SPRINGHILL, N.S. – Emotions ran high in Springhill, Nova Scotia Wednesday as people were forced to say goodbye to their town.
“It hurts knowing it’s not a town anymore,” said 70-year-old Bernice Fraser.
She has lived in Springhill all of her life.
Just over a year ago, Springhill town council decided to dissolve the 126-year-old town, which is now just a community within Cumberland County.
Former Mayor Maxwell Snow says there was no other option.
“You’re broke to the sum of $6.2 million and you could not do anything,” he said.
The community known as the birthplace of Anne Murray was no longer able to afford fire and policing services.
So Wednesday, RCMP were sworn in as the community’s new protectors.
“I think the Mounties will be fine, I ain’t got nothing against Mounties but I knew all the cops,” said Fraser. “Like you knew them by name.”
Peter Wallance served with the Springhill Police Force, but now he wears an RCMP badge.
“I am sad and I am excited all in one and I don’t know how to display that emotion,” he said. “It’s quite the feeling.”
It was a conflicting day for the entire town. Once a thriving mining town, Springhill has survived much darker dark days. More than 250 miners were killed in three separate mining disasters since Springhill became a town.
“Well, we just went through so much, the explosions and the bumps and the fires but we brought her back,” she said.
But there will be no coming back from this, Fraser said.
On the streets of the former town, there was a sense of optimism, which the town’s last formal mayor shared.
“There is new business moving in already because the business tax has dropped off and the residential taxes have dropped off,” Snow said. “The garbage tax is dropped off so that’s $147 a year that the people are going to have now that they can use.”
Many people also shared the feeling that it’s the people and not the term “town” that truly make a community.