Solar contract referred to council session for approval

A contract that would see solar panels installed on the roof of the Amherst Stadium was sent by Amherst town council’s committee of the whole to the Nov. 25, 2019, meeting of council for approval.

The decision to send the $256,491 contract with Thermo Dynamics Ltd. was made by the committee during its Nov. 18, 2019, meeting. The motion also recommended approving the associated project costs – Nova Scotia Power interconnection costs of $9,000, Alternative Resource Energy Authority consulting fees of $4,000 and a structural engineering report of $1,650 – at the upcoming council session.

The 75-kilowatt solar field on the stadium roof was approved last year by the province as part of its Solar for Community Buildings Program. Under the program, the town will sell the electricity generated by the solar panels on the stadium roof to Nova Scotia Power under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement. It is estimated the project will result in a net profit to the town of $118,143 over the life of the contract.

Staff, in recommending the approval, noted the project helps fulfil one of the town’s strategic priorities – becoming better stewards of the environment.

The installation of the solar panels on the stadium roof is expected to take place next March and the system should be fully functional by October.

Flag flying protocol

The committee recommended sending amendments to the Town’s flag flying policy to the Nov. 25, 2019, for approval.

When three flags are flown together, the current policy states the Canadian flag will be in the middle and the other flags will be placed in alphabetical order. The amendment, which will bring the town in line with the Canadian government’s flag-flying policy, will see the Canadian flag in the middle, the next highest level of government on its left and any subsequent flag on its right.

As an example, if the Canadian, Nova Scotian and Town of Amherst flags were flying, the Canadian flag would be in the middle, the Nova Scotian flag would fly on the left and the Town of Amherst flag would fly on the right.

Community Support Grant

The committee approved a staff recommendation that a $1,485 community support grant for the Amherst Heritage Trust be sent to council’s Nov. 25, 2019, meeting for approval.

The grant will fund a community event and book launch that will spotlight and promote Amherst’s role in history and our unique homes and buildings.

Cenotaph repairs

The committee directed staff to investigate repairs needed to correct the deterioration to the Cumberland Soldiers Memorial Monument – the cenotaph’s formal name – that has taken place in the 98 years since it was erected in Victoria Square on July 21, 1921, in memory of fallen Cumberland County soldiers who died in the First World War.

Staff was also asked to determine the cost to repair the monument and funding sources from other partners, such as the federal and provincial governments and other municipalities in the Cumberland region.

Taxi Bylaw

The committee was presented with a draft of a revised taxi bylaw by staff. They were asked to provide feedback on the draft to staff by Dec. 20.

Sidewalk Ice Crusher

The committee was informed that staff are investigating the purchase of a sidewalk ice-crushing machine.

News reports of other municipalities purchasing the machines prompted the town’s investigation, staff said.

The machine crushes the ice and adds salt in one pass. A subsequent pass by a sidewalk plow removes the crushed ice.

Staff indicated the process we would an improvement to the town’s current standard, which sees grit placed on the ice, but doesn’t remove it.

No action was taken at this time as the investigation by staff into the purchase of such a machine is ongoing. Staff expect to bring report with more details to council in the near future.

Corporate Services

The committee received a report from Corporate Services. It notes work on the 2020-21 capital budget is underway and that a tax sale will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019. It also contained a reminder that the Water and Sewer bills are due by Nov. 29, 2019.