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Concern mounts as Three Rivers, P.E.I. agrees to examine 2018 amalgamation agreement

MONTAGUE, P.E.I. — Some Three Rivers councillors are left with considerations after a suggestion to finish an settlement made between the province and the previous communities that now make up Three Rivers – Georgetown, Montague and the encompassing unincorporated areas.

At a latest committee of council assembly, a request for resolution was introduced earlier than council on whether or not or not the city ought to proceed with the memorandum of settlement (MOS) it had with the province.

The doc was drafted in 2018 as a strategy to get the entire communities forming Three Rivers to conform to amalgamate. A part of the doc included a breakdown of key duties and gadgets the communities needed to see proceed as they transitioned into Three Rivers, together with working to maintain Kings County Memorial Hospital’s emergency division open particular hours, amongst others.

In a cellphone interview on June 15 with Saltwire Community, Edward MacAulay, mayor of Three Rivers, mentioned he introduced up the subject as he believed the city was ready to maneuver ahead by itself with out the settlement.

“Proper now, it type of places the onus on doing what the settlement says, however we’ve existed for 4 years, we’ve constructed our personal basis now,” he mentioned. “That has been finished with representatives from Montague, Georgetown and each different neighborhood that got here collectively, and I feel we did a fairly good job with all the problems that got here ahead. We didn’t have to actually take a look at the (MOS) very a lot (over these 4 years).”

Three Rivers Mayor Edward MacAulay says the town has gotten to a point where it is able to move forward without the memorandum of settlement. He says faith and trust has to be put into the town's ability to make its own decisions. - Contributed
Three Rivers Mayor Edward MacAulay says the city has gotten to a degree the place it is ready to transfer ahead with out the memorandum of settlement. He says religion and belief must be put into the city’s potential to make its personal selections. – Contributed

Nonetheless, when the choice was introduced earlier than council, just a few councillors pushed again towards it, mentioned MacAulay.

One suspicion raised was that the request was made in an try to shut the Three Rivers administrative workplace in Georgetown, which had been working at diminished capability up till not too long ago, mentioned Coun. Cody Jenkins in a cellphone interview the identical day with SaltWire Community.

“We’ve at all times had the city workplace, and it’s at all times been open for 40 hours (per week) earlier than,” he mentioned. “Once we staffed again up and the whole lot started opening again up, I requested once we have been getting again to the 40 hours (per week). We did, however then this got here ahead.”

Jenkins was on the previous Georgetown council when the MOS was drafted. He mentioned most of the gadgets put into the doc have been issues the assorted communities felt have been vital and didn’t wish to see forged to the aspect by the brand new municipality.

Retaining the identical operations as earlier than on the Georgetown workplace was included as a kind of duties listed within the MOS, which had already been damaged when the workplace was working at diminished hours beforehand.

If the Georgetown workplace have been to shut, Jenkins mentioned it will create points for close by residents who depend on it to pay payments in individual and lack the transportation to get to Montague.

“I perceive they’ve the brand new constructing and I’m certain it is most likely a bit simpler having all your workers below one roof, however is that essentially what’s higher for all of the residents of Three Rivers and the residents of Georgetown?” he mentioned.

Three Rivers Coun. Cody Jenkins says he is concerned the suggestion to end the memorandum of settlement, created in 2018, is directly related to the increase in operating hours at the Three Rivers administrative office in Georgetown. He says if the MOS ends, the town could close the office permanently. - Contributed
Three Rivers Coun. Cody Jenkins says he’s involved the suggestion to finish the memorandum of settlement, created in 2018, is straight associated to the rise in working hours on the Three Rivers administrative workplace in Georgetown. He says if the MOS ends, the city might shut the workplace completely. – Contributed

Jenkins mentioned there are additionally different gadgets vital to the communities of Three Rivers throughout the MOS that, if it have been to finish, might be left to the aspect.

Jenkins mentioned throughout the assembly, MacAulay and CAO Jill Walsh famous the MOS hinders workers from making selections, however when he requested how, Jenkins mentioned he wasn’t given many examples.

“If you’re telling me that this doc is giving us a tough time, I feel you must most likely have two or three examples off the highest of your head,” Jenkins mentioned. “For me, the one one they got here up with was (naming) sewer and water (administrators). That’s why I really feel we actually must put a while into this and never simply throw it out. Let’s take a look at it and evaluation the doc.”

When requested concerning the limitations attributable to the MOS on Three Rivers workers, MacAulay mentioned the MOS acts as a security internet for the city, which was wanted when forming the brand new municipality however not a lot now that the groundwork has been accomplished.

“I feel the underside line is we have to have belief and religion in our resolution making and never be tied to one thing that pulled amalgamation collectively,” he mentioned. “We’ve moved on from there so far as I can see, and that’s all I needed to do – was open that dialogue to see if we needed to cope with this as council or depart it to the subsequent council to cope with.”

As for the Georgetown workplace, MacAulay mentioned there are not any plans for closing it, and that wasn’t the rationale he introduced up the MOS.

“It’s not one thing that’s meant, however it’s a actual worry they’ve. I perceive that,” he mentioned. “I feel council will not be going to let that occur if there’s a want in Georgetown and I don’t suppose the CAO would try this if there have been a necessity in Georgetown.”

On the finish of the assembly, MacAulay mentioned council agreed to go over the MOS doc to see if there are gadgets that must be checked out or negotiated with the province. He mentioned any remaining resolution on the settlement would seemingly be made close to the upcoming common election, relying on how a lot time council spends on the subject.

“It simply relies upon. To me, it appears prefer it’s fairly customary and I feel we might focus on it and get by means of it pretty shortly,” he mentioned. “However it is dependent upon what else is on our agendas and the way a lot time we are able to commit to it. I feel there may be curiosity in actually having it accomplished earlier than the election will get too far underway as a result of it might be an election concern too to a point.”

When requested, MacAulay confirmed he wouldn’t be rerunning within the subsequent election.

Cody McEachern is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. @CodyInHiFi

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