GUYSBOROUGH: The Warden of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) continues to stand behind council’s decision to withdraw from the Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN).
“As everyone knows, we signaled our intention back a number of months ago, during our planning process and our intention, our signal was that we will not be staying within the REN,” Warden Pitts said. “The way things are presently set up, we’ll be going through budget, and our strategic planning in the next coming months and it’ll be discussed and debated at that time.”
During November’s regular municipal council meeting last Wednesday, councillor Miles MacDonald advised that he met with representatives of the Department of Municipal Affairs last week and highlighted the municipality’s concerns.
“The thing that I did point out at the meeting from Guysborough’s point of view is that we’re still going through our budgetary process,” he told council. “And that’s where [the status] is at now, and it will be an ongoing part of our decision making.”
Officials with all five municipal units in the ESREN – Antigonish County, the Town of Antigonish, the Town of Port Hawkesbury, the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s and Guysborough – submitted notices of intent to withdraw back in March.
Since those submissions, municipal, provincial and REN officials have been workingto address the concerns of municipal officials – specifically, provincial funding, the REN’s governance model, and a required three-year commitment.
Following the Town of Antigonish’s monthly council meeting last Monday, where officials passed a motion supporting the ESREN, Mayor Laurie Boucher said she hoped to hear back from the four remaining municipalities by the end of December.
Pitts said unfortunately they will not meet that requested timeline and when the municipality finally gets around to doing the budget, they’ll sit around the table, and if there’s money there, and they can see that they’ll get the bang for their buck – they’ll be back in the REN.
“What it comes down to, it’s strictly a financial decision; we’re going to be short an excess of $1 million in our budget this year,” he advised. “We have to make up that shortfall somewhere, and I certainly don’t want our residents to pick that up.”