Town faces changes, challenges
By Lois Ann Dort
MULGRAVE – The Town of Mulgrave is facing some big changes in the coming year. The first is the amalgamation of the town with the Municipality of the District of Guysborough before the next municipal election in October. At Tuesday night's regular council meeting, Stantec consultant John Heseltine gave a presentation on the proposed new electoral boundaries for the amalgamated unit.
“It looks like they'll be splitting the town,” said Mulgrave Mayor Lorne MacDonald. “We had the ward system in town; ward one, two and three. So ward one and ward two will be part of the new district nine. And part of the old ward three will become part of district three (councillor Neil DeCoff). Approximately 90 voters will be affected in the old ward three system.”
There will be public meetings on the new boundaries in both Guysborough and Mulgrave on Wednesday, January 27.
At the same time that the Town of Mulgrave is dealing with amalgamation, they are also mounting a concerted effort to ensure that the Mulgrave Memorial Education Centre (MMEC) remains in the community. Council discussed the issue on Tuesday evening and hopes to postpone the School Options Committee review of the SAERC Feeder System. Council fears the recommendation of the review will be closure of the Primary to Grade 8 school in Mulgrave.
MacDonald said, “We're trying to maintain the school for at least another year. There are things in Alberta, people coming home. At the meeting we had at the school the other night there were two young women who stood up and said, 'We moved back home and we have kids in school in Mulgrave and we expect more people will be coming.' And there is all the big projects that Guysborough has on the go; it is a bad time to look at closing the school...When people move to a town or a village they like to have a school for their children...That might draw some people connected to Mulgrave because we have a school.”
MacDonald said that good ideas came out of the public meeting held on Monday, January 18 including uses for the surplus space at the MMEC. “For example, the surplus rooms, convert that into an adult education area...Move the Professional Centre to SAERC and the School Board offices to Mulgrave. These are some options but I don't know if the school board will look at those or not. We've got to put the pressure on the school board. These are the people that are going to make the decision.”
In other business, the new water treatment plant continues to suffer from setbacks. The plant is not yet 100 percent operational. The process of commissioning the plant continues to be an arduous task due to cracks found in the clear wells. “We have to try to get those fixed before we put it into service...They have to drain the system down and patch the holes with some sort of compound and they are waiting for the engineer's report on which way to do it,” said MacDonald.
Council also heard departmental reports on Tuesday including one from the by law enforcement officer which indicated there were only 17 dog licences issued to date within the town for 2016. “The by law enforcement officer is going to start knocking on doors to get some more licenses paid,” cautioned MacDonald.
Mulgrave residents have been requesting to purchase the former CNR right of way property that abuts approximately 20 private properties in the town. Council passed on motion at the regular council meeting to move forward with the sale of these small parcels of land which belong to the town. The sale of the land will bring some revenue to town coffers mainly through increased property assessments.