Sunday, 24 September 2017

Take a Look at the Proposed YRC - What is Your Perspective?

Everett's Farm - Island View (where you are invited to attend a YRC Project Open House on September 25 from 7 - 9 pm)

When looking at something from a different perspective it can be  difficult to recognise it. The communities of Mactaquac, Keswick Ridge, Burtts Corner, Douglas, and Carlisle Road are captured within the picture frames set up here in Island View, but a step back reveals we are all part of the same gallery.

Lee Everett
Elections NB Announcement 
YRC Plebiscite Has Been Published 

"The Question" 

Elections NB has published the YRC Plebiscite details (see below) including the official question that will be on the ballot.  

Each voter in the Project area will receive a voter card in the mail.  That card will have information on it about polling stations.  It will also have the wording of the official question on it for voters to think about before they go to the polls.  The official question is:

"Are you in favour of the establishment of the local service districts of Keswick Ridge, Douglas, Bright, a portion of the local service district of Kingsclear, and a portion of the local service district of Queensbury as a rural community?"   
Yes   No  

The official plebiscite question was prepared by the Department of Environment and Local Government.  

Saturday, 23 September 2017

YRC Information Sessions

- Open House at Upper Keswick Recreation Centre - 

YRC Project volunteers participated in the Upper Keswick Recreation Council breakfast this morning and again this afternoon at the Council's Keswick Comes Together event.  The goal was to provide information to residents who attended these events about the proposed structure and costs of YRC.  Thanks to the local organizers for their hospitality!  


Friday, 22 September 2017

YRC Project Information Session
- Open House at Green Hill Lake Camp -

There was a YRC Project Open House at Green Hill Lake Camp last night.  Residents from nearby were able to get their questions answered by Project volunteers.  There were also students there from St. Thomas University.  They are studying community engagement this term and took the opportunity to talk to residents and to members of the Project team about the whole idea of restructuring the delivery of local services.

The YRC Project volunteers would like to thank Green Hill Lake Camp for opening up their meeting space for this event.  Excellent location, especially with the sunset over the Lake as a backdrop!

Please participate in one or more of the other Information Sessions for the YRC Project.  The schedule is on the project website.

YRC Project Open House at Green Hill Lake Camp

Information Meetings for YRC - Please Participate!

Volunteers from the YRC Project team are hosting information sessions all around the Project area in the next few weeks.  Please check the website for times and locations.  Each meeting is advertised on the Project Facebook too.  Or you can scroll down to see a recent post about the meeting schedule on this Project Blog.  

Please participate so that you can make an informed decision when you vote on October 23, 2017.  

YRC Project volunteers preparing for the Open House at the North Cardigan United Church.

Signs for YRC Plebiscite 
- A Reminder to Vote - 

The YRC Project volunteers are putting information signs up around the Project area.  They have the dates for the upcoming YRC Plebiscite (vote) on them.  Project funding (from GNB) covered the sign costs but, as has been the case since the start of the Project, volunteers are the ones doing the work of getting them installed.  Please keep in mind that they are there to remind you to vote on October 23, 2017.    

Thursday, 21 September 2017

YRC Plebiscite Voter Information

The YRC Plebiscite is being conducted by Elections NB.  Voters throughout the YRC Project area will receive a voter card in the mail that will give them their Polling Station number and location as well as information about the Advance Poll.

Voters can also check Elections NB on-line for this information at:

Check the next Blog post (scroll down to find it) to learn about voting if you are not able to go to the regular or advance poll.

Please vote!

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

YRC Plebiscite

-Special Ballots-

  For Those Who Cannot or Do Not Want to go to the Polls 

Q.  What are special ballots, and who can use them to vote?

A.  Special Ballots are a form of ballot used to allow voting by people who are outside of their own municipality, rural community, school district, or health region or who otherwise cannot or do not want to go to the polls. This includes home-bound voters, those in hospital, or those travelling, working or studying away from their ordinary residence during an election. Any returning office (see information below) can issue a special ballot for a voter from any electoral region in the province.

For home-bound or hospitalized voters who wish to vote using a special ballot, election officials from the local returning office will take a ballot and ballot box to the voter to allow the person to vote independently. A care-giver spouse of a home-bound voter may vote at the same time, if they wish. Simply call the returning office (see information below) to make arrangements to vote.

Voters travelling, working or studying in the province away from their ordinary residence during an election may vote at any returning office for candidates for their home municipality, rural community, school district, or health region. Those voters travelling, working or studying out of the province must contact their home returning office (see information below), which will send a ballot to them. In this situation, call or e-mail as soon as possible, to ensure your ballot can be returned on time.

Municipal By-Election (10/23/2017)
Municipal Returning Office Information for M11 (i.e. York Rural Community Plebiscite)
Municipal Returning Officer: Ms. Patti Nason

Office Address:         Burtts Corner Lions Club
                                    42 Route 617
                                    Burtts Corner

Telephone: 1-506-363-4942

Toll Free: 1-877-884-4563

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Valley View Estates

Thanks to all the residents of Valley View Estates who attend a YRC Open House last night.  There was lots of great discussion about the pros and cons of changing from a LSD to a Rural Community model for the delivery of local services to this part of the YRC Project area.  Also, thanks very much to Mr. Eric Hicks for allowing his store, Valley Ridge Fine Furniture, to be the meeting location for this event in Island View.

A response to Stan Barrett: Letter to the Editor (Gleaner), September 15, 2017

            I read Mr. Barrett’s letter that was published in the September 15th Letters to the Editor in the Gleaner. Although interesting, I found it to be one sided and often misleading. Mr. Barrett asks what it is that the proposed community wants. Simply put, we want more control over things that directly affect our community such as property tax rates, land usage and how our tax dollars are spent. We want decisions, such as these, that are currently being made at the provincial level to be made by locally elected officials and therefore better represent our interests. Mr. Barrett asks what decisions have been made in the project area that the locals had no say in. I would refer him to the LSD of Douglas where the Minister of Environment and Local Government just last year committed $20,000 per year for the next 20 years of Douglas LSD property tax money to the Millville Fire Department. I am not saying that was a good or bad decision. It was, however, made with no consultation or notification for that matter. Another example would be the current controversy regarding the proposed second quarry in the Estey’s Bridge area. A local business has petitioned the Minister to change the classification of a parcel of land from residential/agricultural to industrial so as to open a quarry. To my knowledge, there has been no official consultation by the Minister with the residents of the affected area. The Minister has turned down the request for now but has until November to make a final decision. If those residents were part of a rural community the Minister would not have that decision to make. It would rest with the local mayor and council.

            Mr. Barrett also references the Gas Tax funding. He states that “all that is required is a plan to improve your community”. This is not accurate. Although a small portion of funding through the Gas Tax (20%) is available to unincorporated areas (LSDs), it is at the discretion of the Minister. He may or may not approve the request depending on where it is on his long list of provincial priorities. Compare that to an incorporated area, which we would be if the project succeeds, where we would be entitled to the funding for projects that meet the Federal guidelines. Entitled vs requesting. That is a big difference. I confirmed this with the branch responsible for administering the Gas Tax program.

            Mr. Barrett asks why towns and cities are not more aggressive in taking in surrounding areas. I am not really sure of all the reasons but I suspect that it is at least in part due to the requirement that they must buy all of the roads in the areas of interest and assume ongoing responsibility. Quite an expense, I would imagine.

            Mr. Barrett asks “what service is the York Rural Community going to provide that is not being provided at the present LSD level?”. The answer is accountability. There is none now. Take tax rates as an example. Under an LSD form of governance the tax rates for unincorporated areas are set by the provincial government. The LSD committee can only offer input. It is totally at the discretion of the provincial department. In my LSD the tax base went up by 5.5% for 2016. One would expect at least some decrease in the tax rate as a result. Didn’t happen and there is not a thing that can be done about it. If we were a rural community we, as citizens, would have much more opportunity to be involved and we could pose our questions to the people who ultimately make the decisions. 

            Mr. Barrett states “As far as playhouse funds being forced on LSD’s or rural communities, a public vote must be held”. Again, untrue. Refer back to the example I gave about the Douglas LSD. Under the LSD form of governance the Minister of Environment and Local Government is the de facto mayor for all of the unincorporated areas and so makes those types of decisions. I personally attended the 2016 community business meeting where the representative from the government stated that the Minister was considering taking $38,000 a year for the next 20 years, of our property tax money, to give to the city of Fredericton to support the Playhouse and could do so with the stroke of a pen. I was there. I heard it. I would refer again to the Douglas LSD example as evidence.

            Another concern of Mr. Barrett’s is tax rate increases. He says that as citizens demand more services, the rate will go up. That is true. But it is also true under the current LSD model. There is a section within the proposed project area that has street lighting. They wanted this and so it was provided and they pay extra in their tax rate. No one else pays the extra, just the area that requested the service. Such would still be the case if this project goes forward.

            Mr. Barrett further states “We do not need another level of government...” First off Mr. Barrett, it is not “we” as “you” will not be affected by this project regardless of the outcome. Although we welcome comments from someone outside of our project area, such as Mr. Barrett, it would be more beneficial if he provided factual arguments. This is not another level of government but rather it replaces an existing one. Incidentally, according to the Department of Environment and Local Government, we are the last province in Canada to still use the LSD model.

            Mr. Barrett offers the advice that “when you choose your dance partner make sure they do not have two left feet”. Good advice. I would add that we should also make sure that we are not tripped up by someone from outside the dancehall as we try to move forward.

            In closing, Mr. Barrett did have one fact straight when he said ”The view from the hill on top of David Coburn’s Farm will be the same view whether a new York Community is formed or the area remains as a Local Service District (LSD)”. I am just hoping that it will be a view of a new and exciting municipal entity.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

YRC Open House at York Centennial Park

Thank you to the folks who came out to the first Open House in this Plebiscite Preparation phase of the YRC Project.  There was excellent conversation about various parts and pieces of what it will could mean to change from being LSDs to being a Rural Community.  Check the schedule (scroll down to find it) for other events coming up around the Project area.

YRC Project Update Brochure is in the Mail

The latest YRC Project update brochure is in the mail.  A scanned copy is below.  Every household in the Project area should receive one in the next week or so.  Please remember that Canada Post bulk mail routes overlap so there could be places outside of the Project area that get the document even though the information in it is not applicable to them. 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

St. John River from Lower Queensbury

YRC Dedicated Gas Tax 

Question:  What is YRC Dedicated Gas tax all about?

Answer:  YRC would qualify for the federal government gas tax.  There would be a dedicated allotment of approximately $660, 000 yearly (it is related to the population numbers of YRC) from 2019 to 2023 that the YRC Council could make application to those dedicated gas tax funds for specific projects in the rural community.

The Gas Tax Fund offers a flexible approach to infrastructure financing. Municipalities and Rural Communities can receive funding up front twice a year through provincial and territorial governments or the municipal associations designated to deliver funding in the province. Communities choose projects locally and prioritize them according to their needs. 

Smaller municipalities with limited capital infrastructure budgets particularly benefit because funding is delivered before money is spent. This reliable, up-front funding provides greater certainty for municipalities to plan and carry out large-scale projects that residents are interested in undertaking in their communities.
Funds can also be pooled, banked and borrowed against, providing significant financial flexibility. As a result, up to 2012, municipalities earned more than $88 million in interest, an additional sum that can be used to fund local infrastructure renewal.
There is more information about the Gas Tax fund at:

Thursday, 14 September 2017

YRC Plebiscite Information Signs

Over the next week or so, YRC Project volunteers will be putting up Plebiscite Information signs around the YRC Project area.  They are to help remind people to VOTE on October 23, 2017 (or in the advance poll on October 14, 2017).

Is YRC Too Big?

Question:  Is YRC too big?

Answer:  The large size of YRC is primarily because of the size of the LSDs of Douglas and Bright.  Most of that area is uninhabited woodland.  There would be no need for taxes to be spent by a YRC Council to provide services to those areas. 

Most of the population of York Rural Community lives in the horseshoe area around the City of Fredericton.  In fact, the distance between one side of Fredericton (at the boundary with Lincoln) to the other side of Fredericton (at the boundary at Silverwood) is about 22 kilometers.  If you drove that far from the City limits in to York RC, you would go through the rural community’s populated area and be in rural areas and/or woodland, in just about every direction.  But that is New has lots of forest and uninhabited land.  

That has never been an issue for residents of the LSDs of Douglas and Bright.  Those residents there have always shared the cost of providing services to all of the people who live there.  That will be the case with YRC...a non-issue.  There could even be benefits in the sense of potential resource development in the vast northern parts of YRC.  YRC isn’t too big.

Monday, 11 September 2017

YRC Project – Plebiscite Preparation Phase

Schedule of Education Events in the YRC Project Area 

 Event Details
(Please join us for discussion and refreshments).   

Sept 17 – Open House at York Centennial Park 1439 Route 105 ( neighbourhoods of Mactaquac, Lower Queensbury, Keswick Ridge residents)  1-3 pm 

Sept 18 – Open House at Valley Ridge Furniture, 3672 Route 102 ( neighbourhood of Valley View Estates) 7-9 pm 

Sept 19 – Open House at North Cardigan United Church, 3040 Route 620 (neighbourhoods on Route 620 and Napadogan) 6:30 – 8 pm 

Sept 21 – Open House at Green Hill Lake Camp, 40 Green Hill Lake Rd, Bright ( neighbourhoods of Howland Ridge, Hainesville, Upper/Lower Stone Ridge, Vinegar Hill) 
6:30 – 8 pm
Sept 23 – Open House (at a community breakfast put on by Keswick Valley Rec Council) at KV Rec Centre 1262 Route 104 (neighbourhoods of Zealand, Burtts Corner, Hainesville, Upper Keswick, Upper/Lower Stone Ridge) 
7 – 9 am 

Sept 23 – Open House (booth at a KVRC  Keswick Comes Together event) at KV Rec Centre, 1262 Route 104  (neighbourhood of Burtts Corner and Upper Keswick) 
1:30 – 3:30 pm 

Sept 25 – Open House at Everett Family Orchard, 3900 Route 102 (neighbourhoods of Island View, Lower Kingsclear and French Village) 7 – 9 pm 

Sept 27 – Open House at Riverside Resort, 35 Mactaquac Road, French Village (neighbourhood of Oswald Gray Subdivision and River View Subdivision) 7 – 9 pm 

Sept 28 – Open House at Duplessis Farm 1366 Route 105 (neighbourhood of Route 105 from City Limits to Keswick Landing)  6:30 – 8 pm 

Sept 30 – Open House (at Breakfast put on by Keswick Ridge community volunteers) at Keswick Ridge Community Hall 86 Route 616 (neighbourhoods of Keswick Ridge, Tripp Settlement) 7 – 10 am 

October 4 – Presentation to Keswick Ridge Historical Society members at their Museum on Keswick Ridge  

Oct 6 – Presentation to Men’s Breakfast members (at Keswick Ridge United Church)  

Oct 10 – Neighbourhood gathering at a resident’s home, St. Charles Ct. (neighbourhoods of Upper Kingsclear (north) and Eagle’s Ledge) 7 – 9 pm 

Oct 11 – Open House at the Douglas Baptist Church, 1012 Route 105 (neighbourhoods of Carlisle Road and Lower Douglas) 7 – 9 pm   

Oct 12 – Open House at Mactaquac Lodge, Mactaquac Provincial Park, Route 105 (neighbourhoods of Scotch Settlement, Route 615, Mactaquac, Lower Queensbury)  
7 – 9 pm 

Oct 14 – Parking Lot Drop-In at Keswick Landing on Yerxa Lane  (neighbourhoods on Route 104 from Keswick Landing to Pughs Crossing) 2- 4 pm 

Oct 14 – Vendor’s Event (neighbourhood of Burtts Corner) at Burtts Corner Lions Club 42 Route 617 
9 – 11am

Oct 17 – Open House (with guest speaker David Wiezel, first Mayor of New Maryland) at Keswick Ridge Community Hall, 86 Route 616 (neighbourhood of Keswick Ridge, Tripp Settlement) 7 – 9 pm 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Proposed Wards for YRC

This map shows the proposed wards for YRC.  In the last post (scroll down to find it), the individual ward maps were shown.  

The YRC Project steering committee decided about the ward locations based on the feedback received from residents during the YRC Project feasibility study.  

If YRC becomes a reality, Council would be able to make adjustments based on input from residents.

This map is also available for viewing on the YRC Project website:

Proposed YRC Ward Locations

Shown below are the locations of the proposed wards for YRC.  

The YRC Project steering committee decided about the ward locations based on the feedback received from residents during the YRC Project feasibility study.  

If YRC becomes a reality, Council would be able to make adjustments to the ward boundaries based on input from residents.

These maps are also available for viewing on the YRC Project website:

Ward 1

Ward 2

Ward 3

Ward 4 
Ward 5

Ward 6

Ward 7

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

YRC Project - Plebiscite Preparation Phase

The YRC Project has moved to the last phase of the community restructuring process that is required by the Department of Environment and Local Government.  This phase is meant to prepare residents for the Plebiscite through education events of various kinds.  Those events are now being organized for many locations in the Project area. 

There will be Open Houses/Drop-In sessions, presentations to community groups and information booths set up here and there. At all of these events, the goal of the YRC Project volunteers who are working at them is to help citizens in the Project area understand how a rural community model compares with a LSD model for the delivery of local services.  This will allow residents to make an informed vote in the plebiscite on October 23, 2017

The YRC Project education events schedule will be finalized in the next couple of days.  Check the Project's Facebook Page for regular announcements (i.e.York Rural Community Project) .

More volunteers would be welcome.  Email us at