Council in Committee Minutes

Municipality of the District of Clare
COUNCIL-IN-COMMITTEE MEETING
Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 7:00 pm
Meeting held at 1185 Highway 1, Little Brook, NS

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

ABSENT: Councillor Yvon LeBlanc

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

2) (a) Approval of the Agenda

The CAO asked that the following revisions be made to the agenda:

  • Move item 5.2 Bourneuf Wharf Road to the closed session as item 8.2
  • Add 5.2 Track and Field Facility
  • Add 5.3 Asset Management Plan
  • Add 8.3 Rural Internet in closed session

Councillor Brian Comeau asked that the following item be added to the agenda:

  • 6.14 chemin de la Montagne Road

MOVED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the proposed agenda be approved with the above noted revisions.
MOTION CARRIED

(b) Declaration of Conflict of Interest
Warden LeBlanc asked for any declarations of conflict of interest.

As Vice-President of Université Sainte-Anne’s Board of Governors, Warden LeBlanc declared himself in conflict with item 5.2 Track and Field Facility.

No other conflict was declared.

3) Presentation
None.

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 Funding Request – Clare Columbus Club
Late last year, the Municipality received a request for funding from the Clare Columbus Club to aid with needed renovations to their building. The request contained several one-off type projects and no specific amount was requested. At the time Council was willing to help and discussed various funding scenarios ranging from $6,000 to $14,000. Ultimately, it was decided that rather than take a piecemeal approach which would likely see the Municipality entertain requests year over year, Council would hold off on funding and asked the group to seek other funding sources, the goal being to leverage possible municipal support in an effort to complete the entire project. An application was subsequently sent to the Province containing a possible contribution of $10,000 from the Municipality. This was based on the aforementioned discussion with Council and the group was aware that this was never formally approved.

The Clare Columbus Club has since received a contribution of $28,000 from the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and has confirmed its own contribution of $5,000. At this time, they are seeking Council approval for the $10,000 in order to move forward and secure contractors to begin work as soon as possible. Based on previous discussions and given the group’s efforts thus far, the CAO is recommending Council approve the $10,000 contribution and that these funds be taken from the Municipality’s Grants to Organizations program. Council agreed 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 a grant in the amount of $10,000 to the Clare Columbus Club for renovations to their building and that these funds be taken from Grants to Organizations.
MOTION CARRIED

5.2 Track and Field Facility
Deputy Warden Nil Doucet chaired this section of the Meeting.

The proposed track and field facility at Université Sainte-Anne has been discussed at previous Council meetings and has garnered unanimous support from Council. At the onset, the Municipality was going to be the applicant on this project given that the University was deemed an ineligible applicant under the program in question. From there, the Municipality was advised that was no longer the case and that the University was now eligible to apply for this project under a new funding stream. Recently, the Municipality was advised that this project was better suited for the original program, under which the University was deemed ineligible, meaning that it would once again have to lead the application process. To do so, the CAO is recommending the motion from June 17, 2020 be rescinded and a new motion passed, as well as a third motion outlining the Municipality’s intention to enter into a long term lease with the University relating to the new facility. Council agreed and passed the following motions 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 rescinding the following motion from June 17, 2020:

MOVED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the Municipality of the District of Clare approve funding for the proposed Track and Field Facility at Université Sainte-Anne in the amount of $400,000 and that these funds be taken from the Municipality’s Operating Reserve.
MOTION CARRIED

PROPOSED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Councillor Brian Comeau that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend signing a 10-year lease with Université Sainte-Anne (with option for renewal) to confirm use of the land on which the proposed track and field facility will be located, as well as responsibility for the administration and ongoing maintenance of the facility and as a means of ensuring long-term community access.
MOTION CARRIED

PROPOSED BY Councillor Hector Thibault and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend approving funding for the proposed Track and Field Facility at Université Sainte-Anne in the amount of $400,000 and that these funds be taken from the Municipality’s Capital Reserve.
MOTION CARRIED

5.3 Asset Management Plan
Warden LeBlanc returned to chair the remainder of the meeting.

The Municipality is in the process of drafting its Asset Management Plan. As part of this process, the CAO, the Director of Finance, and the Public Works Assistant are participating in the Asset Management Cohort program. Asset management plans allow municipal units to better manage their infrastructure by planning for both capital and operational costs incurred over the useful life of an asset. It is an important planning document which the Province will soon make mandatory for all municipalities throughout Nova Scotia. During the August 25, 2020 meeting of the Asset Management Cohort, the possibility of applying to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) for funding assistance to help offset of the cost of drafting these plans was discussed. Under the FCM’s program, assistance in the amount of 80%, up to a maximum of $50,000, is available for the preparation of these plans. Should municipal units apply jointly or as a group, this percentage increases to 90%. Other cohort participants – Municipality of Digby, Town of Oxford, Town of Middleton, Municipality of Shelburne – have expressed interest. The CAO is recommending the Municipality follow suit given the considerable savings this will yield in terms of staff time. Council agreed and asked the CAO to pursue this course of action.

6) New Business
6.1 Clare Veterans Centre – Change Order, RHAD Architects
In response to the Municipality’s inquiries regarding the proposed façade re-development and elevator installation at the Clare Veterans Centre, as part of the Tourism Public Spaces Project Development and Improvement Project, RHAD architects submitted a change order detailing the incremental costs to the Municipality. Upon review of the change order, the CAO is recommending Council proceed with the following:

  • Additional architectural work (including sub-trades) beyond original scope - $13,000
  • Class C cost estimates - $3,000
  • Preparation of specifications - $6,800
  • Total - $22,800

Although the amount is substantial, the CAO is recommending the Municipality absorb the cost plus contingency, in an effort to move the project forward, rather then seek additional funding from the other project funder, ACOA. ACOA has already increased its contribution towards this project once and the CAO is advising not to ask them to do so a second time. Council agreed and passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend contributing up to an additional $30,000 towards the Tourism Public Spaces Project for the completion of technical drawings by RHAD Architects for the Clare Veterans Centre, including all structural, mechanical, electrical and civil sub-trades, as well as cost estimates and project specifications, and that these funds be taken from the Municipality’s Operating Reserve.
MOTION CARRIED

6.2 Bridge Repairs – Joseph and Marie Dugas Park
The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (NSTIR), accompanied by the Municipality’s Assistant Building Inspector, have confirmed that the bridge at the entrance of the Joseph and Marie Dugas Park in Belliveau Cove is structurally sound. Nevertheless, the decking on said bridge is deteriorating and in immediate need of repair. In keeping with the Municipality’s procurement policy, an invitational tender was issued for this work. A total of three bids were received. Upon review of the bids, it is the recommendation of both the CAO and staff that the Municipality accept the bid from Blue Bay Construction Limited in the amount of $5,600 plus HST. It is further recommended that the Municipality accept the offer from Blue Bay Construction Ltd. to also replace the second layer of decking given the strong probability that it to is damaged. Doing so would add an additional $1,000 plus HST to the total bid price. Council agreed and 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 awarding the tender for the repairs to the bridge at Joseph and Marie Dugas Park to Blue Bay Construction Limited in the amount of $6,600 plus HST and that these funds be taken from the Municipality’s Capital Reserve.
MOTION CARRIED

6.3 Funding Request – Meteghan Fire Department
The CAO read an email from Alain Comeau, Fire Chief for the Meteghan Fire Department. (See attached).

In response to the email, Warden LeBlanc clarified that tax revenue collected by the Municipality of Clare is spent throughout the entire Municipality, in an effort to benefit all residents, rather than being spent solely in the districts in which it was collected. The same can be said of the provincial and federal governments.

With the summers getting drier and the fire departments having to go further in search of adequate supplies of water, Council agreed that a fire hole for the Meteghan Fire Department would be an important investment. Council has recently assisted other fire departments with needed fire holes, namely the Salmon River Fire Department as part of their 5-year capital plan and the Little Brook Fire Department, in response to exceptional circumstances.

In terms of the purchase of an aerial truck for Meteghan in the spot formerly earmarked for the Richfield Fire Department prior to that department’s closure, Council is unable to comply due to a prior commitment made to the Havelock Fire Department as part of its partial takeover of the territory formerly covered by the Richfield Fire Department. On the issue of truck replacement and the purchase of an aerial truck, Councillor Brian Comeau suggested that the issue be discussed at an upcoming CFFA meeting given that the list of replacement trucks and the order in which they are to be replaced was unanimously approved by all departments.

As for the requested repairs to the Meteghan Fire Department’s substation, these were included in the Department’s 5-year plan, as submitted in 2019. However, all references to the substation have been removed from the revised 5-year capital plan submitted in 2020, suggesting a change in priority. For these capital expenditures to be considered, they should be included in the Meteghan Departments capital plan.

The CAO will follow-up with the Meteghan Fire Department on the aforementioned issues and report back to Council as required.

6.4 Municipal Housing Strategy
Housing or the lack thereof is a significant challenge in Clare and a hindrance to private sector growth. Both the Warden and CAO have been in discussions with ACOA and private sector leaders including Riverside Lobster International Inc., A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., and Comeau Sea Foods Ltd. as to what actions can be implemented over the short and long term to address this issue. The logical first step, as agreed to by all parties at the table, was the creation of a municipal housing action plan focusing on tangible initiatives involving available (or soon to be available) properties of strategic interest. ACOA officials expressed a willingness to fund up to 75% of the cost of the plan, up to a maximum of $75,000, with the Municipality to fund the remaining 25%. While private sector housing will be a key pillar of this plan, the Municipality is keenly aware of the need for seniors housing, low-income housing, housing options for young professionals, etc., and will look to incorporate these needs as well in the aforementioned plan. Council agreed and 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 contributing an amount equal to 25% of the cost of a proposed Housing Strategy and Action Plan for the Municipality, up to a maximum of $25,000, and that these funds be taken form the Municipality’s Operating Reserve.
MOTION CARRIED

6.5 Change of Management – Café Lisa T.
The Clare Organization Representing Persons with Disabilities (CORD) will be merging with l’Atelier de Clare. As part of this merger, l’Atelier will be assuming management responsibility for the Café Lisa T. Council is aware of this merger and has previously expressed its support for it. However, as part of an existing memorandum of understanding signed between Université Sainte-Anne and the Municipality, l’Atelier requires the support of the Municipality prior to assuming responsibility for the Café Lisa T. Université Sainte-Anne has already issued a letter in support of this change in management. The CAO is of the same opinion and is recommending the Municipality follow suit and issue a letter of support as requested. Council agreed and passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend writing a letter to the Clare Organization Representing Persons with Disabilities (CORD), in support of its plan to transfer management of the Café Lisa T. to l’Atelier de Clare.
MOTION CARRIED

6.6 Letter from Stephen Gaudet – Henry Hicks Road
Councillor Brian Comeau summarized the letter received from Stephen Gaudet, a resident of the Henry Hicks Road (See attached).

In an effort to address the concerns expressed by Mr. Gaudet, Councillor Comeau is requesting the Municipality send a letter to NSTIR requesting calcium chloride be applied to the Henry Hicks Road earlier in the year. Council agreed and passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Brian Comeau and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend sending a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal asking for calcium chloride to be applied onto Henry Hicks Road in a more timely manner.
MOTION CARRIED

6.7 Safety Concerns – Peter Dugas Road
The section of the Peter Dugas Road from Highway 1 to the Meteghan Wharf is heavily utilised by commercial (and some residential) traffic and is currently in a state of disrepair. Year over year, the state of the road has worsened, and its width has narrowed, creating a hazard for vehicles and pedestrians alike. Warden LeBlanc is recommending a letter be sent to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) and to the MLA for Digby-Clare, Mr. Gordon Wilson, stressing the importance of this matter and requesting that this section of the Peter Dugas Road be immediately added to the provincial paving list as a high priority. 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 sending a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal and to the MLA for Digby-Clare, the Honourable Gordon Wilson, asking that Peter Dugas Road (from Highway 1 to the Meteghan Wharf) be added to the provincial paving list due to safety concerns.
MOTION CARRIED

6.8 Rails to Trails Association – Duffy Road
The CAO read a letter from George P. Comeau, President of the Sentier de Clare Rails to Trails Association (See attached).

The CAO read a follow up email from Ron Gaudy, President of the South West Nova ATV Association. (See attached).

The Duffy Road has traditionally served as an important point of access to Highway 1 in Saulnierville for many users of the trail system (former CN Railroad) including ATVs, cyclists, hikers, etc. As such, brush cutting services along the Duffy Road were provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (NSTIR). However, following a change in local management, NSTIR brush cutting efforts along the Duffy Road have ceased. With the resulting growth, the road is now impassable, and many users have begun using the Saulnierville Road as a point of access / exit. The Saulnierville Road has significant vehicle traffic which in turn presents considerable risk for individuals using this route for access to or an exit from the trail. That being said, Councillor Brian Comeau is requesting the Municipality send a letter to NSTIR requesting the resumption of brush cutting services along the Duffy Road. Council agreed and passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Brian Comeau and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend sending a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal asking the Department to resume brush cutting along the Duffy Road, from Highway 1 up to the Maza Road.
MOTION CARRIED

6.9 Destruction of Documents Policy
At the request of both Council and the CAO, staff has drafted a Destruction of Documents Policy. The purpose of this policy is to ensure the records of the Municipality are protected from premature destruction and properly disposed of once their value ceases. Previously this was done via a by-law and required a motion of Council each time staff needed to dispose of documents. The proposed policy alleviates this administrative burden and will eventually form part of a larger Records Management Policy adopted and implemented by the Municipality. Council agreed and 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 adopting the Destruction of Documents Policy as presented.
MOTION CARRIED

6.10 New Road Name – Bartlett Lake Lane
The Municipality received a request to name a private road. Seven of the ten affected residents (70%) are in favor of the proposed name. Letters sent to the remaining three residents have gone unanswered. The request respects the Municipality’s current road naming policy in that it is bilingual, not currently in use anywhere else in the Municipality and satisfies the minimum required approval rate of 66.6%. Staff is recommending the proposed name. Council passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Danny Hill and SECONDED BY Councillor Carl Deveau that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend that the road shared by the PIDs (Property Identification Number) listed below be named as follows:

In English: Bartlett Lake Lane
In French: ruelle du lac Bartlett

30377675 30039275 30268130 30356794 30372205 30039408
30039978 30039523 30039572 30284335 30281760 30039614

MOTION CARRIED

6.11 New Road Name – Gaspereau Lake Lane
The Municipality received a request to name a private road. Twenty six of the thirty-nine affected residents (66.7%) are in favor of the proposed name. Letters sent to the remaining thirteen residents have gone unanswered. The request respects the Municipality’s current road naming policy in that it is bilingual, not currently in use anywhere else in the Municipality and satisfies the minimum required approval rate of 66.6%. Staff is recommending the proposed name. Council passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Eric Pothier and SECONDED BY Councillor Brian Comeau that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend that the road shared by the PIDs (Property Identification Number) listed below be named as follows:

In English: Gaspereau Lake Lane
In French: ruelle du lac Gaspereau

30099535 30098032 30239453 30098230 30100168 30097638 30100382
30099527 30281810 30250864 30097992 30100457 30098073 30100440
30099568 30250815 30097455 30099162 30100283 30097422 30100465
30250807 30100630 30114748 30099030 30100242 30099014 30100929
30099550 30100648 30099386 30098396 30100259 30098057 30099618
30108484 30100614 30099378 30251128 30100234 30097414
30099907 30098040 30114771 30100556 30099691 30082283
30099055 30099683 30114763 30100176 30100317 30097398
30099006 30100911 30100507 30097448 30100416 30100606
30250906 30250872 30114755 30100408 30099899 30101281

MOTION CARRIED

6.12 Staff Credit Card – Manager, Clare Health Centre
The Manager at the Clare Health Centre has traditionally been issued a municipal credit card. With the former Manager now retired and a new Manager in place, the previous card is no longer valid, and a new card is required. In order to issue a new card, the Municipality’s financial institution requires a motion from Council. As such, the CAO is requesting Council authorize the new card, with the same $2,000 credit limit as before. Council agreed and made the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet and SECONDED BY Councillor Eric Pothier that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend authorizing a municipal credit card for the Manager of the Clare Health Centre, Mrs. Chantal Pottier, with a maximum limit of $2,000.
MOTION CARRIED

6.13 Comeauville Wharf
Councillor Brian Comeau mentioned that the ownership of the Comeauville Wharf has been a question in the Municipality and that recently the gate at the wharf has been locked. The CAO confirmed that the wharf does not belong to the Municipality and from all accounts, ownership lies with the Comeauville Wharf Preservation Society. The recognized agent for the Society, Fernand Thibault, was contacted and confirmed his knowledge of the locked gate and his willingness to unlock the gate upon request. As such and with his permission, municipal staff will direct any future inquiries pertaining to the Comeauville Wharf to Mr. Thibault.

6.14 Chemin de la Montagne Road
For some time now, residents of the chemin de la Montagne Road have expressed their concerns and displeasure regarding fires and excessive noise. Following regular monitoring and patrolling by enforcement officers from the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests, as well as members of the local RCMP detachment, the situation had improved. Unfortunately, with the recent reassignment of the aforementioned officers from Lands and Forests due to Covid-19, the situation has once again devolved with instances of excessive noise and illegal fires now on the rise. Councillor Brian Comeau is requesting the Municipality send a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests requesting a resumption of enforcement efforts along the chemin de la Montagne Road. Council agreed and passed the following motion to recommend:

PROPOSED BY Councillor Brian Comeau and SECONDED BY Councillor Hector Thibault that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend sending a letter to the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry asking the Department to resume regular monitoring and enforcement activities along chemin de la Montagne Road.
MOTION CARRIED

7) Questions and Comments from the Public
There were no comments or questions from the public.

8) Closed Session

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

Topics Discussed:
8.1 Acquisition and Sale of Municipal Property
8.2 Bourneuf Wharf Road
8.3 Rural Internet

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

PROPOSED BY Councillor Hector Thibault and SECONDED BY Councillor Danny Hill that the Council for the Municipality of the District of Clare recommend awarding the tender for the installation of a stone barrier along PID 30040216 to protect against further erosion to Gary Belliveau Construction and Excavation Limited in the amount of $19,700 plus HST and that these funds be taken from the Municipality’s Capital Reserve.
MOTION CARRIED

9) Date and time of the next Council-in-Committee Meeting
The next Council-in-Committee Meeting will be held on October 7, 2020 at 7:00 pm.

10) Adjournment
PROPOSED BY Deputy Warden Nil Doucet to adjourn the meeting at 10:00 pm.

Submitted by

Ashley Hanks,
Executive Assistant

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1185 Highway 1

Little Brook, Nova Scotia
B0W 1M0

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