Atlantic Mayors Congress – Minutes
May 27th and May 28th, 2022
Torbay Common Community Centre,
8 Kinsmen Place, Torbay, NL
Record of all discussions, conversations, names of speakers.
Friday, May 27th, 2022
9:19 – Welcome Remarks, Mayor Scott
Mayor Scott welcomed the attendees and introduced the centre, including washroom locations and emergency exits.
Condolences were offered to Mayor Roger on the passing of his Father. Congratulations were given to Mayor Mike Savage on his son’s graduation from MUN. Current Covid protocols were provided.
Mayor Scott welcomed Joanne Thompson and introduced her to the congress.
Joanne Thompson – Acknowledgement of First Nations ancestral homeland territory. Greetings were brought from the federal government of Canada and acknowledgement of Covid-19 difficulties in past meetings and present enhanced dialogue currently present. Gratitude was given to the congress members for their presence as well as a welcome to the community.
9:26 – Covid-19 Update
Mayor Dave Kogon introduces the speakers with their current and past accolades in accordance with the Presenter Biographers document
Stephen Mercer – Gratitude expressed for being invited to present. A brief introduction and overview of the presentation. Acknowledged difficulties in past years through the Covid-19 pandemic. Stephen discussed funding, including existing programs for municipalities. Discussed the lenience on municipalities that did not provide timely documentation. Funding was often provided before documentation was fully delivered, to assist these rural areas. During the pandemic, unemployment was high and thus solutions were made including creation of small projects, relaxing of restrictions on employment, etc. Safe Restart Program: NL received total of 27 million in funding (later added it was near 50/50 from Federal and Provincial) to assist municipalities in their financial recovery from the Pandemic, highly effective for many.
Deann Spurrell – Deann discussed two effective programs the first being the Arena and Pool facility program. Grants were provided for municipalities, non-profits and private. 60 facilities were granted 600,000 dollars.
Covid-19 Stimulus program. Provincially funded. Provided short-term employment. Small to medium municipal enhancement projects. Excluded water treatment and wastewater, road, and infrastructure projects. Application based program. 258 projects approved. Applications limited to 150 000 dollars. Total cost 26 million. 22.5 million in provincial payouts. Initially provided 45% of provincial share. Remaining funds were released after projects finalized and billed. All projects were to be completed by December 2021. Payments were completed by March 2023. flexibility was permitted in some instances. Shortage of building materials,
labour and increase in costs hindered some projects. Some communities had to change their projects or scope of their projects due to these issues.
Christopher Stamp – Discussed Election of last year, September 2021. 85% of the population is within the 275 municipalities. 1900 people were nominated for council. Female nominations dramatically increased in Eastern and Central regions. Fortunately, Covid-19 did not restrict many municipalities, but some did choose hybrid voting (online voting, or vote-by-mail as well as in-person voting). Did not change overall voter turnout, approximately 55%. 12% of municipalities required a by-election. Vote-by-mail worked well. Circulars were used effectively to understand.
Question was raised by Phillip Brown about online and mail voting which led to roundtable discussion: Some municipalities saw an increase in voter turnout; Student voting by mail was noted as a difficult strategy compared to online voting; Further benefits and detriments of using these non-in-person options. Christopher discussed ways to alleviate risk of fraudulent voting. Christopher provided an example of a voter in rural newfoundland required to pay a pole tax.
Another question was asked by Mike Savage surrounding the 27 million mentioned in Stephen’s part upon how the amount of money was chosen. Come Home Year program was mentioned and discussed the ease of applying acknowledged.
Another question by Phillip Brown was brought to the room, specifically referencing the Green Party, concerning lowering of voting age and inclusion of permanent residents. The room conversed if it was a seriously discussed option within their municipalities and provinces. Mayor Scott advised a return to schedule. Christopher ended with online training that occurred during the pandemic and their effectiveness. Municipality councils were allowed to meet virtually. Many communities began utilizing online payment systems. Public Health Services supported municipalities during the pandemic.
Comment was made concerning government employees two-vaccine requirement and the resistance against the mandate. Comment was also made concerning virtual meetings: hybrid meetings are not well received but purely virtual and purely in-person are preferred, the latter mostly when available. Another comment was made concerning the requirement for enhanced technology to alleviate the problems with hybrid meetings. Another comment was made promoting the benefits of hybrid meetings, specifically, it assists younger council members, women, those with illness and other specific situations which inhibit their presence at council meetings.
Presentation of tokens of appreciation were given by Mayor Dave Kogon to Stephen, Deann and Christopher
Mayor Scott asked if a reorder of scheduling was needed. Concluded it to be unnecessary.
Accepted Agenda and previous minutes. Moved by Bruce MacDougall and seconded by George Andrews.
10:14 – Federation of Canadian Municipalities Update and Dialogue
Mayor Basil Stewart was asked to introduce Bruce MacDougall according to the Presenter Biographers document.
Bruce MacDougall – Expressed gratitude and thanks to attendees. Promoted FCM conference occurring. Discussed the volume of FCM and its impact in Canadian government including several programs.
Bruce invited Mike Savage to present the 2022 Budget update.
Mike Savage – Expressed gratitude for the congress. Briefly mentioned National objectives and budget effective budget changes. The budget doubled the Gas-tax last year. Much of the important work occurs at the employee level. Inter-community bus service has been pushed. Another good part of the budget increased municipality representation in Federal Government dealings. The budget put a large focus on housing and homelessness, including, “Reaching Home” and “Rapid Housing” initiatives. The Accelerator fund will be discussed later but its importance was stressed. Climate action: Budget 2022 includes electric cars charging ports, national adaptation strategies. Transit operating and broadband funds were also increased. Savage began discussing Ukraine and Russia. Local governments are on the frontlines of providing support to refugees. Condemnation of Russia’s action is encouraged. Ukrainian descent is high volume within Canada. Parks and recreation are a great tool to assist. As an example, the city of Moncton activated its emergency council, likewise, many municipalities are coordinating to accept immigrants. A next step, the FCM will be discussing the issue in next week’s meeting. Savage gives back to Bruce.
Bruce MacDougall – Provided an example of a Ukrainian family who were left homeless in PEI but because of action by a community member and a hotel owner were provided habitation and employment. 9 months after RCMP ratified retroactive pay. Municipalities should be properly consulted concerning regulations and decisions. Called on Federal Government to delay bills for retroactive payments. Committed to engaging with FCM municipalities to address the issue and discuss solutions. Delaying bills will not resolve the larger issues. Municipalities may have to cut service or raise property taxes to deal with the payments. To date, the exact amounts of retroactive pay has not yet been determined. Invitation FCM Annual Conference and Trade Show June 2nd-5th, 2022 in Regina.
Token of appreciation given to Bruce MacDougall by Matt Kerrigan 10:36 – Break
10:56 – Mayors Roundtable
Kerrigan amended the schedule by discussing the members forum of Saturday and roundtable. Invited those with actions to hold them until Saturday. Mayor Scott invited Mayors to briefly discuss their municipality
Bruce MacDougall – The largest issue is dealing with response to the Municipal Government Act.
George Andrews HVGB Labrador – Post-Covid opportunities has been a challenge. Working on past-councils’ actions, working to introduce a form of public transport. Engaged Dalhousie university for their research into the matter. On the issue of affordable housing, two applications have been made to Rapid Housing. Both were rejected. A large issue with homelessness. Rapid Housing seems to be geared towards urban municipalities. Currently, a challenge with homelessness, introduction of hand sanitizer has created a problem with sanitizer consumption by the community members. Muskrat Falls project is being followed by Gull Island Project and hoping to receive better benefits for this project.
Craig Pollett CAO of NL – Regionalization is being pushed towards this. The process is currently on-hand as it has been recently presented to NL government. 275 municipalities. New legislation is being pushed as well, such as Covid measures, and Municipal elections Act. Infrastructure is another focus, trying to finance these projects, currently working with MUN, and will be working with CAN (College of the North Atlantic). Wastewater effluent
regulations, many municipalities do not have and thus are building now. Currently working with alternative wastewater managements. Property tax is not working, and so other revenue options are being explored. A Joint research project is being explored to find sources of revenue to designate needs and future direction. Public transit is another large issue, the challenges include ineffective conversations surrounding the topic that distract from real solutions. Currently working with NL government for Ukrainian refugees. Working with Asset Management with their members.
Ian Comeau – Campbellton, NB. The bridge closing had a large impact during the epidemic. Its opening created a boon. The minister Atlantic local government has announced amalgamation of many municipalities. Thus, population will rise from 7500 to 12000 people in Campbellton. Municipal assessment, 550 million to 1 billion. Municipal reform will eliminate counsellors and Mayors. A rough winter for Campbellton, needs much road work. RCMP, fuel increases are concerns for expenses.
Mike Savage Halifax, NB – 460 000 population. 75% of growth is immigration. 8800 units under construction. 3% increase of taxes for climate action. Electrifying fleet and retrofitting taxes. “New People Plan and Prosperity”, economic action plan. Diversity and inclusion are large strengths and desires for their city. Housing issues are a large concern. Hosting World Junior Hockey Championship this year. Acknowledgement of First Nations Land.
Danny Breen, St. John’s – Hosting Canada Summer Games 2025. Iceberg Alley, and other festivals as well. FCM partnership highly appreciated. Building of a new recreation centre due purely to gas-tax increase. Federal funding without provincial support will be an issue. Expressed desire to better relationship with provincial government. Municipalities treated as stakeholders and customers of the provincial government. Watershed Protection decision has caused issues. Protection of water supply. A new water treatment plant is needed.
Christine Blair, Colchester NS – Able to hold tax rate because assessments raised. Reviewed strategic priorities for current term of council for revision and updates. Number one priority is policing. Currently doing a police review that has been approved by the Department of Justice. A consultant has been hired. A report has been submitted to the RCMP and are awaiting response from them. RCMP increase by 11.4% is affecting the highly rural area. Large bills increase for education. 44% of operating budget is delivered directly to the province. Since 2017 their business park, 14 new businesses, 7 business expansions. Slated for future Atlantic Air show at their small airport. Currently looking into housing development. They’ve had issues with J-class roads. Two programs, Solar Colchester, and cozy Colchester, offer benefits for community members who take part in efficiency upgrades within their homes. Their Geo-Park, Cliffs of Fundy. They have an accessibility plan to update their municipality, towns, and villages. The plan has been approved and awaiting final approval. IN efforts of equity, and inclusion, there has been a committee set up. Solid waste is another current challenge because of current and expected housing development. They are a couple of years into the Rural Broadband Internet action and are on-track. They have a good working relationship with the local Indigenous community.
Linda Gregory Digby, NS – On the growth for tidal and wind power, community members are accepting and receptive to it. Aquaculture is a concern for community members. Another concern is coastal access. The lobster fishery is overseen by a committee, in which they deal with concerns of safety and the economy. A large concern is expensive housing and community members moving onto private roads which do not have services provided by the municipalities. 11 Fire Departments asked for new buildings because of the gas-tax. Accessibility is being approached regionally. The arena is a particular concern. Transit usage is
increasing due to gas cost increase. RCMP increase cost is a large concern for the municipality. They are paying for 15 RCMP members, but only 9 are currently on working. In need of workforce members for tourism, healthcare, etc. Assessments have not required tax increases in the municipality.
David Kogon Amherst, NS – Landfill deal closed in February, saving approximately 10 million. Lost CAO as he moved to another position within Cumberland County, deputy CAO promoted to CAO. Increased collaboration between Cumberland and Amherst. Amherst and Cumberland partnering to enhance community centre. Joint sewer development which includes revenue sharing. Policing issues, there is an option to expand Amherst police force to include policing in Cumberland County to replace RCMP in the area, currently in review. Relationship with Sackville, a study to protect a region within the municipality has been completed and three options have been proposed to protect the community. Meeting with Senator Jim Quinn, he will be supporting the protection of those towns. Concerning climate change, Amherst prides itself in being green, with first implementation of LED roadway lighting. An electric Zamboni has been purchased for the arena.
Mayor Scott interjected with a revision of Agenda allowing, moving some roundtable summaries to Saturday.
Trina Appleby, council member – Reiterated the effort to improve relationship of Provincial with municipality.
Juanita Spencer NSFM – Reiterating the concern of RCMP costs as well as other previously made shared concerns. Their current focus includes three projects: complete restructure, Covid enlightened the need for change, including the infectiveness of their resolution process; Restructuring away from caucus structure, they desire to represent all members and not be hindered by artificial boundaries. A committee has been created to work with the province discussing Service Exchange Agreement, document designates responsibilities of municipalities. This includes Waste management, housing, etc.; Response to climate change, administering 15 million community challenge funds.
Mayor Basil Stewart Summerside – High amount of development, 100 million in construction expected in 2022. 5.5-million-dollar donation to Canada Games. 67-million-dollar solar farm under construction, largest in Atlantic Canada. Wind Farm supplied 52% of electricity for the community. 28 million electrical budgets. Invitation to Summerside.
Amanda McDougall, CBRM – Doubling of municipality grants. If tax is decreased by 5%. Low- income taxes rebate programs were impacted. Eligibility limit was increased, Rebate increased to $300. Community expressed a change in recreation spaces. Told a story of a young student who raised money for these spaces. More money is desired to place into J-class roads, Provincial government declined. Often there is no consultation by the province with municipalities. A lot of increase payments towards wastewater treatment. Nearly done a review of municipal planning strategy, this assists growth of municipalities in healthy ways. Concerning First Nations communities, more action is desired, but reconciliation. Stressed the importance of transportation, including the value of rail usage and further investment into it. The first home-ice dedicated to females in Canada due to the female team winning Kraft Ice Hockey tournament.
12:08 – Luncheon begins
Peter Muttart Introduced Christine Boland to the congress according to the Presenter Biographers document
(12:19) Christine Boland, Government of NL, renewable energy– Talk about plan for renewables. Green hydrogen and ammonium development. NL serves about 250 000 people. NL Hydro and NL Power. Essentially, the vastness of the province costs prohibits connection of certain utilities to rural areas, thus isolated diesel systems is their usage. Winter peaking system. Over 85% comes from renewables in the province. With muskrat Falls development, it will be about 98%. Mainly hydro sources, some wind farms. Currently working to deal with isolated diesel systems by producing more renewables nearby. Biogas is a current prospective option for renewables and is being further developed and implemented. Undeveloped sources include adding onto current generation units. Brand new projects include Gull Island. An extension includes Bay de Spear. NL is consistently windy and thus resources are ample for wind generation. A developmental 5-year plan has deliverables in 1, 2, and 5 years. Covid has hindered this plan. Economic development plan ~72 action items. Focus areas include: what do we have; how to reduce diesel; how can we attract and entertain industry (Tesla was used as a recent example); How do we demonstrate progress? 36% of greenhouse gas emissions is due to transportation. Purpose is to create jobs and tax revenue. Then expressed relevant ideas and suggestions for municipalities to be involved in economic development with renewable resources. Wind moratorium created in 2007 is being lifted which will allow commercial creation of windfarms. A lot of research and engagement is being done, specifically in ammonium development.
Question was raised by Carolyn Bolivar-Getson, do we have enough power in generating facilities to accommodate the electrification programs currently being implemented. Answered by Christine, must enhance summer load to be used, dampen peak times. The more load added at a higher price value, the better. The more local energy is better. Yes, we do have energy, but we must use our energy wisely first.
Question raised by Amanda concerning labour. Currently they are undertaking transit and transportation transition to Electronic Vehicles. Are there training programs being developed with community colleges.
Answered by Christine, they received federal funding to push EV’s, implementation of Fast- Charge stations. Working with IPGS and CAN (College of the North Atlantic) to implement courses to serve electricians, mechanics, emergency responders to respond to implementation of these EV’s.
Question raised by Peter Muttart concerning personal usage of wind generation.
Answered by Christine, personal usage of wind generation is currently restricted to non- generating but simply. Depending on location, indigenous may desire to partner.
Question raised by Savage, there are concerns with the implementation of renewable energy, will it quickly become out-of-date due to continually changing technology.
Answered by Christine, the light-duty energy will be implemented to easily accessible, heavy- duty processing and transport is likely to remain green-hydrogen.
Token of appreciation given to Christine by Peter Muttart.
12:46-1:15 – Federal Housing Accelerator Fund
Mayor Blair introduced Mike Savage according to the Presenter Biographers document.
Mayor Mike Savage – Housing and Homelessness are primary concerns for municipalities. This is on top of the Rapid Housing Fund. When announced it was announced to be for all
municipalities not just the big cities of Canada. There are housing supply issues because of fast population growth. Average prices of homes are quickly rising. Spend 5 million dollars for housing of homeless. The accelerator fund may provide hiring, partnership with organizations, etc. Savage asked for feedback on solutions and needs the Fund can be utilized for.
Q&A and Suggestions:
Danny Breen commented first. Expressed the variety of need, not all homeless are the same or have the same needs. Thus, the housing must be varied. Emergency shelters are a current desire for work. Also, families are often varied in number, a lot of the housing units currently available are three-bedrooms and many families do not require that number of space/beds. Phillip Brown commented. Federal budget 11 billion dollars towards housing. A lot of money is being given to private housing companies, and this has been ineffective. Provincial definition is 25-30% of family income. Federal government must be involved in providing the funds and organization, whereas the federal government desires for communities to be primarily responsible.
Amanda speaks to CMHC, the application process is difficult for those outside of urban centres. The push for CMHC must not look simply to where and how they are funding, but also alleviate restrictions of whom receives funds. By-laws need to be reformed allow support systems and legislation permitting housing and those within affordable housing.
George Andrews spoke on the lack of representation for small/rural municipalities. Rapid Housing declined HVGB due to their size. Demand is large, but governmental support is low. 7E spoke to the need for municipal hands-on involvement but need proper federal and provincial support. The housing cooperative is not interested in development but instead managing what currently exists. The need is to get more of the community interested in involvement. There is also need for expertise in those involved in legislation of housing.
Bruce MacDougall commented. Having sat on the provincial housing commission. They invited developers to speak with. The developer’s simple solution is proper payment. Municipalities rely on property tax.
Phillip Brown commented again. NGOs cannot accommodate all.
Scott commented. Homelessness and affordable housing are separate issues. In Torbay, for example, they have lack of affordable housing for seniors. 6% rentals in Torbay entirety. Homelessness is not an issue. There needs to be a program that allows apartment renters to take on a mortgage more easily of approximately the same pricing as their rental costs as well as lowering down payment costs.
Savage closed the conversation. 7 Projects funded by Rapid housing were over-budget and left to municipalities to deal with the over-spend. Private sector needs to be involved. However, there must be an activist government approach.
Question raised from Carol MacDonald. Whether or not speaking of affordable housing only for homeless. Who maintains the affordable housing.
Savage replied with two different needs provided by the provincial government: physical maintenance and services for people. Building of the houses is the easiest problem, the services require the greater amount of funds and assistance.
1:27 – PACE Atlantic – Solar solutions
Mayor Brown introduced Julian Boyle along with his Assistant Jordan according to the Presenter Biographers document. Charlottetown switch program has become the fastest growing program, 170 projects included. Created 50 jobs in renewable energy sector, reducing carbon footprint, and oil costs.
Julian Boyle – Expressed gratitude for the invitation. Further introduction of himself to the congress. Started presentation with voting exercise. Gauged the Optimism and Seriousness of
the room. Showed a Monty Python clip. PACE – Property Assessed Clean Energy. Primarily focuses on climate change innovation financing. PACE is a derivative of Local Improvement Charges (LIC). PACE is used for financing clean energy on private property, commercial and residential. Trending to see a dozen programs established in Canada, 100 million dollars of PACE programming activated. No cost to the municipality. Halifax Solar City program operates on its own, away from municipal contribution. Type of projects undertaken include whole suite solar implementation, heat pump. Due to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict more stress is being placed on renewable integration. Also, finance EV implementation and housing insulation. Little upfront investment for homeowners, the projects pay for themselves over 10-15 timespans. Loans are attached to the property instead of to persons. Thus, loans are transferrable between homeowners of the property as they change. Equity for low-income people and seniors has been created, wide-demographic reach. User-pay model, one-time administration fee. PACE alleviates the complexity of investing in clean energy efficiency. Julian discussed the History of the program, and its exponential success with municipalities of Canada. Reducing carbon costs, a lot of money into energy efficiency, however, the continuing upward trend of momentum is reducing these costs. 3-5% of the housing stock is being retrofitted per year, (Market Uptake).
Question asked by Savage, is there a threat by utilities providers.
Utilities has a large inertia which will take a long time to divert. However, they are certainly Utilities are getting in the way of the process, Question by Peter Muttart. Average income of the people involved in PACE programs?
Answer is that home values are highly dispersed, and families who are struggling with paying for energy can certainly take advantage of this program.
Token of appreciation presented by Mayor Brown.
1:45-2:15 – Collier Project Leaders: Today’s Challenges: A New Path Forward
Presenters introduced by Christine Blair according to the Presenter Biographers document
Andrew Wall, Alain Gregoire, Gregor Ash
Andrew – The theme of the presentation is to provoke thought and open dialogue to create a better path forward regarding housing and climate change.
What are the drivers for change? Key success factors. Real time examples and success stories. Work with private and public sectors as an extension of staff and as consultants. Their services are iso-certified to meet the needs of all sizes of municipalities.
Alain – Intent is to share stories which can benefit the municipalities of Atlantic Canada. On various projects, Collier works to find solutions that accommodate the community best. Factors Collier considers reduction of risk from weather events and climate change; reduction of emissions by projects, district energy, making global streets more accessible, promotion of non-combustion transportation and commuting. Hiring policies and job descriptions. How there can be aggregated efforts between municipalities. Overall, they can inform a large variety of decisions for municipalities.
Alain – Real time scenarios put into practice exemplified as Case Studies and successful examples. Canoe Landing project. Bringing more money to the table is a better solution than saving. Collaboration between municipalities oftentimes requires third-party neutral participant. The next example was Regional Service Commission 11. Final case study was St. John’s International Airport Authority. All changes within these Case Studies were consistent with master plan/vision for the community.
Amanda asked, are stakeholders considered to be the public as well as organizations?
Answer provided in that facilitation by a third-party may be intrusive as well in facilitation of discussion. Instead, the facilitation can be done by staff, but the discussion strategy may be beneficial if done by a third-party.
Token of appreciation given to the presenters by Mayor Casey. 2:26 – Break
2:47 – Temporary Resident Status for Displaced Ukrainians
Percy Farwell introduced speaker Katie Norman according to the Presenter Biographers document. “She will be presenting an issue which is near and dear to our hearts, at least an issue that is important to those who have a heart:” the currently Displaced Ukrainians.
Katie Norman Dept. of Immigration, NL– Her department has been conversing on how to engage directly with communities and municipalities. Governmental assisted refugee has been previously seen in the past. Ukrainians, however, are coming in as temporary residents, like temporary foreign workers for 3 years. Canada has launched CUOET program in move Ukrainians into the Country. Visa and Passport process takes approximately a month from application. There is no limit, more than 200 000 have applied, more than 112 000 have been approved. There are individuals that lack stability, and it will take generations of time to rebuild Ukraine. Thus, many refugees are considering how to extend their stay past 3 years. Atlantic immigration program is a currently effective program in our area. In terms of arrivals, once approved for a CUOET, entry into Canada is allowed at anytime. It is known when the refugees come but there is a lack of data however, of where they are going. NL has been a leader in welcoming refugees to Canada. Many Ukrainians must avail to the quarantine requirement because of the lack of double-vaccination status. In terms of Settlement Services, March 2022, Ukrainian Family Support Desk was launched. This assisted NL residents with immediate family members seeking refuge. 110 families have stepped up to assist refugee families. Job matching is another critical factor. The CUOET program allows for great liberty in employment. Service Registration portal is a great program to assist in providing services for these Ukrainians. The Association of New Canadians is working closely with Norman’s department to assist in language training, MCP registration, vulnerable sector checks, etc. Federal settlement services will be available until March 2023. The settlement provider also assists in creating bank accounts. As far as Employment, Department of Immigration has partnered with Task-Force NL. This partnership has organized assistance such as job fairs. The government of NL has also organized a job bank for Ukrainians. Department of Immigration is asking employers to match job descriptions with housing. Social Media has played an important role in resettlement. Many community members are promoting their own communities for Ukrainians to move as well as assisting with advice and services. Red Cross is an important partnership for municipalities to seek if not already done.
Question raised by Savage regarding the permanence of Ukrainian refugees and how they should be treated.
Answered by acknowledging the different family dynamics. Likely a more permanent resettlement desire longevity in their employment usually relating to their education while temporary resettlement are desiring employment simply to pay necessary bills.
Comment by Trina concerning the assistance NL has taken in accommodating refugees with pets accompaniment.
Linda Digby asked a question concerning the flight into NL whether Gander or St. John’s Answered by commenting that people are arriving primarily in St. John’s but are moving to all
areas of NL
Linda Digby asked: Was minister’s consent required for the choice upon pets? Answered, no that was a decision made after getting clearance.
Token of appreciation was given by Mayor Farwell to Katie.
3:21 – ACOA Programs and Project Support
Speaker introduced by Ian Comeau according to the Presenter Biographers document.
ACOA (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) Minister video presentation. Expressed Gratitude to municipal leaders and mentioned several funds and initiatives available and provided by ACOA to assist communities.
Lindsay Boland – ACOA leads the federal government in development of Atlantic Canada. Regional development agency. Focused on supporting small and medium size enterprises and communities. 84 full-time employees. Promoting use of new technologies. Three main areas of involvement: Business development; Communities inclusive growth and skills; Policy advocacy and coordination. Take-on projects that are finite. Specific focus includes tourism, manufacturing, aquaculture, and mining. Repayable and Non-Repayable assistance available. 4000 employees in technology sector, anticipated growth of 2000 employees. ACOA supports individuals and communities to provide skilled workers within their communities. Equip entrepreneurs for export. Non-repayable assistance includes municipalities. Lindsay utilized examples of successful Business Development programs that assisted NL companies and municipalities, including that of the Twillingate municipality. Communities, inclusive growth, and skills programs include Innovative Communities Fund, Communities Future Fund. Utilized another example in Clarenville. CBDC’s discussed that improve quality of life in communities. 3.7 million approved for next year CBDC’s in NL. Also create and devise strategies for Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI). Marystown aquaculture was used as a REGI example. A question was asked about the job creation provided by this initiative. Answered 100s to thousands of jobs created. Many initiatives that promote inclusion, and equity. Lastly, an important initiative ACOA is active in is the Rediscovering Main Street Initiative (RMSI). St. John’s Pedestrian Mall was used as the RMSI example. Many Covid-19 programs have been implemented although some have expired. ACOA’s Canadian Community Revitalization Fund has been effectively utilized in Torbay to support the municipality. ACOA has played a significant role in NL provincial economy.
Phillip Brown asked Question concerning budget of NL.
Answered 92 million total. 25 million community budgets. Infrastructure budget is 10 million. Oftentimes, funds are not renewable, or temporary.
Linda Digby Question asked concerning pedestrian mall.
Answered, the city was the applicant who applied for assistance, thus ACOA assisted in light infrastructure and non-profits.
Appleby concerning pickler ridge project appreciation amongst the members.
Token of Appreciation presented by Ian Comeau to Lindsay Meeting Adjourned 4:05
Saturday, May 28th, 2022
9:29 Mayor Scott brought the meeting to order and invited the first presenter, and Matt Kerrigan to introduce them.
9:30 – Public – Private Partnerships for Community Infrastructure
Kerrigan introduced the speaker according to the Presenter Biographers document.
Cory Grandy – Cory further introduced himself and his family. Extended gratitude for the invitation. Brief History of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s). Extended a question to the mayors polling their participation in P3s. Described the ways, and tasks in which P3s are organized and conducted. In traditional project delivery the steps are often separate contracts. P3s on the other hand are individual contracts that bundle all the activities into one. For some reason, many people are wary about P3 projects. Grandy explained his own past apprehension towards P3s and current preferment of P3’s as opposed to traditional methods. The risk is more so laid upon the P3’s designer. Transfer of risk as items are bundled. Traditional methods focus primarily on the initial capital of a project. However, bundling 30- year maintenance into an agreement via a P3 can assist in understanding the overall cost value of a project.
Defined a P3 in his own words. One company is responsible for all the risk and responsibility for performance. Profit-Driven private sector can incentivize innovation. P3s are performance-based contracts, thus no payments are required if they are not available.
Also defined what a P3 is not. The infrastructure is not controlled or owned by the Private Sector. Public officials need not be in control of all the pieces of a project, but P3s don’t cause a loss of overall control of public services or infrastructure. It is not free money. It is not an easy process for owners.
Fundamental elements of P3s decisions includes a value-for-money analysis. Quantifies the overall risk of the 30-year project. P3s also account for the costs of borrowing. 50 percent is paid up front, 50 percent is paid by financing after the project is built. P3s also assist in market sounding before procurement. Another element is creating an affordability ceiling by P3 project delivery. Traditional procurement keeps affordability ceiling a secret. P3s are a robust procurement process and thus difficulty and thoroughness should be expected. Lastly, Grandy described some examples of successful P3 projects including Corner Brook Long-Term Care, Central Long-Term Care. Meanwhile new Mental Health and Adult Correctional Facilities in St. John’s are currently being finished or in procurement stage, respectively. Recognized the P3s are most worthwhile with projects for 100 million or more. Thus, not all Municipal infrastructure projects may be suitable.
Mike Savage commented upon the difference between provincial and municipal governments usage of P3s. They are a polarizing subject. Raised a question: How does the current economic environment affect P3s projects and their partners.
Oftentimes securities are not afforded within the agreement concerning varying economic challenges.
Danny Breen commented on all the risk coming back to the municipality. Posed question concerning this.
Answered that a municipality should not be purely responsible for operating a municipal project. Instead, let the private sector to manage it.
Matt Kerrigan presented a token of appreciation to Grandy. 10:28 Continuation of Roundtable
Mayor Roger Caissie, Shediac – Growth is occurring. Municipal Reform. Adding 4 unincorporated areas. Council will grow by 4. Population has grown by 14%. Reform will increase pop to 10 500. Regional service commission reform: created 5 new mandates, economic involvement, tourism promotion, community development, regional transportation, recreational development cost-sharing. Developing working groups in each of these mandates for every municipal member. New municipalities will be in place in January 2023. Affordable Housing: statistics Canada data is unavailable and had to hire their own research group to move forward. Tourism season is expected to boom. Lobster Festival returning to normalcy.
Phillip Brown, Charlottetown – Extended gratitude for congress. Covid-19 has not ended and will often still affect decisions in the upcoming years. Short Term Rental framework to regulate Airbnb’s and similar devices for regulation. Working with First Nations partners. Mental Health Crisis, provincial outreach centre is heavily in use, especially because of the Pandemic in vulnerable community members. Advocates Social Housing programs. Creating more shared active transportation pathway solutions. Shares services regionally to benefit. Infrastructure Technology: creation and building of super-internet highway to promote better online usage. Reinvigorating downtowns by transitioning downtown commercial sites into residential areas.
Mayor Mark Vardy, Pouch Cove – Regional services are a continued push and desire for this community. Residents desire local owned services and so a current goal is to accept shared regional services. Residents cannot be pleased by simply building more local infrastructure. Newfoundlanders seem to be frightened of regionalization. Training must occur before going in that direction.
10:47 – Break and photo
11:01 – Groundwater Modelling
Linda Digby introduced the presenters according to the Presenter Biographers document.
Titia Praamsma – Representing Stantec company. Brief overview provided of the presentation. Described a groundwater model and its usefulness for municipalities. Brief description of the Earth Science revolving around groundwater. Model is site-specific but dependent on known variables and gathering of data. This data is utilized in computation to define the area’s groundwater model accurately. Next, Titia described Groundwater models usefulness for municipalities, such as source water protection and water shed protection. Groundwater is useful in understanding project impacts on the environment and municipality such as mining contamination of water sources.
Aaron Power – Determination of the study area, watershed area specifically. Watershed boundaries contain groundwater and thus are the overall limits of the groundwater model. Town of Torbay rely on wells; about 70% of private residence. Thus, a groundwater model determines the demand and supply of water for the determined area. Bedrock maps are used to coordinate. Drill well records are vital for groundwater modelling. Pumping tests are also used but less commonly available. Most of the modelling is provided by publicly accessible data from the provincial and federal government. Specifically, the result is knowledge of the depth of groundwater throughout the study area. The model resembles the best fit, and thus can give provide predictive scenario’s impact on the groundwater. Thus, municipalities can utilize this model for understanding prime locations for development, as well as places to avoid. Torbay was used as an example of various developmental scenarios and the negative
impacts groundwater modelling can reveal. A final scenario predicted via the groundwater model described the max load of development the groundwater can accommodate.
Titia Praamsma – Larger lot subdivision are sustainable. The model is designed to be available for further scenario investigation: adaptive management. Praamsma described further services offered by Stantec for municipalities as a full-service consultancy.
Brief Q&A and comments by the congress, including Mayor Scott on the Groundwater model created in Torbay.
Token of appreciation given to the presenters by Linda Digby. 11:39 – Continuation of Mayor roundtable
Carol MacDonald, Portugal Cove-St. Phillips – Mention of the communities valuable. Upgrading wastewater treatment plants. 150000 stimulus cheque allowed extension of recreation centre. Hydrologic mapping completed. Revisiting town plan and making new strategic plan. New trail master plan currently being created to promote connectivity through trails. 335 km of trail. Pleased with splash pad approval. New High school approved for creation in Portugal Cove. Senior’s housing, currently non-existent. Purchased land desired for development, put out an expression of interest for Seniors and affordable housing creation.
Peter Muttart – Rural municipality. Within the geographic area 3 towns, 7 villages, 4 growth centres. NS disallowed creation of new villages. Regionalization and less political silos. Apart from the 3 towns, includes 57 000. Assessment of 3.8 billion. 9 counselors. Housing shortage throughout but have backlogged 200 units to be built. Difficult to get accomplish things because of lack of cooperation from the provincial and federal governments. Mixed farming is a protected priority and is the economic base of the area. Armed forces base and Michelin plant are secondary employers. Shuttle ready on Solar but can’t receive a Power purchase agreement. Municipalities are not being recognized as they should in the processes. Approximately 1 million cut to policing and 2 million cut to education. Approximately 50% of property tax. Approximately 80% broadband access for municipality. Thanks extended to town of Torbay.
Percy Farwell, Gander – Pop 12 000 growing community. Population 23% growth over last three census periods. Challenges keeping pace with the growth. Service area of 45 000-50 000 people. Covid-19 disproportionately harmed because economic base is heavily reliant on-air travel and hospitality. Partnering heavily with Airport Authority. New gold mine exploration activity. Challenges may arise but good challenges. Increased demand on housing and expected rising costs. Covid-19 enabled Gander to better equip much of the community. Infrastructure, wastewater treatment plant completed, official opening June 9 but has been working for a year. Municipality provided more cost than expected. Municipality still has responsibility for well-being even though Healthcare is not a part of Municipalities direct responsibilities. Health-NL, 60% of Health outcomes are determined by social determinants. Gander extending welcome local Muslim community to promote movement and settlement into the community. Leading the building of a mosque. Provided space for Muslims during Ramadan.
12:01 – Plans for Shediac Meeting
Roger Caissie presenting – August 25th-27th, 2022. Showed a video presentation of Shediac, NB. Utilizing Multi-Purpose Centre, hosted by the Hotel Shediac.
Matt Kerrigan – Mentioned a resolution revolving Ukrainian crisis. Thanks, and gratitude extended to Mayor Scott and Dawn Chaplin for their work in hosting the Mayor’s Congress.
Mayor Linda moved to adjourn, seconded by Mayor Scott. Meeting Adjourned at 12:07 PM
Atlantic Mayor Congress 2022: Ukrainian Conflict Resolution
WHEREAS, on February 24, 2022, an unprovoked military assault was launched by the Russian government on the sovereign democratic nation of Ukraine; and
WHEREAS, the continuing assault has been met by the strong resistance of the Ukrainian military joined by armed civilians; and
WHEREAS, Russian attacks on nonmilitary, residential areas of Ukraine’s cities have forced the evacuation of millions of civilians to neighboring countries; and
WHEREAS, mayors of the hardest hit cities in Ukraine,
including Mariupol, Kyiv, Kherson, and Kharkiv, have shown brave leadership in the face of the assault;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress support in spirit municipal governments across Ukraine in their fight to retain their sovereignty.
Carolyn Bolivar- Getson
Phillip Brown Charlottetow n
Percy Farwell Gander, NL