Council in Committee Minutes

Municipality of the District of Clare

COUNCIL-IN-COMMITTEE MEETING

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 7:00 pm

PRESENT: Council: Warden Ronnie LeBlanc, Deputy Warden Nil Doucet, Councillors, Eric Pothier, Hector Thibault, Brian Comeau, Carl Deveau, Danny Hill and Yvon LeBlanc.
Staff: CAO, Stéphane Cyr, Director of Finance, Ginette Cheff, Executive Assistant, Ashley Hanks, and Communications Officer, Amy Paradis
Presenters: Richard Freeman of Harry Freeman and Son Ltd., Gilles Theriault of A. F. T. Sawmill Ltd., and Richard Carbonnier

ABSENT:

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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 item be added to the agenda:
5.4 Guard Rails – Meteghan Library

MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that the proposed agenda be approved with the above noted addition.
MOTION CARRIED

(b) Declaration of Conflict of Interest
Warden Ronnie LeBlanc asked for any declarations of conflict of interest.
None declared.

3) Presentation
3.1 Extension of the Boat Harbour Act – Harry Freeman and Son Ltd. and A. F. T. Sawmill Ltd.
Mr. Richard Freeman of Harry Freeman and Son Ltd. and Mr. Gilles Theriault of A. F. T. Sawmill Ltd. delivered a presentation to Council on the importance of Northern Pulp to the forestry industry in Nova Scotia (See attached).

Following their presentation, Mr. Freeman asked Council to write a letter to the Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia, requesting an immediate extension of the Boat Harbour Act deadline to allow for the completion of the proposed effluent plant and pipeline. The following industry stakeholders were present in support of this request and gave personal accounts of what the closure of Northern Pulp would do to their respective businesses and to the community as a whole:

  • N. Melanson Contractors (Brian Melanson)
  • A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. (David Theriault
  • Hankinson Logging (Leo Hankinson)
  • Western Woodlot Group (Arcade Comeau)
  • Roger Mullen (Private Woodlot Owner)
  • Lewis Mouldings (Jamie Lewis)
  • Corberrie Forestry (Craig Marr)
  • Comeau Fuels (Aaron Dunn)
  • A.F.T. Sawmill Ltd. (Brian Lombard)
  • Stephen Gaudet (Harvester)

Council agreed that the forestry industry was critical to the Municipality’s economy and thanked Mr. Freeman and Mr. Theriault, as well as those in attendance, for their presentation. While Council was unanimous in its support of this request, it was also unanimous in its belief that such an extension cannot be to the detriment of the environment and that potential environmental impacts must also be taken into consideration. Council passed 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 writing a letter to the Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia, respectfully requesting an immediate extension of the Boat Harbour Act deadline of January 1, 2020 in order to allow for the completion of the proposed effluent treatment plant and outflow pipeline.
MOTION CARRIED

3.2 Proposed Amendment to By-law 27 (Land-use By-law) and Proposal for Former Saint-Albert Elementary School - Richard Carbonnier
Richard Carbonnier has been a resident of Clare for the last 2 years and has owned land in District 8 for 7 years. In light of the possible sale of the former Saint-Albert School which neighbors Mr. Carbonnier’s property, he is asking the Municipality to consider an amendment to By-law 27 (Land-use By-law) to include a section on nuisances (i.e. noise, smell, etc.) and introduce a review process to ensure future commercial or industrial uses of land do not interfere with a resident’s peaceful enjoyment of their land.

The Municipality of Clare does not have presently have any zoning other than a general zone (GR). The possibility of amending this by-law to include other zones (commercial, agricultural, industrial, etc.) has been explored by this and previous municipal councils and has consistently met with much public opposition. This notwithstanding, Council agreed to refer the proposed amendment to the Planning Advisory Committee by way of the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Brian Comeau and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend sending the Proposed Amendment to By-law 27 (Land-use By-law), as presented by Mr. Richard Carbonnier, to the Planning Advisory Committee for further review and consideration.
MOTION CARRIED

Of note, the Planning Advisory Committee is comprised of both municipal councillors and members of the public.

As a second part to his presentation, Mr. Carbonnier proposed the Municipality use the former Saint-Albert Elementary School as a multi-purpose community space for francophone youth, cyclists, non-profits, etc., as means of revitalising the community, promoting Acadian culture and keeping the educative spirit of the school alive.

The CAO and the Recreation Manager had discussed this option previously (based on Mr. Carbonnier’s proposal) and both agree that doing so would not be sustainable and would almost certainly hinder the CJA which currently runs a non-profit camp for Acadian and francophone youth.

4) Staff Reports
4.1 Financial Update – Director of Finance, Ginette Cheff
The Director of Finance provided an overview of the Municipality’s financial position. (See attached)

5) Business arising from Previous Meetings
5.1 Twinning between the Municipality of Clare and the City of Rezé, France
Earlier this year, Mr. Christophe Katsahian (Direction générale de la mondialisation, de la culture, de l’enseignement et du développement international) visited Clare to discuss the possibility of establishing a twinning agreement between the Municipality and a similar region in France. At the time, the preferred approach was to wait until the bid for the CMA 2024 was awarded. Now, with the Municipalities of Clare and Argyle having been awarded the CMA for 2024, Council is prepared to resume the twinning discussion with Mr. Katsahian. For his part, Mr. Katsahian remains eager to facilitate this process and sees potential in twinning the Municipality of Clare with Rezé in France. Rezé has a population of approximately 40,000 and has a university the size of Université Sainte-Anne. The Warden and the CAO will pursue these discussions with Mr. Katsahian and representatives of Rezé to better ascertain the economic and cultural development potential which may accrue from this agreement.

5.2 EMO Coordinator
Last year, Mark Doucet had taken leave from his position as EMO Coordinator for personal and professional reasons. The Municipality tried to find someone in the interim but was unable to do so. After speaking with the CAO recently, Mr. Doucet expressed an interest in resuming his role as EMO Coordinator. The CAO agreed and both he and Mr. Doucet settled on a start date of September 1, 2019. In terms of immediate priorities, Mr. Doucet will focus on updating the Municipality’s EMO plan and revising the current structure of the Municipality’s EMO to better mirror the recommended ICS model.

5.3 Former Saint-Albert Elementary School
A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued by municipal staff on December 6, 2018 for the sale of the former Saint-Albert Elementary School. The RFP closed January 31, 2019. Two bids were received. The first proposed the establishment of a commercial cannabis micro-cultivation operation. The second proposed transforming the building into a seniors housing complex. Both proposals were deemed eligible under the RFP. Staff started their review shortly thereafter and began questioning both proponents and reporting back to Council over the course of the next several months.

On August 7, 2019 the CAO was advised by the second proponent that they were respectfully withdrawing their proposal, effective immediately. The review of the remaining proposal was completed and deemed to have merit. As part of this review, the following points were taken into consideration:

  • The cultivation of cannabis is now legal
  • It is a growth industry. Highlighting this fact, cannabis cultivation has recently been added to the suite of programs offered at NSCC.
  • The memoire presented by Mr. Carbonnier dated June 16, 2019.
  • The Municipality of Clare has no by-laws preventing the cultivation of cannabis
  • There is nothing preventing the proponent from purchasing a privately-owned building or building a new facility and proceeding with this business activity.
  • By selling to the proponent, the Municipality has the ability to impose certain restrictive covenants
  • The proposed business is subject to strict licensing requirements mandated by the federal government and in this particular case, is completely export based (i.e. no retail sales).

In light of the aforementioned considerations, the CAO is recommending the following:

That Council make a motion to recommend the sale of the former Saint-Albert Elementary School to Pound Cannabis Inc. in the amount of $40,100 subject to the purchaser obtaining the necessary cannabis licensing permit within the first 12 months of the closing date.

That the following restrictive covenants apply:
1. Shall not emit noise pollution that persist long enough to affect the reasonable enjoyment of property; and
2. Shall not emit smells from industrial or agricultural activities such that the intensity and frequency cause injury to health and/or linger long enough to affect the reasonable enjoyment of property; and
3. Shall not cause waste to the property or accumulate garbage such that it becomes unsightly and affects the reasonable enjoyment of property; and
4. Shall not emit any airborne particles or pollution of any kind.

Council agreed with the CAO’s recommendation and passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Hector Thibault and SECONDED BY Councillor Eric Pothier that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend awarding the request for proposals for the purchase and use of the former Saint-Albert Elementary School to Pound Cannabis Inc. in the amount of $40,100 plus HST.
MOTION CARRIED

5.4 Guard Rail – Meteghan Library
An invitational tender was issued to repair and refurbish the guard rails at the Meteghan Library. Three bids were received in response to this tender. Upon review of these bids, both the CAO and staff are recommending the tender be awarded to Joe Bengivenni in the amount of $5,500 plus HST. Council passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Carl Deveau and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend awarding the tender for the refurbishing of the guard rails at the Meteghan Library to Joe Bengivenni in the amount of $5,500 plus HST and that this amount be taken from the Municipality’s Capital Fund.
MOTION CARRIED

6) New Business
6.1 Naming of Road at Ecoparc – Meteghan
As part of on going efforts to sell the Ecoparc in Meteghan, the Municipality hired Acker Doucette Surveying to survey the site and create a new site plan. Prior to registering the new site plan with the Land Registry Office, the private unnamed road which runs through the property must be named. In speaking with the prospective buyers, 3 options were put forward for consideration: 1) Ocean Drive Road, 2) Green Mill Road and 3) Green Mile Road. After reviewing the options against the requirements of the Municipality’s road naming policy, the CAO and staff are recommending Green Way Road (chemin de la Voie Verte). Council passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Carl Deveau and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend that the road shared by the properties PID (Property Identification Number) 30319917, 30276778, 30087985, 30377964, 30377972, 30377980 and 30377998 be officially named as follows:
In English: Green Way Road
In French: chemin de la Voie Verte
MOTION CARRIED

6.2 Project Proposal – CACL Clare
At the invitation of Carolyn Sloan (CACL Clare), the CAO and Tourism Manager met with her and Allister Surette of Université Sainte-Anne to discuss a concept project involving incremental capital investments in the building currently housing the CACL Clare as well as an interior redesign of the Rendez-Vous de la Baie with the goal of modernizing the space and making it more functional. Several meetings have since taken place to refine the concept. Discussions to date with prospective government funding partners have been very positive and both the CACL Clare and US-A have each confirmed a contribution of $30,000 towards this estimated $721,000 project. As a key stakeholder in this initiative, the CAO is recommending the Municipality match the $30,000 funding contribution put forward by the 2 other project partners. This recommended level of investment would provide excellent leverage of municipal funds and would of course be conditional upon confirmation of balance of funding. Council agreed and passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend contributing $30,000 to CACL Clare in support of their project entitled Workforce Inclusion and Community Economic Development in Clare and that this amount be taken from the Municipality’s Capital Fund.
MOTION CARRIED

7) Questions and Comments from the Public
None.

8) Closed Session

PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that Council proceed to closed session.
MOTION CARRIED

Topics discussed:
8.1 Rural Internet

PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Yvon LeBlanc that Council proceed to the Regular Council Meeting.
MOTION CARRIED

9) Date and time of the next Council-in-Committee Meeting
The next Council-in-Committee Meeting will be held on October 2, 2019 at 7:00 pm.

10) Adjournment
PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet to adjourn the meeting at 10:10 pm.

Submitted by

Ashley Hanks,
Executive Assistant

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