Montague Mayor Richard Collins
MONTAGUE – Town council may support regional amalgamation, but wants to draw new lines in the sand when it comes to the proposed boundaries.
The town issued a statement Wednesday saying it opposes the proposed boundaries of the Phil Wood report and will no longer participate in the discussions, or the upcoming meeting on amalgamation slated for Jan. 29.
“Be assured that Montague town council supports the amalgamation of areas of interest, but we feel that the Fire District is the area that would best serve this purpose,” said chief administrative officer Andy Daggett.
The process of amalgamation is being considered following the release of the $30,000 Phil Wood Report – Stronger Together, Building a Sustainable Future for the Three Rivers region.
That report recommends the amalgamation of seven different communities along with a number of unincorporated areas that would stretch from Lorne Valley to Panmure Island and create a region of more than 8,000 people.
The communities involved in the proposed creation of Three Rivers would be Georgetown, Cardigan, Lorne Valley, Brudenell, Montague, Valleyfield and Lower Montague.
The fire district amalgamation sought by the town would leave out Cardigan and Georgetown which have their own fire departments and Lorne Valley.
“I believe we would be stronger together than apart, however, the area proposed in the study is far too broad in my opinion,” rookie councillor Daphne Griffin told The Guardian.
Daggett said the boundaries of the Montague fire district make much more sense for a new municipality since there is an existing “community of interest”.
“I believe it’s best for us to go with the fire district boundaries,’’ Deputy Mayor David Mabon told The Guardian.
The Montague fire district exceeds the criteria of 4,000 people and $200 million in assessed value as outlined by the government as a requirement.
The Montague fire district consists of Montague, Brudenell, Valleyfield, and Lower Montague and numerous unincorporated areas as well.
“Council feels that combining the citizens in the fire district would be in the best interest of the town, and the area, and that it serves no purpose to continue discussions on the district as outlined in the Phil Wood report,” said Daggett.