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Town of Yarmouth Considering Withdrawal from Airport Partnership

After a  detailed process to determine the future vision  for the Yarmouth Airport, a recommendation was put forward to step back from decision-making and operations, but continue funding support

Friday, March 1, 2019 - Yarmouth, N.S. - At a Committee of the Whole meeting on Friday, a motion was passed to recommend to Council that the Town of Yarmouth exercise its option to withdraw from the International Airport Corporation (YIAC) effective March 31, 2019. If approved by Council, the next step will see a negotiation of the withdrawal according to the terms and conditions of the Intermunicipal partnership, and have the Town consider providing operational funding upon conclusion of a successful negotiation.

The discussion that led to the motion to consider withdrawal came about after a long and exhaustive process to evaluate the future of the airport. With the YIAC agreement expiring March 31st, the councils of the three municipal partners who own the airport met several times in recent months with a consultant to set the future vision for the airport and the basis for future agreements. After much discussion and consideration, a delegation of Council and staff advised its partners that it would be recommending to Council to withdraw from the YIAC as of March 31, 2019.

The foundation for this recommendation is based on a number of factors, primarily focused on simplification of decision-making for the airport and focusing energies and resources of the Town on other key projects and infrastructure. All three partners agreed that the current governance framework has proven inefficient with multiple independent owners. With the Town removing itself from the partnership, governance and decision-making going forward will be simplified. 

Yarmouth Airport"The airport is an important regional asset, but it's been hindered by the complexity of its funding and governance structures", said Mayor Pam Mood. "The difference going forward if we decide to take this path is simply that the Town will not be at the decision-making table. The airport remains open, the Town continues to provide financial support and we can focus our resources on other important regional work."

One important file is the $9 million infrastructure project at the Ferry Terminal which begins this spring. By removing itself as an owner and trusting the remaining partners to operate and determine the airport's future, it allows the Town to shift full attention to the Ferry Terminal project. As the sole owner and operator of the Terminal, the Town is responsible for its redevelopment and operation heading into a crucial era of tourism development for the entire region. 

"The Town is about to embark on the largest infrastructure project we've undertaken in more than 15 years and it requires our full attention over the next three years", added Mayor Mood. "As Municipal partners, we don't all have to do everything, all the time. If we're working together as a region, we can allow each other to take the lead on certain endeavours and be more efficient in getting things done. We have trust and confidence in our partners that they have the same regional interests in mind, and will be good stewards of the airport on behalf of all of Yarmouth County, just as we will be good stewards of the ferry terminal."

Today's motion will be brought to the March 14th Council meeting for consideration.

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Photo courtesy Dave Warner

 

Town of Yarmouth May Seek Intervenor Status on Ferry Lawsuit

Amid loss of development, Council contemplating Intervenor Status in the Nova Scotia Conservative party's lawsuit concerning the International Ferry Service

Thursday, February 28, 2019 - Yarmouth, N.S. -  The Town of Yarmouth will look into making a request for Intervenor Status in the Nova Scotia Conservative Party's lawsuit against the government concerning the release of sensitive contractual information with Bay Ferries, Ltd. The growing concern about the negative publicity being generated around the International ferry service as a result of this lawsuit has caused loss of development and continues to impact the entire region's economic progress.

"I've spoken to several investors, developers, and business owners in recent days and all have expressed grave concerns about the negativity surrounding the service and are worried about the huge risks involved going forward," stated Mayor Pam Mood. "The perception alone that under a Conservative government the ferry could be disrupted, or worse, cancelled, has caused and continues to cause fear and subsequently, damage as it pertains to new and continued investments."

“Hundreds of people in southwest Nova Scotia and across the Province make their living in the multi-billion dollar tourism industry, and to now be worried about losing their livelihood yet again is simply unacceptable. After all the work that has gone into re-establishing the service as a result of a poor decision by the previous government to cancel it in 2009, and the millions invested by business owners, the game of political football with this service needs to stop before irreversible damage is done.”

the cat

Since its reestablishment, business confidence is up and economic gains have been realized across the province. "The public knows the cost of keeping the service in place, and by now we should all understand the significant return on investment," added the Mayor. "The constant negative narrative in the media around the Maine to Nova Scotia service needs to be turned around before we end up in the same dire situation we were in a decade ago."

The Mayor plans to bring a resolution to council this week to grant the request for Intervenor Status as a means to ensure the negative social and economic impact is heard and understood as part of the lawsuit.

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Yarmouth Fire Department Hands Over Truck to Eel Brook

It's official: the Yarmouth Fire Department handed over the keys to Truck #14 on Friday

Platoon Chief and Eel Brook ChiefMonday, February 25, 2019 - Yarmouth, N.S. - The Eel Brook and Districts Fire Department received the keys to Truck #14 on Friday at the Yarmouth Fire Hall. With the Yarmouth Department welcoming its new Heavy Rescue Unit earlier this month, a decision was made to sell the truck it was replacing to a local volunteer department. At a cost of $1, the Eel Brook Fire Department is now the owner of the 1988 GMC 700, which will now serve that district and still be available to assist where needed anywhere in Yarmouth County.

This $1 transaction represents a new way for the Yarmouth Department to support its volunteer partners by passing down various fire apparatus that is still useful and valuable. Yarmouth Fire Chief John Verrall sees it as an excellent way to help out departments he relies upon. 

"This new process improves the firefighting capability throughout the tri-counties", said Verrall. "In the past, trucks like #14 were put up for sale. Being able to hand over a unit like this improves other volunteer fleets in the county. Departments like Eel Brook always help us during larger calls when firefighters and equipment are needed, so having this truck placed in their hall makes a great deal of sense from a public safety perspective".

While Truck #14 clocks in at just over 30 years old, the unit is in very good condition and still provides a solid complement to its new owners. Department Chief Jonathan Leblanc was happy to jump in the cab and deliver it to his station.

"Obtaining this vehicle helps us upgrade our fleet with a more reliable vehicle and we very much appreciate what the Yarmouth Department is doing for us in this situation", said Leblanc. "We also have our energy and resources tied up with building a new hall, so to receive this unit now is very helpful for our department."

Like the exchange that allowed Truck #14 to move to its new home, the Amirault's Hill/Hubbard's Point Fire Department will now receive a unit from Eel Brook, also for one dollar.

Town of Yarmouth Mourns the Passing of Councillor Sandy Dennis

A difficult day in Yarmouth as fellow councillors, staff, and the entire community reflect on the life and contributions of a caring and empathetic individual.

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - Yarmouth, N.S. - The Town of Yarmouth is deeply saddened today as we mourn the passing of Councillor Sandy Dennis. Sandy fought a courageous and inspiring battle with cancer beginning in February of 2017 and today we are reflecting on her life and dedicated service to her community.

Sandy Dennis“In her time as a councillor, she demonstrated many wonderful character traits that led to success at the council table. Sandy's heart was always with the people she worked for, and her love for the community was consistently reflected in her interactions and decisions,” Mayor Mood shared. "Having overcome many challenges in her own life, Sandy possessed great empathy for those in need. She worked tirelessly to help people facing hardships, and her voice on council represented those people at every meeting."

Sandy was first elected to Yarmouth Town Council in 2012 and served on numerous committees. Her passion for Communities in Bloom was a highlight of her time on council and her ability to motivate and bring people together was unique.  Sandy had a hands-on approach and it was not uncommon to find her painting spaces or helping with community clean up.

Our sincerest condolences go out at this time to her husband Ken and her entire family. She will be greatly missed by so many people who loved her.

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Yarmouth Fire Department Welcomes State-of-the-Art Rescue Unit

The brand new Heavy Rescue Unit replaces Truck #14, which will be sold to the Eel Brook Fire Department for $1

20190212 1609223Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - Yarmouth, N.S. - The Yarmouth Fire Department welcomed its newest member this week: a 2019 Pierce Heavy Rescue unit. The cutting edge unit was manufactured by MAXIMETAL and purchased from Micmac Fire & Safety in Dartmouth. The Pierce Heavy Rescue brings a variety of improvements and features that will make rescue work both safer and more efficient for Town Firefighters.

Yarmouth Fire Chief John Verrall received the unit at the Fire Hall on Monday and expressed excitement over how the truck allows bringing more equipment to a scene, saving critical time. "Put simply, we'll be able to transport more rescue equipment and personnel which makes us faster and more effective once on the scene", said Verrall. "We're now armed with scene lighting which greatly improves our rescue capability in adverse weather conditions and darkness. The unit also has better extraction equipment that requires far less setup making us faster at motor vehicle accidents. We now have far greater storage capacity so we can head out with everything we need without having to return for more equipment."

Further to the advantages of increased carrying capacity, Verrall adds "the unit carries numerous breathing apparatus and air bottles. This completely removes the time we used to need to refill air bottles at a scene using the old cascade air bottle system. It also provides lightweight bottles which use less of our firefighters' energy which helps them recover faster and perform tasks more safely".

The new unit was paid for by Town of Yarmouth at a cost of $690,000 and will serve the entire Yarmouth fire district, which includes a large portion of the Municipality of Yarmouth. The new acquisition demonstrates the Town's commitment to providing a high level of fire services to taxpayers, while also showing fiscal responsibility. The investment was made without incurring debt and required no fundraising.

Fire personnel are currently being trained to drive and fully operate the truck. The unit it replaces - a 1988 GMC 700 tagged as "#14" - will see a new home at the Eel Brook and Districts Fire Department.

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For more information on the manufacturer, MAXIMETAL, visit their website: http://www.maximetal.com/en/about-us.html

For more information on Micmac Fire & Safety Source Ltd., visit their website: https://mmfss.ca/contact/about/

 

Yarmouth Town Council Leads Renewed Charge Toward Mariners Centre Expansion

With the possible introduction of new federal/provincial funding streams, Council is seeking the formation of an inter-municipal steering committee to champion a Mariners Centre expansion

Monday, February 11, 2019 - Yarmouth, N.S. - At a Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, a proposal was placed before Council to support the  formation of a steering committee representing the Municipality of Yarmouth, the Municipality of Argyle, and the Town of Yarmouth for the purpose of re-tabling a top priority of all three councils:  Mariners Centre expansion. The special meeting was called on Friday in order to act quickly on possible new federal and provincial funding avenues supporting recreational infrastructure projects of this very nature.

Along with its municipal neighbours, the Town identified an expansion at Mariners Center amongst its top priorities in 2016. While council outlines its own priorities for the Town, the expansion was made a regional priority to address issues with ageing recreation infrastructure as current facilities require extensive upgrades and have little room for growth and expansion. It was also determined that an expansion to the current Centre was important to help reverse a negative trend of population decline. A facility resulting from the proposed expansion would attract working-age people and young professionals and their families to the area.

Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood explains that a unique opportunity has quickly become available, and moving fast is necessary for success. "Funding priorities at the federal and provincial levels don't always match up with regional priorities, whether due to timing or other issues. This situation is the opposite, and if we all work together quickly, this project stands a good chance of coming together. We have to strike while the iron is hot." 

While establishing a steering committee is a key first step, it was stressed that there is considerable work that needs to be completed by such a committee before seeking the funding, including agreements on capital and operations.  The establishment of a fair and equitable formula for funding agreements, which would include variables such as population and uniform assessment, is also an important first step. 

The Town previously set a placeholder of $2.5 million in its capital budget for this project, which includes an aquatic centre. The expansion could be in the range of $35 million, with 73% coming from federal and provincial sources.  Of the local share, the Town of Yarmouth taxpayers could be expected to contribute between $2.5 and $3 million.  Put in another way: $1.00 ‐ $1.20 per day, for one year, for every resident in the town.  Under the proposed funding model, the same cost per person would apply to residents of partner municipalities as well as the Town of Yarmouth.

The motion passed unanimously this morning at the Committee of the Whole meeting.  Council will once again discuss the issue at Thursday night's council meeting and vote on a motion to move it forward to create the proposed steering committee. The other municipal units involved were made aware of the recent developments in funding possibilities, as well as the topics of discussion of today's meeting.

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Town of Yarmouth

 This is an exciting time for the Town of Yarmouth. By working together, we can meet today’s challenges and build a better future.”

Pam Mood

Contacts

Town of Yarmouth
400 Main Street
Yarmouth, B5A 1G2

  (902) 742-2521
  (902) 742-6244

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