News Release Archive

HOUSING/MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS--Draft Municipal Government Act
Outdated and cumbersome legislation could soon be a thing of the
past for Nova Scotia's 55 municipalities.

Housing and Municipal Affairs Minister Guy Brown has released The
Municipal Government Act --A Working Paper in Legislative Form
and is asking for public input. The working paper is the result
of a comprehensive review of legislation affecting municipalities
that began in 1995 by a joint provincial-municipal review panel. 

"Our goal is to enact legislation which will enhance and
strengthen local government to better meet local needs now and in
the future," said Mr. Brown. "The draft legislation reflects our
commitment to municipal government."

The purpose of the general legislation review was to examine laws
affecting municipalities with a view to simplifying the language,
streamlining processes, eliminating obsolete concepts, and
developing provisions giving municipalities greater autonomy. The
goal was also to enable local governments to more effectively
address current and emerging issues and to consolidate the myriad
of statutory provisions relating to local government into a
single piece of legislation.

The Planning Act, revised in response to input received from
municipalities under a separate departmental initiative, has been
incorporated into the working paper.

Mr. Brown said the draft act:

-combines some 13 pieces of legislation into a single statute,
thereby making municipal legislation easier to access and to

-gives municipalities greater autonomy by reducing the number of
provincial approvals related to financing and bylaws

-broadens the bylaw powers of municipalities, thereby enhancing
the ability of councils to respond to emerging issues

-extends the term of office of municipal councillors to four
years from three, enabling them to deal more effectively with the
increasingly complex and difficult issues and challenges being

-clearly articulates which matters can be discussed and which
types of decisions can be made by councils in private

-contains requirements for the disclosure of municipal election
campaign contributions and expenditures.

The Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities, the Association of
Municipal Administrators and individual municipalities have had
extensive involvement in the legislation review process, both
through their participation on the review panel and their review
of draft legislation prepared by the panel in 1996.

Mr. Brown said that in preparing the working paper, his
department drew heavily on the suggestions and opinions of
municipal politicians and administrators.  

The minister invited all Nova Scotians to review and comment on
the proposed legislation. Nova Scotians wishing to review the
working paper can do so at their local libraries, Access Nova
Scotia centres, or at any office of the Department of Housing and
Municipal Affairs. The deadline for receipt of comments is Jan.
31, 1998.

"The draft proposal is not engraved in stone, and all comments
and suggestions received will be given serious consideration in
the process of formulating a final legislative proposal " said
Mr. Brown.


Contact: Michelle Whelan
         Housing and Municipal Affairs

ngr                     Oct. 31, 1997               3:00 p.m.