SPRINGHILL – Representatives from both the County and the Town of Springhill were on hand to answer any questions from the public during an open house Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday evening at the Dr. Carson & Marion Murray Community Centre in Springhill.
One elected representative on hand to answer questions was Springhill mayor Max Snow.
Snow has come under fire from the Springhill Volunteer Citizen’s Committee, who say the town has not been transparent during the amalgamation process.
“Our integrity is good with this council. We were not willing to say we’re OK anymore. We were not willing to say things are going well and try to balance the budget…” said Snow “It has to change, we have to move forward to a new governance. Outside of that we’re going to be a town that is barely surviving.”
He says amalgamation is a reality many towns will have to face in the future.
“Down the road we will be forced to do it, and right now we’re not forced to do it but we’re going to do it,” he said. “We’re more than $7 million in deficit. We can’t go on like this. It has to stop.”
Snow says there is currently no money for further road repairs.
“Right now we can’t do any more streets and we can’t do any more infrastructure,” he said. “We don’t have the money. It’s a declining population and an aging population. Our young people are migrating out and we have nothing to keep them here.”
He hopes amalgamation will help bring industry to Springhill, stemming the outflow of young people.
He is especially interested in developing the town’s geothermal reserves.
“We have an ideal setting for green houses. Sobey’s could come in and grow their own produce. We have cheap energy for them,” said Snow. “Why not. It’s a saving for them. That’s what’s it’s all about today. It’s about the bottom line, about saving a dollar.
“We need to tap into geothermal. We want to move this forward for the benefit of Springhill.”
Asked why the town decided to go ahead with the amalgamation with the county without consulting the citizens first, Snow said a plebiscite would be too costly.
“Time and money are not on our side. A plebiscite is very costly. We don’t have the money to go down that road,” said Snow.
“I’d be silly to say (to the tax payers) that I’m going to have a plebiscite that will cost me a bunch of money. It can’t be done, time won’t allow us to do that.”