Friday, 11 August 2017

Island View

"we are simply talking about sharing the cost of administration."

I don’t think anyone would disagree that Napadogan and Smithfield are different communities. They drive different roads, they have different neighbours, they visit different parks, and they frequent different businesses. The same could be said for Keswick Ridge and Douglas, or Island View and Upper Kingsclear. Regardless of location, this observation applies to all the communities, as each community within the YRC project is unique.

So why do we generalize each other with “North side” or “South side” labels? The river is a meaningless and arbitrary divide. Some residents drive across it every day, some do not. Lumping communities on each side of it into groups is unfair to those communities.

I can hear the cries now, “But that is exactly what the York Rural Community is doing!”. At the end of the day, if the YRC proposal is successful, the residents of each community of interest will still lead the same lives, drive the same roads, have the same neighbours, and receive the same services. The most important difference will be that we are united about the interests we do have in common: The rural way of life, shared services, a desire for cost effective representation, and a need to manage our own affairs in our own communities of interest.

When people think of a municipality they think of it as one community of interest, but that is almost never the case. Even Fredericton, as long as it has been established, has had a multitude of communities of interest and to try to eliminate these would be impossible. Sharing our future with other communities does seem daunting, but it is already happening. The services we pay for are already shared across the project area. Fire provides mutual aid no matter the side of the river, policing is based out of Keswick and covers the entire YRC area, dog catching is provided to the entire area by the Fredericton SPCA, garbage collection is provided to everyone in the area, and each area has its own recreation council.

As a province, New Brunswick is in bad shape. There are many statistics to show this but the most alarming is that we are Canada's only shrinking population, with projections indicating it will only get worse. We need to create communities where people have a say, with affordable administration costs for people and businesses, where we can attract youth and keep seniors in the area.

At the end of the day, we are simply talking about sharing the cost of administration. The communities in the area will be free to pursue their own goals, but with the added benefits that come with being an incorporated entity with representation. We must stop thinking of only ourselves and become stronger together.

Lee Everett – Island View

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