2017 was a very busy and productive year in MODG with the following highlights:
The Municipality moved forward again 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 $48.7 million dollars. We also have money in cash reserves in excess of $20 million.
Guysborough Municipal Council will be engaged 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 2018/2019 budget. In addition, we are pleased to advise that council has recently adopted a new five year strategic plan for the period 2017-2022 for the Municipality.
Construction on the new Chedabucto Lifestyle Complex (CLC) commenced this year. The project is proceeding on schedule with completion scheduled for March 31, 2018. The regulation soccer field and running track are also near substantial completion. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the CLC funding raising committee for their outstanding work to date, raising almost $400,000. It is anticipated that this number will exceed $500,000.
Council has, once again offered the façade program in support of improving the street appeal of local small businesses. The MODG offers financial support up to 50 per cent of total project costs to a maximum of $5,000. The results achieved over the past four years offer evidence of the success of this program.
It is heartening to see a number of small business investments / start-ups in the past year. Most prominently is the continued growth of the Authentic Seacoast group of companies. The new distillery is now fully operational and has developed outstanding products that are raising the profile of our community across Canada.
Our Sable Wind farm development continues to contribute significantly to the Municipality. We have demonstrated the capacity of our team to manage its operation and the revenue generated continues to exceed initial projections. This is a long term investment that will assist in the sustainability of our municipal programs. In addition, our “Small-wind” ComFIT turbines continue to contribute renewable electricity and revenue as well.
As we approach 2018, MODG has multiple projects poised to make final investment decisions. Goldboro LNG; Melford Atlantic Gateway; Black Point Aggregate; Maritime Launch Services; and Anaconda Mining are all approaching decisions in the first half of the year.
Goldboro LNG became a publicly traded company this year. Project proponents raised $50 million in a very difficult LNG market. As a result, final engineering and site-preparation will be completed in the coming months – leading to a final investment decision.
Similarly, Vulcan Materials anticipate a final investment decision by the end of the second quarter, 2018. We continue to have an ongoing dialogue with Vulcan Materials and they have remained engaged with the local community.
The Melford Atlantic Gateway project continues to finalize plans in advance of their final investment decision. The proponents have assembled the land for the development; completed all permitting; secured the services of an operator (SSA Marine); and finalized a labour agreement for the development.
Maritime Launch Services have moved quickly to capitalize on a market opportunity to provide rocket launch services for satellites. While this is not a project that we would have foreseen two years ago, it has the potential to be one of the first-movers. The project proponents have engaged directly with the community and with all levels of government.
Anaconda Mining are also relatively new to the Municipality, however they too are moving quickly. Currently Anaconda is undertaking a 6,000 meter drilling program in Goldboro. Six individuals are living and working in the Goldboro area. Anaconda is aiming to bring the mine into production within two years.
Individually, these projects have the potential to create significant direct and indirect employment opportunities and create spin-off opportunities for existing and new businesses. Collectively, these projects have the potential to fundamentally alter our economy; boost our population; address our declining enrolment at schools; and further enhance our ability to provide services for local residents.
One of the primary responsibilities of a local government is related to land-use planning. The municipality continues to strive to find a balance between making MODG an attractive place for investment; but equally important making this municipality a desirable place to not only work, but live and play. Staff have already commenced work on the five year review of MODG’s municipal planning strategy and land use bylaw. Changes are expected in the spring of 2018 that will include new provisions for developments such as the proposed rocket launch facility.
In 2017 the municipality completed work on an investment readiness database with the launching of a new website located at www.investguysborough.ca. In addition, MODG developed a three part series of videos that showcase what living, working and playing is like in the municipality.
The PACE program was extended 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 with 10 applications having been received to date.
A number of other highlights for 2017 include:
- CLC Contract award to Marco Construction $8.9 million
- Development of additional parking in CLC/CECGA area
- $1.5 million wastewater upgrades for Guysborough
- Tender award for Hazel Hill Sewer upgrades
- Cost Shared Paving for Old Riverside Road
- Wastewater Treatment upgrades Canso
- Upgrades continue at the Canso Arena
- New Compost Facility Design at the Guysborough Waste Management Facility with construction scheduled for 2018
- Cap Design for Cells #2 & #3 at the GWMF
- Dry Hydrant program continued with new installations in Giant’s Lake and New Harbour
- Purchase of four new TMR2 portable radios for emergency management
- Council chambers facelift and technology refresh
- $250,000 donation over 10 years St. Martha’s Hospital Foundation
- 1/3 Funding for the Black Duck Cove Day Park Project
- Other municipal infrastructure upgrades to buildings, parks, recreational sites, playgrounds, etc.
- 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. 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!