Amherst town council passes second reading of amendments to Smoke Free Recreational Places Bylaw

Amendments to the Town of Amherst’s Smoke-Free Recreational Places Bylaw were approved during Amherst town council’s June 24 meeting.

The current bylaw prohibits the smoking of tobacco products in town parks and recreational facilities. The amendments prohibit the smoking of all cannabis, vaping and tobacco products on all town-owned and maintained properties, including but not limited to a festival, market or concert.

PACE Bylaw passes second reading

Council approved the second reading of amendments to its Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Bylaw. They also approved the adoption of the PACE Program Policy and authorized the CAO to enter into a service contract with the Clean Nova Scotia Foundation.

The PACE Bylaw, passed last October, enables the town to offer financing to homeowners for energy retrofits and renewable energy adoption that is paid back via the homeowner’s tax bill over a 10-year period.

Most of the amendments were housekeeping matters, like replacing the outdated term Director of Finance with the updated term Chief Financial Officer or replacing Assessment Act with Municipal Government Act throughout the document.

The amendments also included defining what a clean energy upgrade is, allowing upgrades to take place in two-unit residences and establishing the 10-year financing term, while providing additional default charges.

Roof replacement

Council amended the 2019-20 capital budget to include $75,000 for the replacement of the roof at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre.

The town had planned to replace the roof during the summer of 2020, but repairs done last fall to stop leaks in the roof were unsuccessful.

The building’s roof was last replaced in the early 1990s. At the time, it had an expected life span of 25 years, which has been surpassed. As a result, the roof’s replacement is part of the normal asset management process.

Staff had looked at putting on a pitched or green roof as a possible replacement to the current flat roof. However, both were rejected because a pitched roof would require major, costly, unbudgeted changes to the building’s HVAC system and calculations indicated installing a green roof would be 2.5 times more expensive than installing a flat roof.

Recapping Victoria Street

Council approved an amendment to the 2019-20 capital budget for the recapping of a 610-metre section of West Victoria Street, between Liberty Lane. and James Street., at a cost of $85,000 plus HST.

The project will be funded by gas tax revenues.

The recapping, to be done by Dexter Construction, will eliminate several small speed bumps in the driving lanes that were created during a previous patching job. The recapping will also add about 10 years of life to that portion of the street.

New fire truck

Council awarded the contract to supply a new pumper truck for the town’s fire department to Metalfab Ltd. in the amount of $575,000 plus HST. Council had approved $600,000 for the purchase of a new fire truck when it approved the capital budget in May.

The new fire truck will replace the oldest fire truck in the town’s fleet and will improve the town’s fire suppression capability.

The pumper will also be more environmentally friendly as it is being manufactured with a Diesel Exhaust Fluid system, which breaks down dangerous Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions to harmless nitrogen and water.

Gritty to Pretty V2

Council approved the second year of the Gritty to Pretty Beautification Program, which will provide $20,000 for commercial beautification and streetscaping projects. The funding comes from the Department of Municipal Affairs Beautification and Streetscaping Program.

Gritty to Pretty offers grants for commercial property beautification and streetscaping and covers up to 50 per cent of eligible expenses, to a maximum of $4,000 per property.

Like last year, the Amherst Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the town on the project. The chamber will administer the grant application, approval and disbursement process.