Councillor questions why Alberton still responsible for streets

Eric McCarthy
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ALBERTON – An Alberton Town Councillor says there’s an unfair playing field when Alberton has to pay for street maintenance and snow-clearing when emerging towns are assured of being spared those costs. 

Councillor David Campbell took note of recent reports concerning the Community of O’Leary’s decision to apply for town status. In particular, Campbell noted that O’Leary Council indicated the Department of Municipal Affairs had given assurance that street maintenance and snow-clearing would continue as usual, at no cost to the municipality.

Ironically, during an information meeting in O’Leary last week about its interest in applying to become a town, O’Leary residents took note of reports about Alberton’s snow-clearing costs and wondered if it really was true that O’Leary would not have to bear the cost.

“Can we get more information that that is for fact?” Campbell asked. “As a town, we’re going to be paying for all these amenities, that we’ve doing now, and these new towns are not paying; they’re moving up to town status but staying as a village for non-payment of streets and plowing of streets.

“They’re letting towns from all over the Island and still, government’s going to look after it. I’d like to have a clarification from Municipal Affairs to see where they’re coming from.”

Mayor Michael Murphy assured him the town would look into the issue.

Samantha Murphy, manager of Municipal Affairsfor the province, indicated there is no minimum standards with regards to services like police and streets associated with any of the town categories.

“Generally, it has been historic. If they owned (streets) over time, they have them currently,” she said.

Stratford and Cornwall, she noted, didn’t own their streets.

“It has to do with how they evolved over time,” Murphy said in explaining the difference.

Jennifer MacDonald-Donovan, a spokesman with Municipal Affairs indicated Tuesday the Department is aware of Alberton’s interest in the matter and is exploring revenue-sharing options. She acknowledged transfer of ownership and maintenance would involve some detailed discussions about financial agreements and next steps.

O’Leary is not the only community in West Prince looking to move up to town status. At its monthly meeting Monday night, Tignish Community Council voted to initiate the process of applying to become a town.

Organizations: O’Leary Council, Department of Municipal Affairs, Tignish Community Council

Geographic location: O’Leary, Iceland, Stratford West Prince

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