Colchester unites with municipalities from across Canada to drive recovery
- Published: Monday, 13 June 2022 15:53
Several Council members from the Municipality of Colchester recently attended the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference in Regina, Saskatchewan. Themed Together for Recovery, the conference allowed thousands of municipal leaders from across the country to gear up for recovery and focus on building stronger, more inclusive, and resilient communities—together. During the conference Colchester’s Deputy Mayor, Geoff Stewart was elected as 2nd Vice President on FCM’s Board of Directors and Mayor, Christine Blair was re-elected as one of four Nova Scotia representatives on the Board and will become the new Atlantic Caucus Chair.
“After two years of working tirelessly on the frontlines to support Canadians during the pandemic, there’s still much work to do to tackle our country’s greatest challenges, like the housing crisis and protecting our communities from climate extremes. We must also resolve the RCMP retroactive pay municipalities are now faced with,” said Stewart. “Municipal leaders were loud and clear in Regina: we’re eager to continue working with our federal partners to take these issues head on, because when our orders of government work together, we move this country forward.”
In his role as 2nd Vice President and FCM Board member, Stewart will help set policy priorities that reflect the concerns of municipal governments and affiliate members from coast to coast to coast.
“If we want to get this recovery moving, we need to be in touch with what is happening every day in our communities and make sure that local issues are brought to Ottawa,” said Stewart. “We know that our country’s recovery starts in our communities—where people live, work, and raise families—and as frontline governments, we understand the challenges people face in their daily lives. That makes us key to Canada’s recovery and we’re coming back home from this conference energized and eager to work with our federal and provincial partners to get the job done.”
“Our Council values being involved in the conversation at the national level, and we benefit greatly learning from and networking with our fellow Canadian municipal leaders,” said Blair. “We look forward to contributing to work that we know will not only benefit Colchester County, Nova Scotia, but municipalities all over the Country.”
Over four days, more than 2,200 participants took part in Canada’s fullest gathering of municipal leaders since 2019, where they had the opportunity to connect with their federal counterparts through a series of keynote addresses and meetings featuring Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Dominic LeBlanc, Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Communities Andrew Scheer, and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Attendees also prepared for the coming recovery through a trade show and numerous workshops focused on crucial municipal issues like housing affordability and rural growth—among others.
Delegates also passed resolutions calling for national action on four issues reflecting their local community needs: modernizing the Canada Community Building Fund; addressing period poverty in Canada; implementing the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee relating to missing children and unmarked graves; and streamlining support for those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
Former Salmon River School Property - Public Meeting
- Published: Tuesday, 03 May 2022 08:37
The Municipality of Colchester will be holding public meetings to discuss community survey results and potential development concepts relating to the former Salmon River School property.
Please join us online on Tuesday, May 10, 6:30pm-8pm, or in-person on Wednesday, May 18, 6:30pm-8pm at the Harmony Heights Elementary School (masks required within school).
Virtual/Online: Tuesday, May 10, 6:30pm-8pm
In-Person: Wednesday, May 18, 6:30pm-8pm
Harmony Heights Elementary School, 25 Cedar Drive, Salmon River (masks required within school)
Unable to attend but would like to know more?
Salmon River Elementary School Property Survey Results (edited January 4, 2022)
Salmon River Elementary School Property Survey Summary (edited January 4, 2022)
Colchester holds the line on tax rates yet again
- Published: Friday, 29 April 2022 16:04
Colchester County Council successfully approved its 2022/23 operating budget last evening with no increases to the residential or commercial tax rates. This is the fourth year of the last five that the Municipality has been able to hold the line on its rates, with just a half cent increase in 2019.
“The cost of living has been rising at an alarming rate. Council is aware of the financial pressure this has been putting on our residents. Although our Municipality is facing similar rising costs, we were determined to do our best to avoid an increase in our tax rates. I am pleased to announce that we achieved just that,” said Christine Blair, Mayor of the Municipality of Colchester.
The Municipality prides itself on delivering a high level of service to residents while maintaining one of the lowest municipal tax rates in the province. Calculated spending, investment in contingency reserve funds, and long-term forecasting have all contributed to the Municipality’s stable financial position.
In addition to careful spending, this year’s $35 Million budget continues to invest in critical infrastructure and economic development initiatives in the County including rural broadband internet, Debert Business Park and Airport, Fundy Discovery Site, the Cliffs of Fundy UNESCO Global Geopark and other partnerships such as the Truro Colchester Partnership for Economic Prosperity (TCPEP) and the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
Funding to support the repaving of deteriorating, Provincially-owned J-class roads (subdivision roads built prior to 1995) in the county was not included in this year’s budget. Despite generating significant debate, most of Council were opposed to paying to help fix roads not owned by the Municipality, holding firm to the point that roads owned by the Province should be the sole responsibility of the Province.
With an emissions target of net zero by 2050, the Municipality will continue to lead environmental change by investing in its recently adopted Carbon-Free Colchester Plan including initiatives such as Cozy Colchester and Solar Colchester that offer residents interest-free loan programs to increase home energy efficiency.
Numerous community organizations will also receive support through the County’s extensive not-for-profit grant programs. “It is rewarding to support the many community groups providing such important services and facilities across our Municipality. This support is especially needed as organizations aim to bounce back from the challenges of the past two years,” remarked Mayor Blair.
Each year the County’s operating budget is set within a context of competing needs, requests, opportunities, and anticipated revenues. Some costs and revenue streams are not within the Municipality’s control. Over 44% of taxes collected by the Municipality are transferred to the Provincial Government for services such as schools, housing, libraries, assessment services, corrections, and policing.
Policing costs to the Municipality alone went up 11.04% contributing to the total 5.4% increase in required mandatory payments to the Province, which totaled $15.68 Million. Such rising costs made the budgeting process even more demanding this year.
Colchester County Council remains optimistic about the municipality’s future with much to look forward to in the year ahead.
Community space to open during Mass Casualty Commission Hearings
- Published: Friday, 25 March 2022 14:39
A community space is being opened in Debert during the Mass Casualty Commission Public Hearings. The Debert Fire Hall will open its doors to offer members of the community a place to go and connect with others in an informal and welcoming environment. Tea and coffee will be available. A community navigator will also be onsite to offer support and resources for those who need it.
Dates and Times:
Wednesday, March 30 (10 -4)
Thursday, March 31 (10 -4)
Friday, April 1 (10 – 12)
Debert Fire Hall
34 Carter Road,
Debert, NS, B0M 1G0
French River Watershed Designated as Protected Water Area
- Published: Thursday, 27 January 2022 09:03
Provincial Environment Minister Tim Halman has designated the French River Watershed as a Protected Water Area. As a result, the watershed that gives people of Tatamagouche their drinking water is now protected provincially, further safeguarding access to quality water for area residents.
The application process for the Protected Water Area designation was initiated by the Municipality of Colchester in 2018. Extensive public consultation, including a public survey and community meetings, supported the application and informed the regulations implemented to protect the watershed area.
“It was clear from the public consultation process that most area residents were in favour of advancing the application for the Protected Water Area designation,” said Christine Blair, Mayor of the Municipality of Colchester. “Clean water is one of the most fundamental needs of a community. It is essential to human health, a healthy environment, and a sustainable economy. We are pleased to be able to protect this valuable resource for generations both now and into the future.”
The Protected Water Area regulations protect drinking water supplies by giving municipalities the authority to manage watersheds, including restricting or prohibiting activities that may impact water quality or quantity. Now that the watershed is designated as a Protected Water Area the Tatamagouche Water Utility, owned and operated by the Municipality, is responsible for protecting the area and enforcing the regulations.
“The watershed provides water for the village of Tatamagouche. It’s important that we maintain the pristine water that the village is fortunate enough to have. I am pleased the government has taken into consideration the work that was done to protect the watershed and has designated it as a Protected Water Area. Kudos need to go to the staff of the Municipality for the work that went into getting here and to the community for standing up to be heard. I am over the moon,” said Michael Gregory, Councillor, Municipality of Colchester and Chair of the Tatamagouche Source Water Protection Committee.
Colchester Holds the Line on Tax Rates
- Published: Friday, 30 April 2021 08:08
After weathering the financial challenges of 2020, Colchester County Council successfully approved its 2021/22 budget last evening with no increases to the residential or commercial tax rates. This was the third year of the last four that the Municipality was able to hold the line on its rates, with just a half cent increase in 2019.
“We know this past year has been challenging financially for many of our residents and businesses. Although our Municipality continues to face rising costs that are beyond our control, such as education, policing, libraries, and corrections, Council was determined to do its best to avoid an increase in our tax rates. We are pleased to say that we were successful in achieving that,” said Christine Blair, Mayor of the Municipality of Colchester.
The Municipality prides itself on delivering a high level of service to residents while continuing to maintain one of the lowest municipal tax rates in the province. Long-term forecasting, investment in contingency reserve funds, and calculated spending have all contributed to the Municipality’s stable financial position.
In addition to careful spending, this year’s $32.9 Million budget continues to invest in critical infrastructure and economic development initiatives that will aid in post-pandemic recovery in the County including rural broadband internet, Debert Business Park and Airport, Fundy Discovery Site, and the Cliffs of Fundy UNESCO Global Geopark.
The Municipality is leading environmental change by investing in Carbon-Free Colchester initiatives, and numerous community organizations also will receive support through the County’s extensive not-for-profit grant programs.
“We have a variety of hardworking community groups that provide important services across our Municipality. Many have struggled this past year with an inability to fundraise due to public health restrictions. Council is pleased to be able to support these organizations, especially during such challenging times,” remarked Mayor Blair.
Each year the County’s operating budget is set within a context of competing needs, requests, opportunities, and anticipated revenues. Some costs and revenue streams are not within the Municipality’s control. Nearly 46% of taxes collected by the Municipality are transferred to the Provincial Government for services such as schools, housing, libraries, assessment services, corrections, and policing. This year the County had to accommodate another 3% increase totalling $438,539 in its required mandatory payments to the Province, bringing the total transfer to $14.9 Million. Such rising costs have made the budgeting process more and more demanding with each given year.
Recognizing the uncertainty of the pandemic and what each day may bring, Colchester County Council remains committed to fiscal stewardship and is optimistic that in partnership with its residents and businesses they will see brighter days ahead.