If the role of the local government organizations on affecting regional economic and social development is not an obvious one, it should be.
We rarely stop to consider precisely what the region is and how the jurisdictions came to be and why (even though it’s a good way to get community buy-in). Who would have thought that when, post-expulsion, Acadia’s Chipoudie gave way to Hopewell Township of the colony of Nova Scotia, it would set the landscape for future LSDs? Jurisdictional boundaries often get drawn using existing lines. But lines can change and Daniel Goguen, Local Services Manager, is more than willing to discuss restructuring.
The Hopewell Township eventually gave way to a civil parish within county system, a regional form of local government organization. At first, Hopewell parish encompassed the same area as the Township; North of the Cape where the Petitcodiac River begins, Westerly to Blackwood Lk., then South to Hebron and along the coastline back to the mouth of the Petitcodiac. (Saint John County had initially abutted the Hopewell Township boundary at Hebron where the Alma and Harvey boundary currently lays, and not until later did our region include current Alma Parish). Later, the multitude of Hopewell place names would cause confusion.
An updated “Our New Brunswick Story” school text would include the modernization of local government that was built around centralized service provision and the creation of many, small, municipalities and administrative units called Local Service Districts we currently abide by. It is one of our many uniquenesses. And while the County serves marginal purpose in the public organizational landscape, it remains the vessel for a considerable part of our motivation.
It’s apparent when looking at Albert County communities that, celebrated and advancing with the good work of those diligently seeking their sustainability, and of the efforts of collaborating
organizations coalescing, we’re on a roll. Are the official public avenues acknowledged? Some find this landscape confusing or worse, and perhaps cannot be blamed for it. Still, the value of participating in the unincorporated official process might gain value when seen regionally.
FYI, local government elections can populate both municipal councils and LSD advisory committees, although by different processes. Additionally, a “yea” or “nay” question may be put forward to voters alongside a municipal ballot if a big decision needs voter direction. Then there are the education and health boards. But only those elected to municipal councils and LSD committees can become commissioners of the regional services board, the RSC.
Vernon Woolsey is a CCRC board member who studied community design at Dalhousie University’s School of Architecture and Planning