The community of North Rustico was officially granted town status by the provincial government after Wes Sheridan, minister responsible for municipal Affairs, signed off on it before the legislature gave its stamp of approval.
A scenic view of the harbour in North Rustico.
“We were very pleased. We have a lot going on, a lot of initiatives that we’re working towards,’’ said newly minted Mayor Anne Kirk.
Not much has changed, at least to the human eye. There are no plans to put new signage up. The signs greeting visitors will continue to read Welcome to North Rustico, Community by the Sea.
The tax rate will stay the same and town council doesn’t feel the need to have its own police force. Kirk says the “small town’’ will continue to leave that to the RCMP.
What it does mean is the community can pass its own budget without having to take a village vote. But Kirk has no intentions of shutting the door on residents.
“We are asking for the input of the people,’’ she said last Thursday. “We promised to be transparent and we’re going to involve our community. We’re going to have public meetings and ask for their input on where they want to see their money being spent on initiatives down the road.’’
Under the mentorship of the Town of Montague, North Rustico now holds pre-council meetings where issues are discussed with residents two weeks prior to the actual council meeting.
It also means the town will have access to grants it didn’t have before that might certainly come in handy with a community that has so many ambitious plans.
Kirk said they’d like to put some retail stores on the waterfront to make the boardwalk even more vibrant. There are also plans to lobby the provincial government for a new nursing home and the mayor wants to get the word out about all the theatre and culture the town has to offer to the tourism crowd.
The chief of the fire department has already indicated a desire to upgrade their equipment, space and just about everything else.
No doubt that will be on the agenda of one of the new committees created under the new town status.
“We really enjoy (having these) council of committees. It gives everybody a say in what’s happening. It gives everybody a chance to speak, invite people in to come and talk.’’
It’s important to note achieving town status does not involve any changes to boundaries or liability assets.
It’s the first time a community in the province has upgraded to town status since Borden-Carleton did so in August 2012.