Region of Queens Municipality council briefs

·3 min read

Proof of vaccination not necessary to attend council meetings

Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) Mayor Darlene Norman said proof of COVID-19 vaccination will not be required for public members wishing to attend council meetings.

The mayor sought to clarify the issue at the council’s Oct. 12 meeting, while addressing a statement made by Chief Administrative Officer Chris McNeill at the Sept. 28 meeting. McNeill had said “any member of the public that comes to a council meeting, after Monday (Oct. 4), will have to show proof of vaccination.”

Norman, at the Oct. 12 council meeting, explained that the province recently indicated that “participation at a council meeting is a democratic right. And it’s a legislated meeting, therefore anyone can attend.”

Meanwhile, according to the mayor, there’s been no decision made or discussion regarding RQM staff or council members having to be double vaccinated.

“We have not discussed that as a council and it has not been brought forward at this point in time,” she said.

Property on way to rezoning approval

Council agreed at its meeting Oct. 12 to amend the Land Use Bylaw to rezone a property in East Port L’Hebert from Fishing and Marine (M3) to Mixed Use Coastal Residential (R6).

The decision follows a public hearing held on the issue prior to the council meeting.

Robert Stuart has requested the change for his property at 1428 East Port L’Hebert Road. The property was formerly part of Sandy and Sons Fisheries lands and was subdivided off the main lot in 2019 with the future intent to construct a new home.

No one attended the public hearing to speak for or against his application. Anyone wishing to appeal the council’s decision has until November 4, 2021.

New member for Accessibility Committee approved

Council members approved the appointment of Mackenzie Colp as a new member of the Accessibility Advisory Committee at their Oct. 12 meeting.

Colp lives in Western Head. She has CHARGE Syndrome and is deaf. She currently works at Penny Lane Enterprises and offers American Sign Language lessons as well. RQM will pick up the tab for an ASL interpreter for meetings.

The committee’s aim is to assist RQM in ensuring that all parts of the municipality’s operations recognize people’s various abilities and help minimize barriers to services.

Two for one

Patricia Purcell of Hunts Point and Melissa Thiele of Brooklyn both answered the call for a single position on the RQM Audit and Internal Control Committee.

Council decided to accept both of them and they now join two other members of the public and two elected representatives from RQM that were appointed in February 2021.

Council changed the committee’s terms of references to allow for the extra person. The volunteers will serve a term ending March 31, 2023.

Accounts de-activated

Council members agreed at their Oct.12 meeting to have the municipality deactivate two longstanding solid waste commercial accounts from the municipality’s accounts receivable.

One company was indicated owing $83,990.01, and the second $27,209.31. The accounts were active over a decade ago and have been accruing interest that now is deemed uncollectible.

According to the mayor, Darlene Norman, the two commercial entities have gone through bankruptcy and it has been determined there is no way to collect any of this money. She was unsure how long the accounts have been inactive, nor how much was originally owed.

“People may say how can this happen? It happened because there were no restrictions at the time of how much debt a commercial entity could build until they were cut off from the service,” she said. Norman added that several new policies have been created to prevent a similar situation occurring in the future.

Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin

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