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Let’s reopen the regional government discussion


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Earlier this week members of Parrsboro’s town council followed the lead of their Springhill counterparts when the gavel banged for the last time.

On Tuesday, when children are getting their fill of the previous night’s Halloween bounty, Parrsboro’s town hall will quietly become a service centre for the Municipality of Cumberland as the 126-year-old town officially becomes the county’s District 13. Much of the groundwork for that had already been laid when Norm Rafuse was elected as the district’s first county councilor on Oct. 15.

With Springhill and Parrsboro now part of the surrounding county the question has to be asked, what’s next?

With new councils in the three remaining municipal units it may be time to take a fresh look at municipal government in Cumberland County. We have four years before the next round of municipal elections so there’s plenty of time to take a reasoned and informed approach to the next steps in municipal relationships.

That is not to say let’s rush into amalgamation because there’s a lot of work that would have to occur before that could happen, and it may not be what the people of Amherst, Oxford and the Municipality of Cumberland desire.

However, with many fresh faces sitting around Cumberland County’s three council tables, it would only make sense to put it on the table for study and discussion. In 2015, it appeared as though Amherst and the county were going to study regional government, but the county backed away saying it was too busy dealing with the unions it was undertaking with Springhill and Parrsboro.

While that work is still ongoing, there should be ample time for all three units to sit down and have a reasonable conversation about their future direction. That discussion should include the provincial government and we hope would lead to an independent, third-party study of the pros and cons of the options.

At the end of the day this independent study could say regional government won’t work, or it may say it will – but, we will have the facts in front of us instead of hiding behind the fear of the unknown.

We are being given a new beginning with the swearing in of new councils in Amherst, Oxford and Upper Nappan. Let’s take full advantage of that new start instead of hiding behind old attitudes and parochial thoughts that have done little to help since this whole subject of regional government was first raised.

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