Premier Rodney MacDonald wants to look into the merger that created the Halifax Regional Municipality.
The 1996 amalgamation has long been a source of controversy for many people, and MacDonald said he wants to put that to rest one-way or the other.
“I’ve heard concerns from citizens in the rural parts of HRM and also the downtown core area who have expressed their concerns,” he said at a news conference Saturday.
“I believe it’s time to end the debate. In that way we’re going to move forward with a review by an independent agency.”
MacDonald said the cost of the review isn’t yet known but he expects it to be less than $100,000.
The premier said the review was not reflective of the current council or mayor Peter Kelly, but instead reflected citizens' concerns about inadequate representation and loss of community.
MacDonald didn’t offer his own views on whether HRM should be broken up, saying “I don’t want to get ahead of the review process.”
But NDP Leader Darrell Dexter questioned why the review is being announced now, 13 years after amalgamation and 10 years after the Tories first came to power. Dexter said MacDonald needs to lay out exactly what he wants the review to accomplish.
“My view of it is it’s an expensive process to go through to cause a lot of uncertainty with a lot of people. If there are going to be changes we need to know exactly what the criteria are for those changes,” he said.