To the editor:
The June 19, 2012 article “Purcell’s Cove Road sewer, water services study delayed” by Ryan Van Horne raised several points attributed to a local resident that are at odds with the facts, many of which are presented in the February 8, 2011 report to Council, which Mr. Van Horne evidently read given his reference to it.
The article references a statement from a resident opposed to the initiative who alleges that the original petition to HRM for a feasibility study of extending water and sewer services to the Purcell’s Cove community was flawed. The Council report noted above speaks to the survey methodology and results, and the review of both by HRM’s Environmental Management Service, Halifax Water and Community Development. These parties took the time to break out and analyze the results by geographic area, and they subsequently concluded that the results of the petition (which was signed by property owners in the area) are, indeed, valid.
In response to queries regarding the validity of the petition, the Municipal Clerk stated:
“Petitions are considered reflections of public input and have no binding authority. Petitions are not the basis by which Council makes decisions on any matter but are part of the public input considered…The petitions from 2006/2007 and the petition submitted in January 2012 represent a point in time and the views are of those who signed the petition at the time.”
Thus, Council decisions are informed but not instructed by such petitions.
The article references another statement from the same resident noted above who alleges that the guidelines for steering committees have been “swept aside” and that one member is in a conflict of interest. Neither allegation is factual. The Clerk’s Office has reviewed the appointment process and states in its staff report:
“The process in regard to the appointments of volunteer appointments to the Purcell’s Cove Community Steering Committee has been an open and transparent process in keeping with the HRM Public Appointments Policy found on the HRM website at http://www.halifax.ca/boardscom/documents/Citizenrecruitmentpolicy.pdf and the publicly advertised criteria for nomination and appointment to the Purcell’s Cove Steering Committee. Upon the most recent review all current members of the Purcell’s Cove Community Steering Committee are in place as valid appointments under the advertised terms of reference of the Community Steering Committee and public appointment by the Chebucto Community Council.”
The Regional Plan’s Halifax Harbour Functional Plan will eventually examine the Northwest Arm area within a detailed planning process including the potential extension of central water and sewer services. While one of the deliverables of the feasibility study is to provide estimates of various servicing scenarios, the study may also help identify any existing problems that could lead to future health and safety issues.
The Council approved report acknowledges that the Purcell’s Cove area has not been identified as a growth centre under the Regional Plan and consideration for the area’s environmentally sensitive lands, community form and road capacity are to be included in the Servicing Study.
Linda Mosher, Councillor, Chair Chebucto Community Council