MLA, mayors, warden plan next step to save jail

Christopher Gooding
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SPRINGHILL - Shoulder to shoulder, representatives of the five municipal units met at the office of Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott for a working lunch to chart their next step in the ongoing dispute with the province over its decision to scrap the building of a jail in Cumberland County.

Topping of the list of items for discussion was why citizens should care and become part of the charge to get the government to reverse its decision.
"This is a decision that will affect our schools, hospitals, many services," Scott said. "Take three children from any school, it doesn't matter from where in Cumberland, how does that affect the area?"
The MLA, the mayors and warden are calling on the Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association to conduct an impact study on the NDP decision to relocate the jail to a location in Pictou or Colchester County. High on the radar are the long-term effects municipalities will face.
"A lot of taxpayers could be transferred with their families and I think a lot of municipalities will be asked to help with that deficit," Oxford mayor Lloyd Jenkins said.
"That could mean putting taxes up."
Since announcing the province would only build one jail and that the staff at the Amherst and Antigonish correctional centres would have the option to transfer to the new jail location, Scott, the mayors and warden say it will trigger a domino affect that will see other services in Cumberland County having to justify their numbers and a reduction in the existing services, especially in the justice field.
"A community needs professional people and this decision prevents professionals people from coming to and staying in the area," Springhill mayor Allen Dill said.
"When we have people retire from cities and come back to their hometowns, they want professional people, lawyers and medical services in their community," Parrsboro mayor Lois Smith said. "The government has to think about these families, too."
"Everyone loses if (the jail) goes," Amherst councillor Terry Rhindress, sitting in on behalf of Amherst mayor Robert Small, said.
"After all that, lawyers won't be needed," Cumberland County warden Keith Hunter said.
Earlier this month, the mayors and warden stood on the steps of the existing jailhouse in Amherst, challenging the government to release the paperwork behind its decision to build one jail, and Friday's meeting was a follow-up to an issue they say they won't drop.
"I don't think the provincial authorities understand how firm we are and how united we are on this," Dill said.
"Christmas vacation might be coming, but we're not going to let the government forget," Smith said.
All agreed it doesn't matter where the jail goes as long as it is in Cumberland County and encourage citizens who agree to sign a petition in circulation or write to Premier Darrell Dexter stating their concerns.

Organizations: Cumberland Regional Economic Development Association, NDP

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Amherst, Pictou Colchester County Oxford Antigonish Parrsboro

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Recent comments

  • Cesar
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Warden Hunter and Mayor Small must have felt like hiding in a corner when they walked into Murray Scott's office and humbly said Help us Murray and we apologize for being so selfish last year. We know we were being naughty.Please tell Santa we are sorry and a jail in Springhill would be nice.

  • Lucky
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    The Amherst Jail has been right where it is now for almost 120 years, serving the area well.
    Nova Scotia has been through hard times before so why is it that a government that does not even have 1 year in power get to wipe out 120 years of our hard work!
    Darrel Please look at the PEOPLE COST!
    Familys uprooted, Business lost, People not wanting to move here, Extrs costs downloaded to residents who cannot afford it, ect.
    Should be easy for you.. It's a no brainer!

  • Davos
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Topping the list should be reasons why anyone with half a brain would think there is any chance of this decision being changed. It was a political favour for Murray Scott in the first place, and his government got thrown out. So now it's a political favour for someone else. Them's the breaks, as they say.

    It's time to quit all this whining and belly-aching and devote their efforts toward something that might actually materialize and be beneficial to the county. Get over it already.

  • Cesar
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Realistic check out February 24, 2009 issue of the Daily News.

  • Hit em where it hurts
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    Want to make a difference? Boycot the NSLC. Buy all your liquour for the holidays at the Sackville Liqour that the next 3 months and that will get their attention!!!

  • Cesar
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Everyone should check their back issues of the Amherst Daily News and go to the issue where Cumberland County Councillors were on record as saying I would rather see the new jail built anywhere in Nova Scotia but Springhill Seems to me our elected municipal officials have already told the government that we didn't want it. Stop whining because it is going to be built anywhere but Springhill.

  • Lucky
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Hey Davos.. You ain't heard nothin' yet!! It's only going to get LOUDER!
    If you ever come to Cumberland County you will notice that people here stick together! Like glue!! We are NOT going to roll over and get screwed by Government out of our Jobs and lifestyle!
    We are NOT going to let go as easy as some would think!

  • Robert
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Sorry Davos... you may feel content with rolling over and playing dead when things get difficult but some of us don't give up so easy. We'll stop fighting for it when it officially opens.

  • Lucky
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Davos.. While you guys -however few you may be- are standing around dreaming the REAL rest of us WILL KEEP FIGHTING for what we ALREADY HAVE!

  • Realistic
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    From February 24:

    'In a unanimous motion, council approved a letter be sent to the Minister of Justice to support the new correctional centre being built in the county, and if not the county, then in Amherst.'

    Cesar, that does not say what you said it does - reading comprehension 101.

  • WTH?
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Why in the he!! anyone with half a clue would think the municipalities should roll over and let the jail be taken from this region without putting up a decent fight is beyond logic. Why would we wait for this government that has already proven it doesn't give a rip about Cumberland to toss us a few scraps? I suspect we'd be waiting a loooong time for us. But, if we raise a big enough stink now, even if we don't save the jail they'll think twice about trying to take anything else from us.

  • Davos
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Lucky: We are NOT going to roll over and get screwed by Government out of our Jobs and lifestyle!

    Well yes, you are. You already did. You just haven't seemed to realize it yet.

    You're missing the point that this entire business was built on a political favour from the start. This was never about sticking together, or county pride, or any of that stuff. This was about Murray Scott being a good soldier and nothing more. That's a flimsy premise to get altruistic about.

    If you want to yell and complain and waste your effort on something that has already been decided and is not ever going to change, then knock yourself out. Meanwhile the rest of us can get to work on efforts that might actually be productive.

  • History
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Well, since you people have to take your arguments out on the internet which is pointless instead of doing some actual protesting, like idk a march on province house? I mean do you reallly think anyone outside this area reads the paper? Hell no I don't even take out a subscription any more because after the sale the paper went to hell. But imagine if a group of people went and camped out at Province House protesting the government. Then you get the attention you need and the pressure Darrell Dexter to realize what an idiot he is and to look good on the provincial scale give the jail back, or he screws the NDP and gives it all to Pictou. Also you speak of people of Cumberland sticking together like glue more like fall apart like a house of cards. I mean the town for one has had the same people running it for the last 15 years and its still going down the toilet, and Mr. Hunter isn't doing a much better job with the county, look at the rual fire service plan. average 20 minute response time for Emergency Services in the county. Also lets take a look back in the past. Robbs Engineering, broken by the people who ran this town and the Union the won't negotiate when they were going through tough times. Enamel Heating Amherst Aerospace , one of this towns greatest corporations that put it on the world map. FYI the legs for the US Lunar Lander were fabricated there? What happened to them? Ended up selling out to IMP after they went bankrupt when they couldn't compete with the rates of Sydney Steel, which operated at a tax rate 75% cheaper than that of Amherst, but paid their workers well so money was spent in the town. The Amherst Harbour Terminal, lost that because the County and Town couldn't come to an agreement to share the cost of building a rail line to the wharf for cargo, and make Amherst a central hub for the maritime for Cargo Shipments. With the potential to actually beat Halifax. Their argument was Pugwash already has a Wharf and Rail. Well seems to me that no-longer exists. Also did you know Amherst had an airport? Ya, a 2 strip airport that was paved and could even to this day support modern aircraft. Also it had more infrastructure than Moncton and Halifax. Just let it go cause we didn't see the need. So before you start pointing fingers, take a look in the mirror and realize its not only the politicians that have screwed this county, its the people as well, and i'm not saying i'm any different. I live here, so I have an equal share in the blame. Also why don't we try to get a real newspaper back here that actually went out and found the truth and not one that just prints rumors and have such a blatant biased view it would make the Swiss cringe.

  • Realistic
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Cesar, you show us where they said that.