Local governance reform process begins
FREDERICTON, (GNB) – The provincial government today launched the first of several phases in the reform of local governance. A website will provide information and foster discussion as the province embarks on modernizing the local governance system. Stakeholder engagement begins in this phase and will continue for several months.
“While we are early in the process, it is important that we engage people in a meaningful way so together we can build a better future for all New Brunswickers,” said Local Government and Local Governance Reform Minister Daniel Allain. “We are in a pandemic so public engagement will look different but we will be talking to people in rural and urban centres, in small and large communities, across the province.”
There are 104 local governments, 236 local service districts and 12 regional service commissions in New Brunswick, however, Allain noted that more than 30 per cent of the population does not have local government elected representation. Allain said there is duplication of services and infrastructure, and many communities are having difficulty maintaining services.
The department will release a green paper in the spring to engage New Brunswickers further in the discussion. In keeping with COVID-19 guidelines, formal presentations will be made virtually. Individuals and stakeholders can also participate in this process by mail or electronically. Stakeholder and public feedback and analysis will be incorporated into a white paper, which will be released by the end of 2021.
“In discussions with Downtown New Brunswick and the Cities of New Brunswick Association, I have asked organizations to work together and provide their priorities for our urban areas,” Allain said. “We look forward to working with them on a New Brunswick urban strategy.”
Allain said he was also looking forward to continuing the conversations with local service district representatives and other municipal associations on their priorities, and to talking to different stakeholder groups.