By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES — The most recent town council meeting was held on Tuesday evening, July 20. As Mayor John Spencer was not in attendance, Deputy Mayor Todd Strickland served as chair.
Among the topics discussed were the roadwork being done on Carson Crescent, the mental health awareness activities for students as school ended, opening the fire hall for social events, the 18th annual Lighthouse Relay Race, and traffic issues caused by roadside businesses.
Here are the highlights.
Carson Crescent construction
Arthur Goodyear and Bill Bailey served on the delegation that addressed concerns of residents living on the street. Goodyear explained that they were dissatisfied with the work that they believed would be done on the road. Rather than just patchwork being done, they want new pavement so that the road does not reach the state of damage that Cox Avenue saw.
However, it seemed there was some communication between the town and the residents as Coun. Jim Lane confirmed that the road will, in fact, get a new layer of pavement.
Town Manager Leon MacIsaac, explained that there will be a 75 mm layer removed from the pavement, and a new layer of twice that will then be put back on top.
This clarification was well received by the delegation, however the hiccups surrounding communication about the overall work to be done was still an issue. Additionally, the residents pointed out that there was no forewarning of work being done in the early hours, and warning of the clouds of dust from the ongoing work.
Mental Health awareness
Coun. Justin Blackler reported on the success of the mental health awareness days at the end of the school year. Attendance had been low during the last two weeks, but that changed with the mental health awareness activities.
“We had more kids in on that last day than we did basically than the last four days before that combined,” said Blackler.
Given that success and the benefit to the mental health of students, the school is planning a similar event at the beginning of the school year.
Fire Hall re-opening
MacIsaac provided an update on the re-opening the Fire Hall to social events now that pandemic restrictions are being relaxed.
Town Clerk Julia Ingram said that there can be gatherings up to 200 people or 75 per cent capacity. She also noted that there have been many calls from residents regarding this and that updates on pandemic restrictions will be made soon by the provincial government.
Coun. Chester Coffin observed that with things opening up, like our borders, the hall should be able to be opened as well. Coun. Lane made the motion that the town should wait for the new information on pandemic restrictions before opening the hall to social events, and this motion passed.
18th Annual Lighthouse Race
A letter from the organizers of the annual Lighthouse Race to the Sea requested sponsorship from the town in the amount of $500. Due to the pandemic, last year’s race could not take place. This year however, and in light of the pandemic, the race will be held virtually and in partnership with the Nova Scotia company, Route541.
Given the virtual nature of the race this year, Coun. Melvin Keeping motioned to only donate $250, in the interest of keeping the event from ending permanently and hopefully returning live next year.
Coun. Coffin reported that airlines have halted regular flights to the airport. Sunwing has canceled their flights this year and Pascan, which was supposed to come in this month, have backed out. Porter airlines will also not be providing service.
“The light is starting to go dead there now,” admitted Coffin.
Funding applications were made to keep things running, but the board is not expecting much. In 2019 there were 38,000 passengers for the airport, but that plummeted to only 193 passengers in 2020.
Roadside vendors and traffic
Coun. Lane raised the persistent issue of roadside vendors setting up across from Dr. Charles L. LeGrow Health Centre, adjacent to the Royal Canadian Legion Memorial Park.
“There was vendor that was well setup there, but it keeps impeding traffic,” said Lane, who shared that there were a couple of close calls with motorists. “People are turning in going to the hospital. It’s a very bad spot.”
MacIsaac said that the vendor pays fees to the Legion to use their property. However, he also noted that the permit from the town for the vendor is to set up by the train station.
The Town Clerk stated that the vendors are aware of the regulations involved, but counter that they have permission from the Legion to set up there.
“Can’t we supersede the Legion? This was all about a safety issue brought up six, seven, or eight months ago. It’s not about us making money, or the Legion making money, or anybody making money. It’s all about safety,” said Strickland.
Strickland noted that though their permits identify where they should set up, the town needs to find a way to enforce it.
Coun. Jerome Battiste pointed out the permit is specific to the location, which was also confirmed by the Town Clerk. MacIsaac stated that the issue is complicated by the vendor being on private property.Strickland suggested that permits be revoked if vendors do not set up at the heritage site as they are supposed, and that they could even be fined.