News from Council

Priorities are Mayor
Because transparency, accountability, and community-building are among my top priorities, I’ll be working on making everything that our Town Council does available online. Our Town Website will soon be much more comprehensive. I’ll also be using this page as my own record.

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


• Posted July 22, 2014 •
Island-wide Fire Ban!
The Department of Natural Resources has issued a complete fire ban because of “extreme levels” in the Forest Fire Index. There are to be NO OPEN FIRES WHATSOEVER until the ban is lifted. Please direct questions or concerns to the Forestry Services branch: 729-4180. To read the story in the Telegram, click here:

• Posted July 16, 2014 •
By-Election Results
The results of the July 16th election have been tabulated:

AnnMarie Hann: 154 (elected)
Jacqueline Mair: 125 (elected)
Joan Tobin: 91

This was a great turnout for a by-election (227 in total) – congratulations to all candidates! The swearing-in of our TWO new members of Council will be in the coming weeks. We will keep everyone posted!

• Posted July 12, 2014 •
At the July 2014 public meeting of Council, it was decided that the Town would invite the Province to initiate the process of establishing a Crown Land Reserve along the town’s southern coastline.

This prospective reserve, measuring 99 hectares in total and 450 meters in width, is proposed to
begin at the first parcel of crown land at the end of Mullowney’s Lane, and to
end at the town’s southern boundary. This reserve would set apart the crown land along this
coastline as a protected area in order to provide open and unrestricted
enjoyment of this easily accessed pristine ocean shoreline & wilderness environment for generations to come.

This is just the start of what we believe will be a long and comprehensive process – the establishment of a Crown Land Reserve is ultimately a decision of the Provincial Government. If the Province is receptive to Council’s proposal, we will be holding a public meeting to outline in more detail what is being proposed, why it is being proposed, and to discuss the project with all stakeholders before any decision is finalized.

• Posted July 4, 2014 •
Draft Agenda for the July 8, 2014 Public Meeting of Council
1. Call to order

2. Adoption of July 8th 2014 Agenda

3. Adoption of June 10th 2014 Minutes of Meeting


4. Business Arising from Minutes

a. Revised Road Standards 

b. Proposed Code of Ethics 

c. Structure removal on 432 Southern Shore Highway
d. Municipal By-Election: Wednesday, July 16th 2014

5. New Business
a. Town of Witless Bay Municipal Plan
b. NEAR Plan process update 

c. Correspondence: Municipal Affairs – Capital Works Applications Submitted. 

d. Notice: Development Control Officer.
e. Fire & Emergency Services – Preparing an
Emergency Management Plan.
f. Motion to construct road leading to Municipal Garage.
g. Notice of Motion to begin process of moving Fire Department to Municipal Garage.
h. Replacing the fire hydrant near the Fish Plant.
i. Enquiry RE: Filling the pumper truck at the river.
j. Recommendation to the Regional Fire Committee increase the honorarium awarded to active members of the Witless Bay Regional Fire Department.
k. Re-evaluation of staff wages

6. Committees Reports

a. Cash Flow Analysis Report
b. Income Statement/payables
c. Audited Financial Statements 2013

d. Quote for Class A (for Upper Pond Tourist stop). Awarded;
Motion only
e. Contract Payment: Eastern Contracting – Witless Bay Recreation Centre
f. Contract Payment: Modern Paving – Track Road (Gas Tax Funding
portion) – Gas tax funding received to cover this cost

g. Contract Payment: Modern Paving – Track Road (90/10 portion:
Government $170,017.84 and Town’s portion 18,890.87) – Request made to MA
for release of their portion, Gas tax funding received to cover Town’s cost


a. PuffinFest preparations
b. New Date for Economic/Tourism Development Workshop
c. Roofing on change rooms by the pool
d. Painting the tourism chalet & change rooms by the pool
e. Tidy Town Hour – Wednesdays 6:00pm to 7:00pm
f. Tidy Towns Judging date: August 18th 2014
g. The Mayor’s Walk for Heart & Stroke
h. Canada Day Celebrations
i. Fence alongside the pool – quotes received

a. Motion for a municipal ban on the use of herbicide Tordon 101

b. Request for a provincial ban on the use of herbicide Tordon 101

c. Motion to request the reinstatement of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve Manager position
(to Park & Natural Areas) 

d. Request to Department of Environment & Conservation for the establishment of a Crown Land Reserve (under Section 8 of the Lands Act) for 99 hectares of crown land on the Town’s southern coastline.
e. MMSB Compost Bin Program results.
f. NAACAP Coastal Erosion Study planned for Witless Bay

a. Residential single family dwelling – 12 Country Path Drive
b. Residential single family dwelling – 28 Country Path Drive
c. Residential single family dwelling – 1 Green Hill Drive
d. Residential single family dwelling – 3 Green Hill Drive
e. Residential single family dwelling – 1-3 Carey’s Road

f. Residential single family dwelling – 90 Gallows Cove Road

g. Storage garage – 18 Green Hill Drive

h. Garage – 142-144 Gull Pond Road

i. Garage – 161 Gull Pond Road

j. Baby Barn – 14 Lower Loop Road

k. Extend culvert – 37 Country Path Drive

l. Extend driveway – 227 Gallows Cove Road

m. Fence – 17-19 Hillsway Drive

n. Above-ground swimming pool – 39 Butler’s Road

o. Crown Land – Witless Bay Line

p. Crown Land – Gull Pond Road
q. Quotes received for grading roads in the community

7. Adjournment

• Posted June 28, 2014 •
Canada Day Celebrations!
Events include a hike, a healthy heart picnic, community olympics, a cake cutting, refreshments, a community BBQ, face painting, Sky High Amusements, local entertainment, and FIREWORKS! The Mayor’s Hike for Heart & Stroke starts at 6:00PM at St. Bernard’s Elementary, from where we’ll walk to the recreation grounds. Wear a backpack & bring a blanket & a healthy picnic! The celebrations will start at the Recreation Grounds at 6:45pm.

A big THANK YOU to all of the volunteers and community groups who pitched in to make this event possible: The O’Connor 50+ Club, the Witless Bay Heritage Committee, the Witless Bay Regional Fire Department, the Witless Bay Kinsmen Club, our local RCMP detachment, Our MHA (Minister Keith Hutchings), Town Council, Town Staff, and the members of our Community Enhancement Committee. Most especially, THANK YOU to the BBBAA’s leadership & its fantastic team of dedicated workers & volunteers for organizing this great event!

• Posted June 28, 2014 •
PUBLIC NOTICE: Municipal By-Election
Come to the Town Office between 8am-8pm on Wednesday, July 16th to vote for up to two of the three candidates who have offered their names for election!

Town of Witless Bay

• Posted June 14, 2014 •
Follow the link below to read the Code of Ethics that will be presented at the July public meeting of Council for initial review. This is a DRAFT, intended to foster discussion about how members of Council and Town staff should approach their duties. This Code of Ethics is an adaptation of a number of other such documents currently in use by other municipalities in the province.
Code of Ethics Guiding Witless Bay’s Council and Staff

• Posted June 14, 2014 •
Nomination of Candidates for Election to Council
Nominations received 8am-8pm on Monday, June 23rd
Nominations shall be in writing and state the name and civic address of the candidate and shall be signed by the Proposer and Seconder, both of whom shall be present together with the candidate who shall sign also signifying her/his acceptance. In the event that a candidate cannot be present for her/his nomination, his/her proposer and seconder hall complete the required form. Every candidate for Election to the Council shall at the time of her/his nomination deposit with the Returning Officer the non-refundable sum of ten dollars ($10). The date for nominations was originally announced in error for Monday June 17th. Council apologizes for any inconvenience.

The qualifications or a candidate for election to Council are as follows: Canadian Citizen of the full age of eighteen years; Resident of the municipality or area for at least 30 days immediately prior to the date set for the nomination period; Not indebted to the Council for any arrears or taxes or other charges; Not otherwise disqualified under the Municipality Elections Act.

Town of Witless Bay

• Posted June 6, 2014 •
Draft Agenda for the June 10, 2014 Public Meeting of Council
1. Call to order

2. Adoption of June 10, 2014 Draft Agenda

3. Adoption of May 13, 2014 Minutes of Meeting

4. Business arising from minutes:
a. Notice of Motion – Further regulations on Permits
b. Lights for Recreation playground area
c. Structure removal on 432 Southern Shore Highway
d. Issues relating to 318 Southern Shore Highway
e. Flooding on 36A Gallows Cove Road
f. Excavation for 1-3 Carey’s Road
g. Issues relating to Lot 23 Tamarack Drive

5. New Business:
a. Bi-election
b. Correspondence relating to Council’s decision to change subdivision lot sizes
c. Municipal Fire Department Assessment Report – Submitted for Council information
d. Improvements around the Town’s visitor centre
e. Correspondence – Kinsmen Club re Puffin Fest
f. Group Ratification Request – Witless Bay Kinsmen

6. Committee Reports:

a. Cash Flow Analysis Report/Payables
b. Release of snow clearing bid bond
c. Architect’s fee proposal for Town Hall and municipal garage
d. Request from individual to purchase the town’s used culverts
e. Request from Youth Ventures to have business tax waived

a. Minutes of meeting – Submitted for Council information

a. Mayor’s Hike for Heart & Stroke (date changed to July 1)
b. Community Mapping Initiative
c. MMSB composting workshop
d. Official Town flower – Daylilies
e. Signs for Tourism Chalet
f. Town Logo – Proofs

a. Correspondence from resident regarding issues with Southside Track road work
b. Pothole & road repairs
c. Clearing culverts
d. Notice of Motion: Adoption of new road standards
e. Rental of street sweeper
f. Application to install swimming pool – 85 Bear’s Cove Road
g. Application to construct deck – 29 Tamarack Drive
h. Application to erect fence – 19 Country Path Drive
i. Application to erect fence – 432 Southern Shore Highway
j. Application to erect fence – 36 Bear’s Cove Road
k. Application to construct shed – 21-23 Andrew’s Lane
l. Application to construct shed – 31 Country Path Drive
m. Application to construct shed – 11 Country Path Drive
n. Application to construct shed – 16 Gallows Cove Road
o. Application to construct garage – 53 Dunn’s Lane
p. Application to construct garage – 12 Gull Pond Road
q. Application to install weeping tile around existing dwelling – 16 Gallows Cove Road
r. Application to construct dwelling – 31 Country Path Drive
s. Application to add one modular classroom and link – St. Bernard’s School

7. Adjournment

• Posted May 30, 2014 •
May Information Flyer
Planning on building a house or an extension?
Hoping to put up a deck, a fence, or a shed?
Thinking about subdividing your land?
Planning to excavate a piece of land?
Thinking of putting in a pool?
You need a permit.

No development, construction, extension, demolition, excavation, grading, clearing or grubbing is to take place within Town boundaries without a permit from the Town.

To protect residents & landowners from issues resulting from unregulated, unauthorized & unlawful development, the Town of Witless Bay requires that a permit be obtained prior to the start of any construction project or project which involves machinery and transforms the landscape. Building on, redirecting or altering a watercourse or ditch without approval is an offense.

It makes sense to ensure that what you’re planning to do is allowed before you start building, since no one benefits from having to dismantle what wasn’t done according to the regulations. Developers, builders, & property owners are responsible for constructing according to the plans submitted and for meeting all municipal, provincial & national standards.

A permit must be obtained for the construction of any driveway. Driveways must be properly ditched and a culvert meeting Town standards must be installed & inspected before a permit can be granted to develop a new lot or build a new home. Building on, redirecting, or altering a watercourse without approval is an offense.

Developing, building, constructing, excavating, grading, clearing or grubbing without a permit or with an expired permit carries a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offence. If construction contravenes zoning regulations, laws or by-laws, an additional fine of up to $10,000 may apply. The owner is responsible for the cost of dismantling the construction and restoring the site if so ruled, as well as the cost of rectifying any problems. The daily fine for disobeying a Stop Work Order is $500.

If you’re considering a project, please visit the Town Office to obtain an application form & a copy of the applicable bylaws, policies & procedures.

Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month, at 7:30pm.
For your application to be considered at the next public meeting of the Town Council, the deadline for submission is Thursday, June 5th at Noon.
This is simply an informational pamphlet – not a complete list of the Town’s development regulations. In case of discrepancy between the official text and the text on this page, the official text shall prevail.

Witless Bay’s New Official Flower: The Orange Day Lily
Flowers are an important addition to any exterior beautification project. They symbolize life, and make an enormous difference in terms of aesthetics, adding interesting splashes of colour. The orange day lily has long been growing in gardens and planters in our community. Known as “the perfect perennial” because of its hardiness & low-maintenance, the variety that grows in Witless Bay is a brilliant orange with some yellow, which makes it a perfect complement to our Town’s colour palette (from the puffin). A generous resident has stepped up and offered to supply residents with the first 400 cuttings! Please contact the Town Office to reserve cuttings for your garden: 334-3407

“Learning to Compost” Workshop
TUESDAY, JUNE 3rd at 7:30pm, Town Office
The Town Council of Witless Bay is hosting a short “Learn to Compost Workshop” to help residents learn how to use composters to their full capacity!

Mayor’s Hike for Heart & Stroke
Starting at 10:30am at the school, we will make our way along the river trail leading to our recreation grounds, where we’ll share a healthy picnic & celebrate the Grand Opening of the new Community Recreation Building. After this, we’ll have Community Olympics, where both kids & adults will compete in potato sack races, tug-of-war, egg & spoon races, 3-legged races, and other sporting events! A good number of community groups and sponsors will be helping out at the event; we’ll keep you posted on this as details are set. Remember to wear a backpack (with a picnic to share inside!) so that pictures of the event look great!

Strategic Planning Session
The Town of Witless Bay is currently in the first stages of developing an economic and tourism development strategy. Council will be holding a strategic planning session to help establish a strategic vision and determine priority areas for action planning. Join us to help give direction to our Town! Please contact the Town Office to register.

Composters for Sale
Through an MMSV-funded program, the Town of Witless Bay has purchased 50 composters, which are now available at cost ($25 instead of $80+). Sold on a first-come, first serve basis, they’re going fast – stop by the Town Office and pick one up!

• Posted May 15, 2014 •
Policies and Procedures of the Town of Witless Bay
At the May 2014 meeting of the Witless Bay Town Council, we officially ratified the Town’s Regulations on Permits. The great majority of these were not new regulations – they were adaptations of the existing regulations. The intent of many of the changes made was to soften the current regulations for residents, making the regulations less onerous for small-scale projects. The intent of other changes proposed is to protect residents and landowners from potential issues resulting from unregulated, unauthorized, and illegal development.
Click here for the updated regulations:OFFICIAL Policies & Procedures Manual 2014-05

• Sent May 7, 2014 •
Council’s May Newsletter
The Community Enhancement Committee is developing a beautiful map of the town, which we’re hoping to enrich with a collection of short stories. Do you know a good ghost story taking place in Witless Bay? Or a story about the fairies? How about a story about one of the ships that sank in our harbour? Or a tall tale, a legend, a strange rumour? How about a story that’s just too good to be true? Email Mayor Sébastien ( with ideas!

The Witless Bay Regional Fire Department is seeking volunteers! Registration open to both male and females; applications can be picked up at the Town Hall.

The goal of the committee is to make Witless Bay a friendlier, more environmentally responsible, and even more beautiful place to live! Meetings are at the Town Office from 7:30pm to 9:00pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month. We hope to see you there!

A graduate student from Concordia University (Ms. Glenda Nash) will be working
with our Town Council and staff over the next months as part of the requirements for her Master’s degree. This professional in training will help Council and staff better understand each other’s roles and
responsibilities, and ensure Council works together productively. We’re very happy to be able to benefit from this opportunity (at no cost!). We’ll keep you posted as the project
moves along!

Please keep dogs tied up, since they intimidate residents and pose a public danger.

The due date for taxes is May 31st. A monthly interest fee of 1.5% will accrue on unpaid account if suitable arrangements are not made to have the account paid in full by October 31st 2014. Accounts in arrears after this date will be prepared for collection.

The months leading up to the Tidy Towns competition have each been branded with a different theme! June is for Environmental Awareness Month and July is Community Spirit Month!

The Kinsmen Community Cleanup is THIS SATURDAY, May 10th, starting at 8:00am. We’re aiming to make this the best cleanup yet! We’re even attempting to establish the Guinness World Record for the biggest puffin ever made out of garbage! Organized by our local Kinsmen’s Club, this event is sponsored by the Witless Bay Town Council, the Witless Bay Home Hardware, and Tim Horton’s. A special thank you to Pierce Brennan (of Brennan’s Property Services, 631-9070), who has generously accepted to bring the garbage to Robin Hood Bay at cost!

Tidy Towns judges consider car wrecks a detriment to towns’ attractiveness. Since being named one of the Province’s “Tidy Towns” can translate into significant monies for the town (in terms of tourism dollars, property values, grants, etc.), it makes sense to address the issue! This month, the following companies will PAY you for wrecks!
NLL (726-1777) will pick up wrecks & pay $50 per complete car.
OK Towing (728-9898) will pick up wrecks & pay $60 per complete car:
Newco Metals (753-3070) pays $100 for cars brought to their site on Torbay Rd.

Council has partnered with the MMSB in its compost bin program this year, and has purchased 40 plastic compost bins that will be available to residents at cost price ($25). Council will give a FREE training session on composting techniques.
Bins will be sold on a first come, first serve basis – call the Town Office to reserve one!

The dates for Eastern Waste Management’ bulk pick-ups are May 30th, September 19th and November 28th. Please direct questions and concerns to Eastern Waste: 725-6632.

Mayor Sébastien Després & Deputy Mayor Dena Wiseman
Councillors Kevin Smart, René Estrada, Terry Dunne, Tommy Crocker & Ralph Carey
Town Clerk Geraldine Caul & Assistant Clerk Barb Harrigan

For most residents, low taxes are an important consideration. Recognizing this, Council has reduced the mil rate by 11% in 2014, from 5.5 to 5.0.

The Town Council of Witless Bay believes in open, accessible, and accountable government. For this reason, we’ve done a number of things to connect with residents:
• Input from residents is now an important part of Council’s decision-making:
o Residents may now speak before a vote is made on an issue.
o A discussion session follows each public meeting.
o Individuals and groups can make presentations during public meetings.
• The Agenda for public meetings is now posted online prior to meetings.
• Minutes of public meetings are posted online.
• There are now two residents’ advisory committees who help provide advice to Council: The Heritage Committee and the Community Enhancement Committee.
• In order to keep everyone informed, the Mayor informally hosts a Facebook page ( and a Website (

Healthy development benefits everyone in the community. Council has worked to ensure that long-term growth is sustainable and beneficial to everyone.
• We have been working with developers to ensure that new developments benefit all residents and avoid future financial & legal liabilities for the Town.
• We have started preparing a Tourism & Economic Development plan for the town.
• We are proceeding with a feasibility study for hiring a Compliance Officer.
• Evaluated development applications for 14 new homes & 20 secondary structures.
• We have issued permits for FIVE NEW BUSINESSES in the town!
• Evaluated and made decisions on five subdivision development proposals at various stages.

Safety is an important priority for our Town Council.
• This Spring, Council will be installing a number of road signs throughout the community to control traffic, including speed limits & clearer indications for dangerous features.
• A complete assessment of the Town’s street lighting needs
was undertaken by our Public Works Committee, and issues were addressed.

We have been revamping the town’s policies and procedures to better serve residents and help ensure that their interests are protected.
• We have redrafted the Regulations on Permits.
• The building application form is now more user-friendly and less confusing.
• There is now an official ratification process for community groups & associations.
• Council has adopted the iCloud system for safe storage of town records.
• Public Council meetings now run according to
Robert’s Rules of Order.

Members of Council have been active in representing the Town and the interests of residents on a long list of committees, including:
• The NEAR Plan Oversight Committee and Working Group.
• The North East Avalon Joint Councils Committee.
• The Southern Shore Joint Councils Committee.
• The Bay Bulls to Bauline Athletic Association

Municipal taxes only account for a small portion of our town’s annual budget. To help maintain the town’s infrastructure, plan for and build new infrastructure, and offer quality programming for residents, Council has applied for a number of grants, subsidies, and awards from external funding sources. We have:
• Applied for funds to develop a Tourism and Economic Development Plan.
• Applied for funding for Phase II of the Southside Track.
• Nominated the Heritage Committee for the NL Environmental Awards.
• Assisted our Regional Fire Department with an application for a new rescue vehicle.
• Applied for funds to install doors to the front of the municipal garage.

• Council is funding 50% of the Regional Recreation Director’s position, with assurances in place for accountability and transparency. Monthly reports are submitted to Council.
• The Community Enhancement Committee is working on the town’s new “look,” including the selection of an official town flower, planning for new “Welcome to Witless Bay” signs, a community mapping initiative, and a long list of other exciting projects. We will have details about this work in the next newsletter!

• Posted April 30, 2014 •
Kinsmen Community Cleanup PHOTOS!!!

Thumbs up - Celebrating a great day!

Thumbs up – Celebrating a great day!

The final weigh-in: We collected FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY-TWO POUNDS of garbage today!!! This means that our puffin weighed 5,632 lbs!

The final weigh-in: We collected FIVE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY-TWO POUNDS of garbage today!!! This means that our puffin weighed 5,632 lbs!

Harold Mullowney, Sébastien Després, Chris Swain, Howard O'Brien and most of the cleanup crew pose in front of Eastern Waste Management's truck.

Harold Mullowney, Sébastien Després, Chris Swain, Howard O’Brien and most of the cleanup crew pose in front of Eastern Waste Management’s truck.

Our World-Record-Sized garbage puffin!

Our World-Record-Sized garbage puffin!

A great haul!!!

A great haul!!!

Members of Council throw in the last little bits of garbage.

Members of Council throw in the last little bits of garbage.


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.