MODG cautiously opens to the public: MLS requests assistance for buffer zone

·3 min read

GUYSBOROUGH – The Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) announced on Dec. 28 that it would close its offices and facilities to the public for one week as a precautionary measure in the face of rising COVID-19 cases.

At the committee of the whole meeting on Jan. 5, council voted in favour of re-opening offices and facilities the following day –Jan. 6.

MODG CAO Barry Carroll said of the situation, “In dealing with Nova Scotia Health on the doctor situation, we learned there was an uptick in COVID, a considerable uptick in COVID, in the Guysborough area. In particular, with the CLC (Chedabucto Lifestyle Centre) having so many incoming groups for bookings and things, we thought it might be wise – until we tried to get a handle on what was happening with numbers – that we would close things down.

“We’re thinking we would reopen tomorrow [Jan. 6] our facilities and follow the Department of Health guidelines. One of the biggest concerns with the CLC, was we were bringing everybody in through the building, so Angie [Tavares, MODG recreation] and Glen [Avery, MODG public works] have made arrangements to get a small entrance outside…similar to a bus shelter, that can house a staff person to check vaccinations outside instead of bring people inside. And we have to ramp up a little bit our enforcement on masking,” said Carroll.

In other business, councillors received a copy of a request from Maritime Launch Services (MLS) asking the MODG to send a letter to the provincial government regarding the one-kilometre radius buffer zone around the launch site. The company needs approval from the province to require clearance of all public from the buffer zone, which includes two parcels of crown land and a private land holding that has no clear title, when the launch site is active.

Gordon MacDonald, development officer for the MODG, outlined the letter’s request: “What they’ve asked for is our assistance…they have to reach an agreement with the province, that during those launch periods, that those areas within that radius be clear of any public in the area…So, they’ve asked us to write a letter to the province [about] that authorization for those properties. It is just simply a request on behalf of the municipality that we seek that from the province.”

Council was asked to vote on a motion to send such a letter on behalf of MLS which passed, with one vote against the motion made by Deputy Warden Janet Peitzsche.

“I certainly would like to see a map before I would approve something like that because this is something that is a big decision of council. I wish I had of seen a map and had more information. So, I will not be supporting this motion until I see a map. This is too big of a motion for me to just simply call it a formality, ‘no,’” said Peitzsche.

A map outlining the one-kilometre buffer zone was provided to The Journal by MacDonald the morning after the committee of the whole meeting.

On Jan. 7, Peitzsche told The Journal in an email that she would now agree to the motion to send a letter to the province in accordance with the MLS request. She wrote, “I met with staff and it was explained and shown to me in more detail, so yes I am fine with the motion.”

Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal

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