As engaged citizens , we wish to express some concerns with respect to the recent West Hants motion asking Windsor and ARC to “withdraw” the application to the UARB. We comment as follows:
1) The town enjoined the ARC/citizens application after more than 20 per cent or approx. 2,000 electors signed the ARC petition, double the number required under the MGA.
2) We all know the electors of Windsor overwhelmingly support the need to study amalgamation, and then to proceed based upon the findings. Many of you have stated as much publicly during the recent canvassing/electioneering.
3) The MGA/UARB process is designed to ensure thorough independent study and public consultation. Any other joint process would not be as thorough, and would eventually need to pass through the UARB process in any event if “restructure” were to be proposed – most likely resulting in new UARB commissioned studies and even more cost.
4) According to the Chronicle Herald (if accurate), West Hants wished to embark on a joint-study on “alternative municipal reorganization options.” The MGA is very precise. The only restructure options available for study would be dissolution, annexation, or amalgamation. The UARB process considers all available options under the MGA.
5) Any efforts to connect the fire department issue to withdrawal from the amalgamation application would seem disingenuous. The fire issue is only one of many issues which could be much better addressed as one united council under an amalgamation scenario.
6) Finally, we believe the best end-result, which the vast majority of citizens agree upon, is one where there is one council, one administration, combined emergency/protective services, one water and waste treatment authority, and so on.
Municipal reorganization talks have been attempted going back many years, beyond the past three mayors (Beazley/Allen/Whynot) and have never gained traction until recently when the ARC and 2,000 citizens decided to take action. The Graham Commission of the 1970s, the Report on Municipal Reform in the 1990s, and more recent Ivany Report have all put out a call to action on municipal reform. The citizens of Windsor as part of the 2,000 or so signatures to the ARC petition have exercised the democratic right to take this application forward. We believe it is better to move forward within the process which is already underway, to study and implement the best long-term structural solution for all of Windsor/West Hants, recognizing that the West Hants slogan “The Best of Everything” can only be achieved when Windsor is included within one greater Windsor-West Hants municipality.
As a suggestion, we would prefer to see Windsor council consider a positive forward-looking motion wherein it would be moved that the Town of Windsor again invite West Hants to enjoin the ARC/citizens and the town as partners within the MGA/UARB application process to co-operatively study, support and implement the best structural option for the long-term benefit of all citizens of Windsor-West Hants.
Paul Beazley and Dave Seeley