Heather Killen
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Surette on the job; Bridgetown council starts the process

Allister Surette, transition coordinator, outlines some of his professional experience in municipal affairs, and various negotiations.

By Heather Killen

The Spectator



The Bridgetown town council was provided an update about its March 31 decision to apply for dissolution during its committee of the whole meeting May 13.

Allister Surette, transition coordinator, was introduced and outlined some of his professional experience in municipal affairs, and various negotiations.

Surette was the MLA for Argyle from 1993 to 1998, and served as minister of Human Resources, minister in charge of the Youth Secretariat and the Office of Acadian Affairs, and minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs before becoming chief executive officer of the Collège de l'Acadie in 1998.

In 2003, he became vice-president for development and partnerships at Université Sainte-Anne. He was appointed president and vice-chancellor of Université Sainte-Anne on July 1, 2011.

He told council that while he was working on its behalf, he would try to communicate as much as possible with the community and ensure the process remains open and transparent.


Formal Application

Mark Peck, municipal advisor from Municipal Services Nova Scotia, said that when council voted in favour of dissolution on March 31, it was the beginning of the application process. The next step is a formal application made to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB).

He presented council with its formal application, a thick dossier that was compiled by staff and the chief administrative officer, and with help from municipal services. Copies of this information will be presented to the board as well as the Minister of Service Nova Scotia, the Municipality of the County of Annapolis, and the transition coordinator.

This information package outlines the town’s geographical boundaries, property assessments, financial situation, demographic information, and its reasons for dissolution.

Peck added the UARB requires nine pieces of information from the town as part of its formal application process. Staff, working of behalf of the town, chose to be proactive and include additional information in hopes of expediting the process and reducing requests for additional information.


Based On Canso

They compiled Bridgetown’s application based on Canso’s application process and provided other information that the board could require, he said. 

Financial statements from the town and Municipality of Annapolis were included, as well as town bylaws, development agreements, the list of properties in tax arrears, minutes of meetings and relevant correspondence were provided.

He said that after receiving the formal application, the URB will first advertise a preliminary hearing and if everything is deemed to be in order, a public meeting will be announced.

The preliminary hearing is open to the public, but there won’t be an opportunity to offer comments, or feedback. If people have comments they can apply in writing to speak during the next public meeting.


Next Steps

After the URAB has had an opportunity to review the application and hear from the province, the town and the county, it will outline the next steps and determine a timeline for the dissolution.

Over the coming weeks, the transition committee comprised of representatives from the town, county, and province will be meeting regularly to negotiate the terms of the dissolution.

The Bridgetown council wanted a bit more time to peruse the application and tabled the document until later this month.

Organizations: Bridgetown council, UARB, Youth Secretariat Office of Acadian Affairs Municipal Services Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board

Geographic location: Bridgetown, Annapolis, Nova Scotia

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