Regular Council Minutes

Municipality of the District of Clare


Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 at 7:00 pm


PRESENT: Council: Warden Ronnie LeBlanc, Deputy Warden Brian Comeau; Councillors, Lester Doucet, Nil Doucet, Hector Thibault, Russell Comeau and Robert Thibault.
Staff: CAO Stéphane Cyr, Administrative Assistant to the CAO, Alain Poirier.
Public: Housing Nova Scotia Caseworkers, Earl Mielke & Murielle Tool, Festival acadien de Clare, Réjean LeBlanc & Daniel LeBlanc.
ABSENT: Councillor Danny Hill


1) Call to order

Warden Ronnie LeBlanc called the Council Meeting to order at 7:00 pm.

2) (a) Approval of the agenda

The Warden asked that the following changes be made to the Agenda.

  • The addition of 12.4 Performance Appraisal for discussion in Closed Session
  • The addition of 8.6 Clare Special Olympics under correspondence
  • That item 5.3 be moved under New Business as item 11.9

MOVED BY Councillor Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Lester Doucet that the proposed agenda be approved with the above noted changes.

(b) Declaration of conflict of interest

Warden Ronnie LeBlanc asked for any declarations of conflict of interest.
None declared

3) Presentations

3.1 Housing Nova Scotia
Housing Nova Scotia representatives Mr. Earl Mielke, Senior Caseworker, and Mrs. Murielle Tool, Caseworker, presented an overview of the various programs available from their department to low income homeowners whose homes were in need of repair. Council was very appreciative of this presentation and expressed much interest in the aforementioned programs. In closing, Mr. Mielke and Mrs. Tool encouraged Councillors (when applicable) to refer their constituents to these programs and invited local residents interested in these programs to contact them directly for an assessment.

3.2 Festival acadien de Clare – Réjean LeBlanc & Daniel LeBlanc
The Executive Director and Artistic Director for the Festival acadien de Clare, Mr. Daniel LeBlanc, and the Vice-president of the Festival acadien de Clare, Mr. Rejean LeBlanc, updated Council as to this year’s scheduled activities and provided an overview of the Festival’s financial position. According to the Executive Director, two years ago the Festival was saddled with a total of $79,000 in term debt, comprised of three separate loans, and had maxed out its line of credit. Following the success of last year’s Festival, the group is now left with two loans with an outstanding balance of $16,000 and $10,000 respectively. Both these loans are expected to be paid in full within the next two years. During this same presentation, he highlighted the many benefits of returning to the one week format for the Festival and thanked the Municipality for its ongoing financial support. In terms of this year’s event, the line-up of artists slated to perform is extensive and includes the likes of Kenneth Saulnier, Bruce Daigrepont, Suroît, and George Belliveau. In his closing remarks, the Executive Director underscored the importance of the 150th anniversary of Canada in 2017 and the 250th anniversary of the foundation of Clare in 2018 to the future success and sustainability of the Festival.

For his part, the Vice-president of the Festival read a letter from the Festival President, Mr. Sebastien Dol thanking the Municipality once again for its ongoing support. (See attached)

Council was very appreciative of this presentation, congratulated the Committee on its efforts and its many successes to date and stated that they remained willing to continue working closely with the Festival, its employees and its many volunteers.

4) Adoption of the minutes from previous council meetings

4.1 March 16th, 2016: Regular Council Meeting
MOVED BY Councillor Lester Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the Minutes of March 16th, 2016 be accepted as circulated.

4.2 April 6th, 2016: Council-in-Committee Meeting
MOVED BY Councillor Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Russell Comeau that the Minutes of April 6th, 2016 be accepted as circulated.

5) Business arising from previous meetings

5.1 Low Income Property Tax Rebate
As previously requested during the April 6th Council-in-Committee meeting, the CAO, in collaboration with the Tax Clerk, reviewed the Municipality’s current Low Income Property Tax Rebate and prepared a number of scenarios for Council’s review and consideration. All of these scenarios proposed an increase to the rebate amount and no change the household revenue threshold of $18,500. Following a review of these scenarios, Council passed the following motion:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Robert Thibault and SECONDED BY Councillor Russell Comeau that the low income property tax rebate for households earning less than $18,500 per annum be increased from the current $150 to $300 per year.

5.2 Clean Ocean Action Committee – Draft Resolution
Following review of a draft joint resolution from the Municipality of Barrington, Council proposed a number of revisions to clarify the motion while respecting it core purpose of preventing any oil exploration activities in Zones 3 and 4, near LFA 40. These zones are of critical importance to a number of fisheries (including the lobster fishery) which in turn are paramount to the economy of South West Nova Scotia. The CAO will review these changes with his counterpart from Barrington. If the Municipality of Barrington is in agreement with the proposed changes, then the Municipality of Clare will sign the resolution. If not, the resolution will be presented to the UNSM and those councillors present will be able to vote on it at that time.

6) Warden’s Activity Report – Warden Ronnie LeBlanc

The Warden provided a summary of the meetings and events he attended since the last Council meeting.

March 17th- CDENE Board of Directors meeting in Halifax.
March 30th- WREN Economic Summit at the Clare Veteran's Centre in Saulnierville
April 7th and 8th- UNSM Symposium on Municipal Governance and Structure in Truro
April 12th- Presentation of the Lieutenant Governor medals at École secondaire de Clare. Medals were given to Helen Comeau and Stacy Comeau of Clare.
April 13th- Public consultation session at the Clare Veteran's Centre, organized by the Planning Advisory Committee, regarding watershed protection
April 14th- Annual Volunteer Banquet at the Clare Veteran's Centre
April 16th- Annual banquet for the Clare Firefighters Association

7) Official statements from the members of Council

  • Councillor Nil Doucet congratulated Mr. & Mrs. Thomas & Ozelina Comeau for their 50th wedding anniversary on April 9th. A certificate has been prepared and sent to the couple.
  • Councillor Robert Thibault mentioned that following the death of General Remi Saulnier, a celebration of life will be held at the Clare Veteran’s Centre on April 23rd, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
  • Warden LeBlanc requested congratulatory letter be sent to the two local recipients of the Lieutenant Governor’s Scholarship, Helen Comeau and Stacy Comeau.

8) Correspondence

8.1 Transport de Clare
The CAO read a letter from “Le Transport de Clare” marking the organization’s 20th anniversary, highlighting its results to date and requesting the Municipality renew its financial contribution of $23,000. (See attached)

8.2 NS Department of Justice – Finance Corporate Service Unit
The CAO read a letter from the Nova Scotia Department of Justice regarding anticipated costs of the RCMP and the expected costing of DNA analysis for 2016-17. (See attached)

8.3 NS Department of Community Services
The CAO read a letter from the Honourable Joanne Bernard, Minister of Nova Scotia Community Services, regarding Ms. Mariette Byzewski’s continued service on the Board of the Western Regional Housing Authority. (See attached)

8.4 Clean Ocean Action Committee
The CAO read a letter from the President of the Clean Ocean Action Committee, Mr. John Davis, thanking Council for the opportunity to appear before them and express his group’s concerns around the demands of the oil and gas industry on the Scotian Shelf and Slope and the potential impacts on the fishery. (See attached)

8.5 Irving Oil – Former Meteghan Site
The CAO read a letter from Mr. Mike McMichael, Operations Manager (Nova Scotia) for Irving Oil, regarding the company’s plan for the future of the old Irving Oil site on Highway 1 in Meteghan. (See attached)

8.6 Clare Special Olympics
The CAO read a letter from the Clare Special Olympics Committee thanking the Municipality for the use of its facilities in organizing its upcoming annual Casino Night fundraiser.(See attached)

9) CAO Report – Chief Administrative Officer - Stéphane Cyr

(See attached)

10) Committee Reports

10.1 Building Permits Reports: Deputy Warden Brian Comeau
In the absence of Councillor Danny Hill, the Deputy Warden presented the building permits report for the month of March 2016, as submitted by the Building Services Department.

Year                           Permits                              Construction Value
2015                              11                                          $497,564
2016                               9                                           $408,960

10.2 Planning Advisory Committee: Councillor Robert Thibault
Councillor Thibault provided an overview of the public consultation which took place at the Clare Veteran's Centre on April 13th. The session was well attended and focused on PAC’s ongoing efforts to protect our watersheds as a means of preserving the Municipality’s water source for future generations. Those in attendance engaged in dialogue with the Municipal Planner and members of the PAC and were given the opportunity to offer comments and ask questions. This feedback will be used by the PAC to help shape its recommendations which in turn, will be put forward for inclusion in the land-use bylaw.

10.3 Police Advisory: Councillor Nil Doucet
No report

10.4 Villa Acadienne: Deputy Brian Comeau
No report

10.5 Waste Check: Councillor Robert Thibault
Councillor Thibault provided an overview of the Committee’s most recent meeting and indicated that the organization’s annual financial statements are now complete. Furthermore, the requested contribution from the Municipality for 2016-17 will remain the same as what was previously approved for 2015-16.

11) New business

11.1 Dangerous and Unsightly
The CAO informed Council that a number of complaints have been received regarding a property in Grosses Coques considered to be unsightly. The PID number is 03364801. The Assistant Building Inspector will visit the site. Based on his assessment, a formal Order may be issued to the owner(s) by the Municipality instructing them to remedy the condition by removal, demolition or repair.

The CAO also mentioned that he was contacted by the By-law Enforcement Officer for Waste Check, Mr. Richie Nickerson, regarding illegal dumping taking place along the Felix Road in Mavilette. According to Mr. Nickerson, the amount of garbage is significant and the required cleanup exceeds his ability. As such, it is recommended that the Municipality issue a tender in order to select an independent contractor to clean the site. A similar recommendation was made regarding another illegal dump site along the Isadore Thibault Road in Grosses Coques. Council agreed with the recommendation and passed the following motion:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Robert Thibault and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the Council for the Municipality of Clare proceed with the issuance of two individual tenders in order to clean up the reported sites along the Isadore Thibault Road in Grosses Coques and the Felix Road in Mavilette.

11.2 Garbage Tender
The CAO provided Council with a draft copy of the proposed 2016-2021 garbage collection tender for their review and consideration. The document had previously been vetted by the Municipality’s solicitor. Furthermore, Waste Check had been consulted specifically regarding the bid evaluation criteria and their feedback incorporated into the document.

11.3 MGA Review
The CAO mentioned that Council had previously been provided seven housekeeping amendments for review, pertaining to the Municipal Government Act. Council inquired as to whether or not staff had been given a chance to review these same amendments and propose any revisions. The CAO confirmed that both the Director of Finance and the Director of Community Development had been provided with these amendments and asked to comment. No comments were received. Council had expressed concerns regarding the definitions contained in one of the aforementioned amendments. The CAO offered to seek clarification on this issue and report back to Council.

11.4 Grants to Organizations
The deadline for requests under the Municipality’s Grant to Organizations program was April 15th, 2016. A total of 19 applications were received, representing a cumulative request for financial assistance of $42,329. Two prior commitments representing a sum of $6,000 were also added to the list, bringing the grand total to $48,329. Council agreed to review these applications on May 4, 2016 following the next Council in Committee meeting

11.5 Motion to appoint Waste Check Community Representative

PROPOSED BY Councillor Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Russell Comeau that Council of the Municipality of the District of Clare appoint Carl Deveau as Waste Check Community representative, on the Waste Check Committee.

11.6 Motion to name Old Lake Road
The CAO informed Council that all the necessary steps have been taken in order to complete the naming process. Going forward, a concerted effort will be made to ensure that all proposed road names are bilingual. Staff will look into developing a formal policy to this effect.

PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Brian Comeau and SECONDED BY Councillor Lester Doucet that the road shared by the properties PID (Property Identification Number) 30090344, 30280259, 30090369, and 30090427 be officially named Old Lake Road.

11.7 Motion to adopt Social Media Policy
The CAO had presented this draft policy for Council’s consideration at the May 4, 2016 Council in Committee meeting. Having received no questions or requests to amend the draft, the CAO recommended Council approve the policy by way of a formal motion.

PROPOSED BY Councillor Lester Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare adopt the Social Media Policy for the Municipality of Clare and that it be added to the Municipality’s Policy Manual.

Council congratulated the CAO and staff for this initiative.

11.8 Year End Motion – Transfer Surplus Funds 2015-2016
The CAO presented a motion to Council at the request of the Director of Finance, requesting that any surplus funds in the General Operating Fund from fiscal 2015-2016 be transferred to the Capital Reserve Fund. Council opted not to pass the motion at this time, preferring rather that it first be presented to the Audit Committee for consideration.

11.9 Lease – CIFA Building.
The CAO informed Council that the Festival acadien de Clare had expressed an interest in leasing the space previously occupied by the Nova Scotia Department of Justice (i.e. the Courthouse) in the CIFA building, as of May 1, 2016. According to the CAO, this would be a good fit for the space and is in keeping with recent discussions to position the facility as a cultural hub within the Municipality.

12) Closed Session

PROPOSED BY Councillor Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Lester Doucet that the Council proceed to an In Camera Session.

Topics discussed:
12.1 Richfield Fire Department
12.2 Clare Health Centre
12.3 St. Bernard Fire Department
12.4 Performance Appraisal

PROPOSED BY Councillor Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Lester Doucet that Council proceed to the Regular Council Meeting.

Motion to use funds from gas tax towards the purchase of the property known as the Blue Whale Café.

PROPOSED BYCouncillor Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the Council of the Municipality of Clare use funds from its gas tax reserve to place a 10% deposit or $29,888.50 towards the purchase of the property known as the Blue Whale Café (PID 30005599)

13) Date and time of next Regular Council Meeting

The next Regular Council Meeting will be held on May 18th, 2016 at 7:00 pm.

14) Adjournment

PROPOSED BY Councillor Nil Doucet to adjourn the meeting at 10:28 pm.



Submitted by


Alain Poirier,
Administrative Assistant of the CAO

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