News from Council

Priorities are Mayor
Transparency, accountability & community-building are some of my top priorities, so I try to make Council’s work easily available here. We’re working on making the Town Website easier to navigate too. I love getting input & ideas from residents, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch – here’s my contact info!

• My priorities
• My biography
• Our Community Enhancement Committee
• Witless Bay’s (Proposed) Town Plan
• Witless Bay’s Community Profile (2015)


• Posted March 31, 2016
March 2016 Newsletter
Read it in PDF: March 2016 Town of Witless Bay Newsletter

Newsletter 2016-03 Newsletter 2016-032

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Newsletter 2016-035 Newsletter 2016-036


• Posted January 1, 2016
Mayor’s New Year Message
The Town of Witless Bay is blessed with a spirit of service that is shared by many of our residents, service clubs, associations, our parish church, and our businesses. The hard work and dedication of these individuals have improved countless lives and continue to inspire us to strive for a better community spirit. That service and willingness to give back are what makes our town a community.

The work of our countless volunteers was recognized by Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador’s Tidy Towns committee in 2015, with the province’s “Award of Excellence.” I am immensely grateful that you have shared your time and talents for the betterment of our town. We will rely on you and your dedication in meeting the challenges that lie ahead for our region.

We have been making significant investments in infrastructure which are beginning to bear fruit. These include a revitalized harbour and a new slipway, a rehabilitated recreation grounds, important upgrades to the South Side Track and Dunne’s Lane, a new Fire Rescue vehicle, a new entrance to our new location for the Fire Department, a fully operational recreation building, and a new penstock and trail access.

In addition to these infrastructure upgrades, our Town Council will continue striving to make Witless Bay a safe and beautiful place to grow and prosper. We will also keep striving to keep property taxes as low as possible, and keep the town’s residential mil rate amongst the lowest in the province by carefully managing both the town’s finances and its growth.

2016 promises to be an exciting year, since the Town of Witless Bay will be celebrating 30 years of incorporation! We are planning many activities to mark the occasion – residents will play a huge part in those celebrations.

On behalf of councillors and staff of Witless Bay’s Town Council I wish a peaceful, healthy, happy and prosperous New Year to you & your loved ones!


-Sébastien Després
Mayor, Town of Witless Bay

Representatives from a good number of the groups who pitched in with our Tidy Towns bid are putting up the town's new “Award of Excellence” sign. The groups represented in the picture include Witless Bay’s Town Council, its staff, our summer student workers, the O’Connor 50+ Club, the Puffin & Petrel Patrol, C-Paws-NL, the Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, the BBBAA, the Community Enhancement Committee, the Heritage Committee, Adopt-A-Spot participants, St. Bernard’s Elementary School, Mobile High School, the Girl Guides, and the town’s businesses.

Representatives from a good number of the groups who pitched in with our Tidy Towns bid are putting up the town’s new “Award of Excellence” sign. The groups represented in the picture include Witless Bay’s Town Council, its staff, our summer student workers, the O’Connor 50+ Club, the Puffin & Petrel Patrol, C-Paws-NL, the Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, the BBBAA, the Community Enhancement Committee, the Heritage Committee, Adopt-A-Spot participants, St. Bernard’s Elementary School, Mobile High School, the Girl Guides, and the town’s businesses.


• Posted December 22, 2015
Christmas 2015 Newsletter
See the Newsletter in PDF: Newsletter 2015-12
Newsletter 2015-12_Page_1Newsletter 2015-12_Page_2Newsletter 2015-12_Page_3Newsletter 2015-12_Page_4
See the Newsletter in PDF: Newsletter 2015-12

• Posted November 30, 2015
Witless Bay’s Santa Claus Parade
FB BANNER - Christmas Parade 2015
There will be a meet & greet with Santa at St. Bernard’s Elementary after the parade – hot dogs & drinks provided! There will be prizes for the best floats and the best costume!

• Posted November 6, 2015
The Town of Witless Bay has just been awarded Municipalities NL’s “Tidy Towns Award of Excellence” for 2015!!! This award is given to communities who have maintained the highest overall score for two consecutive years! That’s the highest honour possible in this provincial contest!

And that’s not all – Witless Bay has also been declared the 2015 Category Winner for Environmental Action in recognition of the town’s outstanding performance and contribution to environmentally-friendly programs! That’s something to be proud of!!!

So congratulations to the hundreds of people who have made this possible: the members of our Community Enhancement Committee’s, our residents and selfless volunteers, the Heritage Committee, our Town Council and staff, and the many community groups and associations who pitched in and donated their time and energies to this effort (the Kinsmen, The O’Connor 50+ Club, the Girl Guides, the Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, the BBBAA, the Puffin Patrol, St. Bernard’s Elementary School, Mobile High School, the Witless Bay Regional Fire Department, and all the others!). Well done!!!

Credit also goes out to the many businesses who helped in our Tidy Towns bid, including the Witless Bay Home Hardware, Witless Bay Ecotours, Needs Convenience, Independent Consultants Group, Felix’s, Plan-Tech Environment, and Eastern Waste Management. Thanks also the great team at Municipalities NL!

• Posted September 12, 2015

Many people have been asking about the differences between the May 2013 and the December 2014 Town Plans. These are two versions of the same plan, but there are big differences between them, coming from extremely different ways of imagining the town’s future.

The May 2013 Plan relies primarily on subdivision development to increase the town’s economy. Basically, it says, “More residents = more money.”

In 2014, Council redrafted this plan because many members of Council – including myself – believe that Witless Bay can be so much more than a faceless suburb of St. John’s. The December 2014 version of the plan focuses on using the town’s ecological assets to promote business and tourism. This means ensuring that the character of the town is preserved.

And it’s not just about keeping the town beautiful. The approach of the December 2014 Plan is also about keeping taxes low. Witless Bay is the 4th densest Town of its size in the entire province without public water, and the 4th biggest Town without public water. If the Town keeps growing at this pace and density, public water WILL be a necessity. This would be a multi-million dollar project to build, and a very expensive facility to run and maintain, resulting in higher taxes for everyone. Since public water is not a guarantee of good drinking water (hundreds of NL communities with public water have long-term boil water orders), we KNOW we’re better off protecting our wells. Larger lot sizes for large-scale subdivisions do just that.

Many people have also been asking about RAGGED BEACH:
This area is currently zoned as “Rural” and designated as “Park” in our current Town Plan (2005-2015). The 2013 Town Plan rezones it as “residential” and removes the park designation to allow for subdivision development. The 2014 Plan makes NO CHANGE TO PRIVATE LAND (leaving it “Rural,” just as it’s always been), keeps the Park designation, and rezones the Crown land to the south as Recreation & Conservation.

There’s still one more information session offered by Municipal Affairs, on Monday, September 14th (2pm to 8pm). Please consider attending to become better informed! The vote takes place September 17th, from 8am to 8pm.

• Posted September 5, 2015
Because of quorum issues, Council isn’t currently able to move Witless Bay’s Municipal Plan forward. Municipal Affairs has therefore announced that the Department will hold a plebiscite, giving residents the opportunity to participate in the process before the Plan is registered. Two iterations of the Plan will be presented, and as residents, you are invited to vote for the one YOU want registered!

The Municipal Plan directs Council’s decisions in terms of the development & use of land, conservation and improvements to the physical environment, land for public purposes, communication, utility & transportation systems, and municipal services and facilities. It also helps guide Council’s programs in relation to the social and economic development of the town. Essentially, this document serves to ensure that the Town continues to thrive and flourish.

September 10th (Thursday): 5pm to 9pm
September 12th (Saturday): 10am to 4pm
September 14th (Monday): 2pm to 8pm

September 15th (Tuesday): 8am to 8pm

• Posted July 26, 2015
Beautiful Witless Bay – A Profile!

2015 Witless Bay Community Profile Cover Page

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Welcome to our corner of The Rock - A message from Sebastien Despres Mayor of Witless Bay

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Witless Bay - Home of the North Atlantic Puffin

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• Posted July 19, 2015
The Tidy Towns judges will be here tomorrow!
Tid Towns logo
On Monday, July 20th, the Tidy Towns judges will be in Witless Bay!!! This year, the following towns are vying for the “Tidy Town” title in our category:
• Glenwood
• Petty Harbour-Maddox Cove
• Rocky Harbour
• Centreville-Wareham-Trinity
• St. Lawrence

• Posted July 17, 2015
Letter from Canada’s Governor General to Residents of Witless Bay
The Governor General of Canada is the Patron of Communities in Bloom.
He has submitted this letter to our residents!

Click HERE to see the ARCHIVES, where older posts are kept.
• My priorities,
• My biography
• Our Community Enhancement Committee
• Media coverage of Council

All content Copyright © 2010-2014 Sébastien Després. All rights reserved. The views, opinions, positions and/or strategies expressed on this site and other sites owned and controlled by Sébastien Després are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of Witless Bay's Town Council.