Colchester Celebrates Completion of Post-Fiona Tree & Yard Debris Collection
- Published: Thursday, 08 December 2022 08:53
The Municipality of Colchester is celebrating the completion of its extensive post-Fiona Tree and Yard Debris Collection program eight weeks after it began. The program successfully served all residents throughout the Municipality whose material was curbside at their regular collection location by the October 11, 2022, start date.
“Following the overwhelming devastation left by Hurricane Fiona, Council recognized the need to respond quickly to help residents. Tipping fees for Fiona-related tree and yard debris were first waived at our Colchester Solid Waste Facilities in Kemptown. Then planning for a special collection program quickly got underway,” recalls Colchester County Mayor, Christine Blair. “Although an unexpected and unbudgeted expense, Council was fortunate to be able to support the program.”
“The first challenge was identifying a collection approach that could accommodate the sheer size and volume of debris that residents were dealing with,” explains Colchester’s Director of Solid Waste, Phillip Redden. “Then the task of sourcing adequate equipment, operators, and in some cases traffic control services, amidst labour shortages and circumstances where other public and private entities were competing for the same resources, was the next hurtle to overcome.”
Employing as many local assets as were available, the collection team used the same “turn by turn” route-mapping technology as is used for regular garbage, recycling, and compost collection to ensure no one would be missed. In all, 1400 truckloads totalling over 1850 tonnes of material was collected, adding to the 933 tonnes of material that had been brought to the Kemptown facility by residents themselves.
The Municipality’s contribution to Fiona clean-up efforts is anticipated to reach approximately $500,000. However, staff are hopeful that a portion of these funds may be recovered through Federal emergency assistance programs.
“In addition to our special collection program, we were also very fortunate in Colchester to have had neighbours helping one another, and teams from Christian Aid Ministries Rapid Response Services and the Department of Natural Resources assisting homeowners with their individual clean-ups. We have come a very long way since Fiona arrived on September 24,” says Mayor Blair. “I also want to acknowledge the volunteer services of our fire brigades, first responders, Colchester Ground Search and Rescue, our regional Emergency Management team, and all Colchester staff involved for the tremendous amount of work they did in the aftermath of Fiona.”
Residents who continue to require support may call 211 or visit the following website to determine what Provincial program options remain available: https://novascotia.ca/hurricane-fiona-support.
Colchester Courage Awards Accepting Nominations Until Oct 31
- Published: Wednesday, 19 October 2022 14:43
The Municipality of Colchester is accepting nominations for its inaugural Colchester Courage Awards. The new annual award program is intended to recognize those within the Municipality who have performed acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril or bravery in hazardous situations. Due to Hurricane Fiona the deadline for nominations has been extended until 4:30pm on Monday, October 31, 2022.
“This will be a great opportunity to acknowledge those within our communities who demonstrate extraordinary courage in the face of danger or in challenging circumstances,” said Mayor Christine Blair. “Often these acts go largely unrecognized. The Colchester Courage Award is a way that we can show our appreciation and celebrate those who, in many cases, have put others before self.”
The award was first proposed by Colchester’s District 8 Councillor, Lisa Patton. Council unanimously supported the concept and on May 26, 2022, approved the Colchester Courage Award Policy. The Policy details criteria for nominations, the granting process, and how awards will be presented.
County Council to Finalize Post Fiona Yard Debris Collection Plan
- Published: Wednesday, 28 September 2022 09:39
Colchester County Council will meet Thursday evening, September 29, 2022, to finalize plans for yard debris collection throughout the municipality. This has been a topic of concern for many residents since post Fiona recovery efforts began.
Given the large geographic nature of the municipality; the need to ensure plenty of notice is given; and to allow time for residents to gather materials - a multi-day plan designed to cover all quadrants of the municipality will be proposed. Additionally, it is recognized that residents may benefit from having time to leverage recently announced Provincial funding contributions of $250 for residents to clean up their properties.
Options for spoiled food compost drop-off are also being explored in areas where regular compost collection is not scheduled to take place in the immediate future. Further updates on potential drop off locations and special collection details will be shared as soon as available on the Municipality’s website (www.colchester.ca), social media channels, to those subscribed to the Colchester Solid Waste App, and will be available by calling the Solid Waste Helpline at 902-895-4777.
Also, reminder that tipping fees for yard debris delivered to the Colchester Waste Management facilities in Kemptown will be waived until Monday October 3, 2022. For all other waste drop-off, only cash will be accepted until power is restored to the site.
The Municipality would like to thank residents for their patience during this challenging time.
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.