With great town status, comes great responsibility

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Here's a hearty congratulations to P.E.I.'s newest town - (drumroll), the town of O'Leary.
Here's hoping that the 800 or so residents of this upstart entity continue being their great and friendly selves and build their new town into something the whole Island can be proud of.

But as happy as we are for O'Leary, we can't help but continue to feel bad for the old folks in the P.E.I. Town Club, places like Kensington and Alberton.

These young upstarts just don't have it as rough as these venerable towns did in their day - and still do in some cases.

Some older Island towns have to pay for their road clearing and repair (although the province does help with the cost), while some of the newer towns don't have to pay for their street maintenance.

O'Leary, for instance, has received assurances from the Department of Municipal Affairs that they won't have to pay.

A spokeswoman for the province has said that payment is based on history.

If the municipalities owned their streets before, they continue to pay for them. If they didn't own the roads, they continue to not have to pay for them.

It's an issue we've written about before - but the unfairness of it all bears underlining the situation again.

It seems like there's only two options here, continue to let some towns pay for the same services others don't have to, or have the province take over responsibility for all town roads.

Frankly, we feel as though we should add a "when pigs fly" to that second option - but it's still an option.

The province has a much larger revenue base to draw from than the lowly municipalities do, so maybe they should be responsible for all town roads.

It would leave the towns more money for things like their own police forces, public programs and trying to attract visitors and business.

Either way, leveling the playing field is going to be tricky, probably involving copious amounts of tedious negotiations.

So many negotiations.

But hey, being a town means acting like a grown-up. Grown-ups talk about their problems.

They also occasionally get into fistfights - but we won't go there.

Organizations: Department of Municipal Affairs

Geographic location: Iceland

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