Civic building option re-opening at Stewiacke council meeting

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STEWIACKE - A discussion on the possibility of using the Stewiacke Community Centre as a new civic building is being re-opened.

In a year-end interview with Mayor Wendy Robinson, she said a motion to conduct a study on whether the centre, which houses the Stewiacke Fire Department, was structurally sound was defeated during council's late-November meeting.

Council, however, approved a motion during its meeting on Dec. 19 to re-open the discussion following the acceptance of a petition from residents.

"The petition was a bit unclear what they were asking for, so we have asked for clarification, but council accepted the petition and decided to reconsider the motion that was defeated to proceed with a study on the community centre," said Robinson.

Robinson said the councillors discussed the petition at the December meeting and will again discuss the option at this week's committee of the whole meeting.

"I applaud the citizens for exercising their democratic right, however, to be a true democracy, council has to follow proper procedures," she said. "No decision has been made on this building."

During the November council meeting, a motion was made to continue looking at the community centre as a viable option for the home of the town hall and library. The continuation would include bringing in a structural engineer to see if the centre could be used for the civic building, whether that meant adding onto the existing structure or using what was there.

The mayor said of the seven elected officials who were able to vote, only six were in attendance and half voted for the motion, while the other half were against it.

Robinson said that the tied motion was defeated.

"I think it's wonderful that they are expressing their opinions, but in a true democratic process, a motion needs to have more than 50 per cent of the vote," she said.

The petition has a heading of ‘Stewiacke Town Council: new civic building or utilize existing town structures?" There are three points in the petition - the potential to save taxpayers' dollars, saving construction costs and recycling or reusing existing buildings.

The petition questions how much foot traffic goes through the town hall to require a new building.

The petition then allows citizens to add their voice, however, it doesn't exactly pinpoint what citizens are petitioning or requesting.

"The citizens are an important voice that we need to listen to, but the bottom line is that evening, the motion was defeated," said Robinson.

Twitter: @TDNRaissa

Organizations: Stewiacke Town Council, Stewiacke Fire Department

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