Happy Anniversary to Us!
It’s time to celebrate! Our rural Municipality of Pictou County will be 140 years old on April 14, 2019.
It really doesn’t seem long ago, for some of us, that we are celebrating our 100th Anniversary. Any of Pictou County’s residents who are under 50 years old probably would not remember that momentous occasion.
Have things changed much over the last 40 years? You want to believe they have! In 1979, the rural Municipality had its own school board and was busy building schools and installing portable classrooms to handle the flood of new students. In 1982, one school board was instituted for all of Pictou County followed by the formation of a regional school board in 1996 and the total elimination of all English school boards in 2018
In 1979, the rural Municipality also had its own health board and played a major role in our County hospitals. In 2019, our Council can only ask questions and send letters to the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Relationships with the provincial level of government and municipalities still exist but have changed a lot since 1979. Two pieces of legislation brought about a lot of this change. One was the exchange of services in the early 90s that saw a province take over many people’s services like welfare and the municipalities handled more property services. This was about the time the County began 25 plus years of installing water and sewer lines in many of our more populated communities. The other big piece of legislation that changed the “water on the beans” was the Municipal Government Act (MGA) which became law in 1998 and was the new set of rules for our Municipal Government to play under.
And we are few, now 12 Councillors representing the same area and more population than 17 Councillors did 40 years ago.
Certainly, a Councillor from 1979 sitting in on a 2019 Council Meeting would notice a huge change in the responsibilities and other topics of conversation.
So why is it important that we celebrate 140 years? I believe it is worth celebrating anniversaries and birthdays because it makes us realize how fortunate we are to have our own governing bodies and can make our own local, rural, decisions.
Some of this autonomy disappears slowly over time, partially because we take for granted how good a system we have and only notice the difference when it’s gone.
Please help your Council celebrate all the achievements and all the Councillors and Staff who have worked diligently to make our rural Municipality the governing body that it is today.
Warden of the Municipality of Pictou County