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Putting rumours to rest: Amherst councillor says he's still living in town

Amherst town councillor Jason Blanch
Amherst town councillor Jason Blanch - Contributed

AMHERST, N.S. - Jason Blanch has heard the rumours and he wants to put them to rest once and for all.

Blanch, who is in the process of building of home outside Amherst, told council during its October session on Oct. 22 that he still resides at his Spring Street home because of the commitment he made to those who elected him to council two years ago.

“I know councillors are fielding questions about where I live, which is strange because no one has asked me,” Blanch told council. “Although I am building an off-grid home in the county, I still maintain my residence in the town and I still sleep and live in it so I can remain on council.

To that point, he has asked Amherst’s chief administrative officer Greg Herrett to investigate and seek a legal opinion about whether he continues to be an ordinary resident within the town of Amherst and what options exist for him and council should it be determined that he is not a resident under the rules of council.

“I want to clear the air for the councilors and the citizens of Amherst,” Blanch said. “I am making a significant sacrifice to stay in Amherst, away from my family and my daughter who says goodnight to me by text or Facetime. I’m making that sacrifice because I ran for office and made that commitment to the town.”

Under the Municipal Government Act, a place where a person is an ordinary resident is defined as the place a person lives and returns to when away and where the person lives and sleeps.

In 2016, longtime Amherst councilor Dave March announced his resignation because he no longer lived within the town. March, who was first elected in 2000, said he was taking up residence outside town and could no longer sit on council.

His announcement was just before the municipal election that year. March ran unsuccessfully in District 1 in the Municipality of Cumberland.

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