New Brunswick Tribune

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Municipalities in New Brunswick are preparing to merge as sweeping reforms

Key takeaways:

  • As part of the province government’s municipal reforms, the two municipalities will unite. It was narrowly defeated in 2015.
  • Scholten said he’s heard from Nackawic’s mayor about his reservations about merging with the closest community.

The Village of Sussex Corner and the Town of Sussex will be combined.

The two municipalities will merge as part of the provincial government’s municipal reforms. In 2015, it was narrowly defeated.

Sussex Mayor Marc Thorne stated that when a new council was elected in Sussex Corner, it was evident that the two villages desired to be one.

“The mayors and councils of both communities are unsurprised. “We understood that once we declared we wanted to merge, it was almost a done thing,” he said in an interview Monday.

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“We knew we’d be merged regardless of whether we sent those letters or not because that’s what this exercise was all about: finding communities of interest and bringing them together.”

Before the white paper, Sussex Corner Mayor Wayne Wilkins wrote to both the Minister of Local Government and Local Governance Reform also the Thorne about the concept of amalgamation, he said.

The relationship, according to Thorne, was a “natural fit.”

Fire and police services are shared between the two villages. The settlement also receives trash management and sanitary services from the town.

New Brunswick municipalities prepare for amalgamation amid sweeping reforms

He believes the structure should be similar to what was proposed in 2015, which included a mayor and seven councilors, two from each of Sussex Corner and Sussex wards.

“Not everyone is happy with what’s going to happen,” Thorne said, “but I think you’ll see a lot of buy-in in our area with Sussex and Sussex Corner.”

According to the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick, this is exactly what the organization has been calling for, although there will be some bumps along the way.

The revisions had both pros and negatives, according to the organization’s president, Alex Scholten.

He added that certain details about financial accountability need to be clarified, such as if some people would be paying for services they don’t receive or vice versa.

“It is, without a doubt, just what we asked for. Is it flawless? No. Is it up to par? Yes. But there are some huge problems about some zones [or] new communities if you want to call them that,” he added in an interview on Sunday.

Scholten said he’s heard from Nackawic’s mayor about his reservations about merging with the closest community, which is 26 kilometers away.

“The communities will have to begin cooperating.” “We’ll see how that works,” he added. “There is a need, without a doubt, but the details of how this is going to play out are a significant concern.”

All but five of the new bodies detailed in the white reform paper will have elections next year.

Source: Global News

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