Trenton skeptical about MOU from New Glasgow, Pictou, Municipality

Published on May 14, 2014
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TRENTON – Cooperation between Pictou County’s municipal units were called into question during Tuesday’s Trenton council meeting.

Coun. Don Hussher questioned many aspects of a letter from New Glasgow regarding the memorandum of understanding between their town, Pictou and the municipality of Pictou County.

“It’s not in the best interests of Pictou County,” he said about the initiative.

New Glasgow announced on March 28 that they would be collaborating with two other units in reference to changes in shared services and governance.

Hussher noted that they had been informed of the discussions between the other units through the media.

In response to a letter sent by Mayor Glen MacKinnon, the town of New Glasgow cited Trenton’s farmers’ market as an example of them not cooperating with the county, Hussher said.

“It takes us by total surprise that they’d even bring that up,” Hussher said, stating that they’re not trying to compete with New Glasgow’s Farmers’ Market.

He said that during planning for the redevelopment of Main Street in 2006, a farmers’ market was suggested to them.

He went on to say that their market is very small, on a different day from New Glasgow’s and serves as a way for local residents without transportation to get fresh produce.

“For (them) to use that for a reason that we were not cooperating with Pictou County, it seemed pretty petty to me. It seems to me they’re reaching, reaching for an excuse,” he said following the meeting.

In an interview Wednesday, CAO Lisa MacDonald noted that New Glasgow started building support for the town’s farmers’ market in 2005, including asking for regional support from other municipal units.

New Glasgow town council was surprised to see a farmers’ market take place in Trenton in close proximity to New Glasgow’s market, MacDonald said, adding that they expected there wouldn’t be competition from other units.

MacDonald noted that the letter to Trenton also mentioned the amount of rinks in the county.

A feasibility study done in 2009 found that sustaining more than six ice surfaces would be a challenge, she said.

MacDonald said the town felt they had to show leadership and close the John Brother MacDonald Stadium in 2013 in order to ensure the success of the Pictou County Wellness Centre.

“We continue to have too many ice surfaces,” she said.

Hussher wants to see all the municipal units get together to discuss how to proceed with governance with all options on the table.

At a Stellarton council meeting earlier this week, Coun. Ken Francis noted that he had passed out letters to New Glasgow, Pictou and the Municipality of Pictou County requesting inclusion in the discussions surrounding the MOU.

MacDonald said on Wednesday that everyone will be included, but discussions remain within the three units until they decide otherwise.