'We have no traditional ties, economic-wise or government-wise with Cumberland County'
BASS RIVER - A proposed change to the provincial electoral boundaries in West Colchester would lead to complications while also ignoring historic migration patterns, some residents believe.
"I would like this council to send a letter to the Electoral Boundaries Commission to ask them to take another look at that," Colchester County Coun. Tom Taggart said during a recent council meeting.
"To me it's wrong. We have no historic relationship whatsoever to Cumberland County."
The proposed change would see about 1,000 residents between the Five Houses Road and the county line in Five Islands placed under a riding known as Cumberland Fundy Shore as part of provincial restructuring aimed at realigning ridings whose populations fall outside a 25 per cent variance in the provincial average.
Under that scenario, residents in Five Houses, Economy, Bass River and Five Islands would be served by the MLA from Cumberland County. Currently, they are served by the MLA from Colchester North.
Taggart, who has already written his own letter of concern to the commission, told the Truro Daily News on Wednesday that such a move would force him, as the municipal councillor for the area, to deal with two MLAs when trying to resolve constituent concerns, while also creating confusion and inconvenience for residents.
"The problem is, that we have absolutely no connection, and I'm not saying this against the people in Springhill or Cumberland South, but the folks certainly from Economy Mountain to the Five Houses Road have no connection, or very little connection with Cumberland County or Springhill," he said. "You know, myself personally and I don't want this to be a slight against Cumberland County at all, but traditionally I migrated this way for everything I do. I haven't been to Springhill for 10 years. Probably Parrsboro once a year.
"I just don't want to have to go looking for my MLA down there."
Bass River resident Jim Grue, who is also a member of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, shares Taggart's concerns.
"All our utilities from the power to the telephone, our municipal taxes, the school system, everything feeds into the West Colchester/Truro area, and to have us cut off from that in an MLA situation and move to Cumberland County just does not seem appropriate," Grue said.
Not only would it complicate things for residents, he said, but "we would be the farthest away from Amherst of any of the areas and, I assume, the farthest away from the MLA as well. For approximately 200 years we've been part of West Colchester and we don't see really any reason why we should be moved out of that and put into the Cumberland area.
"Every resident is of the same opinion that I talked to. Even down to the county councillor, would all of a sudden be split in two. The school board area would be split in two. Absolutely everything. We have no traditional ties, economic-wise or government-wise with Cumberland County. Nothing wrong with Cumberland. It's always been part of Colchester and all of a sudden they are suggesting that that wouldn't be the case."
Fellow Bass River resident Wendy Cox is also against the proposed boundary change.
"My concerns are, all our business, everyone on this shore goes Truro way to do their shopping, their banking. Your schools all go that way, right from the county line towards Truro. Not very many people ... affiliate with Amherst at all," she said.
"That's our biggest concern. I feel if we get boundaries changed and put us into that side we are going to get lost. We have wonderful representation right now and we'd like to keep it."
The commission reviewing Nova Scotia's provincial electoral boundaries has set an Aug. 31 deadline for the final report.