‘Cards on the table’
Meeting tonight for unincorporated area residents in Three Rivers amalgamation
John Walsh doesn’t want to buy into something if he doesn’t know what he’s actually getting.
Having lived at his Burnt Point residence his entire life, the 80-year-old Walsh said he wants to see “all the cards on the table” when it comes to a proposed Three Rivers amalgamation.
So far, he said there have been few details shared with affected residents in unincorporated areas.
“There is a lot of concern and the biggest concern is we’re not getting answers,” said Walsh, who is one of four unincorporated area representatives on the Three Rivers Steering Committee.
“People don’t want to buy something when they don’t know what they’re getting.”
Walsh and others have been handing out pamphlets to residents with the phrase “your taxes are going up!” in bold type, to residents in the unincorporated areas of Burnt Point and Georgetown Royalty the past week advertising a public meeting.
Tonight’s meeting, which will be the first public gathering of residents from the unincorporated communities, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Dundarave Room at Rodd’s Brudenell River Resort.
The meeting is to offer residents a chance to ask questions and discuss the proposed amalgamation.
Increased taxation, higher fire dues and new bylaws are some of the concerns Walsh and other residents have.
“They’re not telling us the whole story, and we’d like to know the story if we’re going to be a part of it,” he said. “(Residents) want to know what the bottom line is and that’s basically what this meeting is for.”
The current proposal would see Brudenell, Cardigan, Georgetown, Lorne Valley, Lower Montague, Montague and Valleyfield combine with four unincorporated areas to create P.E.I.’s fourth largest town.
While a steering committee has been meeting to explore the issue for about two years, it previously only included representatives from incorporated areas.
Unincorporated representatives like Walsh were added to the steering committee this past fall.
Walsh agreed with Georgetown Royalty resident Ray Brow’s description of the process so far as seeming like a “forced marriage” with little consultation from unincorporated residents.
Brow said the proposed Three Rivers municipality may also serve as a template for future amalgamations in the province, creating a need explore all pros and cons.
He said the meeting is being held this time of year to include snowbirds and seasonal residents.
“Everybody has a stake in this proposed amalgamation,” said Brow.
“Each of the incorporated communities have councils, we don’t have councils and that’s why we want to make sure each person in the area has a say in who will represent them.”
Steering committee chair Lewis Lavandier said many of the details of amalgamation have yet to be worked out.
Although he’ll be taking in today’s meeting, he said the committee felt the meeting is premature.
“We’re planning on having public meetings later on when we have compiled all the information and we thought everyone was on board with that,” said Lavandier.
“We feel this is premature.”
John Walsh shows a pamphlet that has been handed out to residents in the Georgetown Fire District of Georgetown Royalty and Burnt Point advertising a public meeting tonight at Rodd’s Brudenell River Resort. Walsh said residents of the unincorporated area have concerns over what amalgamation will mean for them.