Cumberland County considers changing youth council policy

The Municipality of Cumberland is considering changes to its youth council policy to include people from outside the municipality.

Under the present policy, approved in November 2021, the maximum number of appointees to the youth council is eight, including one person from each of the municipal districts. Should a district not have a representative, one of the other districts can have an extra member.

With the proposed change, which has been passed on to the Nov. 23 regular council meeting, the maximum number of appointees to the youth council will grow to 12, with no more than three members from outside the municipality. It would also change eligibility requirements from Grades 7 to 12 to ages 12 to 25.

Coun. Jennifer Houghtaling is the appointed liaison between municipal council and the youth council. She reported in October that her recruitment efforts at area schools resulted in five applications. Of those, three were not residents of the Municipality of Cumberland.

Amherst’s youth town council has 12 members, of which a maximum of two can come from outside the town, while Bridgewater’s youth engagement advisory committee has 12 members, with three coming from areas outside the town. 

Municipal council accepts discussion paper on homelessness

Cumberland municipal council has accepted a discussion paper on homelessness in the municipality.

In recent months, council has received presentations and committee motions regarding homelessness, including a presentation from the Cumberland YMCA about its services targeted at the homeless population and assisting homeless and transitional individuals with navigating the various supports available to them.

Council has also had a presentation from the non-profit organization Cornerstone, which is working to establish a permanent emergency homeless shelter in Amherst. As part of this, they are hiring an executive director for a one-year term and would welcome a monetary contribution to the position or in-kind support in general.

The poverty reduction advisory committee has requested municipal councils in Cumberland County to make a “meaningful contribution” to the construction of a new emergency shelter.

Council directed staff at its October committee of the whole meeting to gather more information regarding the funding request by Cornerstone and the relationships between Cornerstone, the YMCA and other working groups remediating homelessness issues.

During its November committee of the whole, council decided to forward to its regular meeting on Nov. 23 a motion to request CAO Greg Herrett to talk to Amherst CAO Jason MacDonald about entering the memorandum of understanding between the town and Cornerstone to cost-share the cost of an executive director for one year.

In Cumberland County, out of 48 homeless people identified in a 2021 scan, 16.7 per cent were unsheltered and 79 per cent were provisionally accommodated with anecdotal information suggesting provisionally-accommodated individuals are underreported.There is also a misconception that that the homeless population in Cumberland County is mostly transient in nature when, in reality, the majority call Cumberland County home. 

Municipal council to consider appointing Rachel Sovka to poverty committee

Cumberland municipal council will vote at its regular November council meeting on Nov. 23 to approve the appointment of Rachel Sovka as the municipality’s representative to the poverty reduction advisory committee.

Sovka would replace Hannah Landry, the county’s present representative, who resigned from the committee.

Sovka has spent her career in international development and humanitarian aid across five continents and worked with the impoverished in areas of West Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. 

Cumberland County to consider funding request from Wallace Community Centre Society

Cumberland municipal council is forwarding a recommendation of a grant request from the Wallace Area Community Centre Society to the Nov. 23 regular council meeting for approval.

Staff received a $3,000 grant request from the society to assist with the operation of the community centre.The society relies on municipal support as it does not have the volunteer base to attempt additional fundraising.