First offsite St. Mary’s council meeting draws Goshen residents

·2 min read

GOSHEN – With seven representatives and 12 members of the public attending, it was not quite standing room only at the Goshen Community Centre, where the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s held its first council meeting ever outside of Sherbrooke on July 11. But it was an impressive turnout.

“Thanks everybody for the invitation,” Warden Greg Wier enthused. “It’s great to see this many people out …You have a lovely hall here.”

Hoping to improve representation for communities scattered across the geographically large, but sparsely populated, municipality, council voted in June to take its regular meetings on the road. According to Chief Administrative Officer Marissa Jordan, the seven-month pilot project is believed to be a first for local government.

“[We’ve] been interested in doing [this] from the beginning of our term,” Wier explained last month, adding: “By making meetings more accessible, [we’re] showing residents that all councillors represent the municipality as a whole. With restrictions easing and life getting somewhat back to normal, it’s a great time to make meetings more accessible.”

At the Goshen meeting, council approved the minutes and measures moved at the regular and special meetings held on June 13 and July 4, and at committee of the whole meetings on June 22 and July 6.

Jordan spent the balance of the eight-minute proceedings delivering her CAO report, including: An update on the municipality’s ongoing electoral boundary review; the reintroduction of the before and after-school childcare program at St. Mary’s Education Centre/Academy; a new bike-friendly business project in Sherbrooke; and lighting upgrades at the Recplex.

Members of the public asked questions about the municipal boundary review and the community transportation project, Jordan told The Journal in an email. “Council then stayed after the question and answer period to mingle with residents to talk about events and activities happening in the Goshen district.”

Following the committee of the whole meeting in Sherbrooke on Wednesday, July 20, council will adjourn until September.

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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