'Too big and too cumbersome': Proposed rural community can't get off the ground
Proposed Nashwaak Rural Community Project too big and cumbersome for residents
Another proposed rural community in central New Brunswick has been snubbed by residents.
The proposed Nashwaak Rural Community, which would have brought together the local service districts of Estey's Bridge, Stanley and St. Mary's with the Village of Stanley, has been scrapped without even getting to the voting stage.
"We decided the project probably wouldn't succeed so we just cancelled the project," said David Sweeney, chair of the technical committee for the Nashwaak Rural Community Project.
"People weren't ready for it."
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In October, residents west of Fredericton voted against a York Rural Community, which would have taken in a wide area of central New Brunswick.
With a population of nearly 8,000, the community would have included Islandview, Keswick and Douglas, on the outskirts of Fredericton, and extended north to Napadogan, Hainesville and Deersdale.
Up to the people
Over the past several months, the Nashwaak committee hosted six public consultation meetings to gather opinions fro the public.
"It was brought up that the project was too big and too cumbersome," he said.
"Nobody really came up with any good reason why it was too big."
It's going to have to be up to individuals and communities to decide what they want.- David Sweeney
The proposal, which got its start about seven years ago, would have allowed the potential community to make decisions on its own.
According to a feasibility study, the Nashwaak Rural Community would have had a population of about 8,300, making it larger than Campbellton.
"It's got to be a community-led project," Sweeney said. "People just had the perception the government was pushing this."
Although the Nashwaak project is finished, he said there could be other proposals down the road.
"It's a good plan and self-determination is an excellent idea, so we have to wait and see how people feel," he said. "It's going to have to be up to individuals and communities to decide what they want."
A hard sell
Mayor Mark Foreman of Stanley said he was behind the rural community concept, but there were some things that were confusing to residents, including the timing. The proposal for the York Rural Community Project was being evaluated at the same time.
"People were going to the meetings saying, 'We weren't aware there was a meeting or … we didn't get the flyer until today,'" said Foreman, a member of the technical committee for the Nashwaak project.
"Everybody was concerned, like disconnected. 'How are we connected to this area?'"
Foreman said he's still interested in a rural community but there needs to be better communication next time, particularly from government.
He said it's important government relay how this type of project works from the get-go and how it affects people in the proposed community.
"It just seems that every rural community that starts up, or tries to start up has different rules," he said.