Shelburne councils to consider amalgamation study

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Greg Bennett
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Shelburne Municipal Councillor David Levy offered impassioned arguments as he presented the reasons for the move.

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By Greg Bennett

They’re not married. They’re not even engaged yet. But some serious wooing has begun between the Town and Municipality of Shelburne towards a potential municipal marriage.

“Simply put, I feel we have too many of the same services and the same issues and the same goals not to be unified.”

That was the opinion expressed by Shelburne town councillor Tony Mahaney at last week’s amalgamation committee meeting between the Town and Municipality.

Mahaney, who chaired the ad hoc committee of the two councils, was one of the strong voices for moving ahead with a process that could see the future amalgamation of the Town of the Shelburne and the Municipality of Shelburne.

He and other members of the amalgamation committee held a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 28 to ask both councils to move to the next step, the commissioning an independent study into an amalgamation of the two units.

Shelburne Municipal Councillor David Levy offered impassioned arguments as he presented the reasons for the move.

“We are more a single community than we are different communities,” he said. “We need to stop the fragmentation and duplication of effort …The people of Shelburne and area should cooperate in every possible way to their mutual benefit, in short to be a single welcoming community of common ground and taxation rules to present to our neighbours, the province and to the world of business a good community to live in and do business.”

Other members of the committee agreed and offered their personal thoughts on why an amalgamation of the local municipal units should be considered.

Some noted the extra burden for Shelburne County groups that had to make presentations to five separate councils …a process that can take months to complete. 

“Businesses and residents coming to this area want to deal with one entity …simple is better,” said Town Councillor Elizabeth Rhuland.

Others suggested that the presence of two aging municipal buildings complete with duplicate staffs within the same town did not make sense.

Shelburne Mayor Karen Matattall welcomed the committee’s report.

“It’s never made sense to me …the amount of governance in the Town for so few people,” she said.

Shelburne Municipal Warden Roger Taylor called the committee’s report a “great first beginning” but said his council would still require an internal staff report to be completed before considering any funding for a study.

“We have to allow our council to do their work and come forward with some recommendations to us so we can make a decision on how to move forward,”

Warden Taylor said it could be months before staff could complete the report and recommendations.

 “We don’t make decisions just off the cuff and we’ll follow the process through,” he said.

While offering their understanding, some committee members questioned how long commissioning a separate staff report might delay the process.

“I wouldn’t want to see this delayed too long …this has been suggested for 18 years that I’m aware of probably more than that… so are we suggesting that we are going to move it forward or are we suggesting that we need to wait another 18 years?” asked Mahaney.

Geographic location: Shelburne County

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