Review of February 3, 2021 Public Council Meeting

Council of the Municipality of Cumberland met via zoom for a Public Council Meeting on Wednesday, February 3, 2021.


Two presentations were provided to council, one from the Cumberland County Trails Committee and one from the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Public Works.

The first major organizational item dealt with was a motion from Councillor McCormick to approve a proposed gym enhancement for the new elementary school being built in Springhill. When schools are built, certain features like gyms can be augmented with community financial support. The council support comes from funds being held by the municipality which were raised by the community and funds resulting from the sale of the parcel of land for the school.

Director of Finance, Andrew MacDonald, provided a financial update for the period ending November 30, 2020.

Council formally adopted 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.

Second reading was considered for three By-Laws which had previously been given first reading on December 16, 2020 and public hearings on January 13, 2021. Two of the By-Laws were for requests for rezoning, with the third being the Local Improvement By-Law.

The amendment for rezoning in Nappan was given second reading. The amendment for rezoning on the Fort Lawrence Road did not pass second reading as a result of the feedback garnered during the public hearing process.The second reading of the Local Improvement By-Law passed, now allowing for a monthly payment option for a local improvement charge.

A copy of the Occupational Health & Safety Policy was considered by council, and council gave notice of intent to consider adoption at the February 17th Public Council Meeting. As with the formal adoption of the reimbursement policy earlier in the evening, it is the practice of council to review a document at one meeting and then give notice of intent of adoption at the next meeting.    

Citizen appointments to committees were ratified by council. In total, 15 citizens submitted expressions of interest for 17 vacancies. Four source water protection committees received no submissions. The following citizens now serve as citizen appointees to committees of council:

Committee Citizens appointed
Audit Committee ·         Rick James·         Leisa Babineau·         Barry Anderson
Border Entrance Committee ·         Alex Fisher·         Jeff Brennan
Cumberland Energy Authority ·         Rick James·         Doug Marshall
Cumberland RCMP Management Advisory Committee ·         James Kurchak·         Forrest McWade·         George Pugsley
Source Water Protection Committee – Pugwash Water ·         Brian Chase

The annual income thresholds of the Low Income Tax Exemption Policy were discussed. Staff will do further research on the topic and will bring more information to council at the next meeting.

Council approved a $15,000 grant to the Oxford Area Lions Club for renovations to the Oxford Arena to allow for it to continue operating in a safe manner.

Staff presented the annual calculation of the metered sewer service charge for the Parrsboro sewer system. A metered sewer service charge of $2.65 per cubic metre was approved by council.

Renovations to the former town hall in Springhill originally included an estimate for updates to the building’s elevator system. The original budget only addressed the requirement of the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and did not include replacement of the elevator machinery. Additional scope is recommended by the consultant due to the age of the equipment (45 years) and potential savings of bundling the work as one project. Council approved the complete recommendation of the consultant.

Tender for the former River Hebert Elementary was awarded to Yard Guyz in the amount of $1,000.

A tax collection report was provided to council. A tax sale by tender is scheduled to close on March 16, 2021. The tax sale is being done by tender as a COVID-19 precaution.   

Mayor Scott led a discussion on utilizing public committee of the whole (COW) meetings in addition to public council meetings. COW meetings allow for council to dig deeper into topics which then permits council meetings to flow with more understanding of the topics presented. Council decided to hold COW meetings the second Wednesday of every month, with public council meetings the first and third Wednesdays of every month. 

Council voted to partner with the Town of Amherst and the Town of Oxford to apply for project funding through the Municipal Innovation Program of the Province of Nova Scotia. The project will enhance education and enforcement services regarding solid waste, harmonizing solid waste by-laws and exploring the potential for administrating joint solid waste collection contracts.

The Province of Nova Scotia has requested to purchase a parcel of land to be used for the location of the North Cumberland Memorial Hospital Project. The landowner of the property is the Cumberland Senior Care Corporation (CSCC) which was created by the municipality in 1973. Council consented to the sale of the parcel of property for market value of $39,000. Net proceeds from this sale will go to the CSCC to be used for East Cumberland Lodge.

Council received information items on the Learn2Lead workshops currently offered, instructions on how to nominate citizens for the Order of Nova Scotia and minutes of the January 15th Northern Region Solid Waste Committee.

Mayor Scott shared a proclamation that February has been recognized as African Heritage Month in the municipality.

The next public council meeting will be February 17, 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 3 meeting will be available at this link within 24 hours of the meeting. A Facebook live recording is available on the municipal Facebook page