Transition committee to choose new municipal name, not local voters

Mayor Shawn Mesheau

Sackville Mayor Shawn Mesheau says the municipal reform transition committee will meet behind closed doors on Wednesday, May 11th to discuss whether to choose Tantramar Township or Beauséjour Township as the name for the new municipality now known as Entity 40.

He adds that, among other things, the committee will look at the many e-mails it has received about the names via the address

“It’s really good that there’s people who are engaged and that are providing the feedback,” Mesheau said in an interview on Friday after he and other municipal representatives met privately with Daniel Allain, the minister of local government reform.

The mayor described the meeting with Allain as “encouraging” because it focused on local services including the maintenance of highways, the Sackville hospital and schools.

He added that when they meet on Wednesday to discuss the new name, committee representatives from Sackville, Dorchester and the surrounding local service districts will also consider what they’ve heard from local residents.

Mesheau says people will not get to vote on the new name as they did in Grand Bay-Westfield where 2,165 residents cast ballots.

Voters there preferred the name Grand Bay-Westfield over four others: Nerepis Valley, Westfield, Hillandale and Three Rivers.

Mesheau says the voting was a local initiative.

“That was something that Grand Bay-Westfield did on their own,” he says. “Their community paid for it, so everything that was done there was all financed through their budget.”

He says the transition committee here could have gone for a vote, but decided instead to be “clear and concise” by choosing names that resonate with residents, providing historical information and then soliciting other suggestions as well as feedback on the names.

The deadline for submitting the new name to the province is Monday, May 16.

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8 Responses to Transition committee to choose new municipal name, not local voters

  1. Dave Bailie says:

    As many others residents of this ‘Entity’ I have been pondering & trying to come up with a suitable name for this fiasco. I am torn between “Higgs’s Folly” & ” Mesheau’s Muddle”. I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter what I, or anyone else, actually thinks as the ‘forever name’ will be decided not by the majority, but by ‘the few’. New Brunswick style Democracy at its best; hahaha

  2. Percy Best says:

    With the impending takeover of our currently locally managed town by the head honchos in Fredericton, it would disappointedly appear that several from here have jumped ship to join up with the new remote management that is just over the horizon. Where does that leave us?

  3. Doris MacWilliams says:

    This the most undemocratic exercise I’ve ever witnessed

  4. Peter says:

    Our so called Mayor should really be known as Caspar Milquetoast. He really seems to believe that by cow-towing to First Minister Higgs he can survive another election. The deadline for citizens to offer a suggestion on the name of the so called “entity” of Sackville, Dorchester and surrounding communities was announced for May 16. We haven’t even arrive at that date now, but clearly a higher power has vetoed the announcement. So the name will not come from a far distant planet, or, more to the point, from its future amalgamated citizenry. Rather, it will only come from on high, through a wise, anonymous, all seeing Committee. In the next faux election, it will no doubt be “Bye-bye Caspar”. But it won’t matter any more, because the die will be cast while the imposed moniker will be a fait accompli.

    In the mean time, under minister Alain, we have a case of egregious insult to all the citizens who live in the government-imposed border lines of “entity” 40 and make up of a new council will have to bow down to the rules of OUR “entity”. As Minister Alain is quoted as saying: “There’s [?] some councillors that were in constant communications with me and constant communications with the department and [they] actually participated,” Did he he really have to stoop to disallowing the opinions of other councillors, as if they should have approached to kowtow on bended knee? Outrageous presumption! The opinions and preferences of all the people who will constitute the new “entity” are equally tossed into the ether. Nevertheless, we do know that Minister Alain is only the strawman-messenger for First Minister Higgs, who dreamed up this catastrophic transfer of fiscal responsibilities while leaving the numerous “entities” struggling to figure out how much they can raise local tax rates to a level that will support the new needs and obligations they will face. The completely catastrophic mess is typical of Mr. Higgs’ agenda: cut taxes to big business and let the plebs live on the crusts.

  5. Alice Cotton says:

    Sad to say, but I am beyond caring about the name of this entity, at this point. The real underlying issue is the lack of vision for this region, as concerns housing. Want to help Ukrainian refugees? Oops, can’t, no housing available. Want to hire new nurses? Oops, can’t, no housing available. Want to improve the Drew by hiring more staff? Oops, can’t, no housing available. Want the entity to grow? Oops, can’t, no housing available for families. Want to feel good about our community and its residents? Oops, can’t, no affordable housing available.

    • Dave Bailie says:

      This morning I noticed a For Rent sign on King St. – apartment building next to Kingdom Hall.

  6. Kata List Productions says:

    Looking forward to the election in November.. this is all getting very very interesting to me.
    I see this as an opportunity to really shake up the status quo in the region.. I call it Tantramarshire .. doesn’t really matter the govt selected minions’ label to me.. there are so many things this place could be .. I remain optimistic to be honest.

  7. Sharon Hicks says:

    I’ve been reading the various comments and mulling this issue over in my mind … and one question rises to the top – what were the OTHER names which the committee received and examined, in order to arrive at the two ‘main’ ones which they presented to the public?

    Why were we (the voting public) NOT advised of ALL the names which were suggested / examined / considered by that select group of 4 members of the larger Transition team advisory committee?? In order for citizens to be ‘advised and involved’, we should at least know what the other suggestions were. For instance, how many individuals suggested ‘Tantramar’ as a name, compared with the number who suggested ‘Beausejour’??

    The name Beausejour, which we were told was the ‘2nd place’ choice, presents a few obstacles right off the bat … for starters, notice I typed it with no acute accent over the 2nd ‘e’ in the word, because that option is not available on my English keyboard.

    Then, how would we ever manage to distinguish the municipal area Beausejour (Entity 40) from the Federal Electoral riding of Beausejour? It would simply not be sensible for both to have the same name.

    Historically, other than the name of Fort Beausejour, which was only in use for 5 years (1750 – 55), before being renamed Fort Cumberland, and not renamed Beausejour until after it was named a national historic site in the 1930s. Some examples which have been given for ‘local content’ involved a hotel, a choral group, and something else – all located in Moncton! Nothing to do with our local area at all.

    The name Tantramar, on the other hand, is already long known world-wide to be related to this area. Google it, and you will see for yourself. The name appears locally in so many varied uses – from the Tantramar River, to the Tantramar Marsh, to the Tantramar Memorial Veterans Civic Centre, to the local historical organization Tantramar Heritage Trust, to numerous businesses, and so on.

    As well, while the name Beausejour salutes just one of our ‘founding peoples’ – the French, the name ‘Tantramar’ references the English spelling in use now, back to the French “Tintamarre’, and even further back to the Indigenous peoples’ name for this general area – ‘Tantama’.

    The way I see it, there really is just one logical ‘obvious’ choice.

    My main point here is that this naming process was just about the only part of this whole forced reform which ‘could’ have involved true local input from citizens, as other municipalities have done. Instead, however, it has unfortunately fallen into line with the whole overall Closed-Door Secrecy which has shrouded this whole Reform schmozzle. One needs to ask “whose choice was that?”

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