Review of February 17, 2021 Public Council Meeting
Council of the Municipality of Cumberland met via zoom for a Public Council Meeting on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.
Two presentations were provided to council, one from the Cumberland County Museum and one from the Cumberland Accessibility Committee.
A public hearing was held on an amendment to the Land Use By-Law to rezone 746 Miller Road, which was given first reading January 13, 2021. Public hearings are an important step prior to finalizing changes to a By-Law in a second reading. Council voted to hold second reading of the Land Use By-Law with the amendment at the March 3, 2021 public council meeting.
Council received the results of a public consultation on the Glooscap Campground. There were 203 responses with the majority of respondants open to the campground being operated by a third party. Staff were directed to share the public comments on the municipal website.
A request for RFP for a consulting firm to conduct a salary review was approved. The personnel policy requires a salary review to be completed every five years.
Council adopted the Occupational Health & Safety Policy, having given notice to do so at the previous public council meeting. It is the practice of council to give notice of intent to consider a policy for adoption at one meeting and then adopt the policy at the next meeting.
Staff provided council a request for a development agreement at 14 Chambers Boulevard, Parrsboro. Council gave notice of intention to enter the agreement and called a public hearing on the matter for April 7, 2021. The development agreement will still need a second reading following the public hearing.
Commercial development districts were discussed as a method to delay the effect of increased property assessments on new commercial capital investments in specified areas. To create commercial development districts an amendment to the Municipal Planning Strategy (MPS) would be needed and a Commercial Development District (CDD) By-Law would need to be in place. Council asked staff to move forward on this item.
Council approved a $1,000 grant to St. Andrew’s Wesley United Church in Springhill to assist with the cost of hiring a company to plow and salt the parking lot so it can continue to be of benefit to all in the community. The parking lot is used by the public daily.
In October 2020, an RFP closed on proposals for outdoor artwork depicting trees in Parrsboro. Two submissions were received, and a community-based committee scored the submissions. The committee scored a submission by Lynette Richards highest. Council accepted the proposal submitted by Ms. Richards.
Ms. Richards has Craft Nova Scotia Master Artisan Accreditation and has participated in numerous exhibitions. As a stained glass professional, she has restored hundreds of heritage windows in architecture over the past 25 years. The proposed piece is a glass mosaic depicting three trees in an arch. It will be 60 inches tall and 30 inches wide, with the stained glass sandwiched between two sheets of tempered clear glass adhered with optically clear silicone and framed in wood. It will be mounted on an 18-inch concrete pedestal to be installed by Public Works. The price quoted is $4,955 plus HST, which is within the budget approved by the former council. Funding for this project is 50 per cent from the municipality and 50 per cent from the provincial Streetscaping and Beautification Program.
The SOAR Community Health Board requested that council revisit the topic of a sidewalk between the Town of Amherst limits and the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre. The board recognized the project of a sidewalk had been previously explored but experienced numerous constraints. Council discussed the matter and asked the mayor to begin discussions with the Department of TIR and with the Town of Amherst to consider options for sidewalk travel to the hospital.
Council was encouraged to nominate residents of the municipality for the 2021 Provincial Volunteer Awards. Each year, one outstanding volunteer or group of volunteers from the municipality is selected by council to attend the provincial awards ceremony and luncheon as the municipality’s volunteer representative. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s ceremony will be taking place virtually on April 26th. Deadline for submissions of nominees for council consideration is February 23, 2021.
At the January 13th public council meeting, Councillor Houghtaling asked council to consider a territorial acknowledgement for future meetings of council. At that time, council asked for appropriate wording to be developed. Councillor Houghtaling brought suggested wording to council for consideration and council decided to implement the suggested territorial acknowledgement for use at future municipal functions.
A request for RFP to procure software for agenda and meeting management was approved. This will allow staff to better organize and streamline documents for council and committees of council, in addition to bringing the documents to a standard appropriate under the Accessibility Act.
Council established a Fire Service Advisory Committee to make recommendations to council regarding operational issues relating to the fire departments.
Maritime Pressure Works has asked for an agreement to use a municipal road reserve for business uses. Council approved the acting CAO to enter into a license agreement with Maritime Pressure Works to allow them to use the requested municipal property.
Mayor Scott requested an extensive inventory, both commercial and residential, of municipally owned lands. It would be the goal of this project to declare some of these properties surplus and sell the properties with future development in mind.
Deputy Mayor Redmond asked for a letter of support from the Municipality of Cumberland to the Minister of Natural Resources regarding the development of a four seasons campground in Wentworth.
Council discussed the importance of fire fighters being trained in mask fit training required to be permitted to attend emergencies as medical first responders, given the rural nature of the municipality and the length of time it can take for EHS to arrive. The municipal fire services coordinator and deputy mayor will work together to write a letter to the province to request improvement the current policy and request action be undertaken to alleviate the current situation regarding EHS response times due to shortage of paramedics.
The next public council meeting will be March 3, 2021 at 6 p.m. A committee of the whole meeting will be held March 10, 2021 at 6 p.m. Formal minutes of the February 17 meeting will be available https://cumberlandcounty.ns.ca/2021-council-minutes.html within 24 hours of the meeting. A Facebook live recording is available on the municipal Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MunicipalityofCumberland