December 5, 2018 3:38 pm
Updated: December 5, 2018 6:29 pm

Nearly half of HRM residents support separating urban and rural governments

WATCH: Nearly half of residents in Halifax Regional Municipality are in favour of splitting HRM intwo two separate municipal units – one for rural the other for urban. Alicia Draus has the details.


It was 22 years ago when the region amalgamated into the Halifax Regional Municipality, and decades later, there is still debate about how the municipal government operates.

“I know that it is a struggle for those of us who are councillors for rural areas, that getting rural issues on the docket sometimes takes a little extra work,” said Lisa Blackburn, councillor for Middle/Upper Sackville – Beaver Bank – Lucasville.

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“Sometimes you have to let your fellow councilors know that one size doesn’t fit all.”

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Now a new poll from Corporate Research Associates (CRA) suggests nearly half of HRM residents would support splitting the municipality into separate urban and rural governments.

CRA polled 400 adults in HRM between Oct. 22 and Nov. 15, asking if they would support a split.

Of those polled, 48 per cent said yes, 40 per cent said no and 11 per cent said they did not know.

Support for the split is highest in non-urban areas. Only Bedford and Sackville have more opposition to the idea than support.

“I think it’s definitely a sign that we need to take greater care and concern when it comes to our rural communities,” said Blackburn.

“Perhaps they are feeling that they’re not being represented.”

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But Mayor Mike Savage says people often feel the grass is greener on the other side.

“Everybody has an issue,” he said.

“If you live in a rural part of the municipality, you say, ‘We pay tax but we don’t get certain services.’ If you live in the urban core and you’re in a new building where there’s already water, transit, and infrastructure, you say, ‘Why am I paying so much when all of that stuff already exists?'”

Savage also warns people not to expect a split again.

“It’s never going to happen. If you think it’s expensive and difficult to amalgamate, you know, try de-amalgamating. It would be a lot more difficult.”

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