Southwest NB Service Commission meets with ELG Minister

Kathy Bockus/Courier Environment and Local Government Minister Serge Rouselle greets Jim Tubbs, representative of the LSD of Dumbarton at a recent closed session of the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission.

Hemlock Knoll – The chair of the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission is encouraged by the tone of a closed meeting the board recently had with Serge Rouselle, Minister of Environment and Local Government.

“It went very well,” said Joyce Wright, who represents the LSD of Dennis Weston. “It was a frank discussion and we look forward to seeing what he will do with the conversations we had.”

Wright said Rouselle’s department had provided a list of questions to the board in advance, which allowed the board to discuss responses it would present.

“The questions were quite open ended and allowed us to speak frankly and openly” said Wright. “We felt the board’s input was very well received by the minister.”

Wright said she was pleased with the tone of the closed meeting as well as the minister’s receptiveness and expected there would be an excellent relationship between the 12 regional service commissions in the province and the minister going forward. Because the meeting at the Hemlock Knoll landfill site Thursday night was closed Wright was not at liberty to say what had been discussed.

Rouselle said the purpose of this meeting and the others he has requested was to gain information which would allow the government to improve the model of the RSCs in the province.

“We want to improve the RSCs, what we’re doing, so we’re meeting with each and listening to the people who are at the table,” said Rouselle.

He said lead consultant and facilitator Mike McKendy will prepare a report on the information shared at the meetings and present a brief on his findings.

Rouselle said the brief will be sent to the RSC boards. “There will be workshops and at the end of the day, there will be a report of recommendations how to improve the model of the RSCs.”

“We will be listening to everything that they have to say. And from then on we will see what we’ll do.”

In response to a question Rouselle agreed the RSCs are here to stay.

Rouselle said media reports had stated the government would be, in its next session, introducing a new bill for municipalities and a new bill for a community planning act, “but we also want to improve the RSCs and how they operate.”

Meanwhile Wright said she wished more regional residents would attend the SNBSC board meetings, to ask questions and to learn more about the work of the commission, see who is representing them at the table “and learn about our vision for going forward.”