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Mayor John Craig Casts Two Tie-Breaker Votes At First Eastern Charlotte Council Meeting
The Municipality of Eastern Charlotte held their first council meeting on January 18, 2023 at Magaguadavic Place in St. George, New Brunswick. Province-wide local governance reform took place in late fall 2022, which saw the creation of 77 new local governments and 12 rural districts.
Eastern Charlotte is the amalgamation of the communities of Blacks Harbour, St. George, Back Bay, Bonny River, St. Patrick, Utopia, Pennfield, Seeleys Cove, and Beaver Harbour. In November of 2022, residents of this newly formed district went to the polls to elect a new mayor and council. John D. Craig, the former Mayor of Blacks Harbour, was acclaimed the Mayor of Eastern Charlotte, and eight new councillors were either elected or acclaimed: Wayne MacQuarrie, Terry Lee, Darrell Tidd, Lisa McKay, Alexa Detorakis, Adam R. Hatt, David R. Hatt, and Michael Thompson.
During the first council meeting, the councillors were asked to vote for a Deputy Mayor of Eastern Charlotte. David R. Hatt, Adam R. Hatt and Darrell Tidd put their names forward for consideration to be chosen by their fellow councillors as Deputy Mayor. David R. Hatt received six votes, Adam R. Hatt received one vote (from himself) and Darrell Tidd received one vote (from himself). David R. Hatt was declared the first ever Deputy Mayor of Eastern Charlotte.
Next on the agenda, Chief Administrative Officer Jason Gaudet put forward another point of action for immediate consideration - whether Eastern Charlotte should categorize itself as a "town" or a "rural community." While geographically, the district is expansive and covers an extensive amount of rural ground, the population of Eastern Charlotte is that of a large town. Gaudet said there is only one other area that has gone with the designation of "rural community." Gaudet elaborated that the term "rural community" is traditionally reserved for communities in a growth stage that are in the midst of evolving into a town.
SPLIT VOTE?***John Craig voted "in favour of the motion to designate Eastern Charlotte as a town.
Councillor Michael Thompson then made the motion to change the name of Eastern Charlotte to Coastal Charlotte. "The naming process was flawed, I feel," said Thompson. "People didn't know where to vote or who to get the vote to. There was a .3% difference between those favouring the names 'Eastern Charlotte' over 'Coastal Charlotte.'"
"I don't think it is right to not adhere to tax-payer votes," said Adam R. Hatt.
"I think the name Coastal Charlotte would bring more people here as far as tourism goes," said Councillor Lisa McKay.
The vote to change the name was split 4-4 between the councillors. Mayor Craig provided the tie-breaker, voting against changing the name. The name "Eastern Charlotte" survived the first council meeting of Eastern Charlotte. Council will meet again on February 15, 2023 at 7:00pm.
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