Paradise lost?

A petition signed by 36 residents of Paradise Valley was presented at the Committee of the Whole meeting last Monday, requesting annexation from the Town of Hay River.
Mayor Kelly Schofield said that the Town was unaware that this was coming.
“We knew that there were a few residents concerned about taxation issues,” he said. “The Corridor Taxpayers Association has been in contact with us … but to have this other group within the Corridor was surprising.”


Schofield said that the town is planning to meet with the residents to discuss the issues they have in the hopes of coming towards some sort of informed decision.
“We need to take this very seriously,” he said.
“I don’t think they know for sure what their taxation would be in Enterprise,” said Schofield. “I don’t think there was enough homework done on this.”
But the discussions will be strictly to be open up the lines of communication in order to get all the information straight.
“We are not going to try to force their hand,” he said. “We are just going to inform them so that they can make an informed decision.”
But the decision to sign and hand in this petition was an easy one for residents of Paradise Gardens.
Evellyn Coleman said that she was one of the original three residents who approached the Mayor of Enterprise, Al Flamand, to see if leaving Hay River was a viable option.
She was also the one to visit Mayor Kelly Schofield nearly two months ago to bring up this proposal.
“We went out and put feelers out to see if it would be possible,” she said.
The request comes after a troubled relationship with the rural community and the central core of Hay River.
Coleman said that comments had been made publicly by a member of Council several months ago, stating that Paradise Valley is a liability, which helped push their decision.
“We felt if Town Council felt that strongly about a group of people, that it would be a viable option,” she said.
“I don’t think anybody wants to be a liability.”
Coleman acknowledged that as Paradise residents they are unable to receive some of the services available to those in Town, but whenever the group asks Council for answers, they are simply told “that the Town cannot provide those.”
“We can’t make sense of it,” she said. “We can’t seem to get any answers to these questions of what it takes to provide.”
The paperwork will not be filed with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs until discussions between Paradise Valley and the Town take place, but MACA’s deputy minister Mike Aumond said the process will not be simple.
“We won’t be looking at it as an annexation,” he said. “Either Hay River or Enterprise can apply to MACA to change their boundaries.”
“I think both Enterprise and Hay River would have to do their due diligence on what changing their boundary will do.”