Purchase of NSPE by the county a premature move, Truro councillor says

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TRURO - Truro and Bible Hill will lose representation on the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition (NSPE) commission if the facility is purchased by the County of Colchester, a board member says.

"So, basically you are saying to the Town of Truro and the Village of Bible Hill, your voice is no longer being heard here," said Truro Coun. Greg MacArthur, should the county be successful in its bid to buy the NSPE facility and its grounds.

MacArthur was recently appointed as the town's representative to the NSPE board, after its previous rep, Raymond Tynes, was appointed interim general manager.

The NSPE board recently voted by a margin of five to two to accept an offer from the county to purchase the site. And on Thursday night, Colchester County voted to set aside $500,000 from its reserves towards the potential purchase of the NSPE facility.

If the agreement proceeds, the majority of that money would be used to pay off more than $400,000 the NSPE owes to the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board, which currently holds the deed to the property.

Earlier this week, Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell announced that the province will be hiring a company to conduct a financial audit of the NSPE's books.

Commission chairman Bruce Kennedy has said he believes no decision should be made until that audit is complete, a position that MacArthur said he agrees with.

"I think that they put the cart before the horse. They should wait for this audit to get done and basically go from there," MacArthur said.

He added he was one of the NSPE members who voted against the county proposal.

"And one of the reasons I voted no on it, and I don't mind saying to anybody, is if this deal does goes through, Truro town council and the Bible Hill Village commission are no longer part of the commission voting board members. So Truro is basically taken off the table and so is Bible Hill," he said.

MacArthur said the NSPE property was purchased in the 1950s with equal $20,000 contributions by the county and the town along with $40,000 from the province to remain as an overall community entity.

"This is a community asset," he said. "I commend the five (Colchester County) councillors that voted no on this and we should be basically waiting for the minister and the Department of Agriculture to do their work before we even think about selling a community asset like the exhibition grounds."

hsullivan@trurodaily.com

Twitter: @tdnharry

Organizations: NSPE board, Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board, Truro town council Bible Hill Village commission Department of Agriculture

Geographic location: Truro, Colchester County, Village of Bible Hill

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