Amherst town council’s committee of the whole is recommending the council extend the term customer service representative positions at the Amherst Stadium until May, 31, 2021.
The committee made the recommendation at its Monday, March 15, 2021, meeting after receiving a staff recommendation to extend the positions.
Council originally approved the positions in January in order to increase use of the walking track to near pre-pandemic hours while maintaining provincially mandated COVID-19 protocols. At the time, the term positions were to end on March 31, 2021.
Since their appointment, the number of walkers using the track has increased weekly and the town was able to resume public skating sessions.
With the COVID-19 protocols still in place that require the collection of personal information in the event that contract tracing is required, the committee felt extending the term positions until the end of May would continue to give people a place to get out and exercise, while ensuring the protocols were followed.
However, Jason MacDonald, the town’s Deputy CAO-Operations, cautioned that “as we move further into spring and warmer weather both the walking track and public skating times may have to be reviewed to ensure acceptable ice conditions are maintained.”
Funding to cover the cost of maintaining the positions – about $11,000 – until May 31, 2021, will come from the town’s operating reserves.
The committee directed that a staff recommendation to alter the process for selecting ‘A’ Fresh Start Community Initiative grants be sent to the March 22, 2021, council session for approval.
Altering the process is required because provincially mandated COVID-19 protocols will not allow the Top 5 applications to make presentations of their projects at a public meeting, as they have in past years, due to gathering-size limitations.
Details on the new process will be contained in a news release that will be issued later this month.
The committee directed staff to continue drafting a noise bylaw and to present a second draft to the committee in April.
Earlier this year, the committee was presented with a draft noise bylaw by the traffic authority. Members were given the opportunity to provide input, which they did. However, staff needed further direction from the committee in order to proceed further with the creation and implementation of the bylaw.
Staff have indicated a noise bylaw will help the police address issues such as loud parties, idling vehicles, fireworks, construction and any noise caused by disorderly behaviour.
As a result of the direction given by the committee, staff will now continue developing the noise bylaw, which will include having legal counsel review the draft before the next steps are taken in its implementation.
A staff recommendation to send an easement agreement between the Town of Amherst and Nova Scotia Power Inc. to the March 22, 2021, council session for approval was accepted by the committee.
The easement, which is about six metres wide and 90 meters long, will accommodate the connection between Nova Scotia Power’s soon-to-be-built solar garden on Tupper Boulevard and the electrical grid.
It will also give the power company access to the power line that traverses town-owned property at the Back of Lot 11 in the industrial park and enables it to clear any vegetation or other obstructions from the easement on an ongoing basis.