The range of emotions being shown by Springhill residents since they learned their town will soon be no more are understandable because there’s a certain level of pride that goes with being a town. However, just as understandable is the need to look at alternative actions considering Springhill’s fragile financial position.
Fact is Springhill can participate in an arranged marriage with the Municipality of Cumberland now, or it can be forced into a shotgun wedding later. Springhill’s ability to shape its own future is disappearing and its leadership has decided the only way to save the community is to fall on its sword.
The situation facing Springhill is not new. Springhill has been forced to turn to the province for help on many occasions, and just like the parent who keeps paying off their child’s credit card debt, the province is saying it’s time for another option.
Springhill is coming to a point where it won’t be able to pay its bills, won’t be able to pay its police officers, fix its potholes or operate its community centre. Insolvency and the time when Springhill loses the ability to control its destiny is looming.
The former mining town has a rich heritage that needs to be protected, but today’s realities are making it almost impossible to continue. Springhill has an aging community, young people aren’t staying, taxes are too high, infrastructure is crumbling and the debts are escalating.
In the coming weeks the province is going to hire a transition co-ordinator to help guide the town through the process, and the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board will decide on how this transition will take place.
While their concerns are understandable and their input must be considered, residents need to give their elected officials the time to come up with the best option for Springhill. Saying that, though, council and the utility and review board need to make sure Springhillers have a voice as well as access to the latest information as opposed to learning about it through social media and word of mouth.
Saying that, Springhill will always be Springhill and the enormous pride Springhillers take in their community, its mining heritage and spirit of togetherness will not be diminished with the loss of town status. You may take the town out of Springhill, but you’ll never take the identity and sense of community from Springhillers.