No amalgamation for Sussex area, Haut-Madawaska
All it took was a couple of little villages to scrap merger plans
Amalgamation won't be happening in two areas of the province, after plebiscites were held on Monday.
That's despite many more people voting in favour of joining their neighbours, than against it.
But it required yes votes from every community involved, and that didn't happen.
So Sussex and Sussex Corner, and a group of communities in the Haut-Madawaska area northwest of Edmundston will remain separate.
It was common sense, people in Baker Lake are not stupid, you know.- Max Michaud, Lac Baker councillor
People in the villages of Clair, Baker-Brook, Lac Baker, St. Francois and St. Hillaire, plus those in several local service districts were deciding whether to create a single rural community with its own municipal council.
In each area, the votes were handily in favour of joining, except in one: Lac Baker. There, in the closest vote of the night, residents voted against the plan, 247 - 181.
Even though it was just one of the communities involved, that was enough to defeat the merger.
"It was common sense, people in Baker Lake are not stupid, you know," said Max Michaud, a councillor for Lac Baker.
"The reason that we were against it, is that Baker Lake, we got no debt, and our tax rate is the lowest. And we're one of the only villages that the population is increasing."
It was a dramatic finish to a contentious vote in Sussex Corner.
The idea of amalgamating with its larger neighbour had split council and the village, and that was reflected in the final vote.
Sussex voted for amalgamation, 838 in favour, just 87 against. But it was narrowly defeated next door, with residents of Sussex Corner voting 315 - 304 against.