There might soon be a second town in West Prince. The Community of O’Leary has started the process to gain town status and, chances are, the Community of Tignish will become the area's third town.
When O’Leary Council hosted an information meeting Monday to present its case for town status, the vice-chairman of the Community of Tignish was in attendance, taking notes.
O’Leary passed its first major hurdle to township when residents attending the information meeting, by show of hands, unanimously endorsed their council moving ahead with the application.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of down sides to becoming a town – policing costs will stay the same and O’Leary won’t incur street maintenance and snow-clearing costs.
There would be some changes. Council would be able to approve the annual budget, the election process would change and a town council would be able to act more quickly in arranging special meetings.
O’Leary already does present itself, in many ways, like a town. It is a significant hub of provincial and federal services for the region, and has health care, education, financial and retail services. The community has a full-time recreation director and operates an intergenerational centre and two ball fields, included a lighted one. There are also a hockey rink, curling rink, service clubs and several churches in this community of 860-some persons. It is also home to the giant potato and the Canadian Potato Museum.
Of course, if it acts like a town, it might as well be a town.
Just as Summerside prides itself in having “city” in front of its name, councilors anticipate O’Leary’s profile will be raised in having “town” before its name. They are hopeful town status will open the door to more grants and funding opportunities. There is no guarantee that will happen, but, when there is no glaring disadvantage to township, that potential alone is reason enough to move forward with the application.
Welcome to O’Leary, the little town with the giant potato.