Welcome to West River, the newest member of the Federation of P.E.I Municipalities and P.E.I.’s newest rural municipality. The new municipality formed on Sept. 1 and is comprised of the former rural municipalities of Afton, West River, Bonshaw, New Haven-Riverdale and Meadowbank.
“It’s been a big job getting there, a steep learning curve. We did a lot of work, taking direction from the five communities,” says Mayor Helen Smith-MacPhail.
But the decision to restructure has been well worth it. “It’s better for the new community of West River going forward.”
West River councilor Steve Gould agrees. “Being the sixth largest municipality on P.E.I. has an advantage when speaking to other towns and getting the ear of the province directly or indirectly. There are also some great funding opportunities,” says Gould, also vice president of FPEIM.
“Being part of West River will also help us find dedicated volunteers. That’s because it’s easier to find volunteers for one municipality rather than five.”
But Gould is quick to recognize the uniqueness of the communities that comprise the municipality. “It’s important to protect the identity of each community. Each has its own, local flavor.
“It’s also important to protect their resources like halls and parks.”
The decision to form West River came after consultations with the public. In agreement with the Municipal Government Act these five rural municipalities individually polled residents in their communities to determine their wishes regarding potential restructuring. Over the past year, the five rural municipalities met to address the requirements of the Municipal Government Act.