Windsor council to explore annexation options

Ashley Thompson
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Windsor’s town council is entertaining the idea of annexation.

According to the Municipal Government Act (MGA), “municipalities may be amalgamated or the whole or part of a municipality may be annexed to another upon application” to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board by the Municipal Affairs Minister, a municipality or “the greater of ten per cent or one hundred of the electors in the area proposed to be amalgamated or annexed.”

Coun. Scott Geddes asked that an annexation discussion be added to the agenda during a strategy and policy meeting held May 20.

Prior to the annexation conversation, CAO Louis Coutinho said Windsor’s town council differs from other councils trying to achieve sustainability through reform.

“We’re looking beyond sustainability into prosperity,” he said.

Leading the annexation discussion, Coun. Scott Geddes said previous discussions with Windsor’s ‘neighbours’ about the possibility of amalgamation ended abruptly, with the other party showing little interest in the idea.

Geddes suggested it may be time to look into the financial viability of annexation, and engage the public on the topic.

“There certainly seems to be a very strong desire by several citizens around us to continue to use and enjoy the services that this town provides and I’m just wondering if perhaps we should have a community discussion,” he said.

Geddes said he is prepared to respect the wishes of neighbouring councils, and those councils must also respect the decisions made in Windsor’s council chambers.

“We may look at this and realize there is no gain whatsoever to be had here,” he said.

Coun. Laurie Murley spoke in favour of annexation twice at the meeting.

“My preference is annexation,” she said. “I do think that we have a good case for that as it stands right now and… I think my fellow councillors agree and others probably agree with that, too.”

“With what’s going to play out over the next two or three months it might give us that much more fire for the annexation mode of the people of Falmouth, Mount Denson and all that sort of thing." John Bregante

Deputy Mayor John Bregante agrees.

“I too would like to go the annexation route,” he said. “I think we need to sit down with the province and find out what’s all involved. We also have to include our solicitor in those talks as well.”

Bregante estimated it could take three to four months to gather the information needed for a public meeting on the subject.

“With what’s going to play out over the next two or three months it might give us that much more fire for the annexation mode of the people of Falmouth, Mount Denson and all that sort of thing,” said Bregante.

Bregante said his “biggest fear” is that somebody could get hurt if the Windsor Fire Society does stop providing service to West Hants.

Murley said she’d like to have such municipal reform options as amalgamation and annexation discussed at a public meeting to give residents the opportunity to provide feedback in the early stages of the process.

“I’d like to see us have a town hall meeting — and soon.”

Mayor Paul Beazley said he’d prefer to see the Town of Windsor working with willing partners to achieve municipal reform, but a case can also be made for annexation.

The reason we would be doing it is because it makes business sense as far as the growth and prosperity of the town,” he said.

Murley stressed the importance of citizens in the outlying areas that could be involved in an annexation gaining something from the process as well.

“It’s got to be win-win,” she said.

 

Organizations: Windsor council, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, Windsor Fire Society Town of Windsor Windsor Town Council

Geographic location: Windsor, Falmouth, Mount Denson West Hants Town of Windsor Hants County

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Recent comments

  • Kevin Guptell
    May 30, 2014 - 20:19

    Annexation, you can't balance the books you have now. No thanks Windsor I'll go to Sackville or New Minas. It's funny how Windsor is so quiet on the Fire front to try and annex the county.....You're bleeding red ink so you attack the rest of the county. Not interested.....Call your public meetings and see who shows up that wants to subsidise your higher taxes.....You have got to be kidding. Run your town and leave me and the county be. It seems you always have those few who want but are never named.....You have my name and I don't want you.

  • Fred
    May 29, 2014 - 20:07

    Wow I must have missed something I thought this was still a democratic society. Mayor Beazley and town council all seem to prefer the annexation route over amalgamation I find it amazing in this day and age that a few seem to think they know what's best for the many .

    • Alex
      May 30, 2014 - 02:40

      They offered amalgamation and suggested it several times to West Hants only to be repeatedly shut down.

  • Jill
    May 29, 2014 - 08:27

    It's great to see Windsor is being proactive to figure out our future. Annexation, amalgamation, whichever, it's creating a community discussion that's needed. And I was under the impression that West Hants isn't interested in amalgamation, hence the proposal of looking into annexation, RA.

  • Wayne Lynch
    May 29, 2014 - 06:38

    Annexation .....we wanted to look at it years ago for this very reason. If West Hants Council acted reasonably all citizens in both areas would be well served. They did not then, they do not now, so I really think its the way to go. Good luck !

  • RA
    May 28, 2014 - 17:37

    The Canadian government has already expressed it’s opposition to annexing lands, even when the annexed lands population is in favour of the move, as with Russia and Crimea. I don’t think you would find that any West Hants communities that would want to join Windsor. Windsor Councils have for generations ran the towns financials into the ground and opposed growth. If they ever got their hands on the coffers of West Hants, I’m sure they would do the same. Russian tactics will never work here, but if Windsor wants to join West Hants for growth, security, lower taxes and prudent spending, we would love to have you.

    • roger beaton
      May 29, 2014 - 08:59

      RA. are for real WH is an out of control train. Windsor has done more in the last few years than WH will do in the next 20 to improve the lives of there citizens. You must like the idea of spending 10 or 12 million on a new fire service and I'm sure your also in favor of no shared services. Grow up RA. Try talking from facts and not a fantasy world. I for one as a neighbor to Windsor would welcome a chance to talk in public about the viability of such a step forward. Good for Windsor council allowing the citizens to discuss options in a public form. It nice to see a council trying to solve problems rather than creating them.