One-year ex­ten­sion re­quested

West Hants res­i­dent urg­ing coun­cil to get more in­for­ma­tion be­fore forg­ing ahead with con­sol­i­da­tion

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - BY CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL HANTSJOURNAL.CA

A West Hants res­i­dent is urg­ing coun­cil to slow down the amal­ga­ma­tion process be­fore it’s too late.

Ja­son Hart has at­tended all 10 of the town hall style meet­ings held in West Hants, plus the lone meet­ing held in Wind­sor to dis­cuss the sub­ject of con­sol­i­da­tion.

He’s made it known at the meet­ings that he’s not in favour of how the elec­torate has not had any in­put into the de­ci­sion.

Hart made a pre­sen­ta­tion at West Hants’ com­mit­tee of the whole meet­ing Nov. 27 to ex­press his con­cerns and to im­plore coun­cil to take a mo­ment to re­con­sider forg­ing ahead.

“I be­lieve most coun­cil mem­bers are fa­mil­iar with my po­si­tion on how the de­ci­sion to amal­ga­mate was made with­out pub­lic knowl­edge,” said Hart. “Mov­ing past the orig­i­nal de­ci­sion, the in­for­ma­tion given to the pub­lic has been con­tra­dict­ing at best.”

The Gar­lands Cross­ing res­i­dent says ci­ti­zens were told the con­sol­i­da­tion is a pi­lot project, then they were told that it’s not a pi­lot project and that it’s mod­elled af­ter the Queens Coun­tyLiver­pool amal­ga­ma­tion.

Fur­ther, Hart says ci­ti­zens have been told that West Hants hasn’t had any in­put into Bill 55 — the pro­vin­cial act to leg­is­late the join­ing of Wind­sor and West Hants mu­nic­i­pal units. Hart says they were ad­vised on Nov. 20 that coun­cil had in­put through a per­son who acted as a li­ai­son with the province.

“Ev­ery ques­tion I have asked over the se­ries of 11 town hall meet­ings has been an­swered with mul­ti­ple dif­fer­ent an­swers, some­times chang­ing within the same meet­ing; some­times one coun­cil­lor say­ing yes and another say­ing no,” said Hart.

He noted that on Oct. 15, the first town hall meet­ing, War­den Abra­ham Ze­bian was asked if Wind­sor’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, Louis Coutinho, would have a hand in se­lect­ing the tran­si­tion co-or­di­na­tor that will help guide the two mu­nic­i­pal units as they jour­ney to a 2020 con­sol­i­da­tion. Hart said he was told “ab­so­lutely not. The province would ap­point some­one.” Flash for­ward less than a month and both Wind­sor’s CAO and West Hants CAO Martin Lay­cock are in­volved in gath­er­ing the re­sumes for the hir­ing of a tran­si­tion co-or­di­na­tor.

“Fear of the un­known only grows when the known facts are still in dis­pute by coun­cil,” said Hart.

“I feel coun­cil is not in­ten­tion­ally mis­lead­ing the pub­lic but rather un­sure of the facts be­cause the process is mov­ing too fast.”

Hart asked coun­cil­lors to try to slow down the process so that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity can be cer­tain the con­sol­i­da­tion will be ben­e­fi­cial.

“If coun­cil can’t find it in their hearts to re­pel this mo­tion to amal­ga­mate, then at the bare min­i­mum make a mo­tion to ask the province for a one-year ex­ten­sion,” he said.

Coun­cil thanked him for his pre­sen­ta­tion but did not speak to his re­quest or ask any ques­tions.

CA­ROLE MOR­RIS-UN­DER­HILL

Af­ter at­tend­ing all of the town hall meet­ings hosted by West Hants on the is­sue of con­sol­i­da­tion, Ja­son Hart made a pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil Nov. 27 to ad­dress his con­cerns.

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