PORT HAWKESBURY: Town councillors have decided they will wait for more information before making a decision on a motion about the Destination Reeves Street Project.
Blaine MacQuarrie, Port Hawkesbury’s newest town councillor who was elected during a special election in December, was sworn in before January’s regular town council meeting on January 8. During the meeting, MacQuarrie introduced a motion to amend council’s proposal to remove the Reeves Street redesign, while moving forward with the remaining components.
“It’s a very serious issue and it’s one I feel very strongly about,” MacQuarrie said. “During this municipal by-election I expressed my strong reservations about the proposed road diet and how this is not an appropriate plan for Reeves Street.”
Deputy Mayor Mark MacIver seconded MacQuarrie’s motion of removing the road redesign.
“There’s been a lot of discussion around this table, but I’m not sold on the road diet,” he said. “I just haven’t got the answers I’ve asked.”
The town’s finance director, Erin MacEachen, outlined the financial impact of the road redesign as being 32 per cent of the total Destination Reeves Street project, with a price tag of $1.3 million. She pointed to concerns expressed by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency over minor amendments already made to the project.
Councillors voted to obtain more information from provincial and federal counterparts whether removing the road redesign is a possibility before making a final decision.
After the meeting, Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton said she feels the $5 million project is important to the growth of the town.
“If we are making a decision that may have a negative impact on the entirety of the project, then I think council was correct in assuring we have the correct information,” she said. “Including what are our options to either remove or keep the road diet element within the project to make sure we understand all of the ramifications from a decision like that.”
Chisholm-Beatson highlighted that rather than being a rescinded motion, where MacQuarrie would need a 75 per cent in-favour vote from council, it will be introduced as a notice of motion, which would only require a simple majority to pass at the council table.
Council will now try and get the answers they need from their funding partners, and discuss the motion at February’s regular meeting.