Current press releases are shown below when issued.
2018/2019 Draft Municipal Budget Documents Released
Following Region of Queens Municipality's public budget deliberation sessions on March 27, 2018 and April 10, 2018, the following draft documents have been released. The 2018/2019 Operating, Capital and Water Utility budgets will come to the April 24, 2018 Regular Council meeting of the Region of Queens Municipal Council for approval. The Council meeting begins at 9 a.m. in Council Chamber at the Region of Queens Administration Offices, 249 White Point Rd., Liverpool, NS; all are welcome to attend.
Draft Budget Documents:
Flags at Half Mast in Respect for the Humboldt Tragedy
Please note: Flags will remain at half mast until the final funeral has been held for those who lost their lives in the tragic accident involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. There is a book of condolences available for the public to sig at Queens Place Emera Centre, 50 Queens Place Drive, Liverpool, NS. The book will be available until the end of the day on Friday, April 13, 2018.
Region of Queens Municipality to Withdraw from South Shore REN
March 27, 2018; Liverpool, NS: In a unanimous vote, Council of Region of Queens Municipality approved a motion to give notice to South Shore Regional Enterprise Network (REN) of its intention to withdraw from the South Shore REN effective March 31, 2019. Region of Queens Municipality, along with five municipal units in Lunenburg County and three municipal units in Shelburne County, entered into a Regional Enterprise Intermunicipal Agreement on August 20, 2014.
The REN was, a proposed model developed resulting from a recommendation of the One Nova Scotia Report, cost shared at a 50% Level by the Province of Nova Scotia with a goal to strengthen regional economic development objectives, following the dissolution in 2014 of Regional Development Agencies and similar entities, which had a similar objective as the REN model. Following two and a half years of involvement, there have been limited achievements.
Upon consultation with all the municipal partners in the South Shore REN Intermunicipal agreement, there are some who would like to withdraw from the REN to explore other opportunities for economic development partnerships. The Intermunicipal Agreement outlines that those interested in withdrawing from the agreement must give 12 months notice, or, as an option, the agreement may be dissolved by the unanimous agreement of all nine municipalities. A number of other municipalities are expected to vote to withdraw from the South Shore REN this week. Discussions with interested parties and Region of Queens Municipality will be pursued regarding a more suitable economic development model, which will further economic development investments in the future.
Without unanimous approval to dissolve the South Shore REN, the financial obligation for Region of Queens Municipality would be its portion of the REN agreement through to fiscal year end 2019, the sum of $31,193. In the event that all municipalities agree to dissolve the REN, it would take place immediately, and the balance of funds remaining after obligations are paid, ie; staff severances, lease costs, and other South Shore REN expenses outstanding, would be returned to each municipality. The amount is unknown at this time.
Water Restored to Users of the Region of Queens Water Utility
March 27, 2018; Liverpool, NS: Over 1,100 homes and businesses in Liverpool and Brooklyn were without running water on Monday, March 26, 2018, due to a mechanical issue at the Region of Queens Municipality’s water treatment facility in Liverpool. An unexpected break in a pipe at the water treatment facility flooded the pumps that convey the treated water to users. The mechanical issue caused a shutdown of the facility, turning off the water for all customers on the municipal water system.
“We appreciate the public’s patience and understanding while our staff worked diligently to make the required repairs as quickly as possible, ensuring that the provision of water was restored as soon as possible,” said David Dagley, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “While a breakage in a pipe and plant shutdown is not something we can predict, staff were prepared, and were able to restore water within 7 hours. We are grateful to have skilled staff who can manage urgent situations quickly and professionally.”
The pipe failure that occurred on site at the Municipal water treatment facility was in a location that was challenging to isolate. The break was repaired, pumps assessed from flooding damage, the plant brought back online pumps started, and water sent for treatment at approximately 3:30 p.m., with most users in Liverpool and Brooklyn having water in their taps within an hour of the system starting up.
As of the morning of March 27, water clarity had returned to most customers, following the Region of Queens flushing through the night to improve water clarity.
2018/2019 Budget meeting Schedule
We're nearing the end of the fiscal year, and beginning the planning of the budget for the 2018/2019 fiscal year. Region of Queens Municipality's budget meetings are open to the public - come to a meeting, and learn about the projects, priorities and where Council will focus this year.
Region of Queens Municipality Preparing to Continue Water and Sewer infrastructure Project
March 13, 2018; Liverpool, NS: Region of Queens Municipality’s existing water and sewer project in Brooklyn, Queens County is expected to continue this year, potentially with assistance through the Provincial Capital Assistance Program (PCAP) from Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA). At the March 13, 2018 Regular Council meeting, a motion was approved authorizing staff to submit an application for PCAP funding in the amount of $200,000 toward the planned $800,000 expansion of the Brooklyn water and sewer system.
“The extension of the Brooklyn water and sewer project is part of the Region of Queens’ five year capital plan, and will carry the services and connections from where it currently ends at Markland Avenue, along Brooklyn Shore Road, to the end of Brooklyn Waterfront Park, and will add a sewer pumping station,” said David Dagley, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “Connecting this area to water and sewer will provide many with a reliable source of potable drinking water, and reduce pollution from outfall into the Brooklyn bay.”
PCAP funding from DMA has an objective of financially supporting high priority municipal infrastructure projects, reducing the cost burden to municipalities. Funding is targeted to support projects that eliminate serious environmental and health problems, with priority given to pollution abatement. A component of the PCAP application is a motion of Council support. The application will be submitted by the April 26, 2018 deadline. The balance of the $800,000 project not funded by PCAP is expected to be supported by Federal gas tax funding.
The 2018 expansion of the system in Brooklyn is a continuation of the current project which began approximately 15 years ago, and served to expand municipal water and sewer infrastructure to residents living outside of Liverpool. Over this time, many homes have been connected to the infrastructure, in a community that previously had on-site systems.
Region of Queens Municipality to Explore Flood Mitigation Options
March 13, 2018; Liverpool, NS: Region of Queens Municipal Council is seeking solutions to the localized flooding in downtown Liverpool. At the March 13, 2018 Regular Council meeting, a motion was passed authorizing Municipal staff to submit an application to the Flood Risk Infrastructure Investment Program (FRIIP) offered through Nova Scotia Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA). This program provides funding support of up to 50% for a required study which will include recommendations to mitigate flood risk along the Liverpool waterfront. Council also requested staff to seek funding sources for the remaining portion of study costs which are not funded through FRIIP.
“Global increases in water levels related to climate change have directly impacted the waterfront area in Liverpool, causing local flooding problems,” said David Dagley, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “Flooding in Liverpool is now occurring with increasing frequency at higher elevations, adversely affecting several local businesses and the parking lot.”
Flooding along the Liverpool waterfront causes temporary closure of roadways in the affected areas of Henry Hensey Drive, Water Street and, on occasion, parts of Legion Street, restricts access to and from area businesses, and usage of the park and waterfront area.
There are several steps to be undertaken before preventative actions can be taken to directly address the issue of flooding along Liverpool’s waterfront. A predesign study on migrating measures to reduce flooding is the first step, and will be required by the funding partners before these partners could be involved to share the heavy cost of a construction. Following the Predesign phase, next steps to be undertaken are design and construction, each requiring funding partners.
A motion of Council requesting staff to apply is an application requirement under the funding program. The application will be submitted prior to the April 26, 2018 deadline. If the FRIIP application is successful, Council will then have the opportunity to review a staff recommendation on the best proposal to move forward with the independent review and potential options to mitigate future flooding.
Year in Review & Looking Forward: Mayor Dagley's speech at the SQCC AGM
South Queens Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting
Lane’s Privateer Inn,Liverpool, NS February 28, 2018, 8:15 a.m.
It is always a pleasure to have an opportunity to meet with business owners and operators in Queens. I thank the South Queens Chamber of Commerce for inviting me to attend today’s meeting and speak about the work of Council and our plans for the upcoming year. It is a great opportunity to touch on the many initiatives being progressed by the Region of Queens which appear before Council. A special thank you to members of the business community for such a great turn out today.
We are able to accomplish many things as a Council, but with the cooperation and community support from businesses and residents, Queens County can accomplish so much more!
During the past year, Council has focused on the following 3 priorities:
Growing our Population and Economy; Delivering Desirable Municipal Services; and Governing to Municipal Best Practices. Growth requires many initiatives.
Our new Chief Administrative Officer will be joining us next week. Once Chris McNeill has settled into this position, Council will reassess our strategic priorities and adjust them as appropriate, to continue with our forward momentum.
Local Christmas and holiday activities were a great example of working together to grow our reputation as an active community. For more than a month in 2017, there were holiday celebrations taking place in Queens. From the Christmas Parades in Liverpool and North Queens, Christmas on the Mersey, and the Dickens Village display at the Queens County Museum, many other events continued until New Year’s with the Royal Canadian Legion Levee. The holidays were extra merry and bright throughout Queens, enjoyed by residents and visitors from throughout the province who made a special trip to Queens, to be part of these exciting events.
On behalf of Council I would like to convey our appreciation to all who have chosen Queens as the location to open their business. I am very proud of the work of our local business community and volunteers who ensured Queens was a big part of the South Shore Lobster Crawl. It is appropriate to congratulate Lane’s Privateer Inn on a 2nd place win and the Quarter Deck Beachside Grill on a 3rd place win for best Lobster Roll. Special thanks to the Port Grocer, and White Point Beach Resort for their delicious creations. Canada’s first lobster beer was brewed right here in Liverpool, by the Hell Bay Brewing Company.
The South Shore Lobster Crawl caught the attention of National media and social media sources. Featured stories, videos and internet posts appeared on television and radio stations, as well as newspapers, magazines and most social media. The 3 week event was created to increase business along the South Shore during a traditionally slow time of year for those in the restaurant, retail and hospitality industry.
We are fortunate to have so many passionate volunteers, business owners, operators and staff who support events and activities that engage our residents, as well as draw visitors to support local activities. The holiday festivities and Lobster Crawl are just two recent examples of partnerships and cooperative ventures bringing Queens into the spotlight.
When speaking at your AGM last year, I had only been in office for 4 months, and Council had recently established our Strategic Priorities. Council has accomplished a number of objectives aligning with those priorities. Delivering Desirable Municipal Services and Governing to Best Municipal Practices are interconnected. Council has strived to place increasing information on our web site and social media to provide public access to policies and procedures. That effort will continue. I would invite residents to peruse our web site, especially the visit and relocate tabs. Photos have been added to our web site in addition to links to several local attraction web sites.
Growing the Economy and Population has been, and will continue to be, a top priority of Council. Queens will require an increasing population and a diverse business community to ensure that Queen`s property assessment grows and continues to allow us to maintain services at stable tax rates.
The Region has conducted a number of promotions to entice families to consider moving to Queens. This generated inquiries pertaining to relocating to Queens. Residents attend local events, spend money in our stores and become volunteers. Houses are selling in significant numbers, and it is our understanding that many families have moved to Queens since 2016. Reversing our previously declining population, which was reported in the 2016 Census as being 10,307, is a primary goal of our Council. Success in attracting new residents to Queens is a team effort and Council appreciates the contributions of local citizens in this regard. Attracting new employers and jobs is also critical to population growth. Queens is a great location to work, raise a family and retire.
We value the services of our volunteer community, and recognize the contribution they provide. Support for our fire departments and emergency services providers, including Ground Search & Rescue, in partnership with the RCMP, ensures that we have a safe and caring community. The Region provides funding annually to Fire Departments to support truck replacements, and to replace turn out gear, which must be kept up to date.
We are pleased to provide financial support to a wide variety of recreation and community organizations who contribute countless hours to provide programs and services in local communities.
A $2.1 million water and sewer infrastructure upgrade project was completed on Main Street and School Street in November, which connected Queens General Hospital, homes and businesses in that area to the Municipal sewage treatment facility. The Region of Queens received 75% funding from the Federal and Provincial governments under the Clean Water Waste Water Fund in the amount of $1.6 million. The Region upgraded the water and sewer systems as far as Waterloo Street, at a significant savings to Municipal tax payers. These important infrastructure upgrades were completed by Region staff at 40% below tender cost, and employed local residents. As expected, some inconvenience was unfortunately experienced by residents; however, the end result is pleasing to all.
One of Council’s early directives was to increase activity at Queens Place Emera Centre by targeting 2 major music events and to foster more events in the community. These actions impact the bottom line of businesses, increase the profile of Queens in other jurisdictions, and build a solid reputation as Queens Place being a desirable venue. Recent events included Provincial and Atlantic championships, the Tom Cochrane with Red Rider Concert, the Barenaked Ladies Concert, and many, many more activities. Over the past year, I have been pleased to welcome participants, spectators, and appreciative fans from Queens, the province and Atlantic Canada to many events at Queens Place and elsewhere in the community. The support that events in our community receive is impressive. I am proud to bring these greetings on behalf of our residents.
We are poised to welcome even more visitors this year. The Nova Scotia Major Bantam Hockey Provincial Championships are at Queens Place in March, the South Shore Expo Home, Sport and Travel show is returning in May, and The Washboard Union band in June when Queens County’s own Autumn Rae Carver will be an opening performer. We are happy to welcome the world next February with the 2019 World Junior Curling Championships. Queens is on the world map through the volunteer efforts of the World Junior Curling Host Committee, with support of the Region of Queens.
Another example of partnering in the community is the work of our Recreation and Healthy Communities Department. Our Physical Activity Coordinator position is 75% funded through the Provincial Municipal Physical Activity Leadership program. Norm Amirault has been working with community organizations throughout Queens to help implement physical activity opportunities into their communities.
The long anticipated Mersey Skatepark and bike trail opened on July 1st 2017. Skateboarders, scooter users, cyclists and rollerbladers keep the park in near constant use. Unless there is snow or ice on the park, it has also been used steadily this winter. The skatepark has been a draw for Liverpool and encourages families to linger longer in our area at what is currently billed as one of the best skateparks in Eastern Canada. We have the Queens Skatepark Association and the community to thank for this wonderful addition to our community’s recreational assets. Support was also received from Lloyoll Built who graciously provided the covered wooden viewing structure located at the skatepark site.
Over the past year, Council identified and advertised surplus Region of Queens properties. We worked with developers and community organizations resulting in the sale of several parcels for retail and housing, and some unique developments.
The DEVI International Boarding School has re-purposed the former Mill Village School. Students are attending from all over the world, are also learning about life in rural Nova Scotia. They have been embraced by residents and their positive experiences are expected to instill a warm spot in their hearts for Queens.
Ground will soon be broken at the Queens Crossing lands by Plaza Retail Reit. You have likely noticed the construction fence presently in place. We are pleased that this land is being used for its intended commercial purpose. Plaza Retail Reit leases to hundreds of retail store chains, and tenants announce themselves.
There has been much activity on the multi unit housing development being built by Kent Field Estates near Barss Street, Liverpool. They are planning to have 16 apartment units completed later this year.
Another housing development is expected on the site of the former Gorham School on Payzant Street, in Liverpool. Council has endorsed a purchase and sale agreement for the property, and the proponent has indicated that a multi unit housing development is the intention.
The Quarterdeck Beachside Villas & Grill has demolished the older cottage on the western end of their property in Summerville, and plans to construct additional units. White Point Beach Resort has also stated that upgrades and additional visitor capacity are being considered at their location.
Council is very aware that improvements to internet services in rural areas of Queens County are required, and we are working towards solutions with our Provincial and Federal Governments.
Eastlink is expected to begin construction of their telecommunications tower in Greenfield this month, and be operational by April. This tower will be constructed on the former building supply store site in Greenfield, with $75,000 of the project cost being funded through a Provincial grant obtained by the Region. Remaining costs will be funded by Eastlink.
The Region of Queens is currently involved with other projects that are still in the development stage. I would like to talk about the ground breaking TV Whitespace project that is being spearheaded by the North Queens Business Hub. Staff of the Region have been working with Hub board members to support this innovative pilot program. TV White Space service is minimally impacted by tree cover and has the potential to change rural internet service. A small tower in Caledonia is now serving as far as Kejimkujik National Park. Desired changes to Federal regulations are being investigated, as well as potentially erecting a higher tower in Caledonia.
Many residents have noticed the drilling machine which recently conducted soil and rock assessment on both sides of the Liverpool Bridge. There is no doubt that Mersey Seafoods is gathering required information to enable future decisions to occur. This company continues to be a good corporate citizen and we look forward to the company sharing information when deemed appropriate to do so.
Dr. Al Doucet, Chair of the Queens General Hospital Foundation continues to work on a common goal to maintain a sufficient number of doctors to serve residents of Queens, and ensure required services continue to be provided at Queens General Hospital. Doctor recruitment is high on the priority list. Progress is occurring and, with the support of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, efforts will continue to attract doctors to Queens. Council is also supporting this initiative.
Considerable success has occurred in the first year of our mandate. It should be noted that the Region continues to have meaningful discussions with developers and government departments, however, until a decision is made, we are unable to release information.
The Region has embraced the expertise of our Heritage Advisory Committee. Acting upon their recommendation, Council recently approved Municipal Heritage Status for the Spectacle Lighthouse, located near Port Mouton. It is expected that more Committee recommendations will follow in the future.
The Fort Point Lighthouse was leased to Lane’s Privateer Inn to operate. Their support is appreciated as it is a destination for many tourists who love lighthouses and the harbor view. Our Visitor Information Centre received support services through Penny Lane clients, with the facility being used as their retail outlet during the tourism shoulder season. Customers truly appreciate the crafts which are available for sale.
Our famous Astor Theatre obtained replacement seating and completed floor re-surfacing and other upgrades during 2017. Numerous scheduled events at the Astor continue to be well received by patrons.
The Province is now on track with its restoration of the Perkins House, having recently completed the outside drainage work. Our vacant Courthouse was leased to the Queens County Museum which has turned the building into a “Museum of Justice”. The Museum Committee has acquired courthouse furniture and exhibits from near and far, which attracted a significant number of visitors in 2017. Their plans for 2018 are impressive and will showcase the historical and architectural significance of this beautifully restored Region asset.
Looking to the future, Council has a number of plans and priority paths.
During our first term in office, Council’s direction to staff was to structure a Municipal Budget with zero tax increases to tax rates, and that was accomplished. Our tax rates are comparable to most municipalities in the province, with the 3rd lowest town commercial rate in the Province. The 2017/2018 budget was slightly over $19 million, with a projected surplus of just under three thousand dollars. Staff is diligently crunching numbers to develop our upcoming 2018/2019 Operational and Capital budgets.
There are a number of items for budget consideration that will advance our strategic priorities. Council is continuing to work with the Queens Community Aquatics Society regarding their pool project proposal. A feasibility study is currently being completed and they are expected to be reporting back to Council on the results of that work in the near future.
On February 27th, the Queens Transportation Working Group presented their proposal to Council. They are very close to being able to launch a community transportation program, and are currently seeking partnerships. Council expects staff to review all information and provide a recommendation to Council on the level of Council support for the 2018/2019 pilot program.
Council recently received a presentation from Autism Nova Scotia regarding their request to construct an inclusive playground, adjacent to Queens Place Emera Centre. A decision to support this initiative and partner with Austism Nova Scotia was passed by Council on February 27th. It is their intent to fundraise and work with partners to build a half million dollar playground that will be accessible and inclusive of all ages and abilities. It will also incorporate a small splash pad. This project is good news for families in Queens and the entire South Shore Region.
Our continuing relationship with Nova Scotia Lands regarding the opportunity for businesses to locate at the Port Mersey Commercial Park has been successful. We have made many connections with potential and current clients situated there. Employees of tenants at Port Mersey Commercial Park are nearing the number of employees that were in place at the time of the closure of the Mill.
Aqualitas is a success story which we previously supported. They received their Federal Cannabis Licence in January. Aqualitas expects to reach 60 employees by late spring, and are looking to continue to expand their operation. Aqualitas has the ability to grow within several years to the point where its workforce may exceed the number of workers previously employed at the former Bowater Mill.
Mitigating local water related impacts of climate change in areas such as the waterfront parking lot and Lower Meadow Pond Brook is on the minds of Council. Proper data will need to be collected and solutions formulated. It is expected that funding sources will become available in the near future to enable this to occur. The Region will continue to access programs that allow projects to proceed at minimal cost to tax payers.
The Region will be reviewing downtown planning and revitalization. A growing and thriving commercial district has an impact on all of Queens. The benefits include new residents, a variety of goods and services being available locally, and a stable tax base. The Region continues to pursue attraction of retail stores that will complement existing business.
While a number of great events occur at Waterfront Park, the opportunity exists to continue to expand activities which will further benefit downtown businesses. It should be noted that Privateer Days is a signature event attraction in Queens. The Region will assess the marketing potential of our trademark “Port of the Privateers” with local businesses who wish to advance the initiative. Increased tourism promotion will be a benefit to retail as well as service providers in the hospitality industry. The Region continues to press the South Shore Regional Enterprise Network to support tourism initiatives, including the South Shore Tourism Co-operative.
The upcoming Municipal Planning Strategy Review is part of revitalization and planning efforts, and Council has been discussing ways and means to best support a robust business district. Meetings will also occur with Liverpool businesses to discuss their perspectives pertaining to growth and marketing potential.
Council will continue to task staff with pursuing large scale events to be hosted at Queens Place Emera Centre, as well as at other suitable venues throughout Queens. Large events put Queens on the map as a destination, serve sport and entertainment needs of residents, and are also significant economic drivers. The Region recognizes the value of spin off benefits to the local community from events, and we budget to break even on major events.
Spending time with the members of the South Queens Chamber of Commerce is a real opportunity for me to hear and take back to Council what you see as opportunities, or possible gaps in our community. We are all ambassadors, and we do make a difference. I encourage you to continue to look for opportunities to shine a light on Queens, and to help us in continuing the forward momentum. We are known across the province as a safe and inviting area with a vibrant, thriving community. I thank each of you for your part in helping to create activities, events and the atmosphere that has given Queens a positive reputation. We must continue to entice visitors to embrace our hospitality.
Temporary Closure of Outdoor Trail at Queens Place Emera Centre
The outdoor trail at Queens Place Emera Centre, Liverpool, NS will be closed for maintenance, beginning on Thursday, February 22, 2018, for approximately one week. We regret any inconvenience this closure may cause trail users.