Municipality of Cumberland Council reconvenes for 2021

Council of the Municipality of Cumberland met via zoom for their first meeting of 2021 on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.

Mayor Scott opened the meeting with three presentations. Representatives of the Cumberland Forestry Advisory Committee updated council on their most recent activities. Beth Peterkin then provided an update on the work of the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark Committee. The Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs and Housing provided an explanation of roles and responsibilities of Council.

Four By-Laws were given public hearings, two were for requests for rezoning, with a third for a development agreement. The fourth public hearing was the Sewer By-Law which was amended to include the option of monthly payments for the local improvement charge. The public hearings are an important step for all four By-Laws to be finalized in a second reading. Council voted to hold second readings of the By-Laws at the February 3, 2021 Public Council Meeting.

Director of Finance, Andrew MacDonald, introduced Council to the Financial Sustainability Strategy, the 2021/2022 budgeting process and the 2021 Assessment Roll.
Council approved the Reimbursement Policy for Members of Council and Chief Administration Officer. The only changes to this policy were to update the terminology from Warden/Deputy Warden to Mayor/Deputy Mayor.

The first reading was given to an amendment on the Land Use By-Law for rezoning purposes. A public hearing will be held February 17, 2021 on the matter. During the global pandemic, all public hearings continue to be virtual with the option for residents to write-in, call-in or zoom-in to provide comments. A deadline for comments on the By-Law will be provided in the official advertisement.

Councillor Houghtaling asked Council to consider a territorial acknowledgement for future meetings of Council. Council discussed the matter and requested a presentation to council on the indigenous history of Cumberland County and also directed staff to research appropriate wording for further consideration.

Mayor Scott led Council in a discussion to standardize committee reports to council. This will help improve the transparency of communications for the committees, citizens, Council and staff.
Council approved a $3,450 grant to the Southampton Community Centre, pending their renewal with the Joint Stock Registry. 

MLA Smith-McCrossin has recently spearheaded a marketing campaign called Nova Scotia Starts Here Cumberland”. Council discussed the initiative and ways in which to be supportive.

The final financial statement for the 2020 Election was reviewed by Council. The election financials were in good shape and under budget.

Council ratified two nominations committee housekeeping items, replacing Deputy Warden Redmond with Councillor Gould on the VON Committee, and adding Councillor Houghtaling to the Communications Committee. East Cumberland Lodge requested one fewer board member to be in line with board by-laws and as such, Deputy Warden Redmond stepped down from the board.

Councillor Houghtaling led council through a discussion on the importance of the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipality’s Resolution Regarding Extended Producer Responsibility for Printed Paper and Packaging. Staff were directed to send a letter to Nova Scotia’s Minister of Environment expressing Council’s recommendation that the NSFM resolution be implemented.

Council then discussed an email received from Mike LeBlanc a Physical Education Specialist from Cumberland North Academy. Mr. LeBlanc encouraged Council to approach the Town of Amherst and look into the creation of a county recreation facility. Council discussed the matter and tabled it for further consideration.

Council approved an early retirement plan for the CAO. A previous employment agreement had been approved in the September 30, 2020 public council meeting. A committee of council was struck to begin the search for a new CAO with the support of a recruitment agency.

Manager of Organization Development and Innovation, Allie McCormick, ended the meeting with a piece of good news for Council, the Municipality of Cumberland was recognized as a 2020 Employee Recommended Workplace. This award was established by The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell to recognize workplaces with proven success in creating a healthy environment and ones that support employee well-being.

The next meeting of Council will be February 3, 2021 at 6 p.m. Formal minutes of the January 13 meeting will be available within 24 hours of the meeting. A Facebook live recording is available on the municipal Facebook page: