Date set for local riding’s byelection Millbrook expanding its reserve lands
Local band members are onverting 942 acres of private land into reserve territory
TRURO, N.S. – After much anticipation, a date for the long-awaited byelection to determine a Truro-area MLA has been set.
Having faced heavy criticism from candidates vying to replace former Truro-bible Hill-millbrook-salmon River NDP MLA Lenore Zann, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen Mcneil on Thursday announced a date of March 10.
Voters will cast ballots for five candidates. These include Dave Ritcey for the Progressive Conservatives, the Liberals’ Allan Kennedy, New Democrat Kathleen Kevany, the Green Party of Nova Scotia’s Ivan Drouin and Independent candidate Matthew Rushton.
The riding has been without an MLA for five months, since Zann resigned her position to run in the federal election last fall.
Registered voters in the upcoming byelection will receive a personalized voter information card outlining where, when and how to vote.
Eligible voters can be added to the voters list when they show up to vote with the appropriate identification. This includes a Nova Scotia driver’s licence, Certificate of Indian Status or a NS identity card.
Eligible voters can also vote before election day. This option is available at Elections Nova Scotia returning offices or any of the community poll locations. On election day, eligible voters must vote at their assigned voting location or at the returning office in their own electoral district.
A byelection has been set for the same date in Cape Breton Centre. For updates, visit electionsnovascotia.ca, @ electionsns on Twitter and the Elections Nova Scotia Facebook page. TRURO, N.S. – A massive expansion of reserve land may help resolve a chronic housing shortage for Millbrook First Nation, says Chief Bob Gloade.
The band council is in the final stages of transferring 942 acres of land they already own to reserve control. New homes built on this mostly empty woodland would help clear a backlog of 90 families and individuals seeking accommodation on the reserve.
“It’s something we have to address going forward,” said Gloade. “We need an additional land base to continue to grow and prosper.”
Gloade said those currently seeking accommodation are either renting outside Millbrook or staying with relatives. Overcrowding in some existing homes on the reserve is a problem. According to his figures, approximately a quarter of these people are youth under age 25.
He said the land will come under reserve control as soon as paperwork is finalized. Once done it must be serviced with infrastructure such as water and sewage lines, before any new homes or businesses can be built.
The land being transferred includes 13 separate parcels bordering Millbrook’s current reserve, purchased from neighbours.
Millbrook First Nation presently takes in about 1,500 acres and its services, including sewage, water and fire, are provided by the Town of Truro.
However, the new land parcels currently fall under Colchester County’s jurisdiction, which means a deal will have to be reached on infrastructure and providing various servicess.
“They do own the land and this is their right,” said Colchester Mayor Christine Blair. “We’d have to work with Millbrook collaboratively and co-operatively on the servicing of these properties.”
Blair said transfer of the land from Colchester County to Millbrook First Nation jurisdiction will not affect her municipality’s tax base.
She said the amount of existing development on the land is “tiny.”
When asked about potentially missing out on taxes from future developments, Blair said it was a “what-if scenario.”
“You need to have room for expansion, no question,” said Blair.
Millbrook First Nation first submitted its application to convert the 942 acres to reserve lands last year.
The submission was made under the federal government’s Addition to Reserve/reserve Creation Policy, which gives Ottawa the power to expand existing reserves and create new ones.
Its request is being processed by Indigenous Services Canada’s Atlantic office.
With a provincial byelection date for Truro-bible Hill-millbrook-salmon River set for March 10, campaign signs for the main candidates have gone up all over Truro. These ones at Riverfront Park featured the NDP’S Kathleen Kevany, Progressive Conservative Dave Ritcey and Liberal Allan Kennedy.