Council withdraws from MOU process

Community

STELLARTON – It took Stellarton town council a matter of minutes to end its part in the amalgamation marathon.

Town council formally agreed to withdraw its part in the joint application with the Municipality of Pictou County and the towns of New Glasgow and Pictou to the Utility and Review Board to amalgamate during a special meeting that drew more than 100 people to the fire hall.

Mayor Joe Gennoe set the tone early by ensuring the meeting would be brief and no discussion would accompany the motion.

“I want to take the high road and I want (those present) to be respectful,” he said.

The meeting was convened in response to the plebiscite where voters rejected amalgamation.

Chairs were set out for a larger crowd, but there was near unanimous applause and a standing ovation once the motion to withdraw was passed.

It was the only item on the special meeting’s agenda and was followed immediately by its adjournment and the convening of the regular Council II meeting in the nearby council chambers.

About a dozen of those who attended the special meeting gathered for the regular meeting that included a presentation of financial statements for 2015-16 and an update by officials from Heritage Gas.

There were also sundry reports from Gennoe and councillors.

Among the reports, Coun. Denise Taylor advised that the wrap-up MOU steering committee meeting would take place at 9:30 a.m. next Monday in Pictou.

When Gennoe turned the agenda to open forum, the only speaker was Lorne resident Elmer MacKay, who asked for the steering committee to account for its expenditures throughout the MOU process.

Gennoe told MacKay that his queries needed to be submitted in writing.

Coun. Simon Lawand suggested there have been past exceptions to the questions in writing provision.

“I know, and it was wrong” Gennoe retorted.

Lawand earlier cast the single nay vote when council agreed to electronic voting only at advanced polls, with the only opportunity for voting by paper ballots on the day of municipal general elections in October.

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