Newly-elected mayors Ken McDonald and Dan Bobbett tell On Point host Jonathan Crowe what their first priorities are now that they have the top jobs in two of the fastest growing towns in the province.
The municipal election held on Sept. 24 was an exciting day, especially for those who live in Paradise and Conception Bay South.
In CBS, councillor Ken McDonald upset the two-term mayor by garnering more than 1500 votes over Woodrow French.
In neighbouring Paradise, councillor Dan Bobbett won the top job after a highly contested race.
McDonald said he had no doubt that he would win, and he knows why.
"Not to blow my own horn but I think I worked harder, I got out to more doors," McDonald said, "I covered probably close to 95 per cent of the doors throughout the town and there was over 9300 homes to get to."
"After two terms, a lot of people felt that it was time for a change."
Bobbett, who narrowly beat councillor Allan English for the mayor's chair, credits meeting residents face-to-face for his win.
"The door-to-door, engaging the resident...I think was key. Hearing what they had to say, listening to what they had to say, and then putting it in a platform," Bobbett said.
Both Bobbett and McDonald have similar challenges ahead of them; traffic congestion and infrastructure repairs are high on the two town's to-do lists.
"Yes, we [have] a lot of growth and it's causing some traffic congestion. That's one of the ones going door-to-door that people were talking about," Bobbett said.
"Without a doubt, my fix for that is to computerize those lights, sync them, sensor them and do the computer modelling for it, get the best flow patterns we can and implement that right away."
Like Bobbett, McDonald has his sights set on fixing the long-standing issue of traffic congestion for the residents of CBS.
"We got about 400 side roads off of Route 60, we've got some work in design, ready to go to tender — we'd like those tenders to be released sooner rather than later," McDonald said.
"As for the bypass, it was designed originally as a four lane and now it's a two lane which makes a big problem."
"We want to talk to the government — Department of Transportation and Works — about Route 60 because after you pass the Foxtrap Access Road, you're narrowed down to a two lane and everything's just a bottleneck," McDonald added.
Paradise mayor Dan Bobbett said regional cooperation is the key to moving forward in the towns neighbouring St. John's.
"We are already involved with regional water, regional fire and all that stuff, but one of the main things now that the City of St. John's has asked both of our communities to be involved in, as well as Mount Pearl, is the transportation study and that's going to be key," Bobbett said.
"If they want regional cooperation, everybody needs to have an equal say at the table. It can't be heavy handed by St. John's just because they're the biggest ... it has to be an equal say at the table."
Premier Dunderdale's AGM speech
Her party's poll numbers continue to sink and her personal popularity has never been lower, but Kathy Dunderdale told party supporters at the PC's annual general meeting earlier this month that she is not going anywhere.
On this week's episode of On Point, former PC cabinet minister Shawn Skinner, former Liberal MP Siobhan Coady and the Telegram's political reporter James McLeod weigh in on Dunderdale's AGM speech.
In her speech, the Premier vowed that she was there to stay, and said that the party would bounce back — much like how former Premier Danny Williams returned to high popularity following the NAPE strike in 2004.
Shawn Skinner, who was at the AGM, said he believes the Conservative party and the Premier can, again, regain political steam.
"What I made of it is the Premier's saying she's here to stay. There are ups and downs in political life, we've all experienced that as former politicians," Skinner said.
Siobhan Coady chalked much of Dunderdale's improved communication up to the newly-appointed chief of staff in the premier's office, Ross Reid.
"The party did come out quite strongly in support of the leader. What I was really interested in — not just in her speeches at the convention — but in the last number of weeks her communications have improved," Coady said.
"I call it the 'Ross Reid effect'. I think you're seeing a change internal to her office that is helping her quite substantially."
James McLeod agreed that Dunderdale's support continues to be solid.
"I saw a lot of people over the course of the weekend who legitimately like Kathy Dunderdale and like her as a leader," McLeod said.
"The people at that convention — I mean you can never know who didn't show up and what's happening outside of that little bubble — but at least within the core party there is a feeling that this is a rough time but we will bounce back."
You can catch the full episode of On Point with Jonathan Crowe in the video above.