Springhill citizens to appear at dissolution hearing

Christopher
Christopher Gooding
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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.

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.”

 

Organizations: UARB, Canadian Union of Public Employees, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board Springhill Police Association

Geographic location: Springhill

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Recent comments

  • Doug.P
    June 20, 2014 - 14:03

    Why do you make the foolish assumption that any of these people represent the majority in this matter? I can tell you that they do not represent even a fraction of the citizens, yet they claim to have the support of everyone. These "do gooders" are simply trying to postpone and divert the the inevitable outcome of thier craft : political corruption and ultimately bankruptcy. If I were to guess at their ( Casey, Murray and others) true intentions, it would be to secure municipal employee pensions and benefits in spite of the complete economic implosion the town is facing. But as the the old saying goes "Spendthrifts are always of necessity greedy and covetous." When the money runs out, just ask Nortel employees where their pensions went when the company was methodically gutted by “a culture of arrogance and even hubris” parading as wise and prudent decision making. You'll have your answer for the current employees of the Town of Springhill. Check is in the mail.

  • Kelly Williams
    June 19, 2014 - 22:32

    Thank you Murray & group for sticking up for the people...hats off to you!!!

  • Taxpayer
    June 19, 2014 - 15:59

    I am very concerned that of the 900 names on the petition very few actually PAY town taxes. I also agree that for the majority the "citizens committee" is made up of former Federal or Provincial employees that have lovely pensions to rely on. Please realize that there are other citizens living on far lower incomes that have come to terms with this very sad decision. Are we pleased - No - Do we like how it happened - No - but it is time to let it go - Springhill isn't just a name., it is a place that vibrates with history and community strength. This will not disappear just because the name on the letterhead has changed and the boundaries get wider. Even if the taxes don't drop - they probably won't go up. Who are we saving this town for? How many people under 35 years old actually have moved to Springhill and purchased a house in the last few years? That is reality - we are a retirement town and the baby boomers with the great memories of the former glory days are getting older and taking up residence over Monument Hill and North St.. The people 50 and under don't have these memories. Sorry team - It was said there will always be a Springhill - he never said a TOWN of Springhill.

  • todd blue
    June 19, 2014 - 12:05

    i agree with joe even though i do not live in soringhill it is not that i would not like to i have family there . but i like most was forst to leave .there was no way posible to make a life for me in springhill the people who run the place were so blind in there thinking in order to have a thriving community you need jobs and sometimes you need to go get companies and give them a resone to come in and now you look around and all the clicks children are gone else where and soringhill is basicly dead full ove lonly souls and run doun houses poverty in reality o except the concernd citizins blind still i see.

  • Silas
    June 19, 2014 - 09:53

    Doug and Joe, I could not agree more. I really cant believe the arrogance of these people. They are flush with taxpayer money and can really afford twice the tax we are paying now. What about my poor mother who has a limited income of around 20k and an oil bill of 4k per year? What about me that makes 30+k per year, I can barely afford to eat. All towns in this county will be amalgamated in the next 5-10 years...it only makes sense, why have multi governments and everyone paying up to all of them.

  • Simon Say S.
    June 19, 2014 - 09:49

    Could somebody please do me a favour. Could somebody measure the size of the kahunas on the tax collector at the town of Springhill. I think we might have a world record on our hands. They must be the size of cantaloupes. How does this person walk? One of the most important and democratic functions of any town is tax collection, yet year, after year, after year, this tax collector at the town of Springhill has been has failed to do their job. All the ills that beset the town of Springhill can be traced back to this one single person Yet, not only have they not quit, not only have they not been fired, but now they want intervener status. That has to be one of the most audacious acts of over reaching in the history of municipal politics. Could somebody please measure the size of the kahunas on this person? I need to know how big they are.

    • Silas
      June 19, 2014 - 10:29

      They are too busy spreading gossip and talking about their lives to do any work...one of the reasons we are in this mess.

  • Doug.P
    June 19, 2014 - 08:21

    The mayor and council were democratically elected to make decisions such as dissolution. It is the pitchfork and torch "committee" wanting to overthrow a democratically elected body. No one elected any of them. How can one preach the glory of democracy and at the same time be trying to subvert it whenever it doesn't work in your favor? Pay no attention to any politician trying to "save" Springhill, they are representing backroom interests that are not in the citizens favor at all. In fact they are trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. In this case Humpty was an over zealous, corrupt, two faced looter.

  • more of the same
    June 18, 2014 - 20:37

    Looks like the Board got this right .. The citizens group is a bonefide interested party . The Unions represent employees in a bargaining group that has the duty of performing functions in administration . They employees don't set policy , they just carry out the duties necessary to administer policy . This application to the UARB is a policy matter . The Board was correct in not giving these unions standing .. Lastly why in the world would a citizen of Brookdale feel he should have standing in this process ?

    • Citizen Joe
      June 18, 2014 - 22:01

      I hope the NSUARB can see through this show that Murray and his group are portraying as being kept in the dark. Murray and Bill Casey were in politics for a number of years and I haven't seen any of their accomplishments in Springhill. They got a person, not from the area, and has done nothing to add to the revenue of Springhill, to ask the Board to get rid of Council and Mayor. The present mayor and Council consist of a Town CAO, a retired bank manager, a prison supervisor, a retired businessman and a minister, who better to be in charge of a Town. This group pointed out geothermal as a huge asset, it is for business close to the mine sites such as the Community center, Community College, Ropak, these are large businesses. Any small business has to worry about installation costs, which is huge and the fact the pumps only last 10 years on average. One such business had geothermal installed and had to go to alternative heat sources because of the cost of replacing the pumps. Springhill is the second of four Towns entering into dissolving and the fact we place so high might be available for provincial Assistance, whereas if in two years applied again might not be so lucky. Murray, Bill and the rest of his well off pensioned members of the Committee should go enjoy their pensions, spend the summers at the beach or the winters in Florida while the average senior or minimum wage earner stays here saving up enough money to pay their taxes