Former Springhill councilor taking town to court

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL – A former town councilor is none-to-pleased with Springhill and is taking them to court.

Former Springhill councillor Herb Babineau says he's fed up waiting for the Town of Springhill to answer his freedom of information request concerning its finances and policing, factors the town used to make a motion to dissolve the community.

The decision to dissolve the community has been a hard one for many citizens here and Herb Babineau is one of them. When the present government announced it wants to dissolve the local municipal government and become part of the larger Municipality of Cumberland County, Babineau wanted to know why.

And he wanted to know exactly why.

“I filed my freedom of information [FOI] request April 11 for myself. Not the concerned citizens committee, but myself, and they still haven’t responded,” Babineau said. “So I’m doing what anyone would do and I’m asking the court to make them answer me.”

Babineau filed an FOI asking for any documents related to policing between the town, Service Nova Scotia and the provincial department of justice; copies of policing proposals by the Springhill Police Service and the RCMP stemming from the town’s policing review prior to the dissolution announcement; documents concerning the town’s financial situation and documents on the town’s financial status.

Amherst News’ sister publication, The Citizen-Record, also filed a FOI with the town in April, sending it by registered mail, requesting documents concerning the town’s financial situation between the months of March 2013 and March 2014.

That request, too, has gone unfulfilled.

As a former councilor, Babineau says the town has 30 days to reply. At a June council meeting, more than 60 days later, then-acting Chief Administrative Officer [CAO] John Boyle said progress was being made to fulfill the requests but two more months later nothing has materialized.

Now Babineau now says its time for the town to go to court.

Babineau says he’s served Springhill’s interim CAO Reg Ridgley with court papers calling on the town to appear in Amherst Provincial Court on August 21, where Babineau says he’ll formally call on the courts to make Springhill produce the documents he’s asked for.

“The old people, the former miners of this community, would turn over in their grave over this stuff,” Babineau said. “This is not the town they’d remember, and they’d want me to do it, so here I am taking them to court.”

CAO Ridgley confirmed the town will have representation at the Aug. 21, meeting.

Organizations: Springhill Police Service, RCMP, Amherst News

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Doug P.
    August 15, 2014 - 13:58

    If you walked around your whole life with a 20 pound wart attached to your nose, and one day you woke up to find that it had fallen off, would you care why? Seriously, these people trying to "get answers" and stop the dissolution process are simply trying to find ways to reattach the wart. Move on, accept it and enjoy your life being wart free.

    • noodle
      August 17, 2014 - 10:19

      Best comparison yet! Well said!!

  • Citizen Joe
    August 14, 2014 - 15:44

    Herb who???? He is on the executive of the Concerned Citizens Committee so who does he represent? I have attended several meetings and the last two Council meetings, which Mr Babineau didn't attend. At the meeting on July 16th I didn't observe him going from table to table to seek information. The UARB pointed out that Murray Scott was their Chairman and things should go through him. As announced today the studies will be completed by the 28th of August, the Committee's representatives were there and asked questions, but no executive members were present. Do they really want answers or just try to delay the process?

  • Gasbag Self Ordained Expert
    August 14, 2014 - 14:56

    The Town would have discretion regarding which documents they care to make public regarding policing matters .. The Town's financial information is contained in their yearly statements ... Anything otherwise is a work in progress .. There will be a flood of information coming from the County and Town as the amalgamation process grinds out 15 comprehensive reports this fall covering all relevant factors in meshing the two units . Can't see a judge jumping in the middle of that process ...