A donation request by the Dr. & Mrs. H.E. Christie Foundation that will help this community’s youth and a local museum was approved by the Amherst town council when it met on Monday, June 27, 2022.
The foundation asked the town to receive a $13,120 donation from it with the proviso that a corresponding $8,000 grant be given to Amherst Little League Baseball and a $5,120 grant be given to the Cumberland County Military Museum.
Provincial regulations prevent the two organization from accepting funds directly from the foundation as they are not registered charities. However, because the town is a registered charity, the regulations do allow it to accept the donation and pass it on to the respective organizations.
The town has done this in the past, and like previous occasions, the transactions will assist Amherst youth with improved access to programs and will help in the preservation of local history.
Jeremiah Martin, a local Amherst resident and Junior A Rambler player, was congratulated by the council for being the inaugural recipient this past weekend of Hockey Nova Scotia’s Bill Riley Scholarship.
Named after former NHL player and Amherst Rambler coach Bill Riley, an Amherst native who was the third Black player to ever play in the NHL, the new $2,000 scholarship will be presented annually to a Nova Scotia graduating player of African descent who plans to pursue a post-secondary education after high school.
The council noted the scholarship honours the legacy of Bill Riley, a great local, provincial and national hockey trailblazer.
In offering its congratulations, council praised Martin for being a hard-working student who is also passionate about hockey.
Council also noted the entire community should be proud of how “Jeremiah met the Hockey Nova Scotia requirement resulting in this prestigious award.”
A two-year partnership between the town, the Municipality of Cumberland and three local committees that work to attract and retain health care professionals for the Cumberland region was approved by the Amherst town council.
The partnership will result in the creation of a Community Navigator, whose main role will be working to attract and retain physicians and other health-care professions to the area.
The navigator will work closely with the Cumberland Physician Recruitment Committee, Cumberland Physician Retention and Appreciation Committee and the Cumberland Health Professionals Recruitment and Retention Committee.
Funding for the position, estimated to be $100,000 per year, is being shared on a 50-50 basis between the town and the Municipality of Cumberland.
Council approved the purchase of two pieces of property for $90,000 that it intends to use to help address the regional and local housing shortage.
The properties are located on Ottawa Avenue and just off of South Albion Street. The latter property will enable the town to consolidate the South Albion Street land with an undeveloped, town-owned, four-acre subdivision known as Blaine Street.
Funding for the purchase is coming from the town’s capital budget.
The town plans on issuing Requests for Proposals on both properties that will seek developers who will purchase the lands at fair market value and agree to develop, in a timely manner, housing projects at those sites.
Council believes this project will help address the housing shortage that currently exists in the town.
As part of the project and before it can proceed, the town will be moving to officially close the undeveloped Blaine Street as required by the Municipal Government Act.
Council gave second reading to a development agreement for 27 West Pleasant St. that will allow a group home for youths to be operated on the site.
The town’s planning advisory committee had previously recommended the acceptance of the development agreement, which was the subject of a public participation opportunity and a public hearing. First reading was given last month.
Staff had previously indicated the proposed group home conforms to policies and in the town’s municipal planning strategy and Land-Use Bylaw. They also didn’t anticipate any significant negative impact on the surrounding neighbourhood.
Amendments to the town’s street naming policy were approved by the council.
The amendments include inserting a clause in the policy that requires the promotion of the principles of inclusivity, equity and diversity when considering new street names within the town.
They also include a list of potential street names as recommended by the town’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee.
A three-year extension to the five-year-old agreement the town has with the Cumberland Business Connector and the Municipality of the County of Cumberland was approved by council.
The agreement sees the town provide $67,536 per year in funding and office space to the connector, which is a business-led, non-profit organization that fosters economic development in the Cumberland region.
A lease agreement that sees Cumberland North MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin rent space from the town at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre was approved by council.