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A photo of Main Street in Antigonish (Source: Antigonish Town Hall Web Cam).

Residents bothered by how gov’t is handling possible Antigonish merger

By Caitlin Snow Mar 27, 2024 | 10:34 AM

Whether the Utility and Review Board (UARB) decides to move ahead with consolidating the town and county of Antigonish or not, one concerned resident tells our newsroom he has lost faith in the government over how they handled the issue.

David MacLeod says he will be frustrated, either way.

“This is nothing more than a political pause. It does nothing to rectify the situation… it certainly does nothing to build trust.”

Minister of Housing John Lohr says the matter of consolidation has been put in the hands of the UARB who will specifically look at how it would affect taxes before deciding whether or not the law should proceed.

MacLeod says he is not for or against the merge but is concerned about the effect it would have on property and financial implications.

“Your home is everything and if you have no control over your home, that is very frustrating, very disappointing… it’s also very scary.”

Legislation moved ahead earlier this month for the town and county to merge into one municipal unit, however many residents felt like they should have a say in the matter, with dozens who spoke at the legislature.

Macleod, as well as the organization Let Antigonish Decide says it was how the government handled it that bothered them the most.

Admin of the group, Terry Penny says, she is pleased with the pause and the investigation that is unfolding because of it but is incredibly disappointed that residents will still not get a vote after the study is complete, which is expected to be August 1.

“A plebiscite is not absolutely binding but it’s one more piece of information for council to consider in making a decision as to what are the people really thinking.”

She adds that if the UARB decides the consolidation is not a good thing, it’s not something to be excited about but rather to celebrate that proper studies were done on how the merge would affect residents.

Penny says Let Antigonish Decide will continue to follow the process every step of the way.

Should the consolidation move forward, elected municipal representatives will also be removed from the transition team to make sure things remain neutral.