"....to provide high quality, affordable services that enhance Stellarton's position as a vibrant and thriving community for the benefit of all residents, business, and visitors to the Town, and to promote Stellarton as a safe, clean and friendly community in which to live and work."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 6, 2015
The Participating Municipal Units in the MOU have their UARB Hearing for a Preliminary Order
Pictou County, NS – The Participating Municipal Units involved in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on municipal reform for Pictou County appeared before the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) today seeking a Preliminary Order on their conditional application for a voluntary merger.
On November 10, 2014, the Municipality of the County of Pictou together with the Towns of New Glasgow, Pictou and Stellarton executed the MOU. The MOU is a process designed to develop, present, discuss, and reach decisions on fact-based information concerning municipal reform. The MOU Steering Committee, comprised of two elected officials from each of the Participating Municipal Units, has been working diligently since last January on the municipal reform process. The Committee held over 20 public information sessions on the MOU process and recently completed 15 public consultation sessions on the proposed electoral boundaries and governance model based on a study completed by Grant Thornton. The proposed electoral district boundaries map was amended from the original draft based on the public input received during the open house sessions.
“The Participating Municipal Units have wide ranging and tremendous public and private sector resources within Pictou County. In brief, we are home to larger international and national employers, a large number of mid-size manufacturers, retail and service businesses, and a vibrant tourism sector, all of which are supported by a sea port, rail, Trans-Canada highways, healthcare and modern sport and leisure facilities. Similar to many areas in Nova Scotia we are, however, concerned about demographic trends in our community”, said Warden Ron Baillie, Chairman of the MOU Steering Committee. He noted that in order to address these concerns we have engaged in a fact-based analysis about the current-day structure of municipal government. The intent of this review, and the conditional application before the UARB, is to determine if a voluntarily merged municipality can more efficiently and effectively reach and implement decisions that impact our quality of life and the local and provincial economy. The participating municipal units represent 86% of the population and 92% of the assessment base within Pictou County.
Warden Baillie indicated, “the facts as we see them include: a current municipal governance structure that takes too long to make important decisions on advancing health care projects, prioritizing important infrastructure installations, extensions and repairs, and quite possibly a structure that is losing out on business investment opportunities to grow, or to create the environment for private sector growth, because of internal competition. The Participating Municipal Units need to speak with one voice, ensure our citizens have properly balanced representation, and minimize duplication of services and efforts that impact our citizens and businesses as a whole. We are a small region and it makes sense to have consistency in core municipal services, efficient land use planning and stability in our taxation and maintenance of municipal infrastructure.”
The UARB Conditional Application which includes the Grant Thornton Governance Report and the proposed electoral boundaries map are all available through the www.onepictoucounty.ca and participating municipal units’ websites. Printed copies are also available from participating municipal unit offices.
Warden Ron Baillie, Chairperson of the MOU Steering Committee
For all MOU information and updates please go to:www.onepictoucounty.ca