DIGBY, N.S. – Lots of ground covered during Jan. 22 Digby Municipal Council meeting.
Waiting in line to expand rural online capacity
The Municipality of Digby’s priority on improving rural internet is still in a holding pattern while they wait for a funding response from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
And that wait, according to Coun. Matthew Ross, is getting tedious. Coun. David Tudor also said that 50 per cent of the funds directed towards rural internet projects across the country have already been allocated.
Evan Nemeth, economic development officer with the Western Regional Enterprise Network, who was in attendance at council’s Jan. 22 meeting, was asked to speak to the issue.
“In all fairness, I believe they received double the number of applications that they expected,” Nemeth said.
Ross proposed and council approved a motion to send a letter to MP Colin Fraser, MLA Gordon Wilson and the local WREN, asking for an update on their rural internet funding request.
Haines Lake property grant application
After five months of discussions that included a public meeting in September, the county’s Open Space Committee asked council to approve a proposal to apply for $75,000 through a provincial recreation facility development grant by Feb. 5.
The committee also asked that the municipality kick in an additional $25,000 in initial funding to renovate the existing office building to create a small community room, add accessible washrooms and change rooms, address air-quality concerns, add a metal roof to the large barn, develop the dock, landing and waterfront access, remove a hose drying rack and install signage at the site.
Council approved the grant proposal request and, if approved, the subsequent funding of $25,000 towards the project.
Hold onto that highway project
A letter received by council from Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Lloyd Hines said that although planning work continues, the further construction of the controlled access Highway 101 beyond Marshalltown is not currently on the province’s five-year highway improvement plan.
The letter effectively puts Phase 2 of the Highway 101 Digby-to-Weymouth project on hold for several years, although construction work will continue on the initial phase extending the controlled access highway to Marshalltown.
Comfort station study for Bear River
Council received a request for participation in the cost-sharing for a study to further examine the idea of a Bear River comfort station and necessary water delivery from the Hillsborough Water Society system to the Annapolis County side of the village. The letter from Annapolis County Warden Timothy Habinski said that providing public washrooms and information kiosks has been deemed essential for Bear River to be considered for bus tours, and Digby municipality approved the request for $5,500, half of the study’s costs.
New assistant fire inspector, new disability policies and new awards
Council approved the purchase of 50 Canadian Volunteer Fire Service Association municipal long-service awards at the cost of $2,925 plus $100 for an annual corporate Mmembership. Council also approved the appointment of Amanda Marshall as assistant fire inspector after Marshall passed her Level 1 fire inspector certificate in October, 2017.
Digby municipal council also reviewed the proposed disability insurance quotes for volunteer firefighters in the region’s fire services. Deputy Warden Linda Gregory said she thought that was a “wonderful idea” and hoped the measure would attract new recruits.
CAO given power to approve some demolitions
Council approved an amendment to their Dangerous and Unsightly Premises policy, in order to smooth possible delays in having a building demolished and to make processes more efficient.
As of Jan. 22, council approved a motion to allow the county’s CAO to make decisions on projects with proposed costs between $2,000 and $10,000, with those over 10 grand required to go before the committee of the whole for approvals.
Support for the Sissiboo summer concert series
Council agreed to a motion to send a letter of support to the Weymouth Waterfront Development Committee, which is in the process of applying for funding from the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for funding of the eighth annual Music on the Sissiboo Summer Concert Series.
The series offers free concerts on Friday nights during the summer months, encouraging local and visiting musicians to perform at the bandstand in the village of Weymouth.
According to Rodrigue Lefort, chair of the development committee, the event continues to grow in attendance each year.