Amalgamation Process Begins for Two Towns on the Northern Peninsula
The Towns of Roddickton and Bide Arm have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Department of Municipal Affairs to proceed with a joint venture of local governance. Under the terms of the MOU, the three parties propose to disincorporate the existing towns in order to establish the new Town of Roddickton-Bide Arm.
Today, the Honourable Dave Denine, Minister of Municipal Affairs, was joined by Roddickton Mayor Ray Norman and Bide Arm Mayor Wade Reid to sign the MOU. The Honourabe Trevor Taylor, MHA for the Straits-White Bay, was also in attendance for the ceremony
"First and foremost, I would like to commend the Mayors of Roddickton and Bide Arm for taking the initiative to investigate and pursue the concept of regional co-operation," said Minister Denine. "Today�s announcement demonstrates their strong leadership, vision and commitment to their towns and the residents they serve. They saw the need for improved services and quality of life for the people of their communities and took the steps necessary to make this a reality."
Minister Denine stated that the Provincial Government is very supportive of regional co-operation initiatives that lead to viable, sustainable communities. Through this venture, duplication of services will be avoided and economies of scale realized. And most importantly, residents of both towns will experience improved services, especially with regard to road upgrading and the replacement of older water and sewage systems.
"The communities of Roddickton and Bide Arm have worked very hard to bring negotiations to this stage and have reached a point where they realize the benefits of merging into a larger town," said Minister Taylor. "The proposed plan will result in a new municipality, one that is able to provide a better quality of service to residents. I commend the towns for their hard work and co-operation. I would also like to thank Minister Denine and his staff for their efforts in advancing this initiative."
"I see many benefits in the proposed amalgamation," said Mayor Norman. "Not only would this proposed venture bring many immediate and long-term financial benefits; the fact that our two towns may work together and speak with one voice will be of utmost importance in the years ahead. For the first time in many years I can see a brighter future for this town and this area. I wish to acknowledge the significant role that Minister Denine and the Honourabe Trevor Taylor, our area MHA, played in getting us to this stage. It was certainly their ready co-operation and willingness to support this undertaking that has resulted in today�s signing."
"Due to the ever-pressing challenges facing rural towns, amalgamation is a logical approach," said Mayor Reid. "Merging our towns will help reduce the ever-increasing operating cost of both towns. At the same time it will offer more and better services to our residents. As well, I believe that amalgamation will foster a stronger business environment, which is the economic engine we need to propel the region forward. There is strength in numbers and we will use these numbers to our greatest advantage as we approach the future."
The towns of Roddickton and Bide Arm are part of the Great Northern Peninsula Joint Council, which comprises municipal leaders of 17 towns and local service districts on the Northern Peninsula: Roddickton, Conche, Englee, Main Brook, Flower�s Cove, Anchor Point, Cook�s Harbour, Bide Arm, St. Lunaire-Griguet, St. Anthony, Raleigh, Bird Cove, Goose Cove, Port Saunders, Hawkes Bay, Port Au Choix, and St. Barbe/Pigeon Cove.
As Chair of the Great Northern Peninsula Join Council, Mayor Norman also expressed his pleasure at today�s MOU signing.
"The towns of Roddickton and Bide Arm have been working together and sharing many municipal services, goals and objectives over many years," said Mayor Norman. "It only seems natural they should become one single municipal entity. I believe the manner in which the towns have been able to work together and now finally be able to put that co-operation to work for the benefit of their residents is a model for other municipalities on the Great Northern Peninsula, and in fact, the entire province, to emulate."
Graham Letto, President of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) and Dave Strong, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Municipal Administrators (NLAMA) also indicated their support of this initiative and other such regional co-operation activities.
"Taking the initiative to provide better services to their collective residents is a step in the right direction," said Mayor Letto. "MNL strongly supports communities working together and we congratulate the councils in the towns of Roddickton and Bide Arm fortheir ongoing effort to enhance the sustainability of rural municipalities in our province."
"Creating sustainable municipalities is a critical issue," said Mr. Strong. "Many municipalities, often in rural areas, are finding it a challenge to provide quality services to residents given shrinking populations and tax bases combined with increasing expectations. I commend the Towns of Roddickton and Bide Arm on working together. I am confident they will create a stronger community that will benefit all involved."
With the MOU signed, Minister Denine will now seek the approval of the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council to establish the new Town of Roddickton-Bide Arm effective January 1, 2009. Steps are being taken to prepare for a municipal election of a new town council should an election be set by order of the Lieutenant Governor-in-Council. A transitional team comprised of members of the existing town councils will be formed to oversee the amalgamation process and in consultation with the Department of Municipal Affairs, make the necessary decisions to give effect to the amalgamation.
"I am very pleased with today�s announcement," said Minister Denine. "It demonstrates the shared desire of the municipal leaders of both towns to improve the quality of life for their residents. I look forward to working with the transitional team to help make the new Town of Roddickton-Bide Arm a reality."
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2008 09 30 4:10 p.m.
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