Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Crisis in a Small Town

For those of you who live outside of our province may not have heard, the Town of Annapolis Royal is in the middle of a bit of a crisis. Yes, even our peaceful little town has a crisis every once in a while. For better or worse, this crisis does not seem to be one of our own creation. That said, if things are allowed to proceed unchecked, this crisis does threaten the very existence of Annapolis Royal as an incorporated town.

What is it you ask. What can threaten the future of this old town? Why the changing property assessment on Nova Scotia Power's Tidal Generating Station of course. Confused? Well, honestly most of us are confused and wondering what is going on. Essentially, in a move which was unexpected, unannounced and seemingly undocumented, the town of Annapolis Royal is in a position where they may lose in excess of 25% of their annual operating budget. This is all related to a complex grants in lieu of taxes program which Nova Scotia Power uses to pay the provincial government. For more on the background, I would suggest the following articles.

http://www.novanewsnow.com/article-288098-Kinsella-baffled-concerned-over-new-NSPI-assessments.html
http://www.novanewsnow.com/article-284982-Annapolis-Royal-budget-crisis-uncovers-longstanding-conflict.html
http://thechronicleherald.ca/Search/9010098.html

Most of the reader commentary posted on the various media websites has been very positive toward Annapolis Royal. People seem to genuinely feel that Annapolis Royal makes an important contribution to the Province of Nova Scotia. Of course our historic importance and our terrific tourism infrastructure play no small part in creating those opinions. On the other hand there were a few people saying that Annapolis Royal is too small to deserve to exist as a town. To those people I would like to quote All in the Family's Archie Bunker and say "PPPPUHHHHHTTT". Yes, Annapolis Royal is a town whose population is hovering just under 500 people (499 I was told the other day). But, Annapolis Royal is one of the places who is doing things right. Within the last five years the town has been named the most liveable small town on earth, selected as a cultural capital of Canada, won the Prince of Wales award for preservation of built heritage and won national and international Communities in Bloom competitions. We have a thriving cultural scene with museums, art gallerys and a live theatre. We also have an impressive environmental record and an organization like the Clean Annapolis River Project working in town. Do I even need to mention the Farmer's market, the Historic Gardens, the natural beauty, or the friendly and engaged citizens? The world needs more Annapolis Royal not less!

Sadly, I am writing this at a time when there is great indecision about where this process is going. The Town is appealing the decision (if the province makes clear what the appeal process is). For now, residents are obviously and rightly upset.

My thanks to Trish Fry for the image at the top of this post. It is a bit too icy and rainy for me to want to crawl around taking pictures today.

All for now,
RGS

3 comments:

  1. If it helps any ... my partner and I are planning on moving there ... the 2 of us will push you over 500 :-)

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  2. It is nice to see us start to trend upward in population. We were down to 445 at the last census.
    Welcome to the community.
    RGS

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  3. I'm not sure why my first comment showed up as being from Miriam Bostwick ... but I'm actually Adele Kirwer.

    But, yes the growth is a good sign! My partner went to school in Annapolis Royal in the late 60's (his step-father was stationed at Cornwallis) and it's been his desire to go back ever since. I have friends in Granville Ferry and upon visiting discovered Annapolis Royal felt more like home to me than anywhere I have ever lived in my life. For now, I enjoy the community vicariously through updates from friends, online news and by trolling the real estate websites looking for our eventual home. Even with this latest issue we're still committed to coming and very much looking forward to it.

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