CENTRAL BEDEQUE – The amalgamation of Bedeque and Central Bedeque makes too much sense to ignore any longer, argues the chairman of the larger of the two communities.
And David Hennessey, chairman of Central Bedeque, is encouraging anyone who might agree or disagree with him to voice their opinion at an upcoming public meeting.
“I hope we get a lot of questions. I think it’s important that we cover everything and that we’re all on the same page,” said Hennesey.
“Anybody who has an interest in this, who wants to hear about it, ask questions or anything, please please please show up at the WM Callbeck Centre Monday night,” he added.
That meeting will be getting underway at 7 p.m. on Sept. 23, and is open to the public.
The idea of those communities merging borders and resources has been picking up a bit of steam recently.
Bedeque held a public meeting last week to discuss the issue; at the end of which its council passed a motion giving its consent to amalgamation.
But just because Bedeque has taken that step, it doesn’t automatically mean Central Bedeque will do the same, said Hennessey.
“If at the end of it everyone is happy and we want to move to make a motion to agree to do this, to proceed with the next step of amalgamation, then that’s what we’ll do. But if the community requests more information or clarity on information then certainly we’ll do that – and there will be no motion. This isn’t a rush,” he said.
Hennessey also said that while he’s not heard much recently from his constituents on the subject of amalgamation, it is by no means a new issue.
Really, nobody should be taken aback by recent developments, he said.
“(The communities are) divided by what? That little bridge that crosses the stream. Which is nothing. So why wouldn’t we, with our little assets in this community, be looking at this? I don’t think anybody in either community will be surprised by this,” he said.
It also turns out that the Bedeques are not the only communities who have been looking for information lately on amalgamation.
Bruce MacDougall, president of the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities, said that a number of small municipalities across P.E.I. have been looking at their options over the last year or so.
“I think it’s in the back of the minds of a lot of the small municipalities, because when the Thompson Report came out … and through the report it was recommended that they move to larger communities. So I guess that’s why some of the smaller municipalities are trying to have discussion now of what could lie ahead,” said MacDougall.
In 2010, a report of the Commission on Land and Local Governance, written by former judge Ralph Thompson, recommended sweeping changes to the borders of P.E.I.’s smaller communities.
The recommendations, if followed to the letter, would merge the province’s 75 municipalities into 24 much larger zones of governance.
While the provincial government has made no move to force the issue of amalgamation, the leadership of both Bedeques have made it clear that they’re aiming to get ahead of any future edicts from the province by moving towards amalgamation now.