Stop the sniping

Dave Bartlett
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City councillors say it’s time St. John’s, Mount Pearl worked together

Tom Hann — File photo

Some members of both St. John’s and Mount Pearl city councils are getting tired of the bickering that’s going back and forth across the mutual border.

While the spectre of amalgamation always seems to lurk as the root cause of strained relations, it’s not the only issue where the two city’s disagree.

At the last Mount Pearl council meeting, on Feb. 21, Deputy Mayor Jim Locke took aim at comments made by St. John’s Mayor Dennis O’Keefe about Mount Pearl’s decision not to help pay for maintenance on the Team Gushue Highway.

Mount Pearl contends it’s a provincial road and therefore the provincial government should be on the hook, not the cities.

At last week’s St. John’s council meeting, O’Keefe took issue with comments made by Mount Pearl Mayor Randy Simms about the level of service of Metrobus in his city.

O’Keefe said Mount Pearl gets exactly what it pays for, no more no less.

But St. John’s Coun. Tom Hann and Mount Pearl Coun. John Walsh told The Telegram this week that the cross-border barbs have to stop as they are counter productive to regional co-operation.

“Amalgamation is not on,” said Hann bluntly. “We’ve been down that road a number of times and it’s not going to happen.”

Hann said considering the capital’s neighbours don’t even want to hear the word, it would be up to the province to force the issue, which it has no interest in doing.

“We need to put the politics away and stop the bickering and start looking at ways we can co-operate,” he added.

When it comes to regional co-operation, Hann said it’s already happening as the cities share a fire department, landfill, water and waste water systems.

He said prime examples of where co-operation could be enhanced are on a regional transit system and when it comes to recreation facilities.

“Why can’t we build a large regional facility that would have two or three ice pads in it, whatever we need for ... swimming pools and so on,” asked Hann.

He said it shouldn’t matter where a regional complex would be built as long as it would be central enough for residents of both cities, and the tightly packed towns around them, to access.

Hann said it’s frustrating to still hear the decades-old debate, even though he admits he has been guilty of the political rhetoric in the past.

But he said, it’s time for it to stop as the citizens of both cities, and the region, are the ones who lose out.

Walsh agreed that the ongoing feud is unhealthy for both communities.

But he laid the blame for the ongoing argument squarely at the feet of O’Keefe.

Walsh noted he and O’Keefe have known each other all their adult lives. But he said he can’t help but take exception when the mayor of St. John’s suggests it’s only a matter of time before the capital swallows Mount Pearl.

Walsh said he represents Mount Pearl on all the regional committees and has no problems working with people like Hann, Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff, Coun. Danny Breen or any of the seniors staff at St. John’s city hall.

“I’m dealing with them all the time (and) this stuff never comes up,” he said.

Walsh said he doesn’t mean to slight St. John’s, but said Mount Pearl is never the party which initiates the squabbling.

“Our stance all along has been lets try to ignore (the amalgamation issue) and hope it goes away,” he said.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Mount Pearl council, The Telegram

Geographic location: Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • Turry from town
    March 06, 2012 - 08:48

    There are tools all over the world Peter,and it is onlly a matter of time before they are here.I buy goods and services and work and live in St.John's.but I have to pay residential taxes as well to pay for the roadwork,and so should anyone who comes in here to make a living.

    • PETER
      March 06, 2012 - 19:27

      Tully, you still don't get it, the tolls everywhere else are to pay for the roads that are travelled on and paid for by the province, state, etc, not for the city. I pay tax for the community I live in as well, but people travel from town to town, shop in other towns all over. Again they pay tolls to pay for roads, I have no problem with that if a new highway is needed. However a toll to enter a city is not done anywhere, and if we have to pay to get in, then you should pay to get out for your Sunday drive, etc, but really this is far to foolish to even consider. And again too, people from outside the city come in to work, but also shop, and patronize business, buy gas and much more. Business needs this revenue, but better than a toll booth which is actually counter productive, maybe a poll tax on people who work in the city would be a better idea. If St. John's had a tioll, so would CBS, Paradise, Torbay and on and on, it would just be counter productive, poll tax is the answer, but for all municipalities that hire from oitside their borders.

  • Turry from town
    March 05, 2012 - 15:22

    PETER! You only buy in St.John's what you can't get in your own town.It's the people and business here that keep the city going in way of property taxes,not someone like you who buys a coffee.Toll the roads heading outside the city, sure,good idea,and get your own people going back home.

    • PETER
      March 05, 2012 - 20:41

      Well Turry from town, you still don't get the picture at all. And you make assumptions. Anything I need I get in CBS or Paradise where I live and work, including coffee. I only go into Sin John's to see my parents, when they are gone I won't go there at all. But again, anyone who works or travels into the city shops and patronizes business there, and not only buying coffee. You have a very narrow and dim view of the subject, but you should really look into it without emotion, it's a region, people from the city travel outside, people from outside travel into it. It happens all over the world, not just on the Avalon. And you have no idea on how tolls work, and it will never happen here.

  • PETER
    March 05, 2012 - 14:28

    For the "Toll Booth" folks, remember that works both ways. If you want to get out of town on your summer drives, pick up bargains out of town, or for any other reason, including going to "the cabin" the you should have to pay to get out. And remember too that people from outside the city support city business by shopping in St. John's. So take off the blinkers and see the full picture, including the fact that monies given to the city by government comes from all over the city. Regional cooperation is the best way to go, study the discussion before making comments, study all sides, not just St. John's side.

  • June
    March 05, 2012 - 13:02

    I am digusted to hear this childish debate continue. There is zero reason why a comprimise can not be reached. From my understanding, no one is dicussing solutions, or methods to reach solutions; just "no, no, no". At this point, it's time for both Mayors to get out of the way of progression. I would love to see leadership that is professional, effective, and executed in a responsible time frame. Why am I still reading about debates which commenced before I was born?

  • Townie
    March 05, 2012 - 09:01

    Curly Hann says he has been guilty of sniping in the past. What a joke. It has been like a tag team O'Keefe then Hann then O'Keefe snipe, snipe. And when he needs the media he will be up to the same old,old tricks.

  • james barrett
    March 05, 2012 - 08:41

    This is what amalgamation did 4 us [ no side walks,no sewer lots of pot holes. have to go 2 mount pearl get the bus school doctor . We are in no mans land,garbage pick up weekly,this is the result when u take over places u can not look after still we pay same taxes . not the right thing 2 do ,.,.,.

  • Turry from town
    March 05, 2012 - 08:16

    How much do the people of MP contribute for the maintenence of infastructure in the city of St.John's that they use daily to go back and forth to work? Including mayor Simms?Yes,St.John's has taken on the responsibility of the Team Gushue highway to expidite it's completion that will benifit the region including MP.They refuse to contibute for it's maintenence.How is that co-operating? Hope there is a toll both set up on it for traffic entering from MP.

  • Steve
    March 05, 2012 - 07:39

    Young, strong, thriving and successful marrying up with old and struggling. If it didn't work with Ashton and Demi, it wouldn't work with Mt. Pearl and St. John's either.

    • Paul
      March 05, 2012 - 08:48

      I guess I would be young, strong and thriving if I were leaching off the real city. Andy Wells had the right idea, put a toll booth up.

    • Too Funny
      March 05, 2012 - 09:22

      "Young, strong, thriving and successful" - must be talking about CBS or Paradise.