SPRINGHILL â€“ Itâ€™s been a full year of operation for Springhillâ€™s Town Council since taking office in October 2012, and Mayor Max Snow is happy with how things are going. Looking back at the year gone by, and the year ahead, Snow says progress is being made and expects more good things in the New Year.
© Christopher Goooding photo
With a lease from the province to administer the Town of Springhillâ€™s mine-based geothermal resource, council is getting serious about the future, Mayor Max Snow says.
Max Snow: Weâ€™ve had a good year and weâ€™re certainly looking forward to another year. We had to make some decisions. We had to cut the budget back this year quite a bit for some departments for the sake of taxpayers. The taxpayers are first in our mind, so we do want to look after them and had to make an administrative call taxes would not go up. Thatâ€™s been a positive for the town.
The Citizen-Record: Thereâ€™s also been some significant purchases that have some long-term savings for the taxpayers. I can think of the asphalt machine for one.
MS: Yes, thatâ€™s going to improve our roads, itâ€™s going to be real good patchwork and we can do larger spots rather than just do some patchwork, have a rainstorm and then have the patchwork fall apart or have a winter and then the patchwork is gone. That was a purchase we made for about $100,000 and I think that was a good investment with long-term savings.
Weâ€™ve done a lot of paving this year â€“ $286,000 that we did in paving. Again, it looks good on the town. It doesnâ€™t look good on the council, it looks good on the town. I feel that in order for us to be a sustainable town our infrastructure needs to be up to par and the pavingâ€™s got to be done. The pavingâ€™s got to be done, the water treatment has to be good, and that brings people in. If you have nice streets people say â€˜Hey, that town might be nice to live in.â€™ But if you come in and your roads are in terrible shape and the infrastructure is bad, it has an impact.
CR: This summer gone by there was also significant upgrades to the park to enhance the appeal of the downtown.
MS: Thatâ€™s been a good thing for our recreation, for health and wellness, because we know thereâ€™s been a significant increase of children that have been around there and with their parents because of the park for a relaxing afternoon. Itâ€™s been a good addition to our town and Springhill has a lot of good volunteers that put their time into that and the volunteers are the ones that really made that happen and Old Home Week was good time to showcase that. It made you feel good to be a part of the town.
CR: Do you think the town will be able to continue that type of investment during Old Home Week?
MS: Oh, yes. We have [Springhillâ€™s] 125th anniversary coming up with the Anne Murray Centreâ€™s 25th anniversary and next summer promises to be a big eventâ€¦ There are big plans going on though July and weâ€™re looking forward to celebration time and drawing people back home and coming back for a good visit and maybe get them thinking when they want to retire theyâ€™ll want to come home and settle down. I guess retirement is going to bring most people back for the fact we donâ€™t have a lot of industry at the moment. Iâ€™m not ruling out there wonâ€™t be some form of industry down the road once we get a chance to look at things. As you know, we recently got our geothermal [lease].
CR: Do you have it hand?
MS: I have it in hand. I signed the back and have a copy right here on my desk. So we have it hand after many phone calls and I got to say, Jamie Baillie, he was really helpful from day one.
CR: So, in the future should an industry wants to come to the area and use geothermal, theyâ€™ll deal directly with the town of Springhill instead of the province then the Town of Springhill?
MS: Theyâ€™ll work with us directly. Weâ€™re putting a committee together in January â€“ weâ€™ve started some of the work already with Brian [Herteis, Public Works director] who is a mine engineer and used to geothermal, so heâ€™s been in Halifax for some meetings about our wellsâ€¦ we really want to get serious about this. You remember thirty years ago geothermal was just coming on the forefront and coming, and there was talk about it but it didnâ€™t seem to move too far, and Iâ€™m not putting the blame on anybody at all. It just seem something that happened. There was meetings and conferences and it all fell apart, through nobodyâ€™s fault. It just fell apart and got dropped. We decided when we came in we wanted to look at this again and we wanted the lease to it and that weâ€™re going to move. I know itâ€™s a lot of money down the road if we want to make it into a utility, there will be a lot of money and hopefully there are grants that we can latch on to but we are determined, this council is determined, we are going to move this. Weâ€™re not going to sit back and this, â€˜Letâ€™s think about this next year.â€™ Weâ€™re getting serious with this.