In the days that have passed since Springhill’s elected town council announced it was surrendering its town status and amalgamating with the Municipality of Cumberland a lot of opinions have been expressed – both positive and negative.
Not surprisingly, many Springhillers were shocked and dismayed to learn last week that their town will be no more next April 1. Many have asked why they weren’t consulted earlier, others are wondering if they will have a say in the decision and still more are asking if there is a way to maintain the town as a separate municipality?
Whether you agree or not, the decision by Mayor Max Snow and his four councilors took courage. Springhill is facing a number of financial challenges that could take away any power the town has in shaping its future. It’s deeply in debt, has an aging and declining population and already has the second highest property taxes in the province. It’s infrastructure is crumbling and there’s no money to fix the streets and maintain its water and sewer systems.
Considering this, Springhill’s leadership made the right decision. However, there’s a long way to go between now and 2015 and those guiding the amalgamation ship need to make sure Springhill residents are kept informed and allowed to participate in the process.
If not, that same fighting spirit the community has shown through tough times will show its face again and the amalgamation will be anything but smooth.
Springhill’s leadership and the transition team needs to be open and transparent to the people. Any missteps or perceived secrecy could easily derail what appears to be the best long-term solution for the community’s viability.
It’s something Springhill can’t afford to mess up.