Sioux Narrows merger step closer

It doesn’t appear likely Nestor Falls’ request to merge with Chapple rather than Sioux NarrowsResidents in Nestor Falls and Sioux Narrows were presented with the first draft from a provincially-appointed commission last Thursday that still had them merging into one municipality.
Nestor Falls residents had proposed the commission, headed by Arthur Wellington, look at merging their community with Chapple instead of Sioux Narrows.
But that doesn’t look likely at this stage.
“This is the problem with this,” said Leona Forsyth, chair of the Nestor Falls Local Services Board. “When a commission is assigned, you cannot do any other negotiations, you can only deal with the proposal.
“He’s looking at things that have a key bearing on the community,” she added.
Meanwhile, a number of residents are still angry the province is forcing this change. “I think that some people feel that this is a non-democratic process,” said Forsyth.
The proposal, first was presented to Nestor Falls residents Feb. 10, is a restructuring plan that will merge Sioux Narrows, Nestor Falls, and all of the townships in between into one municipality with five elected reps–four councillors and one mayor.
Wellington addressed the questions of residents in both communities on Thursday.
“Well, people got their concerns answered . . . maybe not to their liking,” said Forsyth.
A number of residents were openly angry at the meeting as they questioned the necessity of the merger and the speed at which it was being done.
“I don’t think we were very prepared with such short notice,” argued Nestor Falls resident Randy Hanson. “I would say that our community is being pushed into it.
“I haven’t seen enough evidence one way or the other to be going one way or the other but there certainly are drawbacks,” he added.
Wellington was appointed by the province after amalgamation talks led by Sioux Narrows with surrounding unincorporated areas failed. Sioux Narrows council then approached the province for help but didn’t expect the area that merger would encompass to include Nestor Falls.
“Personally I feel the area is too large,” said Sioux Narrows acting reeve Lou Kabel.
Sioux Narrows council met last night and agreed to send a letter requesting changes to the commission’s first draft. It did not disclose what those requests were.
“People are questioning the commission’s reason for leaving the boundaries from Rushing River to south of Larsson’s Camp,” said Hanson. “There’s a general feeling that we should be looking at Chapple rather than Sioux Narrows.”
The commission still is accepting proposals for the final draft of the restructuring plan, which will be released–and begin to come into effect–April 14.