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George's Brook-Milton engaging lawyer to push for incorporation

George's Brook.
George's Brook.

GEORGE’S BROOK, NL — Members of the local service district of George’s Brook and Milton have decided to hire a lawyer to push for answers regarding their incorporation to become a town.  

Craig Pardy, chair of the local service district George's Brook-Milton.

The LSD committee members made that decision unanimously last night, Aug. 8, at a committee meeting in George’s Brook.

"We are going to have legal counsel to write a letter, to request the information as to what government has done since October of 2014 on this file.  They'll clearly communicate with the government, and solicit a response as to where things are," explained Craig Pardy, chairman of the LSD.

The committee, in a resolution written after the meeting, say they feel that residents of Georges Brook-Milton have been "treated unfairly by Municipal Affairs of the Government of NL through its lack of communication and overly exaggerated period of time expended in the request," and that, "as a result, the residents have been adversely affected as a result of the inability to regulate development, and have been financially restricted in its operations.”

Pardy says the committee hopes a letter to government, from a lawyer acting on behalf of the LSD, will help push this issue further.

"We would hope the communication would be enhanced and the picture would be clearer, as a result of legal counsel," said Pardy.

The road to becoming a town began in October, 2014, when the LSD approached the municipal affairs department.

The department arranged for and funded a feasibility study.

That study, completed in April of this year, recommended the most feasible option available was for George's Brook-Milton to become a stand-alone municipality.

In May, residents voted in favor of incorporation.

Since then, though, there’s been no further movement.

With municipal elections coming up in September around the province, the LSD committee had hoped George’s Brook and Milton residents would be participating in municipal elections and electing their first town council.

"We think something doesn’t appear right . . . there's something not being communicated.  We look back to October, 2014; that’s an awful long time — three years —seeking incorporation," said Pardy.

With respect to the cost of hiring a lawyer to get involved, Pardy says he expects there will be little cost at this stage.

"Based on that response [from the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment], we have to decide then whether we go further to challenge," said Pardy.

Pardy says the committee will not pursue any costly legal action without first meeting publicly with residents to discuss options. The decision to pursue further legal action, if necessary, would be the decision of the residents, he said.

When contacted by the Packet, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment issued a statement that they were continuing to "review recommendations from the Feasibility Report conducted by LW Consulting regarding local governance options available for the local service district of George’s Brook-Milton."

However, the department spokesperson could not offer a specific date or timeline for municipal incorporation for the community.

“As the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment is still reviewing the matter at this time, the department isn’t in a position to outline a timeline regarding a decision for the potential incorporation for George’s Brook-Milton,” was the official response, via email, from a public relations officer in the department.

"We want to know where we stand," Pardy told the Packet.

"All we're seeking is that it (incorporation) happen, and we don't seem to be getting anywhere.”

 *An earlier version of this story said that the Aug. 8 meeting was a public meeting.  It was in fact a committee meeting.

Mark.squibb@thepacket.ca

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