Two out of three Yarmouth County councils interested in talking about consolidation
CARLA ALLEN TRI-COUNTY VANGUARD email@example.com
The Municipality of Yarmouth has accepted an invitation from the Town of Yarmouth to enter into preliminary talks regarding consolidation. However, the Municipality of Argyle is quite content with the status quo. “Argyle council is not ready to make the move to consolidation," said Warden Danny Muise. “That’s the position we took when we had these discussions in 2020. We were not convinced that it was to our benefit to go that route," he said. "With our Acadian culture, there is always a chance that we would lose that identity by consolidating. I believe municipal units can work together on regional projects without being consolidated into one unit. “I feel comfortable in saying that the majority of our council members feel the same as I do.” At a Nov. 18 meeting, Yarmouth town Coun. Gil Dares had made the motion to send correspondence to the municipalities of Argyle and Yarmouth to “determine their interest in examining the viability and process of amalgamation or consolidation.” “I think it’s time to start a conversation. This is not intended to ask for a commitment to move forward," he had said at the time. "We don’t know what we don’t know. “We need to know what the implications of consolidation would be. It’s an invitation to sit down and say, what’s it going to look like?” During the Dec. 16 Municipality of Yarmouth committee of the whole meeting, Coun. Patti Durkee said she understood that the meeting wouldn’t be about whether or not the units would consolidate, but rather, it would be about sitting down and asking what it might look like. “We’d take it back to our residents to see if it would be beneficial for the Municipality of Yarmouth because that’s our first priority," she said. "If we don’t accept this invitation, we may be missing opportunities," she added. "There are a lot of regional projects that we could maybe work together on.” Warden John Cunningham says he would "absolutely relish" the opportunity to sit down and have open discussions on consolidation followed by public input. “These would be preliminary discussions to set groundwork,” he said. Whether or not the Town of Yarmouth and Municipality of Yarmouth would continue to discuss consolidation will be decided later. OTHER CONSOLIDATIONS On July 19, 2018, two Nova Scotian municipal units – Windsor (3,700 pop.) and West Hants (15,000 pop.) – approved motions agreeing to enter into negotiations to voluntarily consolidate the two municipalities. On April 1, 2020, the units converged as the West Hants Regional Municipality. West Hants council had 10 councillors (including a warden) and Windsor had four councillors and a mayor, for a combined total of 15 elected officials. The new regional municipality has 11 councillors and a mayor. The following was first published in Municipal World, Canada’s municipal magazine: West Hants Warden Zabian says the decisions to consolidate the municipal units “while both municipal units were at their peaks of strength, was the single best and most important decision ever made in the history of these two municipal units.” Windsor Mayor Allen says the consolidation project was the most important and rewarding project she’s been involved with. “I’m very excited about the future here. The possibilities are endless.” The province provided $1.5 million to support the consolidation work.