EDITORIAL: Joint council drama an embarrassment to Avon Region

Carole Morris-Underhill
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The latest municipal shenanigans are an embarrassment to the citizens of the Avon Region.

At a joint council meeting March 27, when the councils of Hantsport, Windsor and West Hants were supposed to embrace enhanced municipal co-operation, we witnessed a breakdown of communication, stifled discussion and unbecoming behaviour.

How much longer must this area suffer before all parties can put aside their differences and work together?

The March meeting began on a positive note, with much discussion held regarding the various joint endeavours the municipal units are undertaking. But, that co-operation and positivity was short lived.

Before the three municipal units could sign a Joint Inter-municipal Co-operation Protocol —  a document each council has worked tirelessly on for months — West Hants Warden Richard Dauphinee requested the opportunity to discuss a letter the Town of Windsor sent to Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Affairs.

The letter, which the town allegedly forwarded to Hantsport but not West Hants until requested to do so, asks provincial minister Mark Furey to meet with Windsor town council to discuss municipal reform.

The letter states: “Our town has a promising future; however, our futures can be so much brighter as one united community… one council… one voice. We believe our economic and social potential can only be achieved working as one municipal unit, taking advantage of every efficiency and every opportunity.”

At a meeting that was to focus on working together for the betterment of the region, leaving West Hants out of the loop was a questionable move on Windsor's part. Some view it as disrespectful, a move that undermined the very essence of the protocol they were working towards signing.

Windsor Mayor Paul Beazley didn't see the relevance of discussing the letter in relation to signing the Joint Inter-municipal Co-operation Protocol. What happened next, as evidenced by listening to the conversation, was a tense, uncomfortable exchange that led to Windsor's mayor cutting off the warden on several occasions; the warden, plus two other councillors, leaving the meeting flustered; and a protocol agreement left unsigned.

It's enough to make even the most uninformed voter shake his or her head in disappointment.

How are our municipal leaders supposed to unite and work for the betterment of our region if quarrels like this continue to happen? How will they ever gain our support for any type of municipal reform when they can't see eye to eye?

Sadly, this region's representation is viewed as dysfunctional. The joint council meeting is evidence enough of the discord that exists between Windsor and West Hants. (The Town of Hantsport has all but stayed out of the drama.)

Before any serious consideration can be given to municipal reform, be it annexation, amalgamation, or the dissolution of towns, we must demand better of our elected officials. Write them with your concerns and express why it is imperative they take the high road.

We must encourage all officials to check their egos at the door, set aside personal grudges, and stop playing games. The only way this region can prosper is if councillors agree to work together and not undermine the process. If they can't, we have another couple of years of scraping by to look forward to when we should be thriving instead.


Organizations: Town of Windsor, Town of Hantsport, Municipality of West Hants

Geographic location: Windsor, West Hants, Hantsport Nova Scotia Town of Windsor Town of Hantsport Municipality of West Hants

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Recent comments

  • RA
    April 04, 2014 - 19:25

    The agenda was the signing of a Joint Inter-municipal Co-operation Protocol agreement. Since the Mayor of Windsor was not being co- operative, then Warden Dauphinee was well within his right to bring this point up at a meeting of the same. I for one will vote for Warden Dauphinee again, he has stood up for his community and is doing the right thing, as far as politicians go, he may be of hero status. When, and I say when, Windsor becomes part of West Hants, Warden Dauphinee will look after your best interests as he has ours. He doesn’t overspend our hard earned monies on luxuries we can’t afford like Windsor’s leaders have. That’s why Windsor is in the situation it is. Get over yourselves and do yourselves a favour at the same time.

  • Lynette Wile
    April 04, 2014 - 15:53

    Well written editorial. Your points were well taken and I wondered the same as you if any kind of agreement could be reached. They need to be reminded that they are supposed to be working for the best options for the taxpayer and start treating each other with respect. Enjoyed your article.

  • Eyes Wide Open
    April 03, 2014 - 16:03

    We live in a very beautiful community the Avon Region and have so much to offer, but with the Hatfield and McCoy feud that is taking place how long can tax payers last. We have so much to offer in such a short distance. Wineries, Farms, A Fishery, Cottage Country, Education, Recreation and some of the best residential developments in Nova Scotia but the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s continue to make this little piece of Paradise look like a Drunken Stupor. Warden, Mayor’s and Councillors it is truly time to embrace what we have. Communities can be run three ways Reactive, Proactive or Predictive. How many times do you hear on the street at grocery store that can’t happen here, well it has and will happen again,Ask New Glasgow. Ladies and Gentlemen it’s time to be Predictive and the Future of Hants West, Windsor and Hantsport will not survive if you don’t embrace what we have, have the Vision to look forward. Without that Vision as Leaders maybe it’s time to step down and Maybe it’s time for Public pressure to ask you to do so. It’s been one thing after another and its time that you stop taking your Ball and Net and going home before it’s too late.

  • Frank Smith
    April 01, 2014 - 10:07

    Question: Was the topic that the Warden wanted to discuss on the agenda? If not, and if he didn't ask for it to be added to the agenda then he is clearly out of order. The Mayor, as Chair of the meeting has the right to an orderly meeting. I believe the Warden needs to check his superiority complex at the door before entering any meeting.

    • Alicia Wile
      April 02, 2014 - 08:41

      Frank, in reading the article also posted by The Hants Journal, the topic was not on the Agenda.

  • Owen Leopold
    April 01, 2014 - 09:36

    I think it's time that the municipality and Windsor had a change of leaders. We need cooperation instead of all the fighting.

    • JIMMYD
      April 01, 2014 - 12:28

      Agree 100% with you Owen.....Wish there was a way the people of West Hants could demand an election and rid ourselves of this bunch of pompous a##^s that are taking up useful seats on the Municipal Council

    • Doug M
      April 01, 2014 - 15:37

      It is obvious that these blowhards are more worried about keeping their jobs then the people they represent. Next election get rid of them all and start fresh, then there wouldn't be a hidden agenda for themselves or a continuous pissing contest.