A Year in Review

Municipality of the District of Guysborough

By Vernon Pitts    

2016 was a very busy and productive year in MODG with the following highlights:

 

  • The Municipality moved forward this year in a very strong fiscal position, with financial statements adopted in July, showing an accumulated surplus on our consolidated financial statements including cash and tangible assets in excess of $47 million dollars. We have money in cash reserves in excess of $25 million which includes more than a $1 million dollars surplus from the last fiscal year.
  • The Municipality continued to build on our business opportunities over the last year to help improve our long term financial health; considering the fact that over 64 per cent of our revenue comes from sources mostly made up from our business investments.
  • Guysborough Municipal Council will be involved in their annual strategic planning process next month which provides council with the opportunity to consider projects and to plan for the upcoming fiscal year. Staff have already commenced work on the 2017/2018 budget. In addition, we are pleased to advise that a consulting firm has been hired to complete a new five-year strategic plan for the municipality as the current plan expires in 2017. Senior staff and council are looking forward to working with the consultant on the development of this plan which will provide opportunity for public input.
  • Through the Façade Program, council has again provided support to local businesses by contributing financially to assist in improving the “curb-appeal” of those businesses. These projects include contributions that assisted upgrades ranging from new signage to complete renovations of buildings. The MODG contribution represented 50 per cent of project costs to a maximum of $5,000. This year private developments have invested significantly in our communities – council is pleased to play a small role in assisting the small business community to continue to invest in upgrades and expansions of their operations.
  • The Sable Wind project has been operational since January, 2015 and continues to exceed all production expectations and stands as a significant contributor – both financially for the benefit of our residents, as well as providing green energy to all Nova Scotians.
  • The ComFIT Project continues to operate well into our third year. The MODG owns five of the eleven AOC 15-50 turbines installed in the entire Province of Nova Scotia.
  • There has been significant progress on the Melford project – in the past year SSA Marine has come on board as not only the operator but also a significant equity partner – investing $100 million. Cyrus Capital Corporation have also increased their total investment to $50 million. The Melford group have acquired the necessary lands for both the development of the terminal as well as the rail corridor from Linwood Station to the Melford site. We are very optimistic that 2017 will be the year that this project moves forward.
  • Black Point – Vulcan Materials continue to work toward addressing the Conditions-of-Approval mandated by the responsible authorities. The project timelines established by Vulcan Materials have not changed – working toward construction in 2018. Vulcan have requested authorization to construct a road to the site. Given the focus on infrastructure development in both Canada and the United States in the coming years this project is well positioned to complement the Martin Marietta operation and position the MODG to play a prominent role in supplying infrastructure projects throughout North America.

 

The Municipality continues to work with developers on the following LNG/Pipeline projects:

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  • Bear Head LNG/Bear Paw Pipeline
  • H-Energy (A C Energy)
  • Ko Yo Canada Ltd.
  • Goldboro LNG

 

Authentic Seacoast continues to launch new products in conjunction with the grand opening of their new distillery. I would like to commend Glynn Williams and his team on their many amazing accomplishments over the past year.

The Guysborough Memorial Hospital expansion project was completed this year. I would like to commend the Guysborough Memorial Hospital Foundation on making this project a reality and to a successful grand opening. It is estimated that over 700 people attended this event to celebrate this and the naming of the new addition as the Dr. Anita Foley Health Services Centre.

The Municipality is very pleased to advise that construction of Phase I of the Cutler Brook Estates subdivision project has been completed and we are welcoming our first family to the subdivision very early in the New Year. Congratulations to our new home owners.

The Municipality continues to have discussions with Municipal Affairs with respect to the Mulgrave dissolution file, however we have not had any real movement on the issues. The Municipality has now moved to the “preparation of evidence” phase with our lawyers. We have been forced to oppose the dissolution based on the last offer from the Province.

Council invested in new signage at Exit 37 in Monastery this year. Three signs have been erected to showcase the MODG; local businesses and attractions to travellers. In addition these signs also promote the new visitguysborough.ca website. Within this website local businesses, services and events are promoted.

The Municipality is working on an investment readiness database and a new website is about to be launched at www.investguysborough.ca. We are looking forward to the completion of this project.

The PACE program was launched this year providing residents with low interest loans up to $10,000 to complete energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. Homeowners are already accessing this program and several applications have been received.

A number of other highlights for 2016 include:

 

  • Completion of Cell #4 at the Waste Management Facility
  • Cap design for Cells #2 & 3
  • Installation of a new weigh scale at the Waste Management Facility
  • Landfill Gas Study
  • Upgrades to both wastewater treatment facilities in Guysborough
  • Public sewer extensions to include property up to the Guysborough Legion and as well as an extension to Green Street
  • Completion of compost facility design and construction of new compost curing pad
  • Design and site preparation work for the Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex ($500,000 savings to the project)
  • Completion of tender ready documents for the Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex
  • Canso infrastructure work including arena upgrades, pool upgrades, wastewater and water upgrades, etc.
  • Other municipal infrastructure upgrades to buildings, parks, recreational sites, playgrounds, etc.
  • Dry hydrant program continued

 

The Municipality will be saying goodbye at the end of December to a long time employee, Ellen Long, who has been the Tax Revenue Clerk for the municipality for over 21 years. Congratulations Ellen on your retirement. You will be greatly missed.

The Municipality has found itself to be a target on social media in 2016 which has been led by a couple of residents who continue to post incorrect or one-sided information. The facts speak for themselves. The Municipality has been, and will continue to be, a model for other municipalities to follow in the province with only ever having had clean audits. Council and staff have and will continue to persevere through this negativity. The residents of our great municipality answered the most important question in the October 2016 Election and that was a referendum on the leadership that we provide as elected officials. This is an endorsement by the residents of the work that is being done by councillors and council as a collective body. We are going to move forward and continue to do what we do, together as a staff and council, working in the best interests of our residents.

In closing, I would like to thank the CAO and staff for their dedication and hard work over the last year. Council is very appreciative of the strong team we have in place when it comes to the viability and sustainability of any project in MODG. In spite of the negative light that a couple of residents have tried to cast over our community, the Municipality of the District of Guysborough continues to be the “best place to live, work and play.”

Happy holidays to all of the residents of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough.