By Patrick Newhook
The Town of Carbonear held its first virtual council meeting of 2022 last week, and since passing its budget for the New Year.
Carbonear appears to be heading into 2022 on a strong foot, financially speaking.
Chief Administrative Officer Cynthia Davis announced there’s going to be a surplus left over from 2021 and while the actual numbers haven’t been finalized due to other revenues being received, they are within budget.
“We are in a very positive situation,” said Mayor Butt. “Financially we’re fine, everything is good, and I think the atmosphere is great as well. We are going into 2022 with optimism and things are looking good.”
The surplus will be brought forward to 2022.
One of the longest discussions of the meeting concerned an application to construct a fence around a residence on Chapel Hill.
The application to replace the fence had earlier been discussed at council’s development committee, but deferred for further discussion.
Councilor Danielle Doyle raised a possible problem with the application, namely that the proposed fence would extend into the town’s street reservation area.
“The problem is, as council we need to be consistent with what we are doing with fences and with everything else and what we say for one party we need to be consistent and say for another party,” Doyle said. “So, if our rule is there needs to be no structures in the street reservation, then there needs to be no structure in the street reservations,” said Councilor Doyle.
Town regulations state that you can repair a fence if it is pre-existing, but if you take a fence down and rebuild then you are building a new fence. The condition of the permit was that if the applicant was tearing down the old fence, the new fence would have to follow the town’s regulations.
Councilor Malcolm Seymour suggested that council should keep in mind that the site in question is part of the town’s heritage.
“What we’ve got to look at too, is that if we are going to keep the heritage in our town, this property is 120 years old, and all they want to do is put an old rail fence back up to what was and I don’t think we’re much interfering there other than what was (already there),” said Seymour.
Councilor Doyle disagreed arguing the property is not located in a heritage zone.
After some further back and forth, it was reiterated that the matter go back to the committee for more discussion.
Council passed two motions that require approval from the Minister of Municipal Affairs so that the Town can secure two loans.
Finance committee chairman Chris O’Grady presented the motions.
The first was to finance $143,784 for a new backhoe that was purchased in 2021 through Scotiabank for five years at a rate of prime plus 0.25 percent.
The second motion dealt with phase 3 street and sewer upgrading on Valley Road, High Road South and Marshall Drive for a total of $406,428 through Scotiabank, at an interest rate of prime plus 0.25 per cent for five years, amortized over 10 years.
The Harbour Authority of Carbonear is requesting a separate septic system for its building, but council’s development committee is not recommending approval at this time.
Councilor Doyle questioned why the Authority needs its own septic system.
“We were recommending, that unless they could justify why they couldn’t hook on to the town system that this not be approved,” said Doyle. “They’re within the constraints to hook on to the town system and the infrastructure is there for them to hook onto the town system.”
Staff have been directed to seek more information from the Authority on its request.
Council has approved a motion to amend an application to the provincial government for work that has already been completed on Highroad South.
The application needed to be amended to add curb, gutter, catch basins, ditch leads, and sidewalks, which were not specifically identified in the initial application.
Director of operations, Ian Farrell, said both the Province and Infrastructure Canada requires the information on the document.
“It was tendered and it was billed, but now we’ve discovered that it’s not a part of the project description that the Province and Canada has on their records so they’re asking for an amendment,” said Farrell.