Springhill to dissolve as town due to economic pressures

The town council of Springhill in Cumberland County has passed a motion to dissolve its status as a town, the mayor told CBC News on Tuesday.

Town of Springhill will cease to exist after March 31, 2015

The town council of Springhill in Cumberland County has passed a motion to dissolve its status as a town, the mayor told CBC News on Tuesday.

"It's a town with a decreasing population and we have a senior population and we have a large out migration. We cannot afford to put taxes up any more to sustain our roads and infrastructure and so on," said Max Snow, the mayor of Springhill.

"That's the predicament we find ourselves in."

The town council met Tuesday afternoon to discuss the motion and its implications for the economically depressed area.

Snow said the council will make an application with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to have the town dissolved and then move forward to form a new governance structure with the Municipality of the County of Cumberland County.

"We'll become the community of Springhill. Nothing is really going to change except that we'll be part of the Cumberland County municipality, that's all. It means everything will remain here — public works and so on and so forth," said Snow.

"We'll still have the town hall here and this probably will be a centre for the municipality once we work out through the details that the people from the county can come here and pay their taxes and so on."

Cumberland South MLA Jamie Baillie said in a statement that no matter what happens, "Springhill will always be Springhill."

"The decision by council to dissolve the town of Springhill ‎is no doubt an emotional and difficult one. The people of Springhill have faced many challenges throughout our town's history. They have proven their resilience time and time again," he said.

"This latest challenge will be no different."

The town of Springhill will cease to exist as of March 31, 2015. Snow said he and the four other members of the council will continue to govern until that time.

"We're not in a desperate situation where we're going to be bankrupt tomorrow — that's not the case. We have enough to move us forward but we're looking at the long-term sustainability of the town and maybe two, three years down the road, there could be a lot of problems," he said.

"Therefore, we decided it is probably time to move on this now and look at a brighter future for Springhill.

"It is sad. It's a difficult time and I realize that. It's a sad day for myself and for council. It was a tough, tough decision that we had to come to grips with."

A news conference is scheduled for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.

Springhill history

Spinghill was first settled in 1790 and it was incorporated in 1889.

The small Nova Scotia community entered the national consciousness in the 1950s after the town was devastated by two of the worst mining disasters in Canadian history. An explosion in 1956 killed 39 miners, and another 74 died in a geological bump in 1958.

The Springhill bump of 1958 trapped dozens of miners 3,900 metres underground in small dark pockets with little to no food and water and a dwindling air supply.

Six days into the rescue effort, 12 trapped miners were miraculously found alive. Then two days later, another seven survivors were found alive and rescued.

Springhill is also home to internationally acclaimed singer and songwriter Anne Murray.

Murray was the first Canadian woman to hit No. 1 in America. 

In 1968, she put out her first album. Since then, she's sold more than 54 million records, and has received numerous awards — including four Grammys and 24 Junos.


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