Council February committee of the whole briefs

Bordertown Biker Bash representatives outlined their plans for the 2018 bash to Amherst councillors during council’s committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 20.

Spokesman Peter Rushton said the three-day event will begin on July 13, at a new venue. Instead of being held downtown, the bash will be moved to the Atlantic Superstore’s side parking lot, off of South Albion Street, that is located between the Superstore gas station and Tim Hortons.

The event will include a poker ride to Prince Edward Island, a toys-for-tot ride, a bike blessing, stunt shows as well as a show and shine competition. In addition, musical entertainment and several vendors – many of the local – have been has been lined up for the weekend.

Rushton noted that 113 registered riders attend the event last year as well as 217 registered visitors and 36 vendors.

Mandatory provincial contribution rate recommended

The town’s corporate services department recommended the mandatory provincial contribution rate of 39 cents per $100 of assessment for the 2018-19 fiscal year be sent to the Feb. 26 council session for approval.

The rate covers the town’s mandatory contribution towards education, Property Valuation Services Corporation assessments, correction services and housing. Council accepted the recommendation and the item will be placed on council’s Feb. 26 session.

Purchase of mobile generator recommended for new reservoir site

Deputy CAO Jason MacDonald recommended the purchase of a new mobile generator for the new Willow Street reservoir be sent to the Feb. 26 council session for approval.

The cost of the new generator is $84,000 and would be added to the contract with Maritech Construction Ltd., the builders of the new reservoir.

Currently, the public works department has two mobile generators to use during power outages that work crews have to move to where they are needed when the electricity fails.

Adding a third mobile generator would provide additional security to reservoir operations, as well as the town’s six lift stations and wellfield during power outages.   

MacDonald indicated the financial impact would be minimal because the cost of the reservoir replacement project is running about $2.2 million below the $7.7 million budgeted for it.

Council accepted his recommendation and sent the purchase request on to their Feb. 26 council session for approval.

New policy on appointing councillors to external boards, committees and commissions recommended

CAO Greg Herrett recommended a new policy outlining the appointment of councillors to external boards, committees and commissions be sent to council’s Feb. 26 council session for approval.

The new policy doesn’t apply to appointments to standing and ad hoc committees of council, such as committee of the whole, audit, planning advisory, north Tyndal wellfield advisory and tree advisory committees.

However, the new policy does delineate three levels of outside committees councillors may be involved in: those required by legislation bylaw or formal agreement, those that have a municipal interest and those where councillors may be involved on their own without being appointed by council.

Herrett also recommended that council forego appointing members to the Susan Taylor theatre advisory committee and the Victorian Order of Nurses because those committees have little or no municipal impact. He further recommended that no one be appointed to the West Highland redevelopment committee because it has fulfilled its mandate.

Council accepted the CAO’s recommendation and sent the new policy to its Feb. 26 session for approval.

NSCC seeks dollars for scholarships

Council has been asked to contribute $150,000 to the Nova Scotia Community College’s Make Way Campaign, which aims to raise $1.5 million for scholarships that would help Cumberland County students attend the community college.

The request will be considered during council’s upcoming budget deliberations.

Blanch recommends making pitch for Tesla rapid charging station

Coun. Jason Blanch suggested the Town of Amherst should make a pitch for one of the Tesla rapid charging stations that Tesla plans on installing in Nova Scotia.

The councillor believes having a Tesla station in town “would be a guaranteed way to get tourists off the highway.”

Council agreed to have staff reach out to Tesla in order to investigate the opportunity and process of having one of the Tesla charging stations located in town.

Staff instructed to conduct more research on Acadian monument

Amherst town staff were directed to conduct more research into the possible erection of a monument that recognizes the Amherst area’s early Acadian inhabitants.

Coun. Darrell Jones’ motion to have staff contact the Acadian Federation of Nova Scotia for that input was passed by council, though several council members said they felt a more in-depth look should be made into all groups who played a role in the settlement of this community.

Jones’ motion followed a staff report that provided details on early settlement, indicated the cost of erecting a monument to recognize the Acadians was about $4,500 and outlined several downtown locations where it could be located.

The report said it was difficult for staff to comment on the appropriateness of the monument, its content and the preferable location without further input from the broader Acadian community. It suggested the input should be sought from the Acadian federation.