Municipality of Cumberland Council wraps up 2020

Council of the Municipality of Cumberland met via zoom for their final meeting of 2020 on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.

Mayor Scott opened the meeting with two presentations. Paul Pynn and Helen Browne from One Wind Services and Katalyst Wind Inc. provided an update to council on the status of the potential wind project on Higgins Mountain. The second presentation was a special recognition of two staff members for the roles they played during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. REMO Coordinator Mike Johnson and Desktop Help & Support Administrator Dannie Sampson used their specialized skills to help to guide the organization through an unprecedented and uncertain period.

Council was updated by Councillor Gilroy on the Shinimicas Fire Hall progress. The Municipality and the Shinimicas Fire Department will co-own the building and property until the mortgage is paid off and then ownership will be transferred to the Fire Department. Tendering of three vehicles will also proceed shortly.

Four By-Laws were given first reading, two were for requests for rezoning, with a third for a development agreement. The fourth By-Law was the Sewer By-Law which was amended to include the option of monthly payments for the local improvement charge. The next step for all four By-Laws to be finalized is to have a public hearing, followed by a second reading. 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 each By-Law requiring public hearings will be provided in the official advertisement.

Turning to business issues, Council was made aware of a new concern for the Parrsboro Water Utility. The concern is that water quality tests have identified increased concentrations at some residences, all homeowners that have had lead tests above the maximum allowable concentration have been contacted. Staff presented a plan to investigate the extent of the concern. It was noted that the Parrsboro Water Utility remains in compliance with its permit to operate as issued by Nova Scotia Environment.

Council was then made aware of the tax collection efforts up to November 30, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tax sales originally planned for 2020 were cancelled. Staff hope to be able to hold tax sales again in 2021.

Council approved a $2000 grant to the Shinimicas Community Hall (Northport Sunrise Seniors). To do this, Council approved moving $15,000 from a projected operating surplus into the Grant Program budget.

The next meeting of Council will be January 13, 2021 at 6 p.m. Formal minutes of the December 16 meeting will be available within 24 hours of the meeting. A Facebook live recording is available here