Fire Chief criticizes council
Dorchester fire chief criticizes council
Published Thursday April 21st, 2011
by Meg Edwards
Times & Transcript staff
DORCHESTER – Volunteer Fire Chief Greg Partridge chided village councillors in council chambers this week for not attending a recent public consultation meeting on regional amalgamation.
“This is a new government and it is important to be involved,” said Partridge, who has strong emotions about protecting his volunteer fire department from the effects of regional amalgamation. “I don’t want our fire department to be a Station 2 to Sackville.”
Partridge encouraged all the councillors to attend the next public meeting held by the Department of Local Government, planned for Tuesday, May 10 at 6:45 p.m. at the Riverview Lions Centre.
Mayor Melvin Goodland said that he had been attending meetings on the subject for many years, with Councillor Grant MacDonald adding that earlier forms of the Finn Report had been an “all or nothing” concept but the present government seemed to be considering a piecemeal approach.
Councillor Kim MacLeod expressed the conviction that the Finn Report would be “imposed upon the municipalities” whether they liked it or not, while Councillor Jerome Bear said that he thought that the government had never stopped working towards amalgamation.
In discussing Sackville’s written response to a survey about amalgamation given by the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick, the councillors agreed with much of what Sackville reported. It was agreed that the good aspects of amalgamation would be property tax expansions, sharing of services, and getting the LSDs to pay more of what they cost. On the negative side, the councillors agreed that proposed changes could cost more than they would bring in, even accounting for the increase in property taxes from the unincorporated areas, and would also create job losses. Councillors Macleod, MacDonald and Bear agreed that Dorchester would not be against amalgamating the smaller LSDs in their region into Dorchester.
“Because we look after them already,” said MacLeod, adding that some services would benefit from amalgamation, such as police or garbage collection, because a larger population base could have more bargaining power. Goodland pointed out that amalgamation in some situations could broaden the pool of volunteers for committees.