County not going to hand over 'cash' for arenas; warden

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST Cumberland County is not about to write any blank cheques so its residents can use town-based arenas.

Responding to a joint press release last week from the towns of Amherst, Springhill, Oxford and Parrsboro, Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter believes the county may be willing to talk to Amherst, Springhill and Oxford about their arenas, but its not going to simply hand over money.

I think wed like to see some figures before we make any decisions, but we wont simply hand over a blank cheque because, while there are county residents using those facilities, there are quite a few who dont, Hunter said Monday.

In their joint release last week, the chief administrative officers from the four towns called on the county to pay its fair share for use of arenas and for fire protection services in the county. The Parrsboro arena was not included in the recommendation because its privately owned by the Lions Club.

Hunter cant see the county establishing area rates for those areas served by the arenas, but suggested those who are using them should be prepared to pay a user fee. Still, he doesnt want the towns going after youth sports organizations like minor hockey or figure skating to charge county users more than what town residents pay.

Regarding fire protection, the warden said, this might just be the push the county needs to complete its study of the needs of rural areas. If its cheaper to establish a rural fire department or consolidate rural departments to serve areas presently being served by the town then thats what the county should consider doing.

On the other hand, if its more economical to maintain town service, the warden said, the county should sit down with the respective towns to hammer out fire service arrangements that spell out what the length of the agreement, whats included and how much it would cost.

Most importantly, he said, the county will not see areas go unprotected.

Organizations: Lions Club

Geographic location: AMHERST, Oxford, Parrsboro

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