Three Rivers amalgamation not without its challenges, says mayor

The mayor of Three Rivers says the municipality has experienced some growing pains since it was amalgamated just over two years ago.

'We've had a lot of different opinions on the work that was underway'

Mayor Ed MacAulay says the work of amalgamating the region into one municipality has been challenging. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The mayor of Three Rivers says the municipality has experienced some growing pains since it was amalgamated just over two years ago.

Three Rivers is the result of a merger of several former municipalities, including Cardigan, Montague and Georgetown. The town has had to form its own bylaws, bring the community on board with the new town identity and manage leftover projects from the former councils.

"It's been a challenge for sure ... we had to inherit the business of the day for the various community councils and we're bringing in, you know, unincorporated areas for the first time too, so, you know, just even to begin with, there was some resistance," said Three Rivers Mayor Ed MacAulay.

"When you inherit something from another community, you get the basics and you'll get perhaps the intent or the ideas and so on, but everything's at a different stage. 

"You kind of try to put the pieces together and … finish the project the way they intended."

'It was very new'

The town inherited several unfinished works from each municipality, like waterfront projects in Cardigan and Montague and water and sewer work in Georgetown.

MacAulay said now that the communities share one council, there are a number of projects on the table and finding consensus among councillors and constituents about how to see them through can be difficult.

"It was very new, you know, to the responsibility of making these decisions, and, you know, at the same time, they're getting feedback from various people in the community that are either pro for the project or nay to the project and so on," the mayor said.

"We've had a lot of different opinions on the work that was underway, you know, and so it was challenging to get some of these projects to completion, and still challenging."

Mayor Ed MacAulay says he can remember when the hospital opened. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

The town has been able to see most projects through at this point, but some have had to go by the wayside.

"It's trying to get everyone on the same page and it's also trying to allow people to hold on to some of their history and the way they do things and so on," MacAulay said. 

"It's coming together, you know. It really is."

MacAulay said the council's current priorities are to get its bylaws in place, finalize the official plan and work on population growth strategies. 

New municipal building

One project underway is planning for a new administrative building which could become a town hall for the municipality. It would replace the old Montague town hall that burned down in 2018.

The new municipal building will be in the shape of the lighthouse to reflect the surrounding community, says Three Rivers CAO Jill Walsh (Coles Associates)

The new design is in the shape of a lighthouse and is expected to cost $1.6 million.

"It's got space for the administrative staff as well as council and committee rooms. We're looking to be as energy efficient as possible and we're really looking forward to getting into it," said Three Rivers CAO Jill Walsh.

"We are intending to install the technology so that we're able to broadcast live meetings or participate remotely or whatever circumstances in the future might dictate."

Construction is expected to begin early next year and the project should be complete by 2022.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Nicole Williams


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