Mayor Percy Farwell, Gander

Thank you for taking the time to consider my candidacy for the position of Central Director with MNL.

For those who may not know me, I am the son of parents from outport NL and have resided in Gander since my family moved there in 1967. I completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting & Finance) degree at MUN and studied economic development at the University of Waterloo. I also hold the designation of Certified Small Business Counsellor with the Canadian Institute of Small Business Counsellors Inc.

Before retirement in 2017, my professional life included over 27 years public service with the province’s economic development department, including 17 years as Regional Director for central, where I led a team of staff located in Baie Verte, Springdale, Grand Falls-Windsor, St. Alban’s and Gander, delivering programs and support services to businesses, communities, and stakeholder groups throughout the region. This included working closely with the former Regional Economic Development Boards in the Emerald, Exploits Valley, Coast of Bays, and Kittiwake Zones. I have also served on the Regional Steering Committee for the Strategic Social Plan and in other regional capacities during my professional life. This experience has given me a familiarity with the stakeholders, issues, and priorities of the central region and an appreciation for their importance in contributing to a healthy and sustainable region.

My municipal involvement to date includes 17 years as an elected representative in Gander, including 6 years as Deputy Mayor and the past 5 years as Mayor. In these capacities, I have always made every effort to be a strong, well-researched, respectful voice in advocating on behalf of my community and region on any stage, at any level.

I currently serve as Co-Chair of the Community Advisory Committee for Central Health in my area and as an executive member of the Board of Directors of the Central Regional Services Board, also known as Central Newfoundland Waste Management. I also serve as NL Director on the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress, where municipal leaders from throughout Atlantic Canada, representing communities of all sizes, meet regularly to discuss common issues.

I have a firm belief in the importance of all communities working collaboratively and supporting each other to address issues and support sustainability. Towns like mine only prosper if those around us prosper. None of our communities can prosper in isolation and it is critical to think and act collaboratively.

For the past year, I have had the privilege of serving as Central Director on the Board of Directors of MNL, where I bring my understanding of central region issues and my voice and skills in using strategic approaches to address important issues. I also represent MNL on the Board of Directors of TRIO, which provides pension, health, and insurance benefit programs to municipalities throughout NL.

Perhaps more than ever, we find ourselves at a juncture where strong community and regional leadership is critical. As the provincial government contemplates recommendations of the Premier’s Economic Recovery Team and the Health Accord NL Task Force, and issues such as regionalization, strong representation of the municipal and regional perspective is vital. That means each of us has important work to do in the interest of our communities, regions, and the province as a whole!

A strong MNL continues to be critical to providing a coordinated voice for municipalities in these challenging times. I believe my professional and municipal experience and my personal attributes can be of benefit in representing the interests of central region at the MNL Board table and contributing to discussions on issues affecting all of us.

I respectfully ask for your support in affording me the privilege of continuing to contribute there as Central Director and am looking forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming conference in Gander!