Friday, 31 March 2017

What Happened When Boiestown LSD Became a Rural Community?
Mayor Doug Munn (Rural Community of Upper Miramichi)
"Because we were an LSD we couldn't say anything..." 
I want to thank Doug Munn (Mayor of Upper Miramichi RC) for taking the time to come down and talk to us about his experience. He was a NO VOTE at their plebiscite but is now clearly among the converted. Seeing the benefits for that area and all that they have accomplished in a short time was really inspiring. They actually have control over their future, they decide at a local level how their dollars are spent rather than some Minister in Fredericton. The significant investments in to recreational infrastructure, municipal building/community hall, emergency preparedness....all of this and his taxes never increased and has some money in the bank. I was encouraged to see 2 of the 3 Fire Departments in attendance to hear of major improvements to the fire service and to ask questions. The Upper Miramichi has way less people, way less tax base and are still very viable. They too had to overcome infighting, naysayers, people spreading fear ....but they did it and so can WE! Get informed and keep an open mind...way too many are still closed.

John-Michael McPhee, Bright LSD
YRC Consultation in Kingsclear LSD

The YRC Project Feasibility Study has begun.  First up in Round 1 of the plan for engaging citizens in the Study was the consultation with residents who live in two different neighbourhoods on the border of the project area in Kingsclear Local Service District.

March 27, 2017 -  Residents of Valley View Estates in Island View  (where Kingsclear LSD borders with Hanwell Rural Community and also with the City of Fredericton) met at the Riverside Resort in French Village.

March 28, 2017 - Residents of Ludford Subdivision in Mazerolle Settlement (where Kingsclear LSD borders with Hanwell Rural Community) met at the Riverside Resort in French Village. 

Attendees of these meetings were asked to register at the door. The presentation was made jointly by staff members from the Department of Environment and Local Government and the YRC Steering Committee.  After the presentation, questions/comments/concerns/advice of meeting participants were recorded by a professional scribe so that they could be shared with the Minister of Environment and Local Government.  The slides from the presentations at these meetings will be posted on the Project website in the very near future.  www.yorkruralcommunity.ca


Ludford Subdivision Neighbourhood Meeting 

Feasibility study launched for establishing York region Local Service Districts as a rural community

FREDERICTON (GNB) – A feasibility study has been launched to examine whether the local service districts of Keswick Ridge, Douglas, Kingsclear, Bright and a portion of Queensbury should regroup to become a rural community.
The study follows an initial assessment, public meetings and a local petition.
"The study will confirm the boundaries and determine the feasibility of such a project," said Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rousselle. "This is achieved through public consultations, which will result in the creation of a draft proposal that will then be shared with residents of the concerned local service districts during information sessions. If the project is deemed feasible and there is sufficient support from residents, a plebiscite will be called so they can vote on the proposal."
The study will determine what differences forming a rural community could make for the residents. This includes:
  • number of councillors;
  • initial staffing needs;
  • services that the rural community would be responsible to provide;
  • the effect on property taxes; and
  • how a rural community could help meet the needs and interests of the community.
Consultation sessions and public meetings will be held so that the communities are well-informed and given an opportunity to ask questions and express opinions.
Residents are encouraged to participate in this process.
The rural community model has characteristics similar to those of a municipality but is designed to serve rural areas. It is designed to put community decisions in the hands of its members, help them plan the future they want, and enable them to ensure that local services meet their needs and make the best use of property tax revenue.

A water bomber loading up from the St. John River at
 Upper Kingsclear, Kingsclear LSD
Let’s make an informed decision..


In October of 2008, the beautiful Covered Bridge that spanned the Keswick River in Stone Ridge was destroyed by fire at the hands of vandals.  It was at that time that I became more involved in my community.  I and 3 other ladies made it our mission to have that link across the river replaced to enable what we felt was a vital link in our community restored, thankfully a replacement Bridge was put in place, the bridge officially opened on October 22, 2010 and celebrated by many locals.
I have been a Local Service District of Douglas Advisory Committee Member for the past 7 years and have seen firsthand how this model is not working for our local residents, for that reason I became involved with the Working Group to explore the idea of a Rural Community. 

I, like most all of us,  do not know if this Rural Community Model will be a good fit for our communities but I am going to keep an open mind and continue to work  through this process.  There has got to be a better way to deliver services other than the present model of Local Service Districts.

I strongly encourage all to attend the information sessions, visit the website and blog, ask questions, give your feedback, we need to hear what you have to say either for or against.  Most importantly,  wait for the feasibility study to be completed and make an informed choice for the good of our communities, not just for today but for our future. 

Wendy Brewer
Secretary, LSD of Douglas Advisory Committee
Secretary, Keswick Valley Arena Inc Board
Board Member, Inclusion Network of Central New Brunswick

Stone Ridge - Douglas LSD
Strong Communities are Built by Volunteers



Our people are uninformed...
Good day;

My family lives in Upper Kingsclear and I would like to advise you that I am not interested in having our community join with the York Rural Community Project. I would like my tax dollars to be spent in the Communities that I use. I hardly frequent the Northside, Douglas, Keswick etc. so why would I want to be a part of that Community. I also believe that more people in my Community share the same views as they were addressed at the March 28 meeting at the Mactaquac Resort. Most of the residents in my Community only found out about this in the last little while. Our people are uninformed and it seems others are making decisions on our behalf. So I would just like to publicly say that I do not want my Community of the Kingsclear LSD to be apart of your YRC. I believe that there are better options available for us.

Beth Whitlock

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Lower Queensbury and the YRC Project


As a member of the Citizen's Advisory Committee I would like to explain a few points to you. 

1.  The neighbourhood meetings are being held this month.  These are for the neighbourhoods that border on other Rural Community and have the option of going with YRC or another.
 
2.  In April, the public meetings begin.  These are for all the other areas.  Regardless of whether you are in favour of this endeavor or not, you NEED to attend at least one meeting and voice your opinion.
 
3.  At present, we believe the Minister is calling for a 50% plus 1 vote.  That means 50% plus 1 of those who voted, not of population.  Everyone in Lr Queensbury could vote "no" and we could still be forced into this rural community.  I am not expressing a preference, but I want you to understand that you need to make waves long before the plebiscite is imposed if you do not want LQ included in the YRC.  This will have impact on our lives and deserves careful thinking.
 
Sincerely,
 

Barb Allen




PUBLIC MEETING

RESIDENTS OF CARLISLE ROAD AND LOWER DOUGLAS in DOUGLAS LOCAL SERVICE DISTRICT
April 3, 2017

Meeting Location:  Douglas Baptist Church, 1012 Route 105, Douglas, NB
Registration at Door:  6:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Meeting Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

PROPOSED CREATION OF YORK RURAL COMMUNITY
The York Rural Community (YRC) Project Steering Committee, in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG), is conducting a feasibility study about creating a Rural Community involving the Local Service Districts (LSDs) of Kingsclear, Keswick Ridge, Douglas, Bright and Queensbury (in the communities of Mactaquac and Lower Queensbury). 
As a resident of Carlisle Road and Lower Douglas in Douglas LSD, you have unique options to consider within the YRC Project proposal.  You are invited to hear about these options and share your opinions about them at this neighbourhood meeting. All attendees will be asked to register at the door.  If you are unable to attend, you may participate in the many other Public Meetings about the Project that are scheduled to occur between now and August 15, 2017 or you may send your questions or input to yorkruralcommunity@gmail.com  and/or Community Restructuring Branch of DELG at 453-3358. 

A schedule of Public Meeting dates in Round 1 of the feasibility study’s public consultation is available at:
York Rural Community Project website:  www.yorkruralcommunity.ca





Saturday, 25 March 2017

The Administration Area at Mactaquac Provincial Park 

PLEASE GET INVOLVED IN THIS PROCESS...
I am looking forward to the possibility of, and the process of restructuring the Local Service Districts of Bright, Keswick Ridge, Kingsclear and Douglas. Queensbury residents currently do not have an active advisory board, so the input of residents in that area will be important in this process as well. I have served on the board of the Bright Local Service District for several years and I am excited to see this process unfold. It will be great to receive comments from members of these communities after they receive information provided by the Department of Environment and Local Government and the York Rural Community Project Steering Committee at the upcoming public meetings. It is my hope that everyone will get informed as this project goes forward. Attend meetings, ask questions, and think about the future of your children and grandchildren before casting a ballot, when there is a plebiscite granted. We must think about how having wise members of these communities in charge will affect our families, businesses, and community assets. Mactaquac Provincial Park, Crabbe Mountain, Keswick Valley arena, schools and community centres are all public spaces in the proposed area that could possibly benefit from the increased promotion, funding grants, and other support that may be accessible to a rural community. Please get involved in this process and after hearing all the facts on this project, give feedback to make it easier for those in Local Government and the York Rural Community Steering Committee going forward. - Barb Hoyt - Chair, The Friends of Mactaquac Provincial Park, Bright Local Service District advisory board member.
FAQs - A Rural Community's Relationship with MLAs


Douglas LSD and the Keswick Islands in the St. John River as seen from Island View in Kingsclear LSD
How will the relationship between citizens of YRC and their Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) change?
Similar to the citizens of a municipality, the citizens of YRC will have an elected council to represent their collective interests with their three MLAs. 





Thursday, 23 March 2017



CONSULTATION
LUDFORD SUBDIVISION RESIDENTS
March 28, 2017

Meeting Location:  Riverside Resort, 35 Mactaquac Road, French Village
Registration:  6:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Meeting Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

PROPOSED CREATION OF YORK RURAL COMMUNITY
The York Rural Community (YRC) Project Steering Committee, in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG), is conducting a feasibility study about creating a Rural Community involving the Local Service Districts (LSDs) of Kingsclear, Keswick Ridge, Douglas, Bright and Queensbury. 
As a resident of Ludford Subdivision in Kingsclear LSD, you have unique options to consider within the YRC Project proposal.  You are invited to hear about these options and share your opinions about them at this neighbourhood meeting. If you are unable to attend, you may participate in the many other Public Meetings about the Project that are scheduled to occur between now and August 15, 2017 or you may send your questions or input to yorkruralcommunity@gmail.com  and/or Community Restructuring Branch of DELG at 453-3358 .  A schedule of public meeting dates in Round 1 of the feasibility study’s public consultation is available at:
York Rural Community Project website:  www.yorkruralcommunity.ca

Wednesday, 22 March 2017



CONSULTATION
VALLEY VIEW ESTATES RESIDENTS
March 27, 2017

Meeting Location:  Riverside Resort, 35 Mactaquac Road, French Village
Registration:  6:30 pm to 7:00 pm
Meeting Time: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

PROPOSED CREATION OF YORK RURAL COMMUNITY
The York Rural Community (YRC) Project Steering Committee, in conjunction with the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG), is conducting a feasibility study about creating a Rural Community involving the Local Service Districts (LSDs) of Kingsclear, Keswick Ridge, Douglas, Bright and Queensbury. 
As a resident of Valley View Estates Subdivision in Kingsclear LSD, you have options to consider within the YRC Project proposal.  You are invited to hear about these options and share your opinions about them at this neighbourhood meeting. If you are unable to attend, you may participate in the many other Public Meetings about the Project that are scheduled to occur between now and August 15, 2017 or you may send your questions or input to yorkruralcommunity@gmail.com  and/or the Community Restructuring Branch of DELG at 444-4423.  A schedule of public meeting dates in Round 1 of the feasibility study’s public consultation is available at:
York Rural Community Project website:  www.yorkruralcommunity.ca

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Sunrise over the Keswick Islands

Rural Community Process


What is the Process for Becoming a Rural Community?

These are the steps that have been put in place by the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG) to assist interested rural areas in considering and becoming a Rural Community:

1.  A letter of interest is sent to the Minister of DELG (by interested residents, the Advisory Committee of a LSD, or a town or village council).

2.  DELG staff work with those who have expressed interest as well as other community stakeholders to conduct an initial assessment of the area's population, property tax base, shared interests, potential benefits and level of public interest in forming a viable Rural Community.

3.  If the initial assessment is positive, a feasibility study petition (signed by at least 25 residents qualified to vote in their LSD) is sent to the Minister from the local interest group(s).

4.  If the Minister approves, a feasibility study is carried out by DELG staff with the involvement of each LSD Advisory Committee, town or village council (if applicable) and other community stakeholders.  The study results are submitted to the Minister.

5.  The Minister reviews the feasibility study to determine if the results are positive and if it shows there is a strong support from community leaders and residents.  He may then decide to hold a plebiscite.  

If the plebiscite results in a yes vote, the Minister may recommend to government that the LSDs, town or village (if applicable) become incorporated at a Rural Community.

If government approves, an election is held for the new Rural Community to form the first council.



Monday, 20 March 2017

How Does a Local Service District Differ From a Rural Community?

Local Service Districts (LSD) 

A LSD is an not a local government.  It is an unincorporated area that is administered by the Minister of Environment and Local Government.  

Department staff coordinates service delivery to LSDs, such as fire protection and garbage collection services, among others. To assist staff in providing local services, and to ensure residents have an opportunity to be heard, unincorporated communities may elect a Local Service District Advisory Committee of up to 5 people who volunteer to represent the residents of the LSD. These committees do not have decision making powers (either financial or administrative) but help advise the minister on local matters.

Approximately a third of New Brunswick residents live in LSDs and have no local governance power (2014 figures).
Examples of Rural Communities in New Brunswick
 Rural Communities (RC)
A rural community is an incorporated community that has a locally elected council to oversee the delivery of local services in a manner that reflects the community’s needs, wants, and ability to pay.  

RCs are responsible to provide administrative services, community planning and emergency measures services only.  The province ensures the delivery of other services (e.g. solid waste collection, recreation services, etc.) until the RC chooses to take them on. 

This allows communities to transition to a new governance structure with flexibility. However, a rural community that includes a former village or town is responsible to provide all services that were previously provided by in the former municipality.
If you do not live in a municipality, regional municipality or rural community, you live in a local service district.
 

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Watch for this sandwich board at YRC Project Public Meetings.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The YRC Project Feasibility Study - The Financial Objectives



Woolastook Park in Kingsclear LSD - Daryl Hunter photo

The YRC Project Feasibility Study Will Look at the Project Area's Financial Objectives 

Would the proposed York Rural Community:


1. provide administrative and other services at reasonable property tax rates, and make better use of limited public resources?

2. provide an opportunity to reduce and avoid unnecessary and unproductive duplication of services, infrastructure, facilities and equipment?

3. have the potential to achieve cost savings through economies of scale (when more taxpayers are sharing the total cost of a service, it results in a reduction of the cost paid by each taxpayer)?

4. provide increased capacity to fund capital projects?

5. enable better long-term fiscal planning?


6. have the potential to gain better access to grants from governments (federal and provincial) to better address the needs for infrastructure, facilities and equipment? 

The YRC Project Feasibility Study - The Political Objectives



Taffy Lake in Bright LSD - Daryl Hunter photo


The YRC Project Feasibility Study Will Look at the Project Area's Political Objectives 

Would the proposed York Rural Community:


1. maintain a high level of transparency, accountability and accessibility?

2. provide individual elected officials with a stronger voice for the people (e.g. represent a larger population, be responsible and accountable for more resources and finances, and represent a greater geographic area)?

3. permit stronger decision-making authority for the sharing of services with other communities?

4. allow communities to better work together in the interest and for their mutual benefit, and provide a stronger voice to represent community interests instead of competing?

5. increase political involvement with the decisions of the Regional Service Commission serving the municipality (e.g., with a larger population, the proportion of a municipality’s votes on the board may increase)?


 6. permit elected officials to have a greater strength in successfully negotiating projects with governments (federal and provincial)?

The YRC Project Feasibility Study - The Environmental Objectives


Looking out over the Keswick Islands towards Island View, in Kingsclear LSD, from Riva Ridge, Douglas LSD

The YRC Project Feasibility Study Will Look at the Project Area's Environmental Objectives 

Would the proposed York Rural Community:


1. provide opportunities to better deal with existing or anticipated environmental issues (e.g., scarcity or contamination of water supply, need for water supply and wastewater systems)?

2. allow for better planning of land use to protect environmentally sensitive areas and to maintain the integrity of productive agricultural and forest lands?


3. create better resilience and community sustainability through changing environmental conditions such as flooding or climate change?

The YRC Project Feasibility Study - The Economic Objectives



The YRC Project Feasibility Study Will Look at the Project Area's Economic Objectives 

Would the proposed York Rural Community:


1. provide opportunities to strengthen and diversify the economic base?


2. assemble a population base and provide the facilities and services necessary to better serve and attract business? 

The YRC Project Feasibility Study - Social Objectives




The YRC Project Feasibility Study Will Look at the Project Area's Social Objectives 

Would the proposed York Rural Community:

1. help preserve the character and identity of the communities?

2. strengthen communication and collaboration among residents, groups and community volunteers?

3. protect and enhance the community resources built through volunteering, and better support the efforts of local volunteers?

4. enhance community spaces for community meetings and social gatherings?

The YRC Project Feasibility Study - Service Objectives






The YRC Project Feasibility Study Will Look at the Project Area's Service Objectives 

Would the proposed York Rural Community:


1. increase the capacity to plan, organize and manage fiscal, human and tangible resources?

2. have the potential to provide greater emphasis on customer service, the development of service standards and monitoring performance?

3. have the potential to increase access to quality and affordable services that would not be possible without the sharing and better utilization of resources and coordination of efforts?

4. maintain facilities (e.g. arenas), infrastructure (e.g. water distribution networks and sewage treatment) and equipment (e.g. fire trucks) in good condition?

5. provide better planning of land use to ensure that development is located where appropriate services and associated infrastructure already exist or where they can be provided in a timely and cost effective manner?

6. strengthen human resources to serve the communities and promote and support the efforts and volunteer services?

7. increase capacity to acquire land, buildings and equipment?


8. provide greater opportunities to regularly identify needs and community expectations in services, reviewing the services provided and to harmonize the delivery of services with the expectations and needs of the communities and their ability to pay? 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Revised YRC Project Area Map

The members of the Advisory Committee for Bright Local Service District have requested that the entire Bright LSD be included in the Feasibility Study for the proposed York Rural Community Project.  The Project area map has been revised to reflect this change.  The following versions of the map will be used during the upcoming public discussion and consultation sessions which are a major component of the feasibility study.  The final boundaries will be established by the Department of Environment and Local Government if and when a plebiscite vote is called at the end of the study.


The location of the five partnering LSDs in the York Rural Community Project.



Deer on Carlisle Road - They are Project Area Residents Too!

These deer were observed yesterday (March 15, 2017) on the Carlisle Road in Douglas Local Service District.  They are project area residents too...just the four-legged type.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Community of Interest


Longs Creek from Mountain Road in Kingsclear LSD

What is a "Community of Interest"?


The “community of interest” is another concept that receives considerable attention in the literature on local governance. It is often cited as a major consideration in defining local government boundaries. Although not always well defined and applied differently depending on the circumstances, this concept is believed to be pertinent for the establishment of local municipalities, as well as for the construction of regions.


Keswick Ridge LSD (looking upriver with Kingsclear LSD on the left bank and Bright/Queensbury LSDs on the right bank)


Furthermore, any political or administrative unit, even when arbitrarily defined, will itself, over time, contribute to the creation of new loyalties and affinities. 

Ultimately the size and configuration of a region (or a municipality) is determined, in good part, by the type of functions that are expected to be carried out at that level.


The Keswick Islands - St. John River - Douglas LSD


...in the context of local government a working definition of the concept of “community of interest” needs to include one or more of the following three dimensions:

Perceptual: a sense of belonging to an area or locality which can be clearly defined;

Functional: the ability to meet with reasonable economy the community’s requirements for comprehensive physical and human services;

Political: the ability of the elected body to represent the interests and reconcile the conflicts of all its members” (Fulcher, 1989, Part 1).


Excerpts from the Report of the Commissioner on the Future of Local Governance – Finn, 2008  p. 18

Monday, 13 March 2017

FAQs - Community Planning Services in the Proposed YRC


The Mactaquac Lake (facing Upper Kingsclear)
Daryl Hunter photo
What community planning services will YRC be responsible for providing?

The YRC must adopt a rural plan within two years of incorporation. A rural plan will enable YRC to ensure that different types of development (e.g. residential, commercial, institutional, recreational, resource) happen in an orderly fashion and take place in appropriate locations.

Community planning services will include plan development and administration, development approvals, subdivision approvals, building permits and inspections, and a planning advisory committee.

The YRC may contract to Regional Service Commission 11 for the delivery of its planning services, or it could choose to provide community planning services by hiring its own planning staff or contracting a planning consultant.


The LSDs of Kingsclear, Keswick Ridge, Bright and Douglas already have a rural plan in place which will be used to develop the new YRC plan. 


Sunday, 12 March 2017

FAQs - Meeting the Requirements to Become a Rural Community

Why are the partnering LSDs in the proposed YRC qualified to become a Rural Community?


A Rural Community is possible when a group of Local Service District(s) and an existing municipality(s) or Rural Community, with sufficient population and property tax base to be viable (4,000 population or $200 million tax base), wish to collaborate and restructure themselves.  The group must make a request to the Minister of Environment and Local Government to begin the process.  The YRC Project Steering Committee requested and were granted an exemption from the requirement to include an existing municipality as a partner in the Project.

Bridge over the Keswick River, Burtts Corner

Saturday, 11 March 2017

The Proposed Project Area for the York Rural Community Feasibility Study





At the starting point in the feasibility study, the proposed boundary of the York Rural Community is illustrated in the map above. 

The proposed boundary encompasses the Local Service Districts of Keswick Ridge, Douglas, Bright and Kingsclear as well as the communities of Lower Queensbury and Mactaquac in the LSD of Queensbury.

The list of communities included in the proposed York Rural Community boundary are:


Douglas
Carlisle Road
Keswick
Upper Keswick
Burtts Corner 
Zealand
Dorn Ridge
Napadogan
Deersdale
Currieburg
Fredericksburg
North Tay
Boyds Corner
Upper Stone Ridge
Lower Stone Ridge
Jones Forks
Tay Creek​
Tay Mills
Cardigan
Woodlands
MacLean Settlement 
Pughs Crossing 
Lower Queensbury
Brewers Mills
Zealand
Jewetts Mills
Mactaquac
Scotch Settlement
Scotch Lake
Keswick Flats 
Longs Creek
Upper Kingsclear
Mazerolle Settlement
Ludford Subdivision
Lower Kingsclear
French Village
Oswald Gray Subdivision
Island View 
Crocks Point
Cally Ann
Keswick Ridge
Tripp Settlement 
Sisson Settlement 
Perdue 
Smithfield
Newmarket