© THE GUARDIAN/Steve Sharratt
Georgetown Mayor Lewis Lavandier is looking forward to discussions with his counterparts now that a long awaited study on forming a larger regional municipality has been released.
MONTAGUE - The last secret meeting to discuss the future of amalgamating seven communities into one of the largest regional municipalities in the province was held behind closed doors last week.
Georgetown Mayor Lewis Lavandier says information regarding future plans and a public input process will be announced this week.
However, some residents are already objecting to the secret meetings closed to the public and media while mediated by Paul MacNeill, publisher of the Eastern Graphic newspaper.
“It was very positive and I can’t comment until the release is issued,’’ said Lavandier. “I think everyone wants to work together.”
Lavandier is the group spokesman and said the closed meetings were to enable officials to review the recent consultant’s report on the amalgamation effort and to determine a system of forthcoming public meetings.
He also said MacNeill was present as a private citizen because of his connection with the Georgetown Conference, not as a media person.
The amalgamation effort, if approved, would see the development of a regional municipality from Lorne Valley to St. Andrew’s Point in Lower Montague and include as many as 10,000 people to create a major tax base.
The communities involved are Georgetown, Cardigan, Lorne Valley, Brudenell, Montague, Valleyfield and Lower Montague.
However, not everyone was so buoyant with praise.
Some community officials contacted by The Guardian either voiced concerns privately or declined requests for comment at this time.
“I find it deceptive,” said former Montague Mayor Pat McGowan.
“We are all taxpayers. I think the more closed they are, the more residents will be against the idea thinking it's all done behind their backs.”
The seven communities would retain their names but could become the regional area of Three Rivers, if the proposal is accepted.
Phil Woods and Associates carried out the study at a cost of $30,000.
The province picked up most of the costs of the study.
More information is expected to be released on Wednesday.