WENTWORTH CREEK, N.S. — A West Hants resident is urging council to slow down the amalgamation process before it’s too late.
Jason Hart has attended all 10 of the town hall style meetings held in West Hants plus the lone meeting held in Windsor to discuss the subject of consolidation.
He’s made it known at the meetings that he’s not in favour of how the electorate has not had any input into the decision.
Hart made a presentation at West Hants’ committee of the whole meeting Nov. 27 to express his concerns and to implore council to take a moment to reconsider forging ahead.
“I believe most council members are familiar with my position on how the decision to amalgamate was made without public knowledge,” said Hart. “Moving past the original decision, the information given to the public has been contradicting at best.”
The Garlands Crossing resident says citizens were told the consolidation is a pilot project, then they were told that it’s not a pilot project and that it’s modelled after the Queens County-Liverpool amalgamation.
Further, Hart says citizens have been told that West Hants hasn’t had any input into Bill 55 — the provincial act to legislate the joining of Windsor and West Hants municipal units. Hart says they were advised on Nov. 20 that council had input through a person who acted as a liaison with the province.
“Every question I have asked over the series of 11 town hall meetings has been answered with multiple different answers, sometimes changing within the same meeting; sometimes one councillor saying yes and another saying no,” said Hart.
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He noted that on Oct. 15, the first town hall meeting, Warden Abraham Zebian was asked if Windsor’s chief administrative officer, Louis Coutinho, would have a hand in selecting the transition co-ordinator that will help guide the two municipal units as they journey to a 2020 consolidation. Hart said he was told “absolutely not. The province would appoint someone.” Flash forward less than a month and both Windsor’s CAO and West Hants’ CAO Martin Laycock are involved in gathering the resumes for the hiring of a transition co-ordinator.
“Fear of the unknown only grows when the known facts are still in dispute by council,” said Hart.
“I feel council is not intentionally misleading the public but rather unsure of the facts because the process is moving too fast.”
Hart asked councillors to try to slow down the process so that the municipality can be certain the consolidation will be beneficial.
“If council can’t find it in their hearts to repel this motion to amalgamate, then at the bare minimum make a motion to ask the province for a one-year extension,” he said.
Council thanked him for his presentation but did not speak to his request or ask any questions.