Nova Scotians expect government to make the best use of taxypayers’ dollars, just as Amherst voters expect town council to make the best decisions when it comes to using the public purse.
As much as Justice Minister Ross Landry feels adjusting Criminal Intelligence Service of Nova Scotia offices will lead to a more efficient and effective model at a time when the province is trying to make every dollar count, it should come as no surprise that Amherst Mayor Robert Small sees the move – the expected closure of the local CISNS office – as another slight against this part of the province.
On Wednesday, the mayor issued a press release venting his frustration at the decision to close the Amherst office in March while maintaining offices in Truro and New Glasgow.
The mayor is less concerned with the need to realign the offices than he is at the fact two offices will be located less than an hour from each other, while the Amherst area will be serviced out of Truro.
The province hasn’t exactly been heavy-handed with the economy of Cumberland County. It has poured millions into companies such as LED Roadway Lighting, Poly Cello and Oxford Frozen Foods and remains committed to building a new elementary school for the West Highlands region of town.
Then again, it hasn’t been overly kind either. The plan to move the correctional centre to Pictou County and maintenance enforcement jobs to New Waterford has to hurt because they are good-paying jobs that will be taken out of the local area at a time when the economy is hurting.
One only has to look at the number of closed or downsized businesses to understand times are tough in Amherst, just as they are in other parts of Nova Scotia. Moving any government jobs out of the community will only make it worse.
In fairness to Landry, the previous Conservative government had already announced plans to move the jail out of Amherst to Springhill. Saying that, it would not have been a total loss considering most correctional officers living in Amherst would still be able to commute to Springhill.
Government may feel Small is crying wolf, but he feels he is standing up for the people who put him in office. Amherst residents would be even angrier if their elected officials said everything is hunky-dory when in fact it’s not.