Is policing move another slight against Amherst?

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Nova Scotians expect government to make the best use of taxypayers’ dollars, just as Amherst voters expect town council to make the best decisions when it comes to using the public purse.

As much as Justice Minister Ross Landry feels adjusting Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia offices will lead to a more efficient and effective model at a time when the province is trying to make every dollar count, it should come as no surprise that Amherst Mayor Robert Small sees the move – the expected closure of the local CISNS office – as another slight against this part of the province.

On Wednesday, the mayor issued a press release venting his frustration at the decision to close the Amherst office in March while maintaining offices in Truro and New Glasgow.

The mayor is less concerned with the need to realign the offices than he is at the fact two offices will be located less than an hour from each other, while the Amherst area will be serviced out of Truro.

The province hasn’t exactly been heavy-handed with the economy of Cumberland County. It has poured millions into companies such as LED Roadway Lighting, Poly Cello and Oxford Frozen Foods and remains committed to building a new elementary school for the West Highlands region of town.

Then again, it hasn’t been overly kind either. The plan to move the correctional centre to Pictou County and maintenance enforcement jobs to New Waterford has to hurt because they are good-paying jobs that will be taken out of the local area at a time when the economy is hurting.

One only has to look at the number of closed or downsized businesses to understand times are tough in Amherst, just as they are in other parts of Nova Scotia. Moving any government jobs out of the community will only make it worse.

In fairness to Landry, the previous Conservative government had already announced plans to move the jail out of Amherst to Springhill. Saying that, it would not have been a total loss considering most correctional officers living in Amherst would still be able to commute to Springhill.

Government may feel Small is crying wolf, but he feels he is standing up for the people who put him in office. Amherst residents would be even angrier if their elected officials said everything is hunky-dory when in fact it’s not.


Organizations: Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia, Oxford Frozen Foods

Geographic location: Amherst, Truro, New Glasgow Cumberland County Pictou County New Waterford Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • tom
    December 31, 2012 - 05:54

    if we are all so worried and concerned about our tax dollars we should look at the raises the mayor and his bunch just got. that's why they have to close offices.

  • Steve Scott
    December 21, 2012 - 17:03

    I think it is time for a grass roots movement to save this town from its own government. I went to the town hall today to ask for a copy of the Town's budget. I was presented with a General Operating budget for 2012/2013 and I am waitng to be presented in the new year with a detail operating budget that will, for instance, state what the total budget is for the salaries and expenses of the Town's elected officials. ( Given their recent 40% plus salary increase) One of the items of concern to me in the General Operating Budget for 2012/13 is $1,032,486 has been alloted for Community and Economic Development. I am most concerned how this money is broken down as I have been living back here for almost 4 years and I have not seen any significant jobs or economic development taking place. Is whoever manages this significant amount of money held accountable? Does this money not have to produce results? How many years has this town been spending over a million dollars per year with such feeble results? I hope that I will have more answers to this and more financial questions in the new year as I am fed up paying all these taxes and seeing my hometown in such a state. This past week, the mayor and counsellors unnamiously voted themselves a significant salary increase such that their so call honorarium is actual more like the town's citizens average salary. This at a time when so many people in town are hurting financially. Shameful.

  • Another view
    December 21, 2012 - 13:27

    IMO - Anyone in power and investment structure whether in business or Provincial/Federal government looking at Amherst have to be concerned at the level of competence seen in Amherst Town Council. Council seemingly do nothing about the items they can act on and, behave with whinging and derision on strategic decisions made by business head office or senior Provincial or Federal government levels. Why didn't Council act more assertively to have the Access NS office downtown, or keep the Community College downtown or have the Lawton's people commit to immediate alternate use of the Pugsley's drugstore building? Why is there such an onerous tax system imposed on downtown property owners but no business tax on downtown business? Why is there such a totally 'country bumpkin' zoning policy in Amherst that drives downtown property values into the toilet. Why was the one cultural outlet in Town booted without a definitive action plan - including Town Government involvement to source realistic venue replacement? Why is Amherst Town Council so involved in multiple land schemes Lions Park for a school? buying the old RCMP barracks? buying the old legion? the old gas station property a Albion and Church? the old BMO building? Hint, Amherst Town Government has virtually destroyed the valuation principle of downtown property through bad policy and zero strategic planning so you guys are the only ones who will buy downtown property and you buy it with excess funds squeezed out of the property owners who are already hurting. Two more Provincial Government funded jobs lost in Amherst - actually pretty minor compared to the negative performance of Amherst Town Government.

    • Don Canning
      December 30, 2012 - 11:01

      Just hope these comments make the printed edition of the paper as they rightly should.