Current press releases are shown below when issued.
Community Pool Discussions Progressing Swimmingly
When a group of local residents formed the non profit group the Queens Community Aquatic Society (QCAS) to plan for a community pool for Queens County, they hoped to realize a longstanding “want” for the residents of the community. Discussions with the Region of Queens Municipality’s Council have been positive to date, with Council being receptive to the concept of an aquatics centre being added on site at Queens Place Emera Centre, in Liverpool, NS.
“An indoor pool has been approached many times over the years, and that desire has not been realized, sadly,” said Bill Smyth, a Director of QCAS. “An indoor pool can provide the community with year round social, recreational and therapeutic opportunities, through access to local swimming lessons, recreational swimming for all ages, competitive swimming opportunities for youth, and a warm pool for those requiring the therapeutic aspects of a pool. All ages and abilities in our community can enjoy and have the benefit of an indoor pool.”
The Council of the Region of Queens Municipality and QCAS have met several times to navigate the opportunity that QCAS is offering the Region. Discussions have been in agreement that the group of citizens is planning for a structure that will not burden taxpayers, as QCAS is planning to fund raise $5 million to cover the cost of construction of the facility. An endowment fund will be part of the fundraising, which will support pool operations for a long period of time. The location of the pool has been agreed upon, as during the construction phase of Queens Place Emera Centre, design and technical considerations were given to the possibility of a pool in the future. The design will be a four lane pool, with a warm therapy pool, and will be suitable for a variety of uses.
“Our Council is grateful to the citizens who have come together to form QCAS, and have put much time, effort and consideration into planning for a community pool. These volunteers are presenting an option for our community that would not otherwise be possible,” said Christopher Clarke, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “In the early stages of development, a pool was planned to be part of Queens Place Emera Centre, but it was excluded due to financial constraints. We are pleased that citizens have come forward and taken leadership in this important project. Our discussions to date have been very positive.”
The Region and QCAS continue to work closely developing a plan to bring a pool for the community to reality in the most cost effective manner.
Skatepark Project in Queens Ramping Up to Become Reality
Grab your skateboard – the Queens Skatepark Association isn’t doing a fakie*, the project has air**! At the December 15, 2015 Region of Queens Council meeting, Dr. Dave Gunn and Ian Kent, Co Chairs of the Queens Skatepark Association, gave a presentation on the progress of the project, and announced that the skatepark will be built in Spring 2016, with plans to be open to skateboarders by summer.
“It is great to see the youth of the community develop their vision for a skatepark, then to go out and make it happen,” said Christopher Clarke, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “There have been several successful fundraisers over the past few years, and the whole committee, youth and adults, pulled together to plan and implement the fundraising for their project. Council is pleased to see this recreational opportunity will be ready for the community and visitors to enjoy soon.”
A successful community fundraising campaign has netted the Queens Skatepark Association $550,000, which includes the Region of Queens Municipality’s 2012 commitment of $200,000 plus land on which to build it. The total raised to date is a bit short of the original goal the group set. The Queens Skatepark Association has investigated alternate park designs, and has settled on a slightly different design that fits the funds that they have raised.
“We are really excited to work alongside the Region as advisors during the design phase of the skatepark. A good design is crucial to creating a fun and challenging park and represents up to 10% of the total project cost. So choosing the right designer is very important,” said Dr. Gunn. “With our current funds raised, we can build at least a 10,000 square foot park. The design will accommodate both excellent street and bowl skating areas at this size. We have also recently received a generous donation of a covered spectator area. Our group is proud of what we have raised and if the park is built with the current funds it should be a great skatepark that will provide a lot of enjoyment. We have received amazing support from the community and wish to sincerely thank everyone for their contributions so far. But, we still hold hope that further financial support is out there and we will continue to pursue and encourage donations.”
“Significant financial support from our local community and municipal government, partnered with a clear focus on youth and community health initiatives that hold economic development potential - the Queens Skatepark is positioned well to see further support as we enter our build year,” said Kent.
During the presentation, Kent and Gunn indicated that a skatepark designer would be hired in winter of 2016, followed by site preparation, and then the build. However, if more donations are received in the next few months, there is the possibility to design the skatepark to fit additional funds raised, enlarging the footprint and adding to the special features. It will be open in the summer of 2016.
“Our original vision was a skatepark that would not only meet the needs of our local athletes but also become a destination skatepark that would bring skaters and their families to Queens. The main goal of this park is to provide free, fun, and creative challenges for decades to our young and not so young. I think we can now build a park to fulfill that goal,” said Dr. Gunn. However Dr. Gunn added that if additional funds are received, it will be possible to ramp up the design to make it a destination park which would insure the secondary goal of attracting skate tourism.
Tax receipts are issued for donations made to the project. Those wishing to contribute to the fundraising efforts may bring donations to the Region of Queens Municipality, 249 White Point Road, Liverpool, NS.
* Fakie - rolling backwards; the rider is in the normal stance, but rolling in the opposite direction.
** Air - riding with all four wheels in the air.
Region of Queens Municipality celebrates staff milestones
From parks to parking, from water pipes to workouts, from waste management to water treatment, and from special care to capital infrastructure, the Region of Queens Municipality’s skilled workforce maintains many areas important to the lives of Queens County residents and visitors. Milestone achievements were recognized with Years of Service Awards at the December 15, 2015 Region of Queens Council meeting.
“The skills, commitment and high level of customer service offered by all of the Region of Queens employees is something that Council is proud to make note of,” said Christopher Clarke, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “The Region of Queens Municipality has a dedicated workforce, who takes great pride in what they do. A consistent thing I have heard about the staff, regardless of where they work, is that there is a high level of pride evident in their work. Whether it is preparing budgets, caring for the residents of Hillsview Acres, working on the water and sewer lines, or connecting with residents and visitors to the area, Region employees give a high standard of service to the community.”
Twenty one employees were recognized for five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service; those employees represent 225 years of employment cumulatively. Staff reaching five years of employment includes Jacqueline Hanley-Godfrey, Rachel Joudrey, James Rhyno, Larry Whynot, Eugene Wamboldt, Phillip Whynot, and Kaylee Oickle. Ten year milestones were reached by Tracy Baker, Jeff Cunningham, Steven Parnell, Melvin Carver, Fred Murphy, Randy Rapp, and Delores Dagley. Those with 15 years of employment are Scott LeBlanc, Paulette Smith, David Henderson, Douglas Bowers, and David Fox. Dale Waterman was recognized for 20 years of work, and with a career of 25 years so far, Jane Lawson, was given her award. Years of Service Awards are presented in December of each year by Council to staff reaching 5 year milestones.
“The Ripple Effect” to Recognize Volunteers in Queens
Without the commitment of residents who populate the more than 200 volunteer organizations in Queens County, life in this community would be drastically different than it is today. The Region of Queens Municipality has developed a program to recognize and celebrate these contributions through “The Ripple Effect” volunteer recognition initiative.
According to Mayor Christopher Clarke, this sense of altruism and the commitment of volunteers in Queens is well-known, and “The Ripple Effect” will help to further this. “Most of us cannot remember a time when the citizens of Queens did not step up and help on a voluntary basis for projects large and small,” said Clarke. “It is Council’s intention to be more inclusive and proactive in recognizing them with “The Ripple Effect” being our vehicle to do so.”
Inspired by Liverpool resident Nykola Killam, the program will encourage people to give back to their community and, like Ms. Killam, set in motion a ripple effect that will have a positive effect in Queens. “Nykola wanted to teach kids to swim who may not otherwise have that opportunity,” said Norm Amirault, Director of Recreation and Community Facilities, “She was inspired by her late cousin Kirk MacLeod, who swam 10 miles across the Northumberland Strait to raise money for a camp for sick kids. We were touched and proud of Nykola’s efforts, which encouraged Council and staff to do more to recognize and celebrate the integral role our volunteers play in our community.”
It is also an expansion on the existing yearly Representative Volunteer selection process which, according to Clarke, was not generating the interest it once did. “For whatever reason there was a diminishing number of nominees for this honour. “The Ripple Effect” will open this process up so anyone in Queens can nominate a volunteer for recognition, and to be able to do so on a year-round basis,” said Clarke.
“The success of the initiative will be predicated on the number of nominees,” said Councillor Brian Fralic, Chair of the Recreation and Community Facilities Committee. “Our Council has a sincere desire to recognize and celebrate our Volunteers and hope residents will nominate someone. No contribution is too large or small.”
“The Ripple Effect” is being launched this week and information on the nomination process can be found on the Region of Queens website at www.regionofqueens.com, on the Region of Queens Facebook page, or by contacting the Recreation and Community Facilities Department at (902) 354-5741.
Public Notice: Region of Queens Continues With Focus on Economic Development
The Region of Queens Municipality ‘s CAO, Richard MacLellan, is pleased to share that his predecessor, Kathleen Rafuse, has agreed to a short term / part time contract to work with the Municipality on some special projects related to economic and property development. The contract is funded through financial support from the provincial financial contribution to the Municipality for the post Bowater economic transition in 2012/13. Rafuse will begin work in mid-November, 2015.
Rafuse’s position as Special Projects Coordinator will serve to supplement the economic development priorities of Municipal Council, programs, and projects led by Jill Cruikshank, Director of Economic Development. Rafuse’s capacity to steward these high potential files as special projects will progress the economic renewal in Queens. Many of these projects were identified by the Transition Advisory Team in their final report, “Our Community, Our Future” in December 2012.
A career spanning more than 30 years in municipal government in Queens County, four of which as CAO, as well as being a member of the seven-member Transition Advisory Team, and membership on a number of committees, boards and other community involvement, positions Rafuse well for this undertaking, with connections to stakeholders in business, government and within the community.
Current Council priorities on economic development include the revitalization of Liverpool’s Main Street and waterfront, development of rural internet solutions, and creation of a municipal events framework. The Municipality is committed to creating an environment that encourages economic development in the Region of Queens.
Fire Departments Welcome New Agreement with Region of Queens
July 28, 2015 Liverpool, NS: Working together on an innovative approach, the culmination of four years of co-operative effort between the six fire departments in Queens County and the Region of Queens Municipality was presented to Council today. Recognizing the vital role our volunteer Fire Departments play in providing essential protection services for the safety and security of our communities, a ground-breaking collaborative spirit has resulted in a policy to provide a framework for financial assistance for the purchase of essential vehicles and with ongoing operational costs over years to come.
“The days of fire departments being able to sustain themselves with their own fundraising efforts alone are long gone. It would take an inordinate amount of community suppers and bottle drives to replace a fire truck”, commented Mayor Christopher Clarke. “We were very impressed with the way the fire departments came forward with a constructive and well-considered solution to their issues, and the commitment and enthusiasm they have shown throughout this process”.
These issues were presented to Council back in January 2011 where the fire departments described what they felt were impediments to the maintenance of current fire protection levels.
Following this, $67,000 was approved in the 2011/12 budget to increase fire protection funding, followed by a three-year initiative to conduct external reviews on the financial operations of all six fire departments, which resulted in the two main considerations which form the backbone of the new policy: that the fire departments could not sustain the purchase of vehicles with the existing resources and that any recommended solution had to be financially viable for the Region of Queens.
Port Medway Fire Chief, Kendall Farmer said, “I am very appreciative of the time and effort put into this by the staff and Council of the Region of Queens, as well as the collaboration from the six Fire Chiefs to bring it all to fruition. This much needed funding means adequate fire equipment can be provided to the fire departments, which in turn leads to the protection of the residents of Queens County”. After many months of working together, the resulting policy contains a process which all the fire departments agree relieves some of the financial uncertainties and provides motivation for the volunteers to continue in their courageous work.
Mayor's Letter to the Editor
The following letter was submitted to the Herald in response to a recent story about the effect that the oil field work in Western Canada has had on Liverpool and area.
We'd like to thank Chris Folk, Craig Chandler and Robin Anthony for their letters to the editor in the Opinion section of the Herald; the letters showed their community pride, and helped to spread the news that Queens County is rebounding with a revitalized business community through. There have been a lot of great comments on social media that praise businesses in Liverpool and the rest of Queens County.
Letter to the Editor: In a community that has worked hard to re-invent itself, it is a shame that in focusing on such a small percentage of Queens County’s population (total approx. 11,000) who has chosen to go to the oil patch for work, the DeMont article of October 23, 2015 missed the much larger story. Ours is a story of resilience, and the remarkable bounce-back following the closure of several of our large employers. Our community has moved forward, with rarely a look back.
Our business community has grown by leaps and bounds since the closures of a few years ago. There are a net of 29 new businesses in the county ranging from a brewery (Hell Bay) to a wonderful dress shop (Lilieth Boutique). Existing business have enjoyed the resurgence in our community with increased traffic. Some well established businesses have changed hands and have taken on a new lease on life.
The hospitality industry has had a boom year, some of which could be attributed to the low Canadian dollar but much more so to the visitors who come to enjoy the celebrations and the arts and culture for which our community is noted. Queens Place Emera Centre, the Astor Theatre, and a wide assortment of community organized, top notch festivals have played a big role in supporting the success of the hospitality businesses. On a sunny day in summer, Main Street, Liverpool looks almost European with its sidewalk cafes and busy eateries.
The former Mill site has transformed into a centre of innovation, and an industrial park, with Cellufuel and Unify Energy as tenants. They are the first of much technologically leading edge, first-of-their-kind businesses who will draw from across the world to see innovative technologies at work.
All of this has been accomplished through a realization that if we are to move ahead, much of the effort must come from ourselves. We cannot depend solely on others to help us.
There has been a large influx of new residents as people move into our community attracted by our climate, our vibrancy and our reasonably-priced properties. They are helping to fuel the new vitality of Queens, but, don’t just take my word for it. Rather, come and see for yourself and, as I tell meetings and conventions when I have the opportunity to welcome them, ‘we like you to come with your wallets full and to leave with them empty’ for there are so many unique and special things in Queens, you will want to spend your money here.
Christopher Clarke, Mayor
Region of Queens Municipality
Now that the rest of the province has heard about the positives, let’s set our sights on continuing to build pride in our community. One of the best ways to do this is by shopping locally. Supporting local businesses means checking locally for our needs and wants before shopping elsewhere. You may not be able to get everything you want locally, but you will be surprised at what you can get from our local shops, cafes, and service providers. If you can’t get what you need here, by all means go where you need to. The more you shop locally, the more money you put directly into local economy, the more merchandise and services they can offer and the more jobs they can supply.
“Name that Building” Contest opens in Region of Queens Municipality
June 24, 2015, Liverpool, NS: What is 113 years old, houses items over 8,000 years old, and can make people laugh, cry, sing, dance and create?
The Region of Queens Municipality is looking for your help to figure that out – the Liverpool Town Hall and Astor Theatre building has recently undergone a renovation and a re-birth and is hosting a contest to help them “Name that Building”.
Take a look around the facility, think about the current uses, dream about the possibilities, and reflect on its history – then submit a name in the “Name that Building” contest. The contest is open until August 31, 2015 and the winning entry will be announced on September 12, 2015.
Submissions are accepted by:
* Private Message on either the “Region of Queens” or “Liverpool Town Hall and Astor Theatre” Facebook page,
* or fill in a ballot in person at the Liverpool Town Hall and Astor Theatre (219 Main Street., Liverpool).
Be sure to include the name you come up with for the building, your name, mailing address, phone number, and email address so we can contact you if you are the lucky winner.
In the event that two or more identical or similar names are submitted and that name is the one chosen, a draw will be held to determine a winner from all those who submitted the same name.
The winning entry will receive a $100.00 gift card.
Region of Queens Municipality’s Council Approves Hiring of New CAO
June 23, 2015, Liverpool, NS: With a unanimous vote by the Council of the Region of Queens Municipality’s Council, the Region selected a new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). Richard MacLellan will start work in mid-July, bringing with him 15 years of management experience in both the government and commercial energy/marine sectors. His career has spanned nine years at the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), most recently as Manager, Energy and Environment. He will begin work at the Region of Queens Municipality in mid-July.
“We are very fortunate to be welcoming Richard MacLellan to the team,” said Christopher Clarke, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “He has a great reputation as a strong leader of staff, and is an innovative thinker.”
MacLellan has been employed by Halifax Regional Municipality since 2006, and has been Manager of Energy and Environment since 2011. He has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Sustainable Communities award in February 2015, and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities (UNSM)Climate Leaders award in November 2013. While working with the HRM, much of his focus was on policy and strategy development, project budgets, and staff management.
MacLellan will be the 3rd CAO of the Region of Queens Municipality since its formation following amalgamation in 1996. David Clattenburg was the first CAO, and retired in 2011. From 2011 until the present, Kathleen Rafuse has been CAO, and will retire this summer. “We have been fortunate over the past 19 years to have had such strong CAOs in David Clattenburg and Kathleen Rafuse. I have had the great luck to work with both of them,” said Clarke. “Their knowledge, sound financial planning, strategic thinking and commitment to the community has placed Queens on sound financial footing, and elevated us to a well respected position provincially.”
There will be a short period of overlap as MacLellan familiarizes himself with the community and the position, and Rafuse finalizes the projects in which she has been involved.
“The Region of Queens Municipality has a great reputation across the province; there is business incubation throughout the county, and lots happening there. I was keen to apply for this position because of the strong economic and cultural possibilities in Queens that Council, staff, and community has worked hard to cultivate,” said MacLellan. “It was clear during the recruitment process that my values and interests closely align with those of the Municipality. I am pleased to have this opportunity, and am excited to begin work.”
New Centre for Arts, Culture and Creativity to Open in Liverpool
June 15, 2015 Liverpool, NS: It is a community celebration, the start of something new, and it is all starting as the Summer Solstice begins! On June 21, at 1:39 p.m., a transformation will occur. As the Summer Solstice marks the beginning of summer, the grand opening ceremony of the Liverpool Town Hall and Astor Theatre marks the beginning of a new community centre for arts, culture and creativity in Liverpool. It also marks the opening of the Sipuke’l Gallery. The Gallery features First Nation artists’ work, and a permanent rotating display of artifacts from the Mersey River dating back over 4,000 years. June 21 is also the kickoff for the “21 Days of Summer”, a three week period of music, art, entertainment and more taking place all over Queens County. It encompasses more than 50 musical performances, and many entertainment options. The grand opening ceremony begins at 1:00 p.m. on June 21.
“To see this historic building reinvented as an innovative centre supporting arts, history and culture is a very positive development for Liverpool’s cultural and creative communities, the business district and the public,” said Christopher Clarke, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. “The Liverpool Town Hall is a focal point in Liverpool and for Queens County, and now it will be open year round for community use and enjoyment. As well, the “21 Days of Summer” roster of events and entertainment is an exciting three weeks to be part of. Our volunteers deserve credit for making an exciting start to summer.”
As the opening day also coincides with National Aboriginal Day, there are celebrations of the First Nation culture as part of the opening event, including a smudging ceremony, the Mi’kmaq Honour Song, drumming, and hoop and jingle dancers.
“In Queens, we’re known to take celebrations seriously,” said Norm Amirault, Director of Recreation and Community Facilities for the Region of Queens Municipality. “The re-opening of the Town Hall is the start of a full week of events to mark the occasion. There are live musical performances, including a 40 year retrospective of musicals performed by the Winds of Change Dramatic Society, as well as children’s events, a historical photography show and author readings. And that’s just the start! The community has a jam packed schedule of events for the “21 Days of Summer”. Privateer Days festival, drag racing, and over 50 live musical performances are all part of the fun. This 21 day celebration features concerts by Rawlins Cross and Blue Rodeo. Liverpool and communities in Queens County are an awesome place to be this summer, and it all starts on the Summer Solstice.”
Gavin Raddall, Summer Ambassador for the Region of Queens Municipality will be live tweeting updates about these events at @regionofqueens. Details about the opening week activities can be found on the “Liverpool Town Hall and Astor Theatre” Facebook page. Events during the “21 Days of Summer” are listed at www.queens.ca.
The Liverpool Town Hall is located at 219 Main Street, Liverpool, and with the grand opening slated to start at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, 2015. The event is open to the public and is free of charge.
Update May 26, 2015: Main Street Infrastructure Upgrading Spring/Summer 2015
Upgrading to Main Street infrastructure will take place over spring/early summer in the area of Main Street that runs between Market Street and Reese Street. Detours will be indicated with signage in the affected areas, and will follow the attached Traffic Control Plan.
Please be advised that effective 9 a.m. today (May 26, 2015) that Main Street, Liverpool will be open from Market Street to Court Street for one lane of East bound traffic.
As a result, the detour through Water/Carten/Corvette/Reese Streets will be closed, and become a dead end (ie; no access to Main Street from Reese Street) so that construction can progress.
The route to Queens General Hospital will be from Market Street to Main Street, and up Court Street.
If you have any questions, please contact 902-354-3455.
Tax rates set for 2015/2016 Fiscal Year
The shift in the economy in Nova Scotia has been challenging, with much attention focused on balance between the provision of services and a tax rate that residents and businesses can manage. The Region of Queens Council approved a budget that includes a two cent increase in residential and resource tax rates. There is no increase to the commercial tax rates. The residential and resource rate for District 13 (Liverpool) is $1.87/$100 assessment, and for Districts 1 – 12 is $0.99/$100 assessment. The commercial tax rate for District 13 is $2.95/$100 assessment and in Districts 1 – 12, it is $2.07/$100 assessment.
"The outlook all over Nova Scotia is about belt tightening. We are in the same situation here in Queens. Payments that Municipalities typically receive from government and institutions have been decreased, while the levies Municipalities are required to pay have increased," said Christopher Clarke, Mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality. "Nearly one and a half cents of the tax rates hikes are attributed to the things we have no control over."
Capital projects being undertaken this year in addition to the water and sewer projects in Brooklyn and Liverpool also include work being done on the Bridge in Milton. Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is building a new two lane bridge to replace the single lane bridge currently in use. It will be relocated somewhat closer to the falls which will require the sewage pump station, piping and force-main to be relocated.
There will also be a reserve fund built up over five years to cover the costs of the review of the Municipal Land Use Bylaw, which the Region is required to do periodically. The community is in a redevelopment stage, following the closure of the Bowater mill.
"This is the third consecutive year that we have been able to hold the commercial tax rates without an increase," said Mayor Clarke. "Liverpool has the third lowest commercial tax rate in the province, and this serves as a draw for those considering communities in which to open a business. Over nearly three years since the Bowater closure, we have seen many small businesses start up in Queens, and want to continue to see growth in our business community."
The 2015-2016 Region of Queens Municipality Budget will be posted on the Region's website at http://www.regionofqueens.com/fincance/financial-statements/budget .