Citizens adding numbers to Springhill economic development

Christopher
Christopher Gooding
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Tory heavyweights to lead citizens group

SPRINGHILL – Armed with the energy from a public meeting over the town’s dissolution last week, a group of volunteers are now looking for economic developments for Springhill.

Former MP and Cumberland County resident Bill Casey added his voice to the number of citizens concerned by the Town of Springhill’s decision to dissolve at a public meeting on May 1st. This week it was announced Casey will co-chair a citizens group seeking economic developments for Springhill to increase its tax-base.

Heading up the group is former Tory MP Bill Casey and Cumberland South Progressive Conservative Riding Association President Doug Marshall.

In a press release Thursday, the group says their goal is to identify potential businesses, which might bring investments, and a higher tax base for the town, which announced it would dissolve in March in the face of a $5.1 million long-term debt.

“This initiative is meant to be a positive addition to efforts to increase the tax base and tax revenues for the town,” Marshall said. “Any positive progress will be reported immediately to the Town of Springhill to help them and their decisions going forward. The group believes that if tax revenue can be increased it could reduce the urgency to amalgamate with the county.”

More than 300 citizens attended public meeting headed up by a concerned citizens group to address the town’s dissolution, which came as a shock to the public because there was no public consultation or plebiscite leading up to the announcement. According to the provincial Municipal Government Act, town council was not obligated to hold public consultation in making its decision. The Town of Springhill is holding it’s own public meeting to explain its financial situation and the decision to dissolve next Thursday, May 15, at the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre.

When reached for comment on the group and its efforts, Mayor Max Snow said he was unaware of the group.

“I’m not going to comment on that. That’s for May 15th,” Snow said.

Presently, the economic development group is inventorying the community’s natural resources, human resources and strengths. Then, an effort will be made to recognize potential businesses and industries that could benefit from these strengths and abilities that are already present in Springhill. The committee will also create a list of former residents of Springhill who may be interested in returning and bringing small or medium-size businesses with them.

The group highlighted the distinctive mining history of the Town of Springhill as well as the Anne Murray Center as very unique assets for the town.

Marshall encourages anyone with an idea or proposal on how to attract people, business or investment to Springhill to contact him at 597-3464.

Casey and Marshall are not the only high profile Tories taking on leading roles in challenging the Town of Springhill’s decision to dissolve and seeking alternatives. Former Cumberland South MLA Murray Scott has taken a leading role leading a concerned citizens committee, which the attending audience at the May 1st public meeting encouraged to seek official intervener status when the town makes its application with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to dissolve.

Progressive Conservative leader and current MLA for Cumberland South, now serving his second term as the local representative, Jamie Baillie has come out as a supporter for financially strapped communities in the province to explore dissolution, but during last week’s concerned citizens meeting said the process in Springhill has been marred by the lack of consultation and information, and will seek changes to the Municipal Government Act to include public consultation to the municipal dissolution process in the future.

“I’ve had as many concerned citizens from the county ask what’s happening in Springhill as I have from people in Springhill,” Baillie said at that meeting.

Email: christopher.gooding@tc.tc

Twitter: ADNchris

Organizations: Anne Murray Center, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board

Geographic location: Springhill, Cumberland South

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Recent comments

  • Debbie
    May 26, 2014 - 14:17

    I think a lot of you are missing the point, how could the town get in so bad of shape since the last election of a new mayor, we were making progress over the last few years in bringing the debt down. I think we need an investigation of the books over the last year to see who spent what money, and where did it go. Something doesn't smell right, these people that are running our town sure what to get rid of it in a hurry, could this be a cover up?????

  • Daniel B
    May 10, 2014 - 07:59

    Even if Casey brings industry to Springhill the citizens of the town will chase it away just like they did every other time industry tried to come to town. They needed to save those Minimum Wage Tourist jobs they were busy creating. Springhill needs a strip mine.

  • Doug.P
    May 09, 2014 - 08:08

    Why do you make the narrow assumption that these meetings are where the solution to Springhill's problems is going to somehow magically spring forth? These meetings are nothing more than easily roused mobs for the politicians in attendance to use for their own agendas.These meetings are no majority of concerned citizens at all, although they claim to be.

  • Realistic
    May 09, 2014 - 06:57

    There seems to be big difference in opinions from the public meeting, and opinions read on here. Were any of you who think dissolution is the way to go at the meeting? Did you speak your opinion? I suggest you should go to the next meeting, and have your say, and become part of the process.

  • Road to nowhere
    May 08, 2014 - 21:35

    This concerned citizens group stuff is getting sillier by the second. First, the Springhill police panic. Second, the cops call Murray Scott. Third, Scott calls Bill Casey. Fourth, they form a concerned citizens coalition. Fifth, Bill Casey walks out on a huge limb and tells people to be patient because he’s going to bring new industry to Springhill and, Sixth, I laugh myself silly. It’s amazing how the cops have been able to get all these people, some of who are highly respected, to line up, put their reputations on the line, and dance to the same tune. It’s incredible. But if this group succeeds in killing amalgamation with the county the dance will stop, inertia will set in, and we’ll still be driving the worst roads in Nova Scotia, we’ll still be paying the highest taxes in Nova Scotia, and we’ll still be watching as our homes crumble and our population dies. Meanwhile, the cops, Scott, Casey and the all the people at town hall who got us into this mess will join hands, throw their heads back in laughter and chortle at our gullibility. I hope history keeps a clear playlist of each of these characters and the role they played in this farce/tragedy.

  • Citizen Joe
    May 08, 2014 - 16:58

    Before I get started, I have great respect for Doug Marshall and I am surprised that he is getting caught up in this. This committee has one agenda "save the police department, not do what is best for all the citizens, which includes up to 40 percent seniors. Lets say that 250 people moved back here and of that 250 people, 50 people bought homes and 5 set up a business, it would be over two years before any taxes were received by the town, meanwhile the debt gets bigger because there isn't a tax base and seniors are forced out of their homes or die and no longer pay any taxes. We still have the deficit to pay off. Also where are the 250 people going to find jobs, seniors on fixed incomes will not move here No one is going to move here with the present tax rate $2.25/$100 or the business tax near $5.00/$100. This town would only be putting off the inevitable and may lose more in the long run, because now the County of Cumberland is willing to assist us. I have not always agreed with Town Council, but having done some research on this and seeing Canso, Hantsport, Bridgetown go this route, Pictou and New Glasgow already joined services with Pictou County and other Towns are considering this move, as well as, our MLA Jamie Baillie says this is a good option. The Mayor and Council should be congratulated for standing up for ALL the citizens of Springhill

  • Citizen Joe
    May 08, 2014 - 16:55

    Before I get started, I have great respect for Doug Marshall and I am surprised that he is getting caught up in this. This committee has one agenda "save the police department, not do what is best for all the citizens, which includes up to 40 percent seniors. Lets say that 250 people moved back here and of that 250 people, 50 people bought homes and 5 set up a business, it would be over two years before any taxes were received by the town, meanwhile the debt gets bigger because there isn't a tax base and seniors are forced out of their homes or die and no longer pay any taxes. We still have the deficit to pay off. Also where are the 250 people going to find jobs, seniors on fixed incomes will not move here No one is going to move here with the present tax rate $2.25/$100 or the business tax near $5.00/$100. This town would only be putting off the inevitable and may lose more in the long run, because now the County of Cumberland is willing to assist us. I have not always agreed with Town Council, but having done some research on this and seeing Canso, Hantsport, Bridgetown go this route, Pictou and New Glasgow already joined services with Pictou County and other Towns are considering this move, as well as, our MLA Jamie Baillie says this is a good option. The Mayor and Council should be congratulated for standing up for ALL the citizens of Springhill

  • Doug.P
    May 08, 2014 - 12:50

    Asking people to return to Springhill under the current tax rates is comical. This is a solution? Really?It is the same as asking a victim of looting to return for more of why he left in the first place. Default of the debt so that you can lower the taxes, and most importantly, tar and feather any politician who claims he has a solution to Springhill's problems.

  • Silas
    May 08, 2014 - 11:58

    Where were all these "big wigs" 10 or 20 years ago when they were our representatives and Ralph Ross invented geothermal. Springhill sits on a gold mine...its like a gift from God.

  • more of the same
    May 08, 2014 - 11:28

    This committee if truly interested in increased business for Springhill would be advocating amalgamation with Cumblerland county . That is how to reduce Springhill taxes . With reduced taxes business will look at coming to Springhill , otherwise it is a non starter . Too late for these guys to be pretending to be concerned as they were in office for years and accompolished very little . These Tory committees are just smokescreens for the police force and unions to keep more of the same old unworkable formula .

    • Citizen Joe
      May 08, 2014 - 17:28

      Your right on the mark. No one is going to move here and pay the highest taxes in the Province. We are lucky to have the co-operation between Springhill Town Council, the County of Cumberland and the Province of Nova Scotia trying to do what is best for all citizens of Springhill, not just a few private interests. Its time this so called committee started doing what is best for all citizens, shut up and let Council do what is best for everyone. I am sure they just didn't make this decision by themselves they likely consulted the Province, the County and its creditors. We will still be Springhill.