Editor's Note: The Avon Region Citizens Coalition has penned this letter to the editor and has copied it to both West Hants and the Town of Windsor.
This message is a warning to all of us in West Hants who should be worried about what is happening at our West Hants council. The following details describe what has occurred recently.
On Oct. 8, 2013, the Municipality of West Hants endorsed a working document for a regional collaborative work program that would see our region work together on sharing jobs and services with neighbouring municipal units.
On Tuesday, June 10, 2014, Coun. Randy Matheson, along with Coun. Tom Brown asked council to rescind that motion, which council did, by a vote of 6-3. Councillors Matheson, Brown, Reed Allen, Shirley Pineo, Deputy Warden Gary Cochrane and Warden Richard Dauphinee all voted to rescind the motion. Councillors Victor Swinamer, Jennifer Daniels, and Mike Campbell voted against rescinding it.
Matheson stated that one reason this motion was needed was because the warden was not allowed to speak at a recent joint meeting with the Town of Windsor. He and the “Group of 6” took another step backward with this vote.
The Ivany report, which came out earlier this year, stressed that in order to survive, municipalities must work together and that only by working together can we be successful.
Also on June 10, Daniels asked council to rescind the motion to create their own fire services, to show a sign of good faith for the forthcoming mediation talks with the Windsor Fire Department. The same six councillors decided that they would not rescind the motion and they would move ahead with the creation of their own fire service.
The same three new progressive council members, tried unsuccessfully, to stop formal motions to create a new fire service, which would replace the work currently done by the Windsor Fire Department in parts of West Hants.
The six councillors that voted the same way on June 10 often have been voting together since being on council (some have been voting together for decades). They have served the area well during their time. There has not been a lot of controversy until recently, and they have had very little feedback from the public until now. However, the old way of doing business no longer works and these councillors, as admirable as their intentions may be, have not realized this yet. They are bound and determined to stick to their guns and nothing the public says or does will make a difference. That is very obvious from the comments made at recent council meetings.
What the councillors don’t realize is that the public gallery is not filled with people just because they support the WFD. It is filled with people who generally do not agree with many of the actions of these councillors. They are not happy with the way things have always been done; they are not happy with the way these councillors are conducting business on our behalf. They want progressive councils.
The Town of Windsor is also partially to blame for the moral and distrust of residents as well. Talking about forced takeover of regions or annexation will not garner any favours with residents. Someone has to take the highroad here and offer an olive branch, and the other parties have to accept it.
Many of us in West Hants and Windsor demand better representation from our councils. It’s time for all of our councillors to work together. If you can’t or refuse to work for our betterment, many people in this area invite you to resign.
Randy Hussey and Tom Calkin,
Written on behalf of the Avon Region Citizens Coalition