Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Lab West, as well.
“Québec-Hydro pays a quarter of cent for the power (from Upper Churchill), and as a result, we benefit from the low power rates, and so should we. It’s a draw for industry and an attraction for growing the community.”
Other items on Hickey’s priority list include a push for a new aqua centre recreation complex; the possible re-opening of the North Side Arena; community beautification and many others issues.
With regards to the internal struggles of council in the last few months, Hickey said anyone who steps up to the plate to run as councillors or mayor has to realize they are committing to four years of “not always winning every argument around the table.”
“We have to share our experiences and ideas with the council and the staff. It’s about the position and working together with the citizens that are paying the taxes.”