Town council wants premier to face public reaction over jail decision

Staff ~ The Record
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By Dave Mathieson
The Record
SPRINGHILL - An invitation to a public forum in the Town of Springhill will be written and sent to Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter.
The invitation comes after Dexter's NDP government delayed a decision to construct an $18-million provincial correctional facility which was to be built in Springhill, The project was originally announced by the previous Conservative government.
"I, for one, would like to see the Town of Springhill invite our premier to the Town of Springhill to show him, not only on paper, our facilities and the selected site," said councillor Norman Rushton who presented the motion to council on Tuesday night. "This is the most logical place for this jail to go in this province and I can't think of any reason it should go anywhere else in the province."
Rushton said the town has the land, the training facilities and free energy.
"We have everything here in Springhill," added Rushton. "We're ready to go and put shovels in the ground."
The motion came after councillors Jack MacDonald, Kathy Fisher, Doug Dobson and mayor Allen Dill expressed dismay in the provincial government's decision. Dill read from a letter he sent to the premier.
"As mayor of the Town of Springhill, this announcement is not only disappointing, it has a devastating effect on the economic sustainability of the future of this town," said Dill. "When the initial announcement was made and Mr. Dexter subsequently committed to keeping those commitments, the town was provided with the hope that this would be the catalyst to help turn the ailing economy of this area of rural Nova Scotia around.
"They sincerely believed that this would be part of Mr. Dexter's promise to help rural Nova Scotia families by stimulating the commercial tax base of the town and relieving the overburdened residential tax burden on a town that has a large senior population and working-class demography, but those hopes were dashed by this announcement."
The design work, land, surveying and geological testing were complete when the project was delayed.
"Are we to deduct from this announcement that a new location has been chosen other than the site the province negotiated and acquired through the Town of Springhill?" Dill asked.
That will be one of the questions Dill would like answered if Dexter accepts the invitation to come to Springhill.

dmathieson@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Town council

Geographic location: SPRINGHILL, Nova Scotia

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  • colin
    March 09, 2010 - 09:26

    I can't think of any reason to put the jail here in Springhill. When it was announced in the spring, prior to the election, I, as well as, many other citizens thought this was a good idea because it would lower our taxes including the water taxes because there would be revenue created,
    But soon after the announcement, what did our council do, but raise taxes, now we have the highest taxes in the province.
    The only thing this jail would create would be more traffic.
    This council should have dropped the tax rate on both water and property assessments to encourage people and businesses to move here, thus creating a broader tax base.