© Photo special to The Guardian
The signs going into O'Leary, in western Prince Edward Island, may soon need to change. The community is looking at changing to town status.
O’LEARY – Times are changing and the Community of O’Leary is endeavouring to change with them suggests community chairman Stanley MacDonald.
The community council has scheduled an information session for Monday at 7 p.m. to discuss its interest in applying for town status and to gain feedback from residents and business people concerning the proposal. The meeting will be held at the O’Leary Community Complex.
MacDonald said council started discussing town status a few months ago and sent out a letter to residents and business people explaining the advantages of becoming a town. One key advantage, he said, is it speeds up the decision-making process.
“Looking to the future,” he said, “our processes are too slow if you want to do something.” Communities, he explained, can call special meetings, but, unlike towns, must limit the discussion to that one specific topic.
O’Leary’s profile would be raised with town status, he added, and it might be able to qualify for certain grants that would not be available to municipalities with community status. He noted O’Leary already has more services than some of the Island’s existing towns.
He said there would be no change in how services like street maintenance and snow-clearing are handled.
Although he does not anticipate a binding vote during Monday’s information meeting, he suggested there would likely be a show of hands to give council an indication of level of support for the proposal.
“Municipal Affairs would want you to have support,” he said.
As is the case with the community meetings, MacDonald said that meetings as a town council would remain open to the public to attend.
“It’s still transparent,” he stressed.
Late last year, North Rustico made the jump from community to town status.