Amherst town council approved the appointment of its members to various committees when it met via an online meeting on Nov. 23, 2020.
All council members were appointed to the community of the whole and audit committees.
Mayor David Kogon was also appointed to the regional emergency management committee.
Deputy-Mayor Hal Davidson will also sit on the Amherst Board of Police Commissioners and the planning advisory committee.
Coun. George Baker was also appointed to the Amherst Board of Police Commissioners, the Cumberland Joint Services Management Authority and the northern region solid waste committee.
Coun. Sheila Christie will also sit on the planning advisory and intermunicipal tourism committees as well as the Amherst Board of Police Commissioners.
Coun. Emery was also appointed to the Cumberland Joint Services Management Authority, regional emergency management, senior safety advisory, Tyndal wellfield advisory and municipal alcohol project committees.
Coun. Fawthrop will also sit on the Cumberland Libraries Board and the YMCA board of directors as well as the L.A. Animal Shelter, tree advisory and Tyndal wellfield advisory committees.
Coun. Landry was also appointed to the advisory committee to reduce poverty and the planning advisory committee.
Council approved submitting the name of Darrell Jones as the town’s representative on the Cobequid Housing Authority board of directors to the community services minister for approval.
The town has advertised twice within the past year for expression of interest to sit on the board, without success until Jones expressed interest. Jones has extensive community involvement and advocates on behalf of area seniors.
Council received the results of the non-binding plebiscite on putting fluoride in the town’s water supply and decided not to put fluoride in the water supply.
The plebiscite showed 2,296 voters rejected the idea of putting fluoride in the water supply, while 1,480 approved of the idea. A survey of Amherst Water Utility customers in Cumberland County indicated 63 were against the idea and 34 approved.
Following the vote, Mayor David Kogon said the result of the plebiscite was definitive.
“Council cannot ignore this response, hence the decision not to fluoridate our town water supply,” he said.
However, deciding to keep fluoride out of the town’s water supply does not mean the town does not recognize the positive benefits of fluoride on oral health, the mayor said. As a result, the town will be exploring “other strategies to promote the utilization of free dental interventions that are currently available to further the oral health of the people of Amherst.”
Council approved amendments to the town’s Proceedings of Council Policy.
The amendments will result in council getting the agendas for council and committee of the whole meetings one day earlier than is currently required, changing the start time of council meetings to 6 p.m. from 7 p.m. and the adoption of a consent agenda.
A consent agenda allows for streamlined meetings by grouping routine business into one motion. Some examples of routine business that doesn’t require debate includes procurements, request for staff reports and first reading of bylaws.
Council approved updates to the town’s signing authority policy. The updates remove the words municipal clerk and deputy clerk from the document and change references to treasurer in the policy to chief financial officer.
The updates were required to match recent changes to the town administrative structure.
Council also approved the appointment Coun. Sheila Christie as the designated councillor who has signing authority for the Town of Amherst.
Cheques issued by the town require two signatures, one an elected official (mayor, deputy-mayor or designated councillor), the other an administrative official (chief administrative officer or chief financial officer).
Council approved the sale of town-owned lands at the intersection of Victoria Street and Maple Avenue to Shylock Homes for the amount of $16,001.
The property was declared surplus in September and advertised for sale for a 14-day period between Oct. 22 and Nov. 6, 2020. Shylock Homes was the only party to bid on the property.
The property sold by the town to Shylock Homes sits next to the privately owned property the town has been leasing for several years in order to operate the downtown, outdoor rink. This privately owned land recently changed hands and the new owner, Shylock Homes, is continuing the lease, enabling the town to continue to operate the downtown rink for the foreseeable future.
The piece of land sold by the town is a narrow strip of property that sits between the rink property and Maple Avenue. Development on this piece of land could not take place due to its small size. Purchasing this property from the town, along with other recently purchased property in the area, provides Shylock Homes with more development opportunities.
Council approved a lease agreement that will see the town lease six hectares of town-owned land along Tupper Boulevard to Nova Scotia Power Inc. for a 30-year term.
The power company plans on installing a two-megawatt solar garden on the site as part of its Smart Grid Implementation project.
The project stems from the town’s efforts to become a test community for renewable energy and smart grid technology as a means to drive economic development and reduce emissions.
The solar garden concept also offers Amherst residents the opportunity to purchase 100 per cent of their electrical energy from a local renewable source – a first for any community in Nova Scotia.
The lease agreement can be viewed at https://amherst.ca/agendas.html. Click on the 23 November 2020 council agenda and scroll down until you can read it.
Council approved changing the dates of the December committee of the whole and council meetings in order to avoid a conflict with the Christmas holidays. The committee of the whole meeting will be held on Dec. 14, 2020, at 4 p.m. and the council session will be hold on Dec. 21, 2020, at 6 p.m.