Residents Question Town Over Judicial Review, Costs

Posted on Sunday, March 19, 2017 09:09 AM

A number of Bridgewater residents have voiced their displeasure with the town's decision to move ahead with a judicial review against the South Shore Regional School Board.

A letter, endorsed by more than a dozen people, questions the town's platform to be fiscally responsible.

The review, which was held on March 7, has to do with the school board's decision to move grade 10-12 students from Bridgewater Junior Senior High to Park View Education Centre.

Legal fees as of March 17 are about $23,000 for the town and approximately $90,000 for the school board.

The letter, which is endorsed by more than a dozen people, points to other projects like the elementary school playground or public transportation that could benefit from funding instead of the court case.

One of the concerned residents, Siobhan Doyle, says she's not in favour of footing the bill.

"As a taxpayer in the Town of Bridgewater, I've paid my town taxes and a chunk of those town taxes are then given to the school board. So, ultimately I'm paying for the legal fees on both sides of this equation."

Meanwhile, Mayor David Mitchell says people voiced their opinions early and wanted the town to proceed with a judicial review.

Mitchell says it wasn't until after the review was heard in court when the letters were received by the town.

"It's a bit of a shock that the potential closure of a high school hasn't generated more debate. This is the first piece of correspondence we received since the election that was opposed to the judicial review."

He encourages people to step forward and consult with the town early if they have an issue.

Mitchell says their legal fees are less than expected and questions why the school board is paying four times as much as they are.

Justice Mona Lynch has not yet released her decision.