If Wednesday’s preliminary hearing was any indication, the process of dissolving the Town of Springhill and joining it with the Municipality of Cumberland is going to be a long and arduous task. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
While we have applauded the courage shown by Springhill’s town council in facing the facts about the town future and making a tough decision to apply for dissolution, we also have to applaud those who are not willing to give up their town’s status without some opposition.
Let’s just hope the process remains civilized and people stick to facts. Sure it’s easy for residents to demand the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to reject the town’s dissolution application, but there has to be a viable alternative. Fact is, Springhill’s mess has been developing for years. There isn’t one single individual to blame, or one administration.
The status quo cannot work in Springhill and it should not be allowed to continue. The town cannot be allowed to continue digging a deeper hole just so it can remain a town. The debt can’t continue to grow, the amount of unpaid taxes can’t be forgotten and slate can’t be wiped clean.
Springhill is facing a similar situation to that in Bridgetown and Hantsport. These are dire financial times and putting out a hand to government and saying bail us out is not going to work. It didn’t work in Canso, and it won’t work here.
However, saying that, if the concerned citizens committee can come up with a viable alternative that allows the town to remain and allows it to be financially self-supporting then the utility and review board has no alternative but to listen and seriously consider what’s being proposed.
As much as Springhill town council thought it was doing the right thing a couple of months ago when it dropped the dissolution bombshell, we still believe it seriously dropped the ball by not informing its residents of the situation before deciding upon dissolution.
They have a head start in what’s going to be a grueling, and hopefully not divisive, race to the finish line of April 1, 2015. The citizen’s committee needs to play catch up and do it without one cent of government or UARB funding. That’s going to be difficult.
However, considering the deadline, none of the parties should be rushed because there’s only one chance to get this right and Springhillers of today and tomorrow can’t afford to blow it.