GUYSBOROUGH – At the regular monthly meeting of Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) council on Nov. 17, Warden Vernon Pitts presented former deputy warden Sheila Pelly with a certificate of appreciation for her 16 years as a councillor.
Pitts said Pelly was a team player, who was a good advocate for her district, adding, “Overall, Sheila, you looked out for the African Nova Scotia community but, even more so, you encompassed the vision of the municipality as a whole… I, as warden, certainly appreciate that.”
Upon receipt of the certificate, Pelly said, “I’d like to thank you all for 16 years of not only work but fun, getting to know people in the municipality, support from not only the African Nova Scotia communities but support from the whole municipality… I think we did well over the years.”
Representatives from the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce made a presentation at the same meeting, outlining the potential for offshore wind energy generation in the Strait of Canso.
Highlighting the recent call from COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, to reduce the use of coal for energy generation – there are four coal-fired power plants in Nova Scotia - they offered that offshore wind is positioned to be the next trending form of energy production in the region. There is the potential locally to create floating and fixed wind turbines in the Strait area.
After the meeting, Warden Pitts said of the presentation, “They’re [presenters] just seeing if they can get a regional consensus that this is good for the region; which it would be – but we all have concerns about it … I have a concern, taxation; if it’s offshore, there’s no taxes. To me that is a concern, you’re using our resource, and I’m not saying Guysborough’s resource – the province’s resource, the country’s resource – they should be taxed by some level of government.”
He also stated that the first stakeholders project proponents should be pitching this idea to is fish harvesters.
“The fishermen, I guarantee, they will have concerns. There’s going to be underground cables, there’s going to be anchors, stabilizers. And they are talking [of putting the turbines] off Sable Island and where a lot of our fishermen fish; off Sable Island … my suggestion was meet with the fishermen first instead of last, get them onside because it’s much easier when you have allies going into a battle than trying to do it alone,” said Pitts.
Extended Producer Responsibility
During the council meeting, Pitts reported from the latest Eastern Region Solid Waste Committee meeting that the government is moving forward with the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), “in regards to recyclables, printed paper, plastics…The producers are going to finally start paying for producing their product that we have to pay to get rid of.”
After the meeting, Pitts said he thought the move to EPR should reduce some waste management cost for the municipality, “Because we’ll no longer be responsible for paying for the handling of the recyclables like your plastics and stuff like that. It’s only right and proper that the producer takes responsibility for its end use. They’ve got to realize, we’ve got to be manufacturing things that we can repurpose going forward rather than putting it in a pit.”
Cell phone service
Deputy Warden Janet Peitzsche made a motion, which passed unanimously, to contact Bell Aliant regarding dead zones in cell phone service within the municipality. The matter came to her attention in regard to home support workers who were travelling – after dark, alone – to visit clients in areas where there wasn’t any cell coverage.
Pitts told the media after council adjourned, “I don’t care if it is someone hiking the Trans-Canada Trail or someone hunting or fishing; this day and age, there is no rhyme or reason why we are not fully covered by cell service.
“I don’t see anyone rushing forward – our numbers aren’t high enough to really warrant it – but I don’t see any of the proponents, Rogers or Bell or Telus or anyone coming to the municipality and saying, ‘Hey we have an idea here, why don’t you partner with us.’ We’ve never been offered that opportunity. There are certain things we can do; property, services … at least let’s get down, set at the same table and try to move this file forward. We’re talking Fred Flintstone type stuff here. Come on, are we going to go back to rotary dial,” Pitts said, adding, “This day and age there is no need of it. I’ve said years ago, ‘Put a tower [for cell service] at Lundy tower.’”
While council voted to contact Bell Aliant, Pitts opined, “What it’s going to take, [if] MODG cannot move this file, it’s going to take our MLA and more so – it’s federal, it’s communication – so it is going to take our MP and we have an MP, he’s very easy to work with, and I think we should also be calling him in to address a few of these questions.”