Residents of the Conception Bay North community lined up to take their seats more than an hour before the meeting was scheduled to begin on Feb. 22.
Chaired by deputy mayor Paul Brazil, seats in the council chambers were tough to come by as more than 30 citizens filled the space. It was the same in the foyer of the town’s municipal centre as residents filled the doorway and pushed ahead clamoring for their chance to catch pieces of what was being said inside.
Others pressed their ears to the wall in an effort to know what was going on.
It was obvious people weren’t happy with the arrangements for the meeting. Many left uttering words of disgust under their breath as they threw open the main doors and exited the building.
Some suggested the town move operations to the large ballroom in the lower level of the building, but there are concerns that would interrupt Internet access. Reference documents for councilors are electronic and accessed on iPads.
With regards to the contents of the hour-long affair, the meeting generally kept to clearing away some house keeping items.
The minutes from a number of special meetings were ratified, including the meeting where 28 residents were named to the vacant fire department. The list included 21 former members of the department and seven new firefighters.
“Those 28 people are now ratified volunteer firefighters,” said Brazil. “Now, we can issue their names for occupation, health and safety coverage and insurance coverage. That’s an important piece.”
The council then explored funding for a piece of equipment that would replace the department’s aging oxygen system.
A couple of letters were tabled at the meeting from citizens. One from a group calling themselves the Concerned Citizens of Spaniard’s Bay and Tilton, citing their desire to see council follow through on a passed Nov. 16 motion that would have an independent inquiry performed on the fire department.
It’s the same name of a Facebook group that has sprung up in recent days. It has close to 700 members and is aiming to start a committee in the coming days.
There was another letter from a citizen calling for a meeting to help Spaniard’s Bay move forward.
A number of people inside and outside the chambers also said if a fire were to happen on their property, they would prohibit firefighters Brenda or Martin Seymour from setting foot on their property.
When asked about that, Brazil didn’t know how to respond.
“That’s something totally brand new to me,” he said. “That’s something we’re going to have to come out, pick up the phone, call the fire commissioner’s office and ask if that’s a reality.
“Is that something that an individual on the town can impose on the fire department?”
Meanwhile, a potential byelection date to fill the vacant seat vacated by Sherri Collins was called at the meeting. Deadline to apply for what is sure to be a highly sought after position is March 24.
Residents can cast their ballots on April 18 if multiple candidates come forward.
It would be the second byelection for the town in less than a year.