Preliminary hearing approves concerned citizens group, questions union involvement
SPRINGHILL – The concerned citizens group opposed to the dissolution of the Town of Springhill achieved a milestone victory Wednesday.
© Christopher Gooding photo
The concerned citizens group led by former MLA Murray Scott (right) was granted official intervener status at the upcoming dissolution hearing for the Town of Springhill during a preliminary hearing by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, but two unions representing town employees and police officers have to wait to learn if they will be granted the same privilege.
The group, led by former MLA Murray Scott, was granted intervener status at the upcoming Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board [UARB] hearing into the town’s application. While the group was successful in their bid, the decision is still out on whether three others will be as successful. Former MP Bill Casey, the Springhill Police Association and the Canadian Union of Public Employees [CUPE] have all requested intervener status but were opposed by Springhill’s legal counsel. Arguments for and against the applications was heard, but the UARB will make its decision at a later date whether to grant status or not. The UARB will also announce the date for the official hearing at a later time.
“The fact that we been granted full standing, and hopefully a couple of other groups will, says the information we’ve been looking for, we’ll be able to get it even if it requires the assistance of the board to get it,” Scott said.
As interveners, the concerned citizens will be able to present evidence and questions witnesses at the yet-to-be determined official meeting.
The group seemed the least likely to win its bid without a fight. It’s not an incorporated body and counts volunteers in its numbers. Nonetheless, its gained almost 900 signatures from the public asking for the group to represent the community’s interests, many of whom felt the decision to dissolve the town was done hastily and without public consultation.
The police department has approximately 17 full-time and part time employees, including dispatchers and crossing guards, while the Town of Springhill boast less than 50 employees. With those jobs on the line they’re interests, whether through the police association or union for public employees, should be represented at the hearing Scott said.
“I’m really disappointed the town and municipality would speak out against those people having official standing as well. We’ve heard through the whole process the police issue and funding has been instrumental, if not the only reason certainly one of major considerations, for dissolution,” Scott said. “After all the things that have been said, now the town wants to shut them out of the process which I think is totally wrong and we support them all we can.”