Warden Linda Gregory says it has been a green year for the Municipality of the District of Digby.
She is pleased to see a community-owned renewable energy project approved for Digby Gut, to see Packard Bell investigating a biomass plant here, to see the municipal offices saving real money on energy after switching to geothermal heating and natural lighting.
“That’s all a benefit to the taxpayer and to the environment,” says Gregory. “We need to make things more sustainable here or we won’t be here. Green is the future.”
As far as the wind turbines in Gulliver’s Cove go, she says she wishes they had been built farther from existing residences but believes the municipality has a good by-law now moving forward.
To investigate further programs to make the area greener, the municipality hired Terry Thibodeau as a coordinator for renewable energy and climate change.
“Now we have someone working here full time to make this community more sustainable and to make sure we have role to play in our future.”
Another big success this year was finishing third out of 55 in the Nova Scotia municipal performance report.
“That shows that staff are working with council and working diligently to serve the residents here. I couldn’t be more pleased.”
She says council is doing a great job of working together as well.
“We don’t always agree but we always remain on good terms. I wouldn’t want to see us always agree—there would be something wrong with council. I like hearing the pros and cons and all the different opinions.”
She says the town and municipality are doing a great job working together as evidenced by their work together on the Digby Area Recreation Commission, on the Industrial Commission, and most recently the joint wastewater treatment facility in Smith’s Cove.
“I think we are the envy of the province,” says Gregory. “I respect all the councilors of the town and I feel its mutual coming from them.
“Okay, sometimes Ben and I torment each other. But both councils I think realize the importance of doing what’s best for the people and that means working together. Personally I find the relationship just keeps getting better over time.”
In the future she foresees more joint ventures but says it will be a while before anyone seriously considers amalgamation.
“Everything is functioning really well right now,” she says. “It’s working, it’s effective. There’s no need to change this. I’m not saying it won’t happen in 20 years but not in my time. I don’t see any need for it.”
She is proud that council has managed to hold the tax rate steady and maintain quality services. She has worked to improve communication with constituents—she points to The Coastline newsletter and says council is always available to hear from constituents.
She has in fact accomplished all her goals as warden but one: jobs. The area needs more steady well-paying job s to keep the youth here she says.
That’s why se believes in supporting the regional development agency, the Annapolis Digby Economic Development Agency. She believes in the new CEO there, Liz Morine and her approach of looking for ways for local municipalities to work together to find solutions to common challenges.
Coming up early in 2012 the warden is looking forward to public policing meetings.
“It’s not there is a problem necessarily with our policing, but people sometimes have a problem communicating with the police and this gives them an opportunity to tell the police what’s on their mind, ask any questions they may have.”
She says these meetings will make sure the RCMP are aware what the community sees as priorities.
Gregory says, yes, council knows the municipal elections are coming in October.
“Does it change what we do for the year? No. What we plan to do is what we do. Some councilors are talking about running again, others I don’t know. Me, I plan on running.”