Governance study petition results to be presented to Kentville town council

Kirk Starratt kstarratt@kingscountynews.ca
Published on February 24, 2016

KENTVILLE - Results of the Kings Citizens Coalition’s online petition calling on Kentville town council to act on a promise to support an independent governance study will be presented to council at the end of February.

Coalition co-chairman David Ritcey said the petition was developed in response to a statement by Mayor Dave Corkum that council was not hearing from citizens on the need for change. Ritcey said this was the explanation given when Kentville reversed a decision made two-and-a-half years ago to support the study.

“We had an overwhelming response of close to 600 who supported the petition,” Ritcey said in a Feb. 24 news release. “In addition, over 200 took the time to make additional comments.”

The petition, which is now closed, was made available online in early January. Ritcey said that, because of the high level of interest, he anticipates that a number of residents will attend the council meeting Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. to hear what council is going to do to respond to “the overwhelming demand for action on an independent governance study.”

He said Kentville reversed its decision after Wolfville town council and Kings County council announced they supported the initiative.

In July 2013, the coalition called on municipalities for a comprehensive and robust study critically evaluating the status quo. The scope of the proposed study would involve exploring expansion of shared services and an evaluation of various forms of regional government.

In an earlier interview, Corkum said Kentville council would look forward to seeing the petition and would pay special attention to the names and addresses. More weight would be given to the opinions of those with a vested interest, including Kentville residents and business people.

He pointed out that Berwick took a firm position against the regional governance study while Kentville hasn’t said no. Council just doesn’t believe the timing is right.

Kentville wants to see the outcome of the Kings 2050 regional planning project, which will address some governance concerns, and there’s a commitment by partners involved in the Kings Partnership Steering Committee to get back on track.

Corkum said the issue to look at is amalgamation but the town would want to ensure that taxes wouldn’t increase and that there would be no reduction to service levels.