Annual Chairperson’s Report Burton and Area Citizens’ Association May 30, 2011 AGM
It is with a gratifying sense of excitement that I present the first annual chairperson’s report for the newly formed Burton and Area Citizens’ Association.
The seed for the beginnings of an association were planted in 2009 when a small group of local people came together for the first time to talk about local governance for the community of Burton. We called ourselves the Burton Interested Citizen’s Group.
We were soon to discover that Burton/Swan Creek belonged to a larger geopolitical area known as the Burton Local Service District, which encompassed communities from Swan Creek to Geary and its surrounding smaller communities, with Base Gagetown and the town of Oromocto geographically splitting the LSD. This led to a meeting with the Greater Geary Association’s directors as this organization had been in place since 2008 and had been consulting with Local Government at the provincial level to look for options for local governance on their own. They welcomed the opportunity to enter into discussions with people from the other side of the LSD.
Both groups decided to hold information sessions to gauge the public interest in holding elections for a local service district advisory committee. These committees are currently the only option for LSD’s who want to have elected people representing their interests. Two sessions were held in 2009, one in Geary and the other in Burton. The attendance by Burton citizens was good especially considering the meeting could only be advertised in the local paper due to the cost.
In the meantime the provincial government had tabled a report on the Future of Local Governance (Finn Report) and there was some concern as to what that would mean for the community of Burton as well as the LSD of Burton.
The association continued to educate themselves throughout 2010 and 2011 through information sessions by employees from the Office of Local Government.
In late 2010 the association drafted a constitution and changed the name to the Burton and Area Citizens’ Association. This is the constitution being brought forward tonight for adoption.
A board of directors was created and a general membership list generated. Our membership sits at 40 members to date. Another public session was held on March 28, 2011 to engage the public in community issues and concerns. A flyer was sent to all 988 residences and businesses advertising this meeting through funding from the local service district budget. It also was well attended and resulted in an increase in the membership of the association. The Association became incorporated in April of 2011 through financial donations from the directors themselves.
Subsequent to the above sessions the association is represented on the Rural Planning committee, which is engaged in the process of planning for the Local Service District of Burton. This is expected to be a two-year process with regular public sessions to inform citizens of work to date.
The association is working with the Greater Geary Association to submit a position paper to the Minister of Local Government in response to their request for input on local governance and on the delivery of regional services. This chair and the chair of the GGCA have attended consultation sessions on regional services delivery this spring to try to gauge the direction the province may be going with this issue. This paper will be submitted to government by June 10, 2011.
School District 17, District Education Council has embarked upon a sustainability study for the BurtonElementary School, which will take a year to complete with public input expected. The association is monitoring the process at this time with representative directors attending the first public meeting in May 2011.
As I hope this report indicates we have been busy educating ourselves on issues of community interest and concern while attending and participating wherever our community may be affected. At the same time we have engaged in dialogue with our counterpart organization in Geary to keep the lines of communication open and respectful of each other’s interests and needs. We have provided opportunities for public input and will continue to do so.