KENTVILLE - The Kings Citizens Coalition (KCC) wants Kentville’s town council to get on board with a regional governance study.
David Ritcey, co-chairman of the coalition, presented a petition with more than 600 signatures at a council meeting Feb. 29, calling on the council to undertake the independent governance study.
“Attempts to discredit and marginalize those citizens demanding good governance and change grows tiresome,” says the accompanying letter from the KCC.
Ritcey reminded councillors of their willingness to engage in such a study two and a half years ago, and offered up his speaking time as he invited council to state whether they are still in favour of such a study, and why or why not.
“I run these meetings, and I make the rules,” said Mayor Dave Corkum, who had some questions of his own that Ritcey declined to answer.
“Maybe you're not prepared to answer them now, so we'll just give them to you for later,” said Corkum, who went on to question the numbers in the petition itself.
“How many signatures were there? Of those signatures and comments, how many of them live in Kentville? How many of them are signing just to request the study?” Corkum asked. “Are you aware of the negative impact that this campaign may be having on local business?”
The petition was discussed with great passion when the meeting moved on to new business, and all of the councillors in turn were able to express their views. Their message remained clear: feedback from citizens is welcome, and the council remains open to finding improved methods for governance.
“We see the passion of these citizens, and we agree,” said Corkum. “We need to put Kentville first.”
Corkum questioned whether amalgamation is the best means of doing this, stating that representation for Kentville citizens at a new council would be limited to two members, and the services currently offered within the town could be impacted.
“You can say goodbye to the three-minute response time of Kentville Police,” he said.
Instead of an independent governance study, council pointed to the Kings 2050 plan, which already includes recommendations on regional governance.
“I really feel that this community is on the right track. Are we perfect? No, we're not. None of us are. I know of only one man I know who was perfect, and they crucified him. There are days when I open the Advertiser that I feel like I'm being crucified,” said Coun. Nola Folker-Hill.
“Can we do better? Yes we can,” added Corkum. “But we do it by working together rather than tearing down.”