‘They have a gun to­wards our head’

West Hants coun­cil still urg­ing Wind­sor to with­draw from UARB amalgamation process

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UNDERHILL HANTSJOURNAL.CA Ca­role.Mor­ris-Underhill@hantsjournal.ca

West Hants coun­cil­lors voted in favour of lev­el­ling the play­ing field when it comes to co-op­er­a­tion and work­ing with the Town of Wind­sor.

On March 13, West Hants coun­cil de­cided it would agree to work with the Town of Wind­sor and the prov­ince on a re­gional gov­er­nance pro­gram if the Town of Wind­sor with­drew its amalgamation ap­pli­ca­tion, which is cur­rently be­fore the Nova Sco­tia Util­i­ties and Re­view Board.

Three coun­cil­lors — Jen­nifer Daniels, Randy Hussey and Kathy Mon­roe — all spoke against the mo­tion.

Daniels said she didn’t feel in­clud­ing the con­di­tion that the town must re­move it­self from the UARB process was in good faith.

Hussey said he wouldn’t be sup­port­ing the mo­tion for the same rea­son.

“If coun­cil does ap­prove this mo­tion, that ties our hands so we can­not pro­ceed if they do not pull out from the UARB,” said Hussey.

“I don’t know what their mind­set is but I don’t think we need to hold a gun to their head or they need to hold a gun to our head.”

Coun. Rob­bie Zwicker, how­ever, saw things dif­fer­ently.

“The fact is, they have a gun to­wards our head,” said Zwicker, not­ing War­den Abra­ham Ze­bian “spoke quite can­didly” dur­ing the com­mit­tee of the whole meet­ing Feb. 27 on the sub­ject.

“I think the con­di­tion is rea­son­able and it would be a sign of good faith from the town if they with­drew the ap­pli­ca­tion so that we could work to­gether col­lab­o­ra­tively.”

Gun ref­er­ences abounded dur­ing the night­time dis­cus­sion.

“We’re putting a gun to their head con- sciously when that’s ex­actly what you’re rail­ing against. They’ve of­fered they want to work with us; we want to work with them,” said Mon­roe, urg­ing coun­cil­lors to work with Wind­sor in­stead of putting stip­u­la­tions on the process.

“Let’s not shoot our­selves in the foot with that,” Mon­roe con­tin­ued.

“What you felt all last year — that you felt you had a gun to your head — that’s ex­actly what you would be do­ing to them. I think that’s highly un­fair.”

Coun. Tanya Leopold said the coun­cils need to be on the same page in or­der to move for­ward.

“At this mo­ment, if you want to level the play­ing field, then you should be on the ex­act same play­ing field, which is you ei­ther want to work with us or you don’t,” Leopold said.

“In my ex­pe­ri­ence... what I’m notic­ing is that if things don’t go ex­actly the way that that par­tic­u­lar coun­cil likes, then they pull out the gun.”

Leopold and the Town of Wind­sor’s mayor had a heated ex­change dur­ing the last joint coun­cil meet­ing, where the is­sue of a re­gional gov­er­nance pi­lot project was ini­tially pitched.

Leopold said the two mu­nic­i­pal units are al­ready mak­ing strides in work­ing to­gether and she feels it can con­tinue that progress more smoothly if Wind­sor with­draws its sup­port of amalgamation.

“I am quite dis­ap­pointed in that par­tic­u­lar coun­cil to con­tinue with their sup­port for the amalgamation ap­pli­ca­tion be­cause they feel that we’ve not done enough,” said Leopold. “I’d like to see the play­ing field equal. Let’s do it or not. Just be hon­est with your­selves — you ei­ther want to work with us or you don’t.”

The mo­tion passed 7-3; with Daniels, Hussey and Mon­roe vot­ing in op­po­si­tion.

Kathy Mon­roe

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