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Councils voting on business plan for proposed amalgamated structure

PICTOU – Four councils will have a vote Thursday on a business plan for a proposed amalgamated municipal government.

The towns of Pictou, Stellarton, New Glasgow and the Municipality of Pictou County will be holding special council meetings Thursday to vote on the final proposal that will be presented to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board Friday.

Lisa MacDonald, CAO for New Glasgow, said each council has been given the business plan for review and a vote will take place on the same night by all parties involved.

It will give councils a look at the new amalgamated structure from a financial point of view and allow them to ensure that their pre-conditions are met.

MacDonald couldn’t comment as to what would happen if any of the councils voted against the proposed business plan. Councils have until June 20 to withdraw from the MOU and she noted that she believes all councils involved would want to hear from the public on the topic.

The MOU steering committee has until Friday to file its final business plan with the URB after which the URB will host public meetings from March 7 and 8 in Pictou County on the topic. Anyone wanting to speak at the URB hearings must apply to do so before Feb. 24. 

The MOU steering committee will also host its own series of public information sessions to discuss the final proposal. Finally, the public will have its say as to whether to amalgamate or not in a plebiscite in May.

Some county councillors expressed concern Monday as to why the URB hearings are being held before the public gets its vote on the topic.

“If the URB gives its decision, there is a feeling that it is cut and dried,” said Coun. Robert Parker. “It is confusing for people.”

Warden Ron Baillie, who has a seat on the MOU steering committee, said the URB make a preliminary ruling on the evidence presented in the hearings and by the steering committee, but its final decision won’t come until after June 20.

“It’s not cut and dried,” he said. “We have until June 20 to pull out. We did not pick the dates with the URB.”


Special council meeting dates:

New Glasgow – 6 p.m.

Stellarton – 6 p.m.

Pictou – 6:30 p.m.

Municipality of Pictou County – 7 p.m. County council will host an in-camera session first which is closed to public followed by a public meeting.

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