Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister Mark Furey announced today, March 10, the appointment of John Leefe, a former mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality and long-time provincial cabinet minister, as transition co-ordinator to oversee the change in governance for the Town of Springhill.
Region of Queens Mayor John Leefe stands beside the wall of photos at the RQM Municipality building. Leefe was mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality from 2000 until 2012.
"Mr. Leefe understands the challenges municipalities face and the community sensitivities in advancing municipal reform," said Furey. "For 33 years, the people of Queens trusted him to lead them to a stronger future. The Region of Queens Municipality is a perfect example of successful municipal governance."
Leefe is a former educator, author of several books and was the MLA for Queens from 1978 to 1999, serving in several cabinet posts. He was elected mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality three times before stepping down in October 2012.
"I look forward to working with these two municipalities to achieve their mutual goal of a new municipal unit that will more effectively meet the needs of local taxpayers," said Leefe. "We all recognize the necessity of moving forward with appropriate dispatch while ensuring that all interested parties are engaged and informed throughout."
The Town of Springhill's municipal council has applied to the Utility and Review Board for dissolution of the town after 125 years of incorporation. Leefe will facilitate the process, as outlined in the Municipal Government Act, and guide discussions for the town to become part of the Municipality of the County of Cumberland effective April 1, 2015.
"Mr. Leefe has seen the result when two communities work together to find a new model to governance. We are pleased that he has agreed to assist us through this process," said Springhill mayor Maxwell Snow. "Now that we have made application to dissolve, it is important that we move quickly to ensure the long-term viability of Springhill."
"Mr. Leefe's experience in municipal government will be an asset," said Cumberland County warden Keith Hunter. "At the end of the day it's all about the residents of Springhill and making the transition as smooth as possible for the community."
The province will continue to provide support during the process to help the Town of Springhill and the Municipality of the County of Cumberland reach an agreement.