ADDRESS FROM THE MAYOR
Good afternoon everyone.
It gives me great pleasure to be sitting in this seat once again. I’m honoured and humbled by the support shown to me by our community. Thank you.
Before I go any further, let me take moment to thank everyone who participated in the election campaign. Let me also thank our staff, who conducted the election, particularly Marina Redmond and Jessica Smith. Finally, let me say a special thank you to our outgoing Councillors, Tony Buckle, Bernd Staeben and Josh Carey for your service to the City.
Four years ago I told residents of Corner Brook to expect more from City Hall. Despite a global pandemic and a tough fiscal situation in our Province, we were able to accomplish much. We have made Council more open and transparent. We’re on the brink of realizing our aspirations around tourism. We are about to build a new regional aquatics centre. We’ve seen unprecedented commercial investment with no end in sight.
Now I’m joined by a new Council with new ideas and fresh energy. Congratulations! You are part of the storied history of this great City.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: municipal government is not like provincial or federal government. There is no official opposition. Instead, there is only government. Council must strive for consensus, or at least agree to disagree, and take responsibility for this corporate body, the City of Corner Brook. We are elected by the citizens to be the board of directors for this institution. If the City fails, we all fail. If the City succeeds, we all succeed. Whether you voted for or against, once the resolution is passed, it is everyone’s job to support that decision for the good of the City and the residents it serves.
The divisive rhetoric of the campaign must now subside to pledges of cooperation and good governance. Let’s move from a campaign where we highlight our individual platforms to become a Council where we focus on our shared vision.
Corner Brook is the largest and most important centre outside the Avalon. In the decades to come it is doubtless that more and more people, particularly from more rural areas to the north and south of us, will flock to Corner Brook seeking government services, healthcare, employment and recreational opportunities. Our new hospital, our mill, our port, Grenfell, CNA give us a stability and a permanence that other places don’t have. But we can’t be content to rest on those advantages. Instead, we must leverage them. We must seize this opportunity. We must aspire to become more than asphalt and pipes. Instead, let’s be a centre of commerce and higher learning, a resort for the world and an oasis from the world.
We will stand as a City upon a Hill. A beacon hope for our Province. An example for other communities. This how we will make Corner Brook the place where our children and grandchildren want to live.
We have numerous challenges, but as I look around this room, I see a Council that is in it for the right reasons. I see courageous individuals. Courageous not because they are willing to speak truth to power at the Council table—that’s easy—but courageous because they know… doing what’s right isn’t always obvious and isn’t always popular. Courageous, because every time you go to the grocery store, walk down the street or open Facebook, you are going to face your constituents. So let me give our new Councillors a bit of advice that I was given early on: taking the time to give someone an accurate, honest answer goes further in the long run than just telling people what they want to hear. You can’t avoid criticism, but you can choose to leave this job with respect and integrity. Another piece of advice: resist the urge to feed the trolls on social media!
I’m eager to get back to work and I’m excited to hear your ideas as we plot this Council’s course for the next four years. My door is always open. I’m there all the time. I like coffee. I sincerely believe we all have something unique to contribute. As your chair, I vow to give each of you respect and support. I ask you to give me the same in return. Together, let’s make Corner Brook even better.