Sackville’s deputy mayor says the province wants to have a name chosen by the end of the month for what’s now known as Entity 40, the new municipality that will include Sackville, Dorchester and surrounding local service districts.
“It’s the end of April,” Andrew Black told council on Monday. “I think that was the absolute last date…
“The timeline is tight,” he added.
Black serves on a naming subcommittee that includes the mayor and deputy mayor of Dorchester as well as a representative from Point de Bute.
He reported that the subcommittee met recently with Paul Bogaard of the Tantramar Heritage Trust, Mt. A. Professor Lauren Beck and Bob Hickman of the Westmorland Historical Society.
“We met with those three individuals, got some sort of history and context of the area [and] got some suggestions for names,” Black said.
“We do have some names. I’m not going to say what they are currently,” he said, adding that the subcommittee would also consult with Fort Folly First Nations Chief Rebecca Knockwood.
“Once we have a compiled list of names, then we will start doing the public engagement session piece of it,” he said.
“We don’t exactly know what that looks like yet, but there will be definitely outreach and public engagement as to the choosing of the name for the new entity,” Black added.
“If we want to be able to get good engagement from the public, then we need to start pushing on it fairly hard and fairly quickly.”
Municipal reform worries
Meantime, Sackville Town Council is expected to hold more discussion next week on a question that could have implications for local taxpayers.
It involves whether Sackville should support calls to delay the provincial plan to expand the powers of the 12 regional service commissions (RSCs).
“They will do a lot more than they’re currently doing and how are they going to do that and with whose money?” Councillor Sabine Dietz asked during Monday’s council meeting.
She was referring to the province’s plan to give the RSCs, including the Southeast Regional Service Commission, added responsibilities in such areas as economic development, tourism promotion, regional transportation and the cost-sharing of recreational facilities.
The RSCs will also work with a government agency known as the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation to provide, among other things, affordable housing and immigrant settlement services.
“We know who’s going to pay for all of those services and yet we don’t know how much it is going to be,” Dietz said.
“It’s going to have a major impact on municipalities.”
The Union of the Municipalities of New Brunswick (UMNB) is asking its members to support its appeal to the province to delay expanding the powers of the RSCs until after the elections for new local governments have been held in November.
In a letter sent to the provincial minister of local government on March 11, the UMNB expresses worries shared by municipal leaders across the province.
“We have been told by our members that there are concerns about the mandates and financial implications of the new RSCs,” the letter says.
“The expanded mandates have also caused concerns on how the proposed new services will co-exist with municipalities that currently offer affordable and effective services,” it adds.
Both Dietz and Councillor Bill Evans advocated endorsing the UMNB’s calls for delay.
“It [would] also give us as a community…more time to better understand what financial and service delivery implications these changes will have,” Dietz said.