ANTIGONISH: Another local council is raising concerns about potential changes to the province’s Municipal Government Act (MGA).
On March 8, the Province of Nova Scotia introduced Bill 85 to amend Chapter 18 of the MGA respecting Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM). The Municipality of the District of Guysborough spoke out against the amendments, as has the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce.
On March 20, Antigonish Municipal Council added its voice to those opposing the proposed changes.
“We’re very concerned because we see this as really splitting our province up,” said Antigonish Warden Owen McCarron. “Most municipalities compete on a level playing field. We see this as really changing that. We have a lot of concerns so obviously we’re going to send a letter to the minister [of Municipal Affairs] also to the premier and out our local MLAs because this really changes the dynamics of our province.”
McCarron noted the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities (UNSM) remained silent on the issue and he said the county will also send a letter to the UNSM for their comments.
“We feel this is an issue that is going to impact municipalities right across this province,” he said.
Bill 85 is set for discussion during the spring session of the Nova Scotia Legislature.
Guysborough Warden Vernon Pitts said he spoke with mayors and wardens from Pictou County and said they aren’t happy with the proposed changes either.
“This is a bunch of smoke and mirrors by the province,” Pitts said. “It’s something that was brought forward by the minister. There is a consultation with anyone, be it municipal units, UNSM, whomever.”
Pitts said the Guysborough wants to maintain the status-quo because it’s fair.
“For clarification, our council does not want to see that charter granted to anyone but being [that] it is going to be granted, we expect to see the same consideration for ourselves as well as every other municipal unit in the province of Nova Scotia,” Pitts said. “They don’t have to treat us evenly but at least try and treat us fairly.”