Month: September 2020

Improving Our Wharves

Improving Our Wharves

A few years back, it appeared that our local wharves were destined for closure. Fishing is the backbone of our community, we need our wharves.  District 4 has 2 locations which house many of the fishers in the community. Fishing boats have increased in size and the commercial fisheries is also increasing. There is no room anywhere else for our fishers so we have to keep our local harbours open and in good condition.

Thankfully our municipality does not pay for these wharves but we can help, like highways we have no jurisdiction on what DFO does with our wharves.  What we can do is work with the local communities to advocate for improvements.  During the past 3 years, a group of local individuals got together and decided that major improvements could be made at the Port Maitland Wharf. With some work, our wharf could hold many more fishing boats and accept a variety of visiting watercraft in the summer.  After consulting with an engineer and local fishers, they came up with a design to actually expand the harbour.  While it is a long term plan, there were some short term goals that needed attention.  A community meeting was held at the Fire Hall in Port Maitland and low and behold, DFO agreed to the immediate needs of the wharf. A significant improvement is an automated tide gate. This is phase one and there is much more to do. Many thanks to Derek Thomas and Marc Brophy for putting together the proposal.  I have supported these gentlemen by communicating with DFO and would like the opportunity to continue the work that has been started.

“Patti responded to the needs of the Port Maitland fishing community by communicating with DFO and the Minister of Fisheries for improvements to the wharf. We worked collaboratively to successfully convince DFO to approve urgent repairs and an automatic tide gate.”

Derek Thomas

In Sandford, I worked with 3 levels of government to obtain funds for repairing the Drawbridge, an icon in the community.  A group of community members are willing to volunteer to paint the bridge but unfortunately that has been put on hold due to Covid.  The Harbour Authority is willing to supply the paint.  Hopefully we can get it done next spring or summer.

If we all work together, we can get things done that will improve the district, municipality and region. Let’s open those doors to opportunities we might otherwise miss. 

I was taught many years ago that if you don’’t ask, you don’t get so I am asking for your support in the upcoming election October 8-17th. 

Thank you,

Patti

Photo courtesy of Marven Blenus, Port Maitland

We NEED more housing!

We NEED more housing!

Have you heard about real estate in Yarmouth?  It is hopping during the Covid- 19 pandemic which means we must be doing something right. Prices have gone up too.  All great for those who can afford to buy their own homes but what about the people who can’t and must live in a rented apartment. What about the seniors who need to downsize from their costly big older homes and move into an easier to maintain apartment, or young family’s just starting out, Single mom’s, single dad’s?? Where are they going to go.  There is no doubt that there is a huge shortage of apartments in Yarmouth County.  As the Chair of the Municipal Doctor Recruitment and Retention Committee, I am well aware of the difficulties our Community Navigator has experienced in trying to find suitable accommodations for new doctors and residents.

So what can we do about it? First, we need to advocate to the Provincial Government on behalf of our senior population to improve the availability of rentals. As one example, maybe it is time for an addition the the Green Cove Manor in Port Maitland. Being on a waiting list for 2 years is unacceptable and people who have lived in the village all of their lives should be able to stay in their community. The same goes for other areas in the county.   Municipal Affairs and Housing needs to speed up the process of approving mixed housing units. Something to consider would be to encourage developers to build rental housing units by providing land owned by the Municipality.  Housing is a provincial responsibility but we need to open a dialogue to meet the needs of our residents. We can’t wait any longer!

Why I am not Door Knocking

Why I am not Door Knocking

This is a repost from August 26th with some additions, thought it important to share again.

Health and Safety of our residents is my first priority as a Councillor. Covid-19 is still very active in Canada and it is predicted that there will be a second wave. The province recommends we have to consider safe alternatives to traditional canvassing. All it takes is one person to spread the virus. Due to these circumstances, I HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO KNOCK ON DOORS DURING THIS ELECTION. I do not want to put anyone at risk, particularly those who are highly compromised. Members of my team and I will visit your home and leave a door hanger with information on how to reach me, how to vote, a few of my accomplishments in the area and my thoughts for future direction. Please call or email if you would like me to visit or just have a chat. If I meet with you, wearing a mask and social distancing guidelines would apply. I would be happy to answer any questions you have or just listen to your ideas for the future of Municipality of the District of Yarmouth.902-746-3384 durkeeforcouncil@gmail.com. Stay safe, stay healthy. Thank you very much for your understanding and your support.

While I was out door hanging, I met a gentleman who had just moved back into his house. I don’t know where he came from, I didn’t want to intrude. What if he came from outside of the province? What if he doesn’t believe in self-quarantining. What if he is asymptomatic? I always wear a mask but he did not have one on. What if I continue down the road and knock on 50 doors? What if I infected those 50 people? We have a new case in the Western Region!!!

I understand that candidates are choosing to knock on doors and I certainly respect their choice. It is the best way to campaign. It isn’t that I don’t want to be out chatting with everyone, you get to meet such nice people. I just can’t justify taking that risk.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who do not use the computer. I would appreciate those of you who see this message to share my thoughts with your family, friends and neighbours. If someone wants a visit, I will happily go to their home and chat outside. By now, everyone should have my door hanger. If you didn’t get one, please let me know.

I will be participating in the candidates forum sponsored by the Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce on September 29th at 7 pm, Live feed on FB and will be recorded for youtube.

Thanks so much for your support. Positive, proactive leadership makes a difference in our community! Please Re-elect Patti Durkee

Authorized by the official agent of Patti Durkee

Environmental Concerns

Environmental Concerns

We live in a beautiful but very environmentally sensitive area. Hurricanes have caused damage to our trees, our ocean front is suffering from erosion, some of our lakes are polluted with blue-green algae and we have been suffering from droughts during the last 5 years.  We can’t change our weather but we can take steps to prevent damage. 

During the next four year the Municipality of Yarmouth will be undergoing a review of the Municipal Planning Strategy and Land Use Bylaws.  It is up to council to make some tough decisions about what people can and can’t do on their properties near water.  We have a water’s edge ( riparian buffer zone) bylaw which can’t be enforced. We make recommendations to land owners and developers not to destroy the vegetation at the edge of the water which helps prevent blue-green algae but some don’t listen and bulldoze their waterfront. The Department of the Environment is responsible for testing the water but they don’t test unless someone reports a problem. Our present land use bylaw allows for industrial development along the waterfront and that needs to change. We need to protect our water!

Speaking of water, we have had some difficult drought years. Thankfully, the town of Yarmouth has built a new water distribution centre in town for Yarmouth County residents. As many know, the lineups can be long.  Ultimately, homeowners not on a water line are responsible for their own water. Fortunately the Municipality has a water lending program so you can borrow money and pay it back over 10 years. Also, seniors below a certain income level, can apply to HousingNS for financial assistance. If we continue in this fashion, we will have no choice but to drill or dig new wells.  That being said it is our residents who are having difficulties and I believe it is up to the Municipality to have a source of water available for emergency use.