Current Media Releases
Municipalities of Cumberland and Colchester Getting Major Rural Broadband Network
February 7, 2020
The Municipalities of Cumberland and Colchester have taken a huge step toward their goal of being one of Canada’s most digitally connected rural places. They are teaming up with Xplornet Communications and Develop Nova Scotia on a high-speed internet project that will see $60 million invested in the region.
Xplornet will deploy nearly 700 kilometres of optic fibre to offer up to 100 Mbps fibre-to-home and fixed wireless services on their network, which will reach more than 21 700 currently underserved households and businesses. A further 2300 addresses will have access to improved satellite service that will reach up to 50 Mbps by the completion of the full network. The three-year project is aiming for 100% high-speed availability in Cumberland and Colchester.
“Our Councils and staff have worked very hard to get us to this point,” said Cumberland Warden Al Gillis. “It’s vital for our future.” Gillis serves on the Joint Internet Committee of Cumberland and Colchester along with Councillor Joe vanVulpen and Colchester Councillors Mike Gregory and Tom Taggart.
Cumberland and Colchester will invest a combined $6 million dollars over the next four years in exchange for twenty-years of dedicated fibre (‘dark fibre’) which will be used for innovative community services and economic development. The Municipalities will not have an ownership stake in the new network or be responsible for its operation or upkeep.
“We strive for excellent quality of life in our communities. High speed internet will make every part of Colchester and Cumberland a better place to live and do business.” said Colchester’s Mayor, Christine Blair.
The Nova Scotia Internet Funding Trust has approved an investment of $19.9 million based on eligible project costs that total $48.5 million. As part of their Internet to Nova Scotia Initiative, Develop Nova Scotia will monitor construction and system performance for compliance with service levels promised by Xplornet.
Deputy Premier Karen Casey, who is also MLA for Colchester North, congratulated the two Municipalities. “I am excited that our Government will provide the support needed to improve access to highspeed internet in our rural communities,” said Minister Casey.
Xplornet’s $34.3 million expenditure in Cumberland-Colchester is their latest in a series of fibre network investments across rural Canada that will reach $500 million. The Municipalities selected Xplornet in a competitive procurement process.
Xplornet’s Executive Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Jeff Burlock, describes the municipal collaboration as very positive. “They have a vision for rural community that fits with ours and together we’re going to make it happen.” said Burlock.
Details of the Cumberland-Colchester Internet Project can be found on the Municipal websites at www.cumberlandcounty.ns.ca and www.colchester.ca.
pdf Cumberland Colchester Connected Communities Initiative (223 KB)
Province Funds Colchester Projects to Reduce Emissions
February 5, 2020
Finance and Treasury Board Minister Karen Casey, on behalf of Energy and Mines Minister Derek Mombourquette, recently announced a total of $170,000 for two projects under the Low Carbon Communities Program.
“Nova Scotia continues to be a national leader in reducing emissions to fight climate change,” said Ms. Casey. “Communities across the province understand the urgency and importance of reducing emissions, and they want to do their part to benefit from Nova Scotia’s cleaner energy future. These investments support innovative local ideas that will help grow the green economy and create jobs in every part of our province.”
The Municipality of Colchester will receive $100,000 to design a pedestrian and active transportation bridge at the Fundy Discovery Site in Lower Truro to link a network of trails north and south of the Salmon River.
The Municipality will also receive $70,000 to develop a community energy emissions plan to help guide Colchester to a low-carbon future.
“These projects are wonderful examples of Colchester County’s commitment to active transportation, sustainability, and carbon reduction. We’re happy to be doing our part to address climate change while promoting healthy living and an enhanced visitor experience at the Fundy Discovery Site,” said Christine Blair, Mayor of the Municipality of Colchester.
Council’s Ruling Regarding Personnel Matter
January 31, 2020
At its meeting on January 30, 2020, Council for the Municipality of the County of Colchester received the findings of an investigation carried out by Rebekah Powell, an independent investigator, into a complaint by an employee of the Municipality of the County of Colchester as a result of a comment made by Councillor Robert “Bob” Pash, District 9.
The Municipality took the complaint seriously, moving immediately to retain the investigator and ensuring the matter was addressed in a timely way. In the course of the investigation, and in the absence of a Code of Conduct, reference was made to the Municipality’s Respectful Workplace Policy, the law on harassment and sexual harassment as well as provisions of the Human Rights Act.
The following are key findings presented by the investigator:
- Councillor Pash did make an inappropriate comment of a sexualized nature to the employee during a Municipality organized social event.
- As an isolated comment, the statement did not constitute harassment or sexual harassment but a repeated course of conduct of similar statements could be considered harassment or sexual harassment; and,
- The breach of confidentiality of the complaint and the Councillor’s public comments during the investigation is a significant concern as it serves a possible deterrent to legitimate complaints being made in the future.
In addition, Council was made aware that Councillor Pash indicated that he may commence legal proceedings against the complainant and the Chief Administrative Officer.
Council accepts the findings of the investigator. It endorses the decision by the employee to bring the complaint forward and expresses its strong disapproval of the breach of confidentiality during the investigation, Councillor Pash’s decision to speak of this matter publicly during the investigation and the threat to commence legal action.
Council also adopted a Code of Conduct at its January 30, 2020 meeting but will be working to improve on the document. It will also be undertaking a training and awareness strategy to ensure that Council and all municipal employees are aware of the basic tenets of a respectful work environment.
In addition, Council determined that the following recommended measures:
- The CAO is to provide a letter to the complainant confirming that the complaint was found to be valid and that Council affirms the employee’s right to advance such a complaint. Further, the letter shall communicate that the breach of confidentiality and the threat of litigation are unacceptable and such conduct is rejected entirely by Council. Finally, the letter will confirm that Council will indemnify the complainant from any litigation that may be commenced as a result of the complaint.
- The Mayor is to provide a letter to the CAO communicating that the threat of litigation against him is unacceptable and such conduct is rejected entirely by Council. Further, the letter will confirm that Council will indemnify the CAO from any litigation that may be commenced as a result of the investigation into the complaint.
- The Mayor is to provide a letter to Councillor Pash confirming that the complaint was found to be valid and that the conduct as described herein is not acceptable and is inconsistent with a respectful workplace. Council directs that Councillor Pash undergo respectful workplace training, including the importance of confidentiality in the course of an investigation, no later than March 31, 2020, said training to be arranged by the CAO.
The goal of any investigation is to ensure there is a respectful work environment where employees feel comfortable in raising concerns. The purpose of any response is to not punish but to remediate and strengthen the working relationship to avoid any future occurrences.
The Municipality will have no further comment on this matter.
Colchester Leads Waste Management Change Abroad
January 29, 2020
Darlyne Proctor, Waste Reduction Manager with the Municipality of Colchester is one of two Canadian solid waste management technical advisors assisting a foreign-aid initiative in the Middle East called the Jordan Municipal Support Project. She recently returned from her third visit to Jordan since 2018 as one of several Colchester County representatives that have provided peer support to rural municipalities facing capacity challenges from the influx of refugees welcomed into the country. Proctor reflects on her experiences and how the project has assisted Jordan’s waste management practices in an article released by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM): No Time to Waste.
The Municipality of Colchester is one of three municipalities representing Canada in this multi-year project and was selected for its achievement in solid waste management, including diversion, recycling, and public education initiatives.
Other delegation members who have travelled to Jordan since the project’s inception include Colchester County Mayor Christine Blair, Councillor Tom Taggart, Councillor Eric Boutilier, Economic Development Officer, Mark Austin, and Chief Administrative Officer, Rob Simonds.
The Jordan Municipal Support Project is implemented by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and funded by Global Affairs Canada.