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Massey Drive’s newest town councillor wants to be a part of making community better

Kerry Ryland is the newest member of Massey Drive’s town council.
Kerry Ryland is the newest member of Massey Drive’s town council. - Contributed
MASSEY DRIVE, N.L. —

Kerry Ryland has had a lifelong interest in politics, whether it be following the Canadian scene, and the political aspirations of some, or the current drama in the United States.

“I have a lot of knowledge about politics and I’ve always had an interest in starting somewhere,” said the Massey Drive resident and newest member of the town’s council.

But, as the saying goes, the timing just never seemed right.

Ryland was born in Forteau in Labrador and grew up in L’Anse au Loup. He moved to Corner Brook in 1995 and to Massey Drive in 1999.

He managed the LaFarge gypsum plant in Corner Brook until it officially closed in 2011 and for the past nine years has been the general service manager at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

As he and his wife Tywna raised their two children, son Cory and daughter Magan, Ryland said there were so many other things — like all their extra-curricular activities — that took up his time.

Kerry Ryland got creative with his campaigning for the Massey Drive town council during the COVID-19 pandemic. - Contributed
Kerry Ryland got creative with his campaigning for the Massey Drive town council during the COVID-19 pandemic. - Contributed

Now that his children are grown Ryland decided the town’s recent byelection was the perfect opportunity for him to pursue his political interests.

“Because I want to serve in a capacity to see our town become, like every town in Newfoundland, better and better for its residents.”

Ryland took his campaign quite seriously going door-to-door in the town either dropping pamphlets in mailboxes or chatting with residents from a physical distance.

“I didn’t miss one door.”

The reception he got was welcoming. People thought it was nice to have someone come out, to see a face that was interested in being a part of running the town.

Ryland said the experience was eye-opening.

“People want to talk to you about their issues.”

Going into the Sept. 15 byelection Ryland had a feeling he’d come out with about 200 votes. He was close at 155, but that was enough to give him the win over his fellow candidate Nancy Bursey, who had 96 votes.

For Ryland, wanting to take on becoming a councillor is really part of his personality as he’s never one to shy away from new experiences.

“I just recently decided to learn how to play the guitar and I’m not musically inclined at all. Not at all, I’m totally tone deaf.”

But he’s learning and getting the chords down.

“I can see it coming together.”

So, he’s more than ready to step into the role as a policy maker in the town.

“The current council and management of the town have done a great job at bringing Massey Drive along over the last 10 years.”

When he moved there the population of the town was 690 and today it hovers around 1,700.

“You’ve got councils that have taken development seriously. Increased the population base. Most recently we’ve gotten infrastructure related to the basketball court and now the skateboard park. We’ve got new facilities for our heavy equipment. We’ve purchased new heavy equipment. A lot of positive things that have taken place in the town.”

He’s looking forward to being a part of more of that and would like to see the town do a little bit better on spring cleanup, to continue to grow the population, continue to expand its infrastructure, introduce more opportunities for seniors and youth, expand on Tippings Pond with washrooms and improvements to the wharf and capitalize on the town’s mountain biking opportunities.

Kerry Ryland doesn’t shy away from taking on new challenges. The Massey Drive resident, and the town’s newest councillor, recently took on learning to play the guitar. - Contributed
Kerry Ryland doesn’t shy away from taking on new challenges. The Massey Drive resident, and the town’s newest councillor, recently took on learning to play the guitar. - Contributed

Ryland recently participated in a Q&A session with Saltwire Network

Q. What is your full name?

A. Kerry Ryland

Q. Where and when were you born?

A. Forteau, Labrador, December 1971.

Q. Where do you live today?

A. Massey Drive, NL.

Q. What’s your favourite place in the world?

A. My cabin at Valley Pond. It’s just a little piece of heaven.

Q. Who do you follow on social media?

A. Friends, political parties and people.

Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?

A. I’m a pretty open book.

Q. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

A. Currently learning to play guitar.

Q. Can you describe one experience that changed your life?

A. Having kids.

Q. What’s your greatest indulgence?

A. Ice cream. Heavenly hash, is probably my favourite.

Q. How do you like to relax?

A. Woodworking, spending time at the cabin, hunting and now learning to play guitar.

Q. What is your greatest fear?

A. I’m pretty relaxed. It’s not my greatest fear, but I’m not too fond of it, confined spaces. I’m not too fond of getting caught in the elevator when I’m on it by myself.

Q. What is your most treasured possession?

A. My wife, kids, parents and cabin.

Q. What is your best quality, and what is your worst quality?

A. Best quality, I think I’m a pretty good judge of people and circumstances and I adapt to work them to everyone’s benefit. Negative, I’m not a big fan of wasting time, I’m pretty proactive and drives for results in everything I do.

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