Tag Archives: Wolfville

From the Mud Creek News

A submission from David Daniels, also available in the Mud Creek News which may, or may not be, at the Post Office.

LEADERSHIP BY OMISSION OR HOW DECISIONS ARE MADE BY DOING NOTHING

The RCMP’S long term contract under which it provides policing services to the Town is set to expire in March, 2012.  The Town budgeted $1,131,400 for police protection for fiscal year 2011-2012.  That amounts to slightly less than 15% of the Town’s total operating budget or about 1 out of every 7 tax dollars goes towards policing.

Has the Mayor led a public effort to investigate whether
Town residents are satisfied with the policing services provided by the RCMP before a new multi-year contract is signed?  Has the Mayor or Council explored alternatives to the RCMP such as a cooperative agreement with the Kentville police department or Kings County or forming its own police force, which it once had?  Has the Mayor even informed the public about the status of the RCMP contract?  (The two 2011 Mayor’s Newsletters did not contain any mention that the RCMP contract would be expiring in March of 2012.)

Chapter 38 of the Town’s Bylaws states that the Police Services Advisory Committee  “ . . . shall make a complete annual report to Town Council, and other reports from time to time as required.”   It also requires the Committee “To provide annually to Council and the NCO an evaluation of the policing services with the Town with reference to Policing Goals and Objectives as stated.”  

If such reports were available, at least the Council and public might be able to make an informed decision about the policing services provided by the RCMP.  But there are no such reports on the Town’s website. 

In 2009, the Town spent $20,000 on consultants to write a Public Engagement Tool Kit.  The Tool Kit includes a Public Participation Process 


Checklist/Guide.  If the Council had gone through the checklist, which it did not, it might have decided to engage the public on this issue.  

It isn’t as though this issue snuck up on the Mayor; it’s been known for years that the RCMP contract was ending in March 2012.  If the Town Council could spend time deciding whether the Witch Hazel should be the official tree of Wolfville, it had the time to discuss with the public whether it was getting its money’s worth from a $1.13 million expenditure.

I don’t know if the Town should sign another multi-year contract with the RCMP; I don’t know if there are other options available; or whether the contract for RCMP policing can be modified to better serve the needs of Town residents.  I didn’t live in the Town when it had its own police force.   

Why hasn’t the Mayor or Council pushed for public consultation on this issue?  Is it because the Mayor and other Council members feel it is not an important issue warranting public engagement?  Do they  believe that there are no good alternatives?   

Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter anymore.  It’s too late.  By doing nothing, a decision has been made.

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Submission re Gaspereau Ave Development

Here is a letter from David Daniels to Council concerning the plans for Gaspereau Ave. He has asked us to post here and we are happy to oblige.

January 9, 2012

Dear Council Members:

Please accept the following comments concerning the Gaspereau Avenue apartment project.
——————

I asked at a Council meeting whether the Council had provided any directions to Mr. Morrison for his upcoming negotiations with the developer of the Gaspereau Avenue project. The answer was “no”.

I do not understand why the Council would not provide guidance to staff when staff members are negotiating a development agreement (DA) which amounts to a contract between the Town and the developer.

Recall that Mr. Morrison has already negotiated one DA with the developer. That DA was unanimously rejected by Council. The developer no doubt expended a good deal of time and money working on this rejected proposal. In addition, the developer has now appealed the rejection to the UARB which has resulted in both the Town and the developer incurring legal costs.

Ms. Mombourquette and Mr. Morrison may prepare for the negotiations by reviewing the minutes or recording of the Council meeting at which the first proposal was rejected. But why not then confer directly with the Council members? Council members may provide further insight into what they would like to see and not see in the development. They also may raise new issues which they believe need to be addressed during the negotiations.

Let me be clear. I am not suggesting that individual Council members provide absolute conditions which must be satisfied before he would vote in favour of a proposal. Rather, Council members should be able to express concerns and issues which they believe should be part of the negotiations. Providing this sort of guidance does not preclude Council members from coming to the public hearing with an open mind and being amenable to persuasion.
——————

Although it may be difficult to predict the outcome of the pending UARB appeal, it is important when negotiating with the developer to have some sense of the developer’s chances of success. If the negotiations break down, the developer has the option of moving forward with the litigation. If his chances of success at the UARB are not good, then the Town is in a better position to make demands on the developer.

One question I do not know the answer to is: does the Town have the obligation to consider a second proposal if the negotiations break down while litigation is on hold? The answer might depend upon the nature of the consent given by the Town when it agreed to adjourn the UARB proceeding.

——————

The Town should consider retaining a qualified planning consultant to participate in its negotiations with the developer. (Perhaps some cooperative arrangement can be reached with Kings County.) The final building approved will very likely be a large one with the potential to have a significant impact upon the Town.

A qualified planner can assist the Town in setting out its negotiation position or in responding to particular details in the developer’s proposal. A qualified planner may bring suggestions and perspectives to the negotiation table which would not otherwise be thought of.

In addition, the involvement of a qualified planner might make future litigation less likely. For example, the developer may claim that an idea suggested by the Town is not reasonably consistent with the Town’s MPS or goes against accepted planning practices. If the Town’s idea has the okay of a qualified planner, the Town will have a comfort level in making the demand, and the developer will know that the idea has the imprimatur of a planner. The developer will be less likely to want to litigate if he knows that the Town planner will testify as an expert that the Council’s decision is in line with good planning practices and is reasonably consistent with Town’s MPS.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my comments.

Respectfully,

David A. Daniels

Wolfville Lounge Hours

Since we cannot post as often as we would like about issues of interest in Wolfville we welcome submissions such as this one from David Daniels on extending Lounge Hours.

LOUNGING ABOUT
On March 26, 2009, the issue of extending the hours during which liquor could be sold in the Town’s lounges was brought before Council at the behest of local business owners.  Over 2 1/2 years have passed, and there has been no public hearing on this issue, either before the Council or a Town committee, and Council has neither approved nor disapproved of the extension of hours.  The Mayor did not support this proposal when it was considered by the Mayor’s Advisory Group on Community Living Issues.  See Rosemary Segado letter to Gregg Morrison, dated September 28, 2010.
Compare the time elapsed on the lounge hours issue with the “no smoking in cars with children” bylaw, which the Mayor supported.  On February 5, 2007, Smoke Free Kings “encouraged” Council to adopt such a bylaw.  Less than ten months later, by November 19, 2007, the draft bylaw had been written, a detailed report from staff and the Town solicitor had been prepared, a public hearing held and the bylaw adopted.
The respective merits of these two measures are beside the point.  What is clear is that the extension of lounge hours proposal has languished without a public airing for far too long.  Matters presented to Council, especially those brought by local business owners or residents, should be dealt with in a fair and expeditious manner.
Whether the delay in dealing with the extension of lounge hours has been the result of poor leadership, or intentional, or some other explanation, the matter should move forward now without further delay.
At the October 3, 2011 Committee of Council meeting, the lounge hours issue was again discussed and the matter was referred to the new CAO for a report to Council.
David A. Daniels
October 24, 2011

Kings 2050

Garbage in, garbage out. Here’s some comment on the Kings 2050 initiative by Wolfville’s own Brian Sanderson. We copy a few excerpts here to whet your appetite.

Once again, the foul stench of municipal politics drags me to the keyboard. Bureaucratic bowels have turned out another turd, Kings 2050: “an exciting partnership initiative intended to guide the long-term sustainable development of Kings County”, they say…

…The administrators are only looking after their own interests. They have been put in charge of setting the terms of reference. And the terms of reference are to blow the budget on talk feasts and reports full of gabble-garbage. And when it’s all gone, perhaps Mr Irving will find them another pot to plunder! These self-serving goons are already targeting your pocket with a suggestion to “update taxation and user fees policies”. That’s code for robbing the rest of us blind!

…The “deliverables” are just a bunch of plans. Plans plans plans. Make a plan, review a plan, change a plan, plan to plan again.

Do read it all.

Wolfville’s New Broom?

Wolfville has a new CAO. Will she sweep up? We live in hope.

Link’d In also tells us that she is  a grad of

  • Saint Mary’s University
  • Prince Andrew High School

Will Wolfville seem a come down after Whistler? [At least it also starts with Gzowski’s W.]

Split family

New attempts are being made to reunite, in Canada, the Ramirez family of Wolfville.  As we said before, we have no idea of the rights or wrongs of this situation. According to the press report [the other, single, W] Dara thinks :

“It’s in the hands of (immigration minister) Jason Kenney.”

And according to the same report Brison says:

“I’m working closely with minister Kenney,” … “but the rules are incredibly inflexible.”

Mr. Kenney must be incredibly busy with all these immigration files he has to personally approve or deny. N0 wonder  immigration figures are down –

You will have to decide for yourself and sign the petition if you see fit.

Municipal Auditor in the works?

Some time ago Ww sent an email to the Minister of Service NS and Municipal Affairs which read as follows:

Sir,
Do we taxpayers need to wait until our towns are in default before there is monitoring of responsibility? Can a Council just resign and wash their hands of all fault? Where is the accountability? We need a municipal auditor to catch fiscal flaws before towns fail.
From a recent article in the Financial Post:
Expenditure growth has run amok in recent years at the municipal level. A focus on spending restraint is long overdue.

We were a little surprised but pleased to get a response from John MacDonell which we copy below to share with our readers.

Thank you for your email of June 1, 2011 regarding municipal councils and the need for a Municipal Auditor.

I want to assure you that Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations does receive and review audited financial statements from municipalities. We work continuously with all 55 municipalities across the Province to discuss their financial positions and the challenges they face. If they are struggling, we are here to help.

The Province is also supporting the work of the Towns Task Force, a joint task force between the Province and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities that is investigating the challenges facing towns across Nova Scotia. We have provided $100,000 toward this work, and I look forward to the creative solutions the Task Force will propose.

The resignation of Bridgetown Council was the first in Nova Scotia history that such action has been taken by a Municipality. As you know, Bridgetown faced unique circumstances, including a fraud investigation involving Town finances.

Your email calls for the creation of a Municipal Auditor General position, which has been a matter of discussion between the Province and the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities. I believe that a Municipal Auditor General is a key component to the transparency and accountability that citizens expect of all levels of government. We are discussing the best ways to deliver that service effectively, at a reasonable cost to municipal taxpayers, with the UNSM, and I hope those discussions will prove fruitful.

I hope this response has been helpful. Thank you for your interest in municipal government in Nova Scotia.

Yours truly,

Original Signed By

John MacDonell

Minister, Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations

We certainly hope those discussions with the UNSM bear fruit, real action, not just more talk.