The mediation to resolve the controversial proposal to annex and amalgamate several communities in eastern PEI has begun. Residents who will be affected by the outcome of the mediation are hoping to be allowed to share their stories during the process.
So far, the residents have not been included in the mediation that began in mid-June, nor have they allowed any representatives for the residents. The residents affected live in the unincorporated area and their homes would be included in the new municipality. The residents have hired a representative to speak on their behalf at the mediation if and when the time comes.
According to the representative, there have been discussions with the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission (IRAC), but those discussions are still in the early stages and there has been no confirmation as yet from the commission or the minister as to whether or not they will be allowed to participate.
The goal of the mediation is to find agreement among the communities supporting the proposal and the two towns that have filed objected – Montague and Georgetown. In addition to those two town-wide objections, there have been approximately 1500 residents within the proposed area who also filed objections.
Despite the potential benefits of the mediation procedure, there is still some concern. Mediation is part of the new Municipal Government Act and this is the first test for the process. There is no avenue for residents who are not officially part of the municipality to be represented, unless it is determined they can participate.
One resident called the process “unconstitutional” and said it needs to be completely overhauled.