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The town hall in Quispamsis. Image: Brad Perry

Quispamsis Councillors Frustrated Over Facility Cost-Sharing

By Brad Perry Oct 20, 2022 | 6:00 AM

There is growing frustration among Quispamsis councillors amid the ongoing local governance reform process.

One of the biggest concerns is how municipalities outside of Saint John will fund regional facilities in the city going forward.

For more than 20 years, Quispamsis, Rothesay and Grand Bay-Westfield have supported operating costs for five facilities through the Greater Saint John Regional Facilities Act.

Saint John has been solely responsible for capital costs associated with the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre, Canada Games Aquatic Centre, Saint John Arts Centre, Imperial Theatre, and TD Station.

However, the proposed 2023 Fundy Regional Service Commission budget would force the outlying municipalities to each pay a designated amount for capital work.

“They just can’t come in and carte blanche say ‘we’re gonna spend this and spend that.’ There’s got to be an agreement process somewhere with the partners,” Coun. Emil Olsen said during Tuesday’s council meeting.

“When we were originally tasked with supporting the five facilities, there was legislation generated that gave guidelines and direction to all of the participants. I really feel like we’re not getting that level of service with the capital costs.”

Olsen put forward a motion calling for a formal legislative document to provide “terms and conditions of the requests for capital coverage of regional facilities” and to define what constitutes a regional facility. The motion was approved unanimously.

Coun. Kirk Miller said he wants to see more information about the capital costs for each of the facilities in question.

“We need a very detailed list of the capital, but also we need a detailed list of the last five years. I would like to see what has been done,” said Miller.

“It’s hard to vote on budgets and see things if you’re just told ‘here’s a number because somebody said so.'”

Miller said he expects the municipality will be forced to pay the capital costs at the end of the day. Even if the regional service commission does not approve its budget, the province will have the final say.

Mayor Libby O’Hara said she intends to request data from the commission about capital investments over the past five years, along with a projection of what capital cost expectations are in the short-term, mid-range, and over the next 10 years.


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