PARRSBORO – With its Supreme Court of Nova Scotia case behind them, many are wondering what the next chapter will be to bring an end to the dispute – or drive the wedge even further – between two factions fighting for control of the Parrsboro Community Radio Society.
Talk of mediation between the two groups has been circulating, but at least two popular choices to lead the talks say that’s not in the stars at this point.
Parrsboro Mayor Lois Smith and the Parrsboro and District Board of Trade president David Beattie both confirmed they are not leading any mediation discussions at this point, but for different reasons.
“We can’t get involved,” Mayor Smith said. “We have had members of the community asking for us to get involved but it’s not something we can do. We [council] can’t take sides.”
Smith sought counsel from the province’s department of Municipal Affairs on the matter, and the verdict was the municipal government has to stay at arms length while the two sides try to resolve their differences.
Nonetheless, the mayor recognizes the fate of the radio station is a great concern to citizens and the ongoing feud has taken a toll.
“It’s a shame,” Smith said. “It’s divided the town.”
The local board of trade is prepared to get involved, but at this time nothing has come to fruition, president Beattie said.
“The Parrsboro and District Board of trade strongly supports the community radio station. We think it’s a great service to the community of Parrsboro and hope it stays,” Beattie said. “We did offer assistance but there seems to be no appetite for that and the parties want to continue on their path to resolve their issues the way they set forth.”
The two groups in dispute over the Parrsboro Community Radio Society have been in a power struggle for control. The first group, lead by Don Jewers, presently have control of the society while the second group, lead by Sarah Hartman, was created after a special meeting was held to kick some of the members out of the society. The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia later ruled those members, including Hartman, were still part of the society because protocol was not followed according to the society’s bylaws. Until that ruling, however, the push-and-pull between the two groups saw both laying claim to the radio society, an RCMP-led confiscation of the society’s financial records, and endless registering and reregistering with the province.
Right now, the society is due to have its annual general meeting, where the membership will elect its board and directors. The possible outcomes could include a coup, the status quo or a mixed board made up of members from the two feuding camps. Whatever the outcome, Beattie says the board of trade’s offer to help is still on the table.
“We were not able to be assistance [this time] but, of course, we would be willing to do so if there is a future requirement