Springhill files dissolution application to utility and review board

Darrell Cole, The Amherst News
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Preliminary hearing scheduled for June 18 at community centre

SPRINGHILL – Springhill has moved another step toward surrendering its status as a town.

Municipal Affairs Minister Mark Furey looks on while Springhill's transition co-ordinator John Leefe speaks during a recent press conference in Halifax.

The town has filed an application to dissolve to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board and a public hearing has been scheduled for June 18 at the Dr. Carson and Marion Community Centre.

The application was filed with the utility and review board on May 15 and the town received notice of the preliminary hearing last Thursday.

“The preliminary hearing will be open to the public to see, but it will not be an opportunity to make comment on the application. That will come later, probably in mid-September,” the man overseeing the amalgamation process said on Monday.

The purpose of the meeting is to determine what studies should be prepared, to consider requests from individuals or groups to be granted formal standing and to set a date for a public hearing to consider the proposed dissolution.

Leefe said the transition process is progressing pretty much as expected, including the hiring of former Kings County CAO and consultant Brian Smith as the transition manager.

Smith, of BTS Management Consulting, played a key role developing the Kings Partnership Steering Committee and other shared services initiatives for municipal broadband, joint wastewater treatment, emergency management and volunteer fire services

Smith will prepare the requests for proposals for the consultants’ studies that will be requested by the utility and review board.

Leefe said all of the information regarding the town’s application to the utility and review board is on the UARB website. The names of town employees and who owes back taxes are not included on the site, although the utility and review board has the information.

Although the town has set April 1, 2015 as the date it plans to join the Municipality of Cumberland, utility and review board chief clerk Elaine Wagner said in a letter to Mayor Max Snow the date may be tough to meet.

“The board sees this as a deadline which may be challenging to meet, given the various steps which will have to occur if dissolution does indeed happen on that date,” Wagner said in the letter. “The board thinks it’s important for all parties to form a clear picture as soon as possible of just what process this application for dissolution may involve.”

Following June’s preliminary hearing, Wagner sees the summer being spent preparing and filing studies and reports that may be required by the preliminary order with hearings on the merits in the fall and the preparation and issuance of the board’s decision in late fall or early winter.

If the decision is appealed, the timeline would “immediately be at risk.”

Anyone wishing to appear at the June 18 meeting must submit written notice by June 13.

For more information, contact the clerk of the board, PO Box 1692, Unit M, Suite 300, 1601 Lower Water St., Halifax, Nova Scotia B3J 3S3, call toll-free at 1-855-442-4448 or (902) 424-4448, fax number is (902) 424-3919 or email isboard@gov.ns.ca.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, BTS Management Consulting, Kings Partnership Steering Committee UARB

Geographic location: Kings, Cumberland, Halifax

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