Municipality of the District of Clare
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 7:00 pm
PRESENT: Council: Warden Ronnie LeBlanc, Deputy Warden Nil Doucet, Councillors, Danny Hill, Eric Pothier, Hector Thibault, and Yvon LeBlanc.
Staff: CAO, Stéphane Cyr; Executive Assistant, Ashley Hanks, and Communications Officer, Amy Paradis
Public: Jennifer Cunningham, Resident of Richfield, Lucille White, Resident of Richfield, Nick Power, President of the CFFA, and Shawn Craven, Captain for the Havelock Fire Department
ABSENT: Councillors Brian Comeau and Carl Deveau
1) Call to Order
Warden Ronnie LeBlanc called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm.
2) (a) Approval of the Agenda
Warden Ronnie LeBlanc proposed the following changes to the agenda:
• Move Section 5 - Business arising from Previous Meetings ahead of Section 4 – Staff Reports and adjust the numbers accordingly
• Change 4.3 to 4.1 and adjust the other numbers accordingly
MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc 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.
4) Business Arising from Previous Meetings
4.1 Richfield Fire Department
A community meeting was held in Richfield to discuss the possible closing of the Richfield Fire Department, given the lack of available fire fighters and the historically low call volumes. Both the Havelock Fire Department and Hectanooga Fire Department have been approached regarding the possibility of taking over the Richfield Fire Department as a substation of their departments. Throughout the course of these discussions, an inspection of the Richfield fire truck was performed and it was discovered that the pump was not operational, had not been properly tested in years, and would require an estimated $10,000 in repairs to be able to be tested, with no guarantee it would pass.
Considering this new information, Council asked the CFFA to review and comment on the following two scenarios:
1) Keep the station open as a substation of the Havelock Fire Department; or
2) Redraw the coverage lines to ensure proper fire service coverage for Richfield by another department(s).
Once Council has received this information, another public meeting will be scheduled in Richfield to review these findings and arrive at a decision as to how best to move forward.
4.2 Proposed Improvement and Takeover of Private Road – Point Road
Deputy Warden Nil Doucet read a prepared statement in favor of the requested municipal takeover of Point Road. The original application to the Municipality for this takeover was submitted several years ago. Residents of said road have invested time and effort into this project and are anxiously awaiting a decision from Council. With that said, the Deputy Warden proposed the following motion to recommend:
PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend taking on Point Road as a municipal road.
DISCUSSION ON THE MOTION
At present, the Municipality of Clare does not own any roads. When the By-law for the Improvement and Takeover of Private Roads was originally passed in 2005, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) had a program in which they would ensure the maintenance and servicing of municipal-owned roads at an annual cost of $1,400 per km. This program no longer exists and TIR is actively trying to renegotiate its existing road contracts. Furthermore, the Municipality’s Public Works Department is not equipped to perform ongoing road maintenance and doing so would add a financial burden on municipal residents. The take over of this road would also establish a precedent and likely lead to other takeover request, thus increasing the demands on municipal staff and the burden on municipal rate payers. Examples of this dynamic are commonplace in several municipal units throughout the Province and are currently the subject of active discussions between the NSFM and the Government of Nova Scotia.
After a thorough review of the file, the By-law Committee remains unconvinced that the Municipality’s refusal to take over this road will hinder future residential/commercial development. As such, it is the Committee’s recommendation that the Municipality not takeover the road.
4.3 Committee Membership Review – Yarmouth Hospital Foundation
Due to work-related obligations, Councillor Danny Hill is no longer able to attend the meetings of the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation and is respectfully requesting he be replaced on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Warden Ronnie LeBlanc has offered to take his place.
PROPOSED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend appointing Warden Ronnie LeBlanc to the Yarmouth Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.
5) Staff Reports
2019-2020 Capital Budget – CAO, Stéphane Cyr
The CAO presented a revised version of the proposed 2019-20 Capital Budget for Council’s review and consideration. The budget focuses heavily on investments in existing municipal infrastructure. Although he would like to see more community-based projects included, Warden LeBlanc believes the budget has many good points. Council asked for clarification on a few proposed investments which the CAO provided. Council was receptive to the recommended changes and passed the following motion, with the understanding that further discussion on the budget may take place at the June 19th meeting of Council:
PROPOSED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Eric Pothier that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend approving the 2019-2020 Capital Budget as presented.
6) New Business
6.1 Flag Protocol
After the successful flag raising ceremony on May 15, 2019, Council asked for a formal Flag Flying Policy. Communications Officer, Amy Paradis, drafted a policy for Council’s review. This draft policy is based on other existing federal and provincial government policies and closely follows the etiquette employed by Heritage Canada. Having reviewed the policy, Council passed the following motion to recommend:
PROPOSED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend approving the Flag Flying Policy as presented.
6.2 Municipal Credit Card – Limit Review
The cumulative credit limit on the municipal credit card is currently $10,000. Four cards are currently issued to staff however only two have access to the full amount. The others two cards have a limit of $2,000. Administratively, the current limit is causing procurement issues, with finance staff often having to juggle the items being purchased using these cards and/or make interim payments (as opposed to monthly), so as to allow their continued use as part of routine municipal operations. In order to address this issue, both the CAO and the Director of Finance are recommending the cumulative limit be increased from $10,000 to $25,000. Individual staff limits will remain unchanged. Council agreed that this limit is too low and passed the following motion to recommend:
PROPOSED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend increasing the Municipal credit card limit to $25,000.
6.3 CSAP Presentation
In light of the growing importance of immigration to the growth and sustainability of rural communities, and the Municipality’s recent designation as one of the 14 most welcoming francophone communities across Canada, the Warden is requesting Council approval to allow him and the CAO to make a presentation to the CSAP Board of Directors, at its meeting on June 22, 2019. The presentation will focus on the CSAP’s policy (Policy 501) which governs admission criteria. Council passed the following motion to recommend:
PROPOSED BY Councillor Hector Thibault and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend the Warden and CAO make a presentation to the Board of Directors of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial during their meeting of June 22, 2019, regarding Policy 501 which governs admission criteria.
6.4 Welcoming Francophone Communities Initiative – Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
The Municipality of Clare has been named one of the 14 most welcoming francophone communities across Canada. In receiving this honor, the Municipality must submit an immigration action plan focusing on attraction and retention. Funding to implement the activities contained in said plan will be based on a review by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) who have set aside a total of $12.6 million dollars in funding, to be disbursed over 3 years, among these 14 communities. While the Municipality was nominated by the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse for this honor, it is nevertheless not a municipal project. Project governance is currently being examined amongst project stakeholders and will be finalized shortly with the goal of submitting the aforementioned action plan by September 2019.
6.5 Letter to Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal – Highway 340
The Gran Fondo Organizing Committee is respectfully asking Council to send a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal asking them to prioritize the repair work needed for a 7-kilometre stretch of road at the intersection of Patrice Road and Highway 340, heading west on Hwy 340. Council passed the following motion to recommend:
PROPOSED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend writing a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal asking them to prioritize the repair work needed for a 7-kilometre stretch of road at the intersection of Patrice Road and Highway 340, heading west on Hwy 340.
6.6 Cedarwood Lake Road and Green Road, New Tusket
Councillor Danny Hill was approached by residents of Cedarwood Lake Road and Green Road, regarding the condition of the road as well as the lack of proper road signage. This lack of signage is particularly problematic, having previously caused problems for ambulances responding to a call. Councillor Hill is asking Council to send a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal asking them to improve the road condition and install proper signage. Council passed the following motion to recommend:
PROPOSED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend sending a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation asking them to complete needed repairs and install proper road signage for Cedarwood Lake Road and Green Road in New Tusket.
7) Questions and Comments from the Public
Jennifer Cunningham expressed concerns regarding the closing of the Richfield Fire Department and the potential impacts to both her buildings and her insurance premiums. Mrs. Cunningham believes the community would be better served by Carleton (Municipality of Yarmouth) rather than by a substation of either Havelock or Hectanooga.
Lucille White asked Council for a list of the dwellings in Richfield and the tax assessments for Richfield. Council will put together this information and get back to Ms. White.
CFFA President, Nick Power, stated that the CFFA has the best interests of the residents of Richfield in mind when it comes to fire protection and that the Association is working on a solution for fire protection. Once finalized, recommendations will be made to Council.
Shawn Craven (Havelock Fire Department) confirmed with Digby Dispatch that there is currently no automatic aid agreement or mutual aid agreement for the Richfield Fire Department and that the Richfield Fire Department would not be able to respond to calls as their truck is not in working condition. The other departments only receive a call if the calls to the Richfield Fire Department go unanswered after three attempts. This goes directly counter to the information previously put forward by the Richfield Fire Department.
8) Closed Session
PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that Council proceed to closed session.
8.1 Former Saint-Albert Elementary School
8.2 Human Resources
PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that Council proceed to the Regular Council Meeting.
9) Date and time of the next Council-in-Committee Meeting
The next Council-in-Committee Meeting will be held on April 3, 2019 at 7:00 pm.
PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m.