Former Springhill councillor Herb Babineau says he's fed up waiting for the Town of Springhill to answer his freedom of information request concerning its finances and policing, factors the town used to make a motion to dissolve the community.
© Christopher Gooding photo
SPRINGHILL – A former town councilor is none-to-pleased with Springhill and is taking them to court.
The decision to dissolve the community has been a hard one for many citizens here and Herb Babineau is one of them. When the present government announced it wants to dissolve the local municipal government and become part of the larger Municipality of Cumberland County, Babineau wanted to know why.
And he wanted to know exactly why.
“I filed my freedom of information [FOI] request April 11 for myself. Not the concerned citizens committee, but myself, and they still haven’t responded,” Babineau said. “So I’m doing what anyone would do and I’m asking the court to make them answer me.”
Babineau filed an FOI asking for any documents related to policing between the town, Service Nova Scotia and the provincial department of justice; copies of policing proposals by the Springhill Police Service and the RCMP stemming from the town’s policing review prior to the dissolution announcement; documents concerning the town’s financial situation and documents on the town’s financial status.
Amherst News’ sister publication, The Citizen-Record, also filed a FOI with the town in April, sending it by registered mail, requesting documents concerning the town’s financial situation between the months of March 2013 and March 2014.
That request, too, has gone unfulfilled.
As a former councilor, Babineau says the town has 30 days to reply. At a June council meeting, more than 60 days later, then-acting Chief Administrative Officer [CAO] John Boyle said progress was being made to fulfill the requests but two more months later nothing has materialized.
Now Babineau now says its time for the town to go to court.
Babineau says he’s served Springhill’s interim CAO Reg Ridgley with court papers calling on the town to appear in Amherst Provincial Court on August 21, where Babineau says he’ll formally call on the courts to make Springhill produce the documents he’s asked for.
“The old people, the former miners of this community, would turn over in their grave over this stuff,” Babineau said. “This is not the town they’d remember, and they’d want me to do it, so here I am taking them to court.”
CAO Ridgley confirmed the town will have representation at the Aug. 21, meeting.