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 Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY - TRURO NEWS STAFF FRAM DINSHAW

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.

FRAM DINSHAW/TRURO NEWS

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.

Gloade

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