Nova Scotia

Canso can be village, mayor says

Canso Mayor Frank Fraser wants special status for his beleaguered town after it amalgamates with Guysborough County.

Canso Mayor Frank Fraser wants special status for his beleaguered town after it amalgamates with Guysborough County.

Canso councillors are meeting Monday with their counterparts in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough to discuss a takeover deal.

Fraser said he plans to argue for a "free-standing district" or village status for Canso.

"Right now my preference would be village status," he told CBC News.

Lloyd Hines, warden of Guysborough County, said that's not part of the deal. He said the only agreed-to move is to dissolve the Town of Canso and have his municipality absorb it.

"There is no mention of any other style of governance other than becoming District 8 in the municipality," Hines said.

The deal with the Nova Scotia government was signed by the deputy mayor of Canso, not Fraser.

Canso, on the northeastern tip of mainland Nova Scotia, has been a fishing port since 1604 and an independent town with its own charter since 1901. It was once home to the biggest fish plant in Atlantic Canada.

But the town's finances have been unravelling for years.

Hines said the town's budget was $900,000 last year, including $300,000 in relief payments from the province, but the problems go even deeper.

"The real piece that's problematic is the piece you don't see," Hine said, citing underground pipes and buildings that might require environmental cleanup.

Last fall, council voted unanimously to ask the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to begin the dissolution process.

The board will hold a public hearing on the merger in December.