© John DeCoste - kingscountynews.ca
Kings County's chief administrative officer Tom MacEwan speaks to council June 16.
UARB hearing set for June 19
The Municipality of Kings County will seek formal standing at the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board hearings into the dissolution of the Town of Hantsport.
County councillors voted unanimously June 16 at a special meeting.
On April 16, Hantsport voted to submit an application to the review board to formally dissolve the town and annex the community to either Kings or West Hants.
Kings County chief administrative officer Tom MacEwen said in his presentation that preliminary hearings are set for June 19 “to canvass procedural issues and to consider what information is required in advance of the full hearing.”
At the preliminary hearing, the board is entitled to hear from “a representative of any municipality to which the area of the town, if dissolved, might be annexed to or form part of.”
At the full hearing, the UARB will hear from the parties, any witnesses who prepared studies, and any other witnesses called by the parties. The public will also be provided with an opportunity to comment.
After the hearing, the board may dissolve the town and annex it to either of the neighbouring municipalities, as well as determine whether the area is to be an additional polling district or part of an existing polling district.
The board will also determine whether the area should continue as a village or as part of the municipality, and, if the former, provide for whatever is necessary to convert the former town to a village. The director of assessment will be directed to make any necessary adjustments in the assessment roll applicable to the area.
MacEwen confirmed that, if the dissolved town becoming an additional polling district in the receiving municipality, the mayor of the dissolved town is the councillor for the new district until the next election.
The assets and liabilities of a dissolved town become the assets and liabilities of the receiving municipality.
“Given that a potential outcome of the dissolution process is an order of the UARB that the Town of Hantsport is dissolved and annexed to the Municipality of the County of Kings, it is important that (municipality) be included in all aspects of the application process, including the hearings,” MacEwen said.
The councillors also passed a motion that in the interests of keeping the citizens of Kings County “in the loop” regarding the UARB proceedings, public meetings be scheduled as required in various parts of the county, at the discretion of the CAO.
“As the third largest municipality in the province, we shouldn’t be leaving our constituents in the dark as to what effect this might have on them,” Coun. Mike Ennis, who represents the area of the county closest to the county line, said in making the motion.
Coun. Wayne Atwater, who represents the other end of the county, agreed that this process is something that could end up impacting the entire county.
“Kings County has to be on notice that something might end up happening here,” Atwater said. “We need these meetings. There’s a lot in the mix here. We definitely need to keep all of Kings County in the loop.”
Coun. Pauline Raven said she felt the need for communication was twofold – “not only to keep people informed, but to hear any input our citizens might have that might help us.”
It was also agreed that, as one of the possible scenarios might see Hantsport become a Kings County village, the current villages in the county should be notified of the meeting schedule.