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Hughes Brook councillor didn’t get his Christmas wish

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Bruce Lidstone didn’t get the one thing he wanted for Christmas.

In a letter published in the Dec. 22 edition of The Western Star the Hughes Brook councillor asked that Santa to arrange for two more councillors for the town.

The town has only had three councillors since December 2017.

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LETTER: Hughes Brook council looking for help

Back then the town’s mayor and deputy mayor were removed from their seats over alleged violations of the Municipalities Act.

Freeman Parsons and Gary Wells appealed their dismissal and a hearing was held in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Corner Brook last April 13.

As of Monday, no decision had been made in the case.

“It seems like we just fell off the map, off the radar,” said Lidstone, the newest member on the council. He was elected in a byelection this past fall.

Before he was elected he wrote former Municipal Affairs Minister Andrew Parsons on the issue. The response then was that no one can interfere with the justice system.

Since being elected he’s also brought his concerns to the department, again with the same response.

Until a decision is made on the status Parsons and Wells the town can’t hold a byelection to fill the council and Lidstone said it can’t operate effectively with just three members.

That’s already been proven as the council has had difficulty achieving a quorum. In June 2018, the minister of Municipal Affairs granted the town limited authority for two councillors to constitute a quorum to hold meetings and deal with town business.

But Lidstone said there are still issues around that, if one councillor declares a conflict on a matter then there is no longer a quorum. The same happens if one of them is unable to attend a meeting.

“We’re still held at bay,” he said.

“The community is held in suspense and we can’t move forward.”

He understands there are rules and regulations that have to be followed, but it’s very discouraging.

“Right now, we’re at a critical place. We need some help, we need some bodies.”

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