Pictou County council approves MOU, moves closer to integration with other municipal units

Sueann Musick
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PICTOU - The Municipality of Pictou County has approved its version of an agreement that moves it one step closer to regionalization with other municipal units.

This past spring, the Town of New Glasgow announced that they would enter discussions with the Municipality of Pictou County and Town of Pictou to develop a memorandum of understanding on things that are critical to respective municipalities.

Councillors voiced their concerns over certain clauses in a memorandum of understanding that was drawn up with the towns of New Glasgow and Pictou. In a vote of 10-3, the county approved the MOU Monday during its regular council meeting with amendments to the regular document, but it still has to be approved by Pictou and New Glasgow.   

County Warden Ron Baillie said he expects there to be an announcement by the end of the week by the three councils on whether the MOU was passed by all three councils. Once these three councils approve it, it will be given to Trenton, Westville and Stellarton councils and they will have 30 days to decide if they want in on it. 

Each participating council will have to put $25,000 towards the cost of a study that look at municipal services and if a council decides to pull out or is kicked out of the MOU, their money is non-refundable.  

Councillor Robert Parker voted in favour of the MOU but said he wanted to make sure there would be public consultation along the way.  

"This has to be an open process," he said. "A plebisite thing is a guaranteed thing to happen but it may not be respected. People need to take a chance and vote on it."  

Coun. Chester Dewar said he doesn't believe this constitutes want this type of change and because of this he will be voting against it.  

"How many people told you this was a good thing to do?" he asked his fellow councillors.

The details of the MOU were not released at council but Baillie said he expects it will become a public document by the end of the week.

Pictou Mayor Joe Hawes said Wednesday a council meeting hadn't been scheduled yet to vote on the MOU, but they expected to make a decision soon. 

New Glasgow council will present the MOU at their regular meeting on Aug. 18. 

"There has been a great deal of work put into developing the document and we look forward to sharing information with our residents and business community as we move forward," Mayor Barrie MacMillan said in a statement. 

Organizations: Pictou County council

Geographic location: New Glasgow, Westville, Stellarton

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