Del­e­ga­tion re­quests change

Town en­cour­aged to re­con­sider Three Rivers op­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE PROVINCE - BY STEVE SHAR­RATT

A del­e­ga­tion re­quest­ing the town of Mon­tague to re­con­sider in­ten­tions to leave the Three Rivers re­gional mu­nic­i­pal­ity talks was de­liv­ered in a num­ber of mes­sages of ap­peal Mon­day night.

Busi­ness peo­ple, health pro­fes­sion­als and even a for­mer Lib­eral lead­er­ship can­di­date turned out at town hall to im­plore the town to step up to the plate and dis­cuss the fu­ture of cre­at­ing a new re­gional mu­nic­i­pal­ity with six other com­mu­ni­ties.

The town opted to drop out last week and said it pre­ferred a bound­ary ex­pan­sion re­flect­ing the cur­rent Mon­tague fire district.

“Peo­ple make up a town, not where they sleep,’’ said busi­ness­man and ho­tel owner Robert Jay. “I’m not here to crit­i­cize or dis­par­age coun­cil, just to ask them to give it a try ... not show­ing up to th­ese talks is not the an­swer.”

Dis­cus­sions and pub­lic in­put meet­ings are be­ing planned by the re­main­ing six com­mu­ni­ties who plan to forge ahead with the Three Rivers con­cept which would see Ge­orge­town, Cardi­gan, Lorne Val­ley, Bru­denell, Val­ley­field and Lower Mon­tague cre­ate a mu­nic­i­pal­ity of 8,000 peo­ple.

“They’re tun­ing up the fid­dles on this, and we should at least go to the dance,’’ said Larry Creed, the “beans and baloney” can­di­date who once ran for the Lib­eral lead­er­ship against Cather­ine Call­beck in 1993. “I com­mend you on your work, but I be­lieve we will miss out on a new di­rec­tion .... The out­ly­ing ar­eas all com­bined only strengthen our re­gion and I urge you to be part of the dis­cus­sion.”

Health pro­fes­sional and small busi­ness owner Karen Pear­don told coun­cil the re­gion must work as a team to grow and at­tract new fam­i­lies.

“Please go back to the ta­ble and hear the pro­ject out,’’ she said.

A re­cently re­leased re­port, posted on­line at both town hall web­sites, out­lines the pros and cons of amal­ga­mat­ing and rec­om­mends seven com­mu­ni­ties main­tain their own iden­ti­ties but form the re­gional mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Three Rivers. The re­gion would see gas tax rev­enues dou­ble, ac­cess to more avail­able fund­ing op­tions and es­tab­lish a fair tax­a­tion rate based on ser­vices and where you live.

For­mer mayor Mer­rill Scott said Three Rivers is like a puz­zle, and ev­ery piece is needed to make an even greater mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“This puz­zle has it all for res­i­dents and tourists alike, and you can’t com­plete this puz­zle with­out Ge­orge­town and all the other com­mu­ni­ties,’’ said Scott, not­ing that the Kings County cap­i­tal is rapidly mov­ing for­ward to bring mini cruise ships to its port that will ben­e­fit the en­tire area.

“Mon­tague should be at the ta­ble,” said for­mer mayor Pat McGowan. “Make your de­ci­sion based on the out­come of the dis­cus­sions.”

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