– Big year coming up
We have a tight budget this year; we’ll be keeping expenses to a minimum. We’ve had only a slight increase in property taxes of about 1 % and we’ll be managing our personnel and their time more closely,” said North Hatley mayor Michael Page.
“2016 should be an interesting year as we wrap up the development project. The government has accepted the flood zone change and the next step will be the PPU report and the consultation with citizens, with the eventuality to award a building permit,” continued Mr. Page. “The project that was presented about one and a half years ago was just a rendition of what the project could possibly look like. Once the PPU has been completed only then will we know what the town will accept as a project. People have to stop thinking that what was presented is exactly what would be built.”
Asked about the local opposition to the project, the mayor commented: “In the end, most of the people agree that we need new tax money. Just before the new year, we inaugurated the new water treatment plant. We have nice, safe water for 2016 but that came with a cost. We need a new marina, the beach house needs work and the community center needs to be redone, but we need new tax money. We’d like to fix those things but without increasing taxes. And I don’t see the problem of increasing the population; the population of North Hatley has been much higher in the past. We’ve been losing people for years.”
It looks like Bell will be erecting a cell phone tower near the water plant. “The town cannot stop them from erecting a tower; we can only suggest an alternative site. Keep in mind that Bell actually owns land right in the middle of the village, and could put the tower there if they wanted,” said Mr. Page who added that the town has asked Bell to put up the kind of tower that looks like a large evergreen tree.
During the January monthly meeting, council voted to donate the town’s share of Scowen Park to the Massawippi Conservation Trust. Hatley Township, which owned the other part of the park, also donated their share to the Trust. “Massawippi Conservation will put in public walking trails and they will protect and preserve the land,” said the mayor. The land, about fifty acres in size, was donated to the town in 1981.
“I’m hoping for a successful year of harmony and transparency in the village and that we can move forward with projects,” concluded Mr. Page.