Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent is pushing to see an agreement reached that will result in the amalgamation of Lark Harbour and York Harbour.
“The amalgamation of these two towns makes really good sense, regardless of whether there was any financial incentive offered or not, said Kent on Tuesday. “It’s the right thing to do.
“They’re already sharing services in many ways where it makes sense to do so and both towns have recognized that there’s even greater potential for working together by actually merging into one municipality,” he said.
“And in this particular case, I fully agree with them.”
Kent is working on a paper on the matter now and government is looking at the report prepared by consultants on the feasibility of joining the two towns and specific funding requests by the towns.
He said it’s difficult to outline the specifics of the requests, some of which were identified in the consultant’s report, and that he couldn’t provide a precise figure on the costs.
“The requests that were received were substantial.”
He said they relate to funding for a water and sewer project, municipal planning, a fire truck, garbage collection and snowclearing equipment, paving, completion of a retaining wall, renovations to a town office and transition funding for staffing.
“There’s no guarantee of financial incentives as part of any amalgamation process,” he said.
“So, each request is assessed on its individual circumstances, and as such at this time I can’t commit to offering financial incentives as part of the amalgamation.”
Still, Kent said the province understands the request the towns have made and they are under consideration.
In meeting with the two towns earlier this month, Kent said he got the sense that the leadership of the communities is prepared to be reasonable and realistic about it.
He’s hopeful the final decision will be made within the next few months.