Provincially appointed supervisor takes over council responsibilities in Lakeland Ridges

by | Aug 5, 2023

Former Gagetown mayor Michael Blaney replaces municipal council for an undetermined period

A provincially government-appointed supervisor will oversee the day-to-day operation of the newly formed Municipality of Lakeland Ridges until further notice.

New Brunswick Local Government and Local Governance Reform announced the appointment of Michael Blaney as the supervisor for the municipality comprising the former villages of Canterbury and Meductic and neighbouring unincorporated areas of Debec, North Lake and Benton.

“The Municipality of Lakeland Ridges became subject to Part V of the Control of Municipalities Act,” explained Vicky Lutes, spokesperson for Local Government and Local Government Reform.

Under Part V of the act, the province has the authority to appoint a supervisor to take over council responsibilities.

The department did not provide details about what prompted the dramatic action in Lakeland Ridges.

The newly formed municipality, however, faced significant governance issues since starting council on Jan. 1, including failure to approve agendas, leading to the cancellation of council meetings.

The municipality also faced significant staff issues surrounding its administration.

Lakeland Ridges Mayor Tanya Cloutier declined to comment at this time.

Lutes outlined Blaney’s role and powers as supervisor.

“A supervisor is responsible for the administration of a local government, ensuring the continuation of day-to-day operations and local government staffing report to the supervisor,” she explained. “During the period of supervision, council has no decision-making authority and does not meet.”

Lutes explained the appointed supervisor will determine how to disperse information to Lakeland Ridge residents.

“A supervisor determines the approach related to communicating the affairs of the local government with the public,” Lutes explained.

Part of Blaney’s role is to determine the future of Lakeland Ridges’ council.

“The supervisor will recommend the necessary requirements to the Commissioner of Municipal Affairs for the reinstatement of council,” Lutes explained. “The supervisor will remain in place until the local government is no longer subject to Part V of the Control of Municipalities Act.”

In its press release on Aug. 4 announcing Blaney’s appointment, the department said the new supervisor officially took over his role on July 28.

Blaney brings a vast knowledge of municipal governance to his role, serving as a former mayor of Gagetown and the former chair of the Capital Region Service Commission.

Lakeland Ridges resident and council candidate Greg Grant expressed disappointment with developments.

“It’s a shame grown people can’t get along for the betterment of the people they represent,” he said.

Grant said he doesn’t fully understand the full details of council’s failure to function, but he and other residents were aware of the dysfunction.

“I only know from the outside, looking in,” he said.

Grant planned to attend council’s next meeting, but it never happened.

He said residents need to know what the appointment of a supervisor means for the municipality’s ongoing operations.

“The municipality has hundreds of thousands of dollars that need allocation,” Grant said.

He questioned whether the latest developments mean essential projects will be put on hold.

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