No sense crying over spilled milk, as the saying goes. Pictou County has missed a golden opportunity to find ways to improve local government. But even as the province has cancelled financial support for the governance study, this subject will rise again and again.
Many are disappointed, after Municipal Relations Minister Mark Furey said late Tuesday the province would no longer provide the up-to $150,000 toward the much-discussed study. He said, having met with council representatives, that he saw no reasonable prospect of the six municipalities coming to a consensus about how to go ahead with it.
In other words, we have six municipalities that can’t get themselves lined up behind a project that involves them all. So what else is new? Many residents will find that indicative of the need in the first place to review why this county of 45,000 people has local government of six councils with more than 40 councillors.
We can’t blame the province. This has been going on for a couple of years now. Some of the local politicians were more than supportive. Some were lukewarm. Others after initial reluctance grudgingly went with the flow.
Furey was right. The province would be better to dedicate funds to areas with genuine interest.
Meanwhile, locally, we have the Town of Westville, which has mused about its future as a municipality. We have the Town of Pictou, which recently reported difficulties in matters of budgeting. Stellarton is in the midst of finding a new arrangement for policing.
These are just some examples suggesting changes in governance, if not imminent, are inevitable. A comprehensive, studied look would be the way to go about that.
On the positive side, there has been some effort among the municipalities to join efforts in certain areas, so we can hope that will continue. They might in fact want to step up the pace on finding more sharing of services and thinking about ‘plan B’ in case what befell Springhill and Canso happens here.