MODL: Municipality Joining Petite Riviere Group in Judicial Review

Posted on Thursday, June 29, 2017 11:16 AM

The Municipality of the District of Lunenburg is intervening in the judicial review into the decision to close Petite Riviere Elementary School.

MODL authorized their legal counsel on Tuesday following a request by the Greater Petite Area Community Association to work together to try and have the court overturn the decision.

Mayor Carolyn Bolivar-Getson says council feels less people will move to Lunenburg County because of school closures.

"They look at the schools in the area, they look at the recreational opportunities in an area. The closures of schools in these rural hubs definitely has an impact on the survival of rural Nova Scotia."

Bolivar-Getson says school closures also cause negative effects because the empty buildings are turned over to the municipality.

Remediation or disposal costs can cost up to $1-million, according to MODL.

Bolivar-Getson says council didn't set a budget for legal fees and will cover costs using their contingency fund.

Meanwhile, a board member with the Greater Petite Area Community Association says the group is encouraged by the municipality's decision.

Leitha Haysom says having the municipality in their corner provides more weight to their argument that schools are the lifeblood of small communities.

"They've dealt with the impacts of school closures and the downloading of costs to municipalities when they're dealing with decommissioned buildings. The municipal government isn't the only one who has to deal with that, of course, all of us do as taxpayers."

Haysom feels their judicial review is different from the one conducted with Bridgewater Junior-Senior High School.

Although a judge determined the Town of Bridgewater had legal standing, the school board's decision to send senior students from Bridgewater to Park View this fall is moving ahead.

Haysom says the wording of the 2013 motion by the South Shore Regional School Board is one of the arguments to be made.

The judicial review is scheduled for September 7.