(The Shoreline; Vol. 31 No. 47 - February 6 2019)
It may take until this Spring or even early summer before the Town of Colinet formally extends its boundaries, assuming the provincial government approves the application.
Under its proposal, the town's boundaries would swell substantially to areas as far as the boundaries of Harricott, North Harbour, and Mount Carmel. Much of the new area is currently outside the jurisdiction of any municipality. Incorporating the larger area within the boundary lines of Colinet will enable the town to expand its responsibility for providing firefighting and other services in the area.
The Colinet volunteer fire department already answers calls outside its town boundaries, but has no way or reclaiming any of the costs of providing that service. Under the proposed scheme, the Town of Colinet would be able to receive a fire protection fee from cabin and home owners in the area, which would be collected by the Eastern Region Service Board.
Mayor Calista Didham was among the 46 people who last week attended the first of several public briefing sessions that are scheduled on the application.
"It went relatively well," said Didham of the session.
There wasn't a lot of public discussion, she said, because the session was mostly an introduction and overview of the proposal. It was presented LW Consulting, the company hired to conduct a feasibility study into the idea.
LW Consulting is in the process of accepting submissions from people in the area.
“The next meeting will be more detailed," said Didham.
Aside from firefighting, Didham said if the proposal is approved, some of the property owners who are incorporated inside the boundary might get street lights in their area. It might also mean the town taking on some additional snow clearing responsibilities, at least on side roads, not on the main roads currently serviced by the provincial Department of Transportation and Works.
Several more hearings and briefing sessions are expected before the feasibility study is completed and the Minister of Municipal Affairs decides yea or nay on the application. Colinet had to get permission from the minister to proceed with the feasibility study.
Didham is fairly confident the proposal will eventually be approved. "I feel very positive about it," she said. "It's not going to happen overnight... but I feel positive that we'll succeed with it. I know there will be (some) people against it, of course, but that's to be expected."