© Tourism P.E.I. photo
Overhead view showing the Prince County community of Bedeque.
BEDEQUE — Amalgamate and choose your neighbours, or be amalgamated by the province and who knows who you’ll end up with.
That was the predominant line of thinking at a recent meeting of Bedeque residents at the local United Church.
The meeting, which lasted a little more than an hour, had been called to discuss the idea of Bedeque and Central Bedeque amalgamating into a single municipality.
One resident summed up the situation like this:
“I think it’s a good idea,” he said.
“If we don’t amalgamate — we’re going to be amalgamated, and it might not be with who we want to be with. Right now we have a say.”
That idea was repeated throughout the evening and in the end, when chairwoman Lori Clow asked for anyone in attendance that had concerns to voice them, nobody spoke out against joining with Central Bedeque.
There were, however, various concerns and questions people had, such as what the financial situation of a joined council would look like, what amalgamation would do for tax rates and what the new council itself would look like.
Clow told the residents that according to preliminary meetings between the two councils and the province, voluntary amalgamation between two communities is relatively easy.
It requires only a motion from both councils to the minister of municipal affairs and approval by the lieutenant-governor.
She also reported to residents that both Bedeques have shared their financial data.
It turns out both communities have a comparable amount of money in the bank and similar tax rates.
Amalgamation would have little effect on the bankbooks of either community — except that there would then be a bigger pot of money to draw on for projects.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Clow after the meeting.
“We don’t have a budget that’s large enough to be proactive and entice people to move here, we’ve got a tremendous amount of “for sale” signs in the village.
“What do we have to offer to them? Very little. Central Bedeque is in the same boat. But the two combined together? More money coming into the community, more enticing for families to move here.”
Now that Bedeque has passed a motion allowing for amalgamation to move forward, Central Bedeque must now do the same to allow the process to continue.
The residents of Central Bedeque have scheduled a public meeting for Sept. 23 at the WM Callbeck Centre to discuss the subject.
Central Bedeque has a population of 167 while Bedeque has an estimated 143 people.