The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board has dismissed the amalgamation application submitted by the towns of Stellarton, New Glasgow, Pictou and the Municipality of the County of Pictou.
In April, the board determined that amalgamation was in the best interests of residents of this area; however, the final decision was based, in part, on the result of the plebiscite.
“… In three of the four affected municipal units, the electors have expressed a clear opinion that, in their view, amalgamation should not occur. In New Glasgow, about two thirds of electors favoured amalgamation,” stated the document released by the NSUARB today, June 22.
The Municipality and Stellarton both withdrew; however, the towns of Pictou and New Glasgow decided to stay in the process.
The document went on to compare Pictou to the application for amalgamation of Antigonish ending in 2006, which was denied by the board because of the apparent lack of public support.
“The board observes that there is one difference between the circumstances in Antigonish at that time and the present circumstances. As evidenced by the work of the MOU Steering Committee and the original motions of the respective councils to pursue this application, there was clearly a collaborative effort to present this amalgamation option to the board and to the electorate. While this view was not ultimately accepted by most of the electors (except in New Glasgow), this co-operation may provide some optimism for the future as the municipal units address the issues affecting their residents.
“While the towns of New Glasgow and Pictou did not withdraw from the application, the board considers that there is no practical option, on the basis of the present evidence, to contemplate an amalgamation of New Glasgow and Pictou. However, the board does note that many of the concerns expressed at the hearing by members of the public, and by the witnesses, will likely persist after this proceeding is completed, because the issues are inherent in the present governance structure.”