A public forum planned for August 29 in Bridgetown will be looking at municipal governance in Annapolis County, focusing on redundancies and duplication of services that could be costing taxpayers in the county and three towns a lot of extra money.
“In recent times, our local governments have seen troubled times,” said organizers of the 7 p.m. meeting set for the Bridgetown Lions Hall. “The status quo for municipal governance does not appear to be working very well. With four separate municipal governments for less than 24,000 residents of Annapolis County, there are duplications, inefficiencies, conflicts, and a lack of cooperative efforts that hold this region back.”
Heather LeBlanc of Granville Ferry, and Anne Crossman of Centrelea are organizing the event and say the forum is being held to discuss the future of this part of Nova Scotia in light of the difficulties they perceive.
“It has been said that if we don’t decide what we want by way of government, someone else will decide for us,” they said. “We believe that knowing what residents want and how they see the future will be very important for anyone who wants to run for election this fall.”
At the August 29 meeting, people can have their say, along with others from across Annapolis County, at a public get together. There will be a chance for people to tell their story and hear others tell theirs.
“Perhaps their concerns are yours; perhaps they have never crossed your mind.”
There will be a panel of people who have been looking at the way the county and towns are presently governed and who have some ideas to share.
The evening will be moderated by Dr. Peter Nicholson, a highly respected resident of Annapolis Royal. He has served in numerous posts in government, business, science, and higher education, including Deputy Chief of Staff, Policy in the Office of the Prime Minister of Canada.
Joining Nicholson on the panel will be Steve Hawboldt, the retired executive director of the Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP) and a columnist for The Annapolis County Spectator who has written about this subject. There will also be two other yet-to-be-confirmed panelists.
On October 20, Nova Scotians will vote for the next mayors, wardens, and councillors.
“Municipal elections are the closest democratic process we have,” said LeBlanc and Crossman. “This is grass roots governance. This will be true in Annapolis County and the three towns within its boundaries.” They said now is the opportunity, collectively, to say what type of municipal government we want for Annapolis County. They said that discussion can start on August 29.
“When we talk with each other, we discover what it is we like about where we live, where we have set down roots,” they said. “We discover how we are the same, how we are different, how we see our future, and what change is needed to move toward our goals,” said LeBlanc and Crossman.