The founding councillors of the newly formed Fundy Albert took the Oath of Office at a special ceremony December 19, 2022, at the Community Hall in Hopewell Cape. Hon. Mike Holland was present to offer congratulatory words to the group who were elected on November 28, 2022, as part of the local governance reform initiative. Mayor Robert Rochon stated during his inaugural address, It's now time to begin to chart a positive path forward for our community. One that strives to leverage our individual strengths and capitalize on partnerships with community groups and organizations. We will also need to engage citizens and work collaboratively with other levels of government to make Fundy Albert the vibrant and successful community it so rightfully deserves to be.
The Council of Fundy Albert is composed of six councillors and one mayor, who will take power of the entity on January 1, 2023. Statements submitted by some Council members follow this article.
Information and updates about the newly formed Village of Fundy Albert can be found on the Facebook page at Village of Fundy Albert | Facebook
I would like to thank the many individuals who offered during the recent municipal election. Unlike in some areas of New Brunswick, our community saw good interest in becoming an elected official and good overall voter turnout. I offer thanks to the citizens of Fundy Albert who encouraged me to offer, who supported me along the way, and who voted for me as their mayor. I will work hard for all constituents and do my absolute best to meet your expectations.
This coming year will be a very challenging one for Fundy Albert's new municipal council, mostly because of the changes that will be happening with governance reform. There will be many questions to answer and adjustments to make along the way. These will include a new council composition, a new governance and organizational structure, positions with different roles and responsibilities, and new service delivery obligations that don?t currently exist. Our term in office will begin with briefings relating to budgets that were developed by the province, the new organizational structure, and also the various roles and responsibilities of employees and members of council. There will also be an opportunity to develop a strategic plan and carry out a review of municipal policies and bylaws for the community.
The communities of Alma, Riverside-Albert and Hillsborough each have important projects currently under development, including those related to water exploration and infrastructure, and affordable and appropriate housing. In my role as mayor, I will advocate for the completion of these because of their importance to the individual communities and the impact they will have on Fundy Albert's ability to grow and prosper. In addition, we will have to work to understand how we can contribute to the needs of the broader community, including for the many who have never had elected representation before.
I mostly look forward to meeting with our new council members to begin charting a path forward for the community. I'll work with our Chief Administrative Officer and council to formalize the various systems, processes and procedures required to provide efficient and effective municipal services. In the short term, I hope to deliver on my commitment of increased transparency in government as well as better communication and opportunities for citizen engagement.
None of this will be possible without
citizen involvement and input. My hope is to develop a productive and collaborative approach to government, foster good partnerships with community groups and organizations, and good working relationships with other communities, service providers and levels of government. Together, I'm confident that we will build a good foundation for future councils to build on.
Ward 2 Councillor Loretta Elderkin
I am humbled and appreciative of the community support in the recent election in which the residents of Ward 2-Fundy Albert have elected me as their councillor.
As we enter 2023, the work of the
councillors will just be beginning. I will strive to be a strong voice for Ward 2 as I collaborate with the elected team throughout the transition into Fundy Albert. This will be a new adventure for all of us, but I believe the team will strive to work for the best interests of our community.
I am fortunate to have grown up here, raised my own family here and continue to call this area my home.
I am looking forward to being part of the Fundy Albert team!
Ward 1 Councillor John Ereaux
First of all, I would like to thank all the voters who supported my candidacy and to express to everyone my sincere commitment to do my best in representing all of the people of Ward 1 on the Fundy Albert Municipal Council.
One of the key aspirational goals of those who championed the amalgamation project was that, as an amalgamated community, we would be able to achieve things collectively that we could never achieve alone as independent small villages and rural areas. What I look forward to most of all as a member of Council is achieving successful examples of this cooperative synergy in action in our newly amalgamated community.
We have many challenges ahead of us ? this is most certainly an understatement. Not only will we need to create and promulgate an entirely new set of by-laws and policies for Fundy Albert, but also we will need to address the challenges of budget shortfalls that we will undoubtedly experience during the transition period when the Province is dictating fiscal and taxation policies to us. On top of this will be the fact that our former local government areas must now operate collectively, no longer as independent
municipalities or districts. As a Council, and also as an amalgamated community, we must now begin to do all the things that will promote unity, and harmony, and the common good among us, in all of the six Wards of the single Fundy Albert community. All the while, we must remain mindful of the fact that, for the foreseeable future at least, we have within Fundy Albert six district taxation areas, each with its own unique property tax rate. Fairness issues will likely be a constant concern because of this.
In terms of the priorities I see for our new Council, the following would be the most critical high-level objectives:
- preparing a five-year strategic plan for the entire community as a whole, and also for each of the six Wards,
- beginning to implement the five-year plans, - overseeing the successful development and implementation of all the required bylaws, policies, systems and processes that the local government council, administration and community will require to operate effectively and efficiently as an
- completing the critical Alma Water System Expansion Project, which can only be
accomplished with the crucial support from our Provincial and Federal Government funding partners.
Ward 5 Councillor Jim Coates
Jim has listed his priorities as follows:
- Many rural communities and subdivisions are located in Ward 5. I will work on
signage to promote the area,
- Help seniors stay in their homes,
- Concerns on policing in rural areas and villages,
- Reliable Hi Speed Internet and cell service for Fundy Albert. Many areas of Fundy Albert have no access to either cell or reliable internet service, and
- Support tourism and infrastructure.
Ward 6 Councillor Heather Ward
It is an honor to have been elected as the Councillor for Ward 6 of the community of Fundy Albert. The support that I have received by the residents, family and friends has given me the strength and encouragement to take on this journey with pride, knowing that what I set out to accomplish will indeed be fulfilled.
Over the next few months there will be a lot of listening and learning as the new council prepares for the years ahead. Having the background and understanding of the governance reform will be helpful in moving our community forward. One of the first tasks will include meeting with the provincial departments that provide services to our area to understand the current structure and how this could be improved.
For me, being transparent continues to be important as well as being able to continue listening to residents and bring their concerns, issues and priorities back to the table. Some of these issues include property tax rate increases, vandalism and RCMP presence and, of course, having access to our healthcare system.
As many of you know, I am a supporter of enhancing and keeping our agriculture industry viable; therefore, working with our agriculture producers who provide our community and the world population with local food will be a top priority. Understanding the rural landscape and the importance of agriculture-zoned land with urban encroachment will also continue to be a top priority.
I look forward to working with our new mayor, Robert Rochon, and the elected officials from the other wards to make sure our community succeeds as we navigate through this reform over the next four years.