Approach now is two-pronged

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Local government structure and issues dogging it just get curiouser and curiouser.

When the towns of Stellarton, Westville and Trenton said the other day they were making a joint announcement, people could guess what it would be.

After not being consulted by the towns of Pictou and New Glasgow and Municipality of Pictou County in their declaration to go ahead with a memorandum of understanding, the other three outlined intentions Wednesday: to collaborate in an analysis of service delivery.

Any move in that direction is good news, although most people would like to see all six work together. And it might be a minor detail, but Trenton doesn’t border these other two partners. It already receives police service from New Glasgow. One might think its next-door neighbour would be a more natural fit in shared services.

We hate to say it, but the dynamics are shaping up as divisive. New Glasgow, in announcing the memorandum earlier this year, described the venture as a coalition of the willing. Granted, a leader – or two or three – in finding ways for municipalities to streamline responsibilities is beneficial. But that shouldn't exclude others, who might also be willing.

Initial reaction from leaders of these three towns about the memorandum suggested they were taken aback. As an aside, some of the council members of those three in on the memorandum also said hearing about it took them by surprise.

Trenton, Stellarton and Westville did, by the way, invite the others to participate in their exercise.

It’s fair to say the public might be confused overall.

As well, we’re all ears to find out just what in tarnation is a memorandum of understanding. That’s never been detailed. It’s been swathed in mystery thus far, some sort of lodestar that is hoped will guide this county into the future.

Hopefully when it is unveiled it will prove to have substantial recommendations about how the municipalities – preferably all six – can co-operate and find efficiencies.

Geographic location: New Glasgow, Stellarton, Pictou County

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