(Disponibles en anglais seulement pour le moment)

Municipality of the District of Clare
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING 
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.
Meeting held at 1185 Highway 1, Little Brook, NS

PRESENT: Council: Warden Ronnie LeBlanc; Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc; Councillors, Nil Doucet, Brian Comeau, Philippe Gaudet, Danny Hill, and Eric Pothier
Staff: CAO Stéphane Cyr, Director of Finance, Ginette Cheff, Executive Assistant, Ashley Hanks, and Communications Officer, Amy Paradis
Presenters:
ABSENT: Councillor Carl Deveau

1) Call to Order
Warden Ronnie LeBlanc called the Council meeting to order at 7:00 pm.

2) Approval of the Agenda
The CAO asked that the following revisions be made to the agenda:

  • In item 5.1, the date should read March 17, 2021.
  • Item 10.5 to be removed.

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

3) Declaration of conflict of interest
None.

4) Presentations
None.

5) Adoption of the Minutes from Previous Council Meetings
5.1 March 17, 2021 – Regular Council Meeting
MOVED BY Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc and SECONDED BY Councillor Eric Pothier that the minutes of the March 17, 2021 Regular Council Meeting be accepted as presented.
MOTION CARRIED

5.2 April 7, 2021 – Council in Committee Meeting
MOVED BY Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the minutes of the April 7, 2021 Council in Committee Meeting be accepted as presented.
MOTION CARRIED

5.3 April 14, 2021 – Special Session of Council 
MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Philippe Gaudet that the minutes of the April 14, 2021 Special Session of Council be accepted as presented.
MOTION CARRIED

6) Business Arising from Previous Meetings
None.

7) 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 29 – Attended a meeting of the Société Édifice Sainte-Marie de la Pointe Committee to provide an update to MP, Chris d’Entremont.

April 8 – Attended a meeting of the Advisory Committee with SHS Consulting to develop a housing action plan for the Municipality of Clare. 

April 13 – Attended a meeting of the Société Édifice Sainte-Marie de la Pointe Committee.

April 16 – Attended a virtual meeting of the CDÉNÉ Audit Committee.

8) Official Statements from Members of Council
Councillor Brian Comeau congratulated Adrien Comeau on receiving the “Prix d'excellence du lieutenant-gouverneur pour l'Acadie et la francophonie de la Nouvelle-Écosse”. A congratulatory letter will be sent to Mr. Comeau.

Councillor Eric Pothier presented the Volunteer of the Year for the Municipality of Clare, Josanne Deveau. Nominated by Clare Special Olympics, Josanne has volunteered for the organization for more than eight years, first to assist her sister (a Clare Special Olympics athlete), then devoting her time to coaching and fundraising. Her patience and big smile have earned her the love and respect of the athletes. Besides the Clare Special Olympics, Josanne is an active volunteer and mentor for the Clare-Digby Minor Hockey Association. She loves to see women enjoying the sport as much as she does.

Councillor Eric Pothier congratulated Joanne Deveau on winning the Volunteer Caregiver of the Year Award from the Alliance des femmes de la francophonie Canadienne. Ms. Deveau is a caregiver for her daughter with cerebral palsy. She has also been a caregiver for her mother and mother-in-law while continuing to maintain a career. She has also helped support the construction of a group home for people with specific needs, la Maison d’Amis.

Councillor Eric Pothier would like to wish Mr. Louis O’Connell a happy 100th birthday, to be celebrated on May 5, 2021. A celebratory certificate will be sent to Mr. O’Connell.

9) Correspondence
9.1 Robert and Joen Gingell – Residents of Hectanooga
The CAO read a letter from Robert and Joen Gingell of Hectanooga (pdfSee attached).

9.2 The Honourable Lloyd Hines – Minister, Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Service Roads
The CAO read a letter from the Honourable Lloyd Hines, Minister of Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (pdfSee attached).

9.3 The Honourable Lloyd Hines – Minister, Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Saulnierville Road and Second Division Road
The CAO read a letter from the Honourable Lloyd Hines, Minister of Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (pdfSee attached).

10) Presentation of the 2021-2022 Operational Budget and Corresponding Motions
10.1 Motion to Adopt Municipal Tax Rates
The CAO and Director of Finance presented a balanced budget of $9,518,757 for the 2021-2022 fiscal year (pdfsee attached) with no increase to the current residential and commercial property tax rates of $1.04 and $2.07 per $100 of assessment, respectively. Other highlights include:

  • $1,214,859 for RCMP costs, including prosecution services and DNA testing.
  • $120,000 for Corrections
  • $907,010 for Fire Departments including both operational and capital funding, as well as debt servicing.
  • $1,836,437 for Education
  • $154,249 and $168,755 for Tourism and Recreation respectively
  • A continued commitment to the provision of municipal services in both official languages
  • A renewal of the low-income property tax exemption
  • Dedicated funding for the CMA 2024, Communauté francophone accueillante, the Festival acadien de Clare, the Association sentier Clare Rail to Trail Association, and the Transport de Clare.

Both the CAO and Director of Finance have qualified this budget as fiscally conservative and further complicated by the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and an increase in municipal contributions, as mandated by the Province. Council had previously reviewed the budget in detail at the Special Meeting of Council on April 14, 2021 and was pleased with both its content and staff’s efforts to complete this exercise in time for the April 2021 meeting of Council.

MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Philippe Gaudet that the municipal tax rates for the Municipality of the District of Clare for 2021-2022 be set as follows:

  • $1.04 per $100.00 of assessment as the Residential and Resource Tax Rate (the same rate since 2014), and
  • $2.07 per $100.00 of assessment as the Commercial Tax Rate (the same rate since 2010)
  • $0.25 per acre (below 50,000 acres) and $0.40 per acre (above 50,000 acres) as the Forest Acreage Rates.

MOTION CARRIED

10.2 Motion to Adopt Sewer Service Charges
MOVED BY Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc and SECONDED BY Councillor Nil Doucet that the municipal sewer service charges for 2021-2022 be set at $200.00 per Unit for the following:

  • Meteghan
  • Meteghan Centre
  • Meteghan River
  • Church Point
  • Belliveau Cove

MOTION CARRIED

10.3 Motion to Adopt Streetlight Area Rates
MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc that the 2021-2022 rates for streetlights be set as follows:

  • Highway 1 and Patrice Road – Church Point $ 52.31
  • Highway 1 – Little Brook and Comeauville $ 33.87
  • Highway 1 – Saulnierville $ 46.70
  • Highway 1 – Meteghan River $ 49.22
  • Placide Comeau Road – Meteghan River $ 61.66
  • Highway 1 and Peter Dugas Road – Meteghan $ 33.13
  • John Thibodeau Road – Meteghan Centre $ 975.00 (1 user)
  • Highway 1 – Saint-Bernard and Belliveau Cove $ 32.47

MOTION CARRIED

10.4 Motion to Adopt Fire Department Rates
MOVED BY Councillor Philippe Gaudet and SECONDED BY Councillor Eric Pothier that the 2021-2022 Fire Department rates be set as follows:

  • Fire Protection $0.05 per $100.00 of assessment
  • Fire Truck Purchase $0.06 per $100.00 of assessment

MOTION CARRIED

10.5 Motion to Adopt Due Date and Interest Commencement Date
MOVED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Councillor Nil Doucet that the due date for payment of 2021-2022 municipal taxes be June 30, 2021, and the interest rate be 1½% per month, beginning on July 31, 2021.
MOTION CARRIED

10.6 Motion to Adopt 2021–2022 Municipal Operational Budget
MOVED BY Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc and SECONDED BY Councillor Nil Doucet that the 2021-2022 operational budget for the Municipality of the District of Clare be approved as presented on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
MOTION CARRIED

11) CAO Report – Chief Administrative Officer - Stéphane Cyr
The CAO presented his report for the month of April 2021. (pdfSee attached)

12) Committee Reports
12.2 Building Permits Report – Councillor Danny Hill
Councillor Danny Hill read the building permit report for the month of March.

March 2021

Year Permits Construction Value Year to Date
2020 12 $ 1,000,480 $ 1,574,360
2021 18 $ 336,993 $ 32,161,633

12.2 Police Advisory Board – Councillor Brian Comeau

Councillor Brian Comeau presented the Police Advisory Board report in Councillor Carl Deveau’s absence.

  • The Police Advisory Board met on April 12th with Corporal Jeff LeBlanc.
  • 2 new members at the Meteghan Detachment. The first, Ian Fernandez, is currently in place. The second member will arrive at the end of the month.
  • Corporal LeBlanc presented the annual report (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021) for the Meteghan Detachment. The report outlines RCMP priorities for the area and provides occurrence statistics for the period in question. Detachment priorities are:
    • Road Safety
    • Crime Reduction
    • Senior Safety
  • The investigation into the shooting in Little Brook is ongoing. A press release was issued shortly after the incident. RCMP continue to seek and review evidence to strengthen their case and solidify possible charges. All necessary resources are being applied to bring this matter to a close.
  • In the event there is an escalation of the ongoing lobster dispute (as was the case last Summer / Fall), RCMP will continue to focus on public order and safety. Planning regarding a potential response is ongoing. Necessary resources are currently in place and ready to be deployed.
  • The Board was advised of Council’s intent to name Angelique LeBlanc as its third community representative on the Board and to recommend the appointment of John Chant as the Minister’s appointee to the Board. Support for both these appointments was unanimous.
  • A debrief of the April 8th incident at the Clare Health Centre was provided. The incident in question resulted in a brief lockdown of the facility. Thankfully, the RCMP response was immediate and the all-clear given shortly thereafter. Discussions are ongoing with Corporal LeBlanc regarding potential safety protocols which may be implemented.
  • In closing, Corporal LeBlanc mentioned there are several ongoing cases in Clare. Unfortunately, some of these cases may extend over the long term. This is not because of complacency but rather because of the high burden of proof required by law. As per Corporal LeBlanc, due diligence and adherence to proper practices is key. It is not solely the individual on trial but often the investigation process itself.

13)  New Business
13.1 Motion to Purchase Fire Truck – Little Brook Fire Department
As discussed at the Council in Committee Meeting on April 7, 2021, the LBFD is currently in position four and position six on the fire truck replacement schedule. Rather than having to cost share with the Municipality on the purchase of two trucks, the LBFD is proposing the Municipality fund 100% of the cost of a new fire truck. In exchange, they will request the second proposed truck be removed from the list. According to the LBFD, public safety will in no way be impacted by this decision since its truck, currently slated for replacement in year 6, remains in good working order with several remaining years of useful life. The cost of the truck proposed by the LBFD is $476,383 plus HST. Council’s practice throughout the implementation of its vehicle replacement strategy has been to contribute $350,000 per new truck, via its 6¢ area rate.  By accepting the LBFD’s proposal and including the non-rebated portion of the HST, the Municipality will effectively reduce its contribution from $700,000 to $512,112, a savings of $187,888, while also adding a new truck to the Department’s fleet. Council agreed and passed the following motion:

MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Philippe Gaudet that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare approve the purchase of a new fire truck for the Little Brook Fire Department in the amount of $476,383 plus the non-rebated portion of the HST, for a total cost of $512,112.
MOTION CARRIED

13.2 Motion to Award a Tender – Refuse Collection and Disposal Services 2021–2026
The tender for refuse collection and disposal services closed on April 1, 2021. Two submissions were received. Waste Co Ltd. submitted a bid in the amount of $463,605.42 plus HST, with a 5% increase per year. G & N Excavating and Logging Ltd. submitted a bid in the amount of $450,000 plus HST, with a 5% increase per year. Both bids were reviewed by the CAO and staff, taking into consideration supplier experience, equipment, benefits to the community and cost to the Municipality. Following this review, both the CAO and staff are recommending the tender be awarded to G & N Excavating and Logging Ltd. Council agreed and passed the following motion:

MOVED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare award the Refuse Collection and Disposal Services 2021–2026 tender to G & N Excavating and Logging Ltd. in the amount of $450,000 plus HST for the period of October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022, and increasing by 5% per annum for every year thereafter.
MOTION CARRIED

13.3 Motion to Approve the 2021–2022 Volunteer Fire Department Capital Funding Expenditures
All seven of the Municipality’s volunteer fire departments have submitted their 5-year capital plans (2021-2026). These in turn have been reviewed by the CAO and the funds generated by the 5¢ area rate, a total of $131,183 for 2021-2022, allotted accordingly. (pdfSee attached)

MOVED BY Councillor Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare approve the 2021–2022 volunteer fire department capital funding expenditures as presented.
MOTION CARRIED

13.4 Motion to Approve Municipal Flagpole Request – Societé acadienne de Clare
The Société acadienne de Clare has submitted a request to fly the Pride Flag on the Municipality’s community flagpole from June 7 to June 12, 2021. The request is compliant with the Municipality’s Flag Flying Policy. Council made the following motion:

MOVED BY Councillor Philippe Gaudet and SECONDED BY Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare approve the Societé acadienne de Clare’s request to fly the pride flag on the Municipality’s community flagpole, in recognition of Pride Week, from June 7, 2021, up to and including June 12, 2021.
MOTION CARRIED

13.5 Motion to Send a Letter - Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal
Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc was contacted by his constituents regarding safety and accessibility concerns stemming from the poor condition of the Lake Doucette Road. Deputy Warden LeBlanc is requesting that a letter be sent to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal requesting an evaluation of the road. Council agreed and passed the following motion:

MOVED BY Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc and SECONDED BY Councillor Eric Pothier that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare send a letter to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal asking it to evaluate the Lake Doucette Road in light of concerns relating to both safety and accessibility.
MOTION CARRIED

13.6 Motion to Approve Funding – Detailed Design and Engineering, Tourism Public Spaces
At the April 7, 2021 Council-in-Committee Meeting and the April 14, 2021 Special Meeting of Council, the Tourism Manager presented a summary of his recent conversations with both Upland and Maurice Comeau of the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forest. Both the Tourism Manager and the CAO were seeking Council direction and guidance as to there priorities for detailed design and engineering. After much discussion, there seemed to be consensus amongst councillors to invest $50,000 towards this effort, with the intention of leveraging additional funds (and some in-kind contributions) from both the federal and provincial government. To move this project forward, Council made the following motion:

MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Nil Doucet that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare approve funding for the detailed design and engineering phase of the Tourism Public Spaces project in the amount of $50,000 plus HST and that these funds be taken from the Municipality’s Operating Reserve.
MOTION CARRIED

14) In Camera Session
PROPOSED BY Councillor Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Deputy Warden Yvon LeBlanc that Council proceed to an In-Camera Session.
MOTION CARRIED

Topics discussed:
14.1 Acquisition and Sale of Municipal Property

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

15) Date and time of the next Regular Council Meeting
The next Regular Council Meeting will be held on May 19, 2021 at 7:00 pm.

16) Adjournment
MOVED BY Councillor Nil Doucet to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 pm.

Submitted by:
Ashley Hanks
Executive Assistant