Author: councillorpattidurkee

The New Year 2018

The New Year 2018

By now, it has sunk in that we are in the midst of winter but the sun is shining and that makes everyone feel a little better.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Committee of the Whole Meeting on January 10th as I was away.  There was a presentation by Patty-joe MacMillan, District Manager of the Department of the Environment on the topic of the Riparian buffer zone which is the edge of the waterline and what property owners must do to protect watercourses from impacts of development.

Janet Emin, President of the Friends of the Yarmouth Lighthouse Society updated the Councillors on the last season and asked for support of the construction of a ramp to make the fog alarm building accessible.

The Mariner’s Centre, YMCA and Curling group gave another presentation on the Mariner’s Expansion Project which is estimated at a cost of $30 million.  This is a topic for the 3 councils to discuss at the next joint meeting, as it continues to be #3 on the joint council priority list.   In the meantime, the curling club needed funds to replace equipment that was no longer functioning. All three municipal councils supported their request for funds and fortunately the club is now open for curling. They are still fundraising as the cost of replacement exceeded the amount that was initially required.

The CAO report can be found online on the MODY website.

A number of items were deferred to the regular council meeting which was held on January 24th.  Please keep in mind that the Regular Meetings can be seen on Facebook Live and I have asked that they remain available until being posted on Youtube.  I also made a motion to record the Committee of the Whole Meetings which passed unanimously.  Transperancy for our constituents is very important.

Gus from Waste Check made a presentation on the issues we encounter with single use plastic bags. China is not taking them for recycling at present and if they have to be buried in the landfill, they take 1000 years to break down. The question was raised about a ban on single use plastic bags.  Would like your thoughts please?  The reusable ones used for groceries carry a greater risk for e coli if used for meat.  In the meantime, you can request paper bags when you go to the grocery store. In addition, I suggest more stores use paper or recyclable bags. When you go to stores besides the grocery store, take a reusable bag; we often don’t think of using them in independent stores.  As a business owner I intend to switch to paper as soon as my supply of plastic bags has diminished.  Loren Cushing suggested that maybe we could find away to use the bags to manufacture something else in Nova Scotia.

The Municipality of Yarmouth has received much support from neighbouring communities with regards to getting Doppler Radar in South West Nova.  The federal government has expressed that the present Doppler locations will be updated and new systems put in place. Our end of the province was not identified as getting a system and after looking at the map for coverage, the waters off Yarmouth County are still not adequately monitored.  We will be meeting with Environment and Climate Change Canada on February 27th.  Having the weather predicted with a high degree of accuracy is extremely important to our fishers.

I have attended the last two meetings of the Yarmouth International Airport Board. Alain Muise, CAO of Argyle has taken over as Interim Manager and is setting the stage for great progress. At present, our airport has been downgraded to 301 from 302 which means that we cannot have regularly scheduled service.  A 302 regulated airport would require significant infrastructure improvements which would require millions of dollars.The good news is by downgrading to 301, the cost of maintaining the airport will go down.

It is proposed that we make the airport a high-end 301 and market it to Charter aircraft companies around the world which has never been done.  We still have the opportunity for small to medium size cargo shipments. We presently have 1200 – 1600 flights per year.  Please remember our airport is used for Medivac, Coast Guard, DNR, DFO, charters, private corporations and the Military. We are very lucky to have it and do not want to lose it.  Like the train, once it is gone it won’t come back.  Maybe someday we will be able to upgrade and have regular flight service again.  I sure miss it!

Mayor Pam Mood initiated 100 Meals for 100 days in Yarmouth County. Meals are available once per day at a variety of locations for anyone who would like to attended.  On Sunday the town councillors and I served up delicious bowls of chilli at the Lions Club. Thanks to Councillor Gerard LeBlanc and his team for providing the wonderful music. The schedule can be found on the Town of Yarmouth Website. All welcome!

Wow, special thanks to Madeleine and Howard Snow for the use of the Port Maitland Legion Hall for seniors’ activities on Wednesday afternoons. There was a great group today, playing music, games, putting together puzzles, colouring etc.  Everyone is invited. They are having a Pot Luck on February 9th!! Thanks Phyllis Jane for organizing this wonderful  community activity.

Please let me know if you have anything you wish to share and I can post on my FB page.


Best regards to all,



Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

As this is the second night of the Festival of the Lights, I would like to wish all of my Jewish constituents a very Happy Hanukkah. Enjoy your latkes and celebrations.

In addition, I would like to wish everyone Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.  Please enjoy time with friends and family and wish for peace on earth.

It has been a very busy month for MODY.

We have continued to work with the federal government to bring dopplar radar to South West Nova. The support from the neighbouring municipal units has been overwhelming.

The Cedar Lake and Forest Glen Rural Internet Projects are moving along well. Special thanks to Gerry Curry and the Cedar Lake Wireless Group for putting forth the application and successfully acquiring funds. They are up and running!  Mark Blinn, our Economic Development Officer has been working diligently on the Forest Glen Project and they are full steam ahead.

The Phase Three Hebron Sidewalk Project is complete and we hope the citizens are enjoying the connection between the Highway 1 sidewalk and the trail.

We are waiting for the province to approve our Water Supply Upgrade lending program.  Once approved it would allow home owners to borrow up to $10,000 from the municipality to dig or drill a new well by a certified well driller. Please note there is no guarantee of reaching water or the quality of the water. A lien would be put on your home until it is paid off. Please call the office for more information.

In November a motion was passed to assist the curling with funds required to purchase new equipment in the amount of $11,000.

We have had much discussion around the legalization of cannabis and will be continuing with this in the new year.  July 1, 2018 is coming quickly and we have to be prepared with our own by-laws and policies.

We continue to support the construction of a cancer clinic in Yarmouth county and will hopefully be able to share our concerns during a meeting with Dr. Bethune, NSHA in the new year.

Many thanks to Don Houston and crew from the Department of Highways for getting our signs up in the Port Maitland area, repairing Quaco Road,  and clear cutting the bushes on the Crosby Rd. In our meeting today we discussed waterline improvements to the road to the Sandford wharf.  Don said the repairs could not be done until spring and until such time they would maintain the road this winter.  Also in Sanford, there are issues of drainage near the boat builders shop. They will repair the shoulder again and get the water draining into the ditch. Please let me know if the road gets iced up again and I will give Don a call.

Port Maitland Beach and John’s Cove have consistently been the winners of YASTA’s best beach award. Today I made a motion to direct staff to research the installation of washrooms at John’s Cove. I know Councillor Cushing has already begun the process. In addition I asked that we partner with Department of Natural Resources to improve the facilities at Port Maitland Provincial Beach. The traffic is increasing at our beach and I know local visitors  and tourists would appreciate a new comfort centre.  It is the province’s mandate to increase tourist traffic and we need to insure we have the proper infrastructure in place.

Today we had a presentation from Aaron Colwell and Dave Doucette regarding connection of a local bus service to Kings Transit in Weymouth. They spoke very highly of the benefits of the service through the valley and would like to see Yarmouth added to the run. There would be a considerable cost to the Municipality for a service of this nature. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Please note that the top priorities of the Joint Councils continue to be the airport, the ferry terminal and the expansion of the Mariners Centre. The Board of the Airport is meeting regularly and have some significant decisions to make to improve the infrastructure. We have to look at ways to increase revenue. Remember it is still in regular use by Lifeline and Search and Rescue.The airport sees between 1300-1600 flights in and out each year.

Finally, the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth voted to accept a proposal from the Y’arc to purchase Arcadia School for the purpose of a new arts centre and theatre. A formal purchase and sale agreement is yet to be drawn up.  The Municipality’s position from previous councils has been that they would support the Y’ARC once they found a location.   As you will find out, I voted nay on the motion.  While I agreed with the sale of the building,  past experience and much research on regional planning lead me to the conclusion that an arts facility should be in the downtown core for economic development, accessibility, and tourism.  I also felt that the Y’ARC group, who are highly talented and experienced in drama/theatre, should have consulted with the rest of the arts groups and societies prior to making the offer. Had the proposal been strictly for a theatre/ playhouse, I would have supported the motion.

Please get in touch if you have any concerns, would like to chat about local issues and let me know if you would like me to attend a function in your area.  Best of luck to all the local lobster fishers in the area, be safe and have a successful season.

Best wishes for this holiday season,


Joint Council Meeting October 24th, 2017

Good afternoon! Last night we attended a joint council meeting at the Municipality of Argyle building. We heard a presentation about the Mariner’s Centre/ YMCA/Curling Club. While they are looking for approval for the expansion there were still a few unanswered questions such as:
How much will they get for their own building?
What goals do they have for fund raising?
How much will the building cost to operate?
What is the expected contribution required by the three municipalities?
It is difficult to support this project until I know the answers to the questions.
While everyone loves new facilities, we have to know it will be supported and that we have the money to maintain it.
There was some discussion around a new arts and culture centre and how it is badly needed in the area. We have to keep in mind that we do need to think about kids in particular that are not athletic and make sure they have a place to express themselves which is affordable. Whatever gets built, operating expenses play a huge role. We are building for future generations. I always follow my dad’s philosophy of “do it right the first time!” So much to think about with regards to both facilities.
All three councils support acquiring Doppler Radar in South West Nova so we will continue to pursue with the federal government.
A meeting will be set up with Dr. Bethune and the councils to show support for having a full cancer unit in Yarmouth.
We had an excellent discussion on governance and priorities. The CAO’s will be drafting a memorandum of understanding for councils consideration on how to make decisions based on priorities and the ability to make those decisions at joint council meetings. At present, all decisions are made at individual council tables.
I have to say it was a pleasure to work with all the councillors, wardens and the mayor. We do have differences of opinion at times and that is okay we live in different areas. We all went away with a positive feeling about how well we can work together to do what is best for Yarmouth County.
Fall has arrived!

Fall has arrived!

It has been a busy September and I will do my best to give you the most important information from the month.

First of all I want to wish all of the Jewish members of the community L’Shana Tova, may you have a happy, healthy  and safe 5777.

At the Committee of the Whole meeting, we had a presentation by NS Power. They will be moving towards the installation of smart meters in 2019. The advantage is that is allows customers to see their daily usage.  They have come to the limit with what they can do with wind power for now. They can’t count on it for daily usage and will always need a back up source of energy.  The Tusket project is getting an 18 million dollar investment.  They are continuing to study the reports of the the Turbine project,  having worked closely with fishing associations it doesn’t appear that the marine animals have been affected. More information will be available following their quarterly report.

The Council has received much support from neighbouring communities with regards to getting Doppler Radar in Yarmouth and will continue to pursue with the Federal Government.

Here is a link to the September Agenda which contains the CAO Report:

Highlights of the Regular Council Meeting September 27th, 2017:

Paul Comeau, Grant Thornton, did a review of the financial statements and I am happy to report that we had just over a million dollar surplus. Those funds are put into the capital budget to be used towards large projects for example the demolition of the Domtex Building.  We have a number of  possible projects in the works including repairing the runway at the airport!!!

Fall Clean up occurs this weekend. Check the link for information.


The first reading of the Water Supply Upgrade Lending Program By-Law W-1028-17 was passed to the second reading. Once it passes second reading, it has to be approved by the provincial government. It allows residents to borrow money from the Municipality to install a new drilled well and add the debt to your tax bill. This was in response to the drought we experienced last summer. For more information please call the office.

We also passed the VOLUNTEER EMERGENCY SERVICE PROVIDERS CAPITAL LOAN POLICY V-108-02, which increases the amount Fire Departments can borrow for new equipment from $150,000 to $250,000.  We recognize the cost to purchase new equipment such as trucks has increased.

I made a motion to direct staff to look into live streaming or using Facebook live for our council meetings, motion was carried.  Apparently Eastlink will be showing the recorded version starting at 9:30 pm on the Tuesday following the meeting. Not something I would want to watch at that time!!!! I feel you should be able to watch the meetings when they occur. Both the Municipality of Argyle and Town of Yarmouth show their meetings live!!

Sandford Drawbridge Update: Kevin Shaw, Harbour Authority and Denise Sullivan, Small Craft Harbours are working on a proposal to be presented to the Municipality of Yarmouth and the Provincial Government to request shared funding. I have support from our council and Zach Churchill will also look for funding. Denise said that are willing to share the costs.  Hoping we can move quickly to make this happen.

New Highway 1 Signs:  Bill Curry, Old Stones Cemetary, Hubert and Belle’s and Yacuik’s Antiques have purchased  4′ x1′ signs for a group display coming into the village. The first one is going up tomorrow on Highway 1, on the edge of Bill’s property. Thanks Alex and Jonathan for putting it up.There is room for more businesses so if anyone is interested please get in touch with me so I can provide the information of where we had them made. We are purchasing our own signs and are sharing the cost of the materials, permit and labour to put it up. We are continuing to pursue two more locations.   We think this will help put us on the map and have people recognize us as a destination! We are only 15 minutes from town but some people think it is far!

I have passed on numerous road issues to Don Houston, TIR. I know how busy they are but am hoping some problems will be resolved. The list includes: The road to the Sandford wharf which gets flooded in the winter, the ditch near the boat builders where water flows onto the road and causes major ice issues, the lack of new signs on Highway 1 at the Richmond Road, the need for ditches on the Crosby Rd, filling in gravel on Spyder Street so people can walk and more!

Please, if you see ATV’s on the beach, please report to Department of Natural Resources since it is illegal. I have also requested more poop and scoop signs!!

That’s all for now.  Please call if you have any questions or concerns 902-746-3384

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Best Regards,

Councillor Patti Durkee, District 4, MODY


August 15, 2017

It is August already and I have seen leaves turning brown and falling from the trees.  I am not ready for summer to be over yet.  Needless to say it has been an amazing summer and I can say I have been very busy organizing and enjoying  local events.  For those of you who don’t know, in addition to being councillor I am: on the board of the Friends of the Yarmouth Light, on the Roaring 20’s Antique Car Show Committee and  Class of ’77 Reunion committee.   I am so pleased  to say that all three of these groups have had very successful events this summer.  They were all due to a dedicated group of volunteers who put their heart and soul into their work.  Congratulations to all.

On Saturday, I attended the Old Stones Heritage Day BBQ, auction and cafe at the Port Maitland Fire Hall.  Despite the miserable weather, there was a great turnout.  If you haven’t been to the three cemeteries, go for a visit. The committee has installed q codes so you can find information online about the individuals buried there. It is interesting to know that there are a large number of Mayflower descendants buried in the cemeteries. Many thanks to the large number of volunteers who organized this event. This year, The Old Stones Society was issued a grant from the Municipality of Yarmouth to rebuild a bridge linking one cemetery to the other.

I recently received an estimate for repairs to the Sandford drawbridge. I will be contacting all levels of government to try and secure funding for the badly needed repairs in order for it to be able to function.

I attended the Lakes and District Fire Department meeting to discuss the construction of an addition to the present building for the fire trucks and remodelling of the existing building to be used as a community centre and comfort centre.  There were approximately 20 people in attendance including Councillor John Cunningham and Councillor Cushing. After an excellent presentation by Scott and Corrine Killiam, a show of hands indicated that the majority of people in attendance were in favour of the expansion.  The Municipality of Yarmouth has issued a grant in the amount of $10,000 to support the local fundraising efforts.  This money is in addition to the annual operating and capital expenditures grants.

Don Houston, Transportation, Infrastructure and Renewal was contacted by local resident Roger Hubbard with regards to maintenance on the Main Shore Road and repairs on the Quaco Rd.  His response was very positive and we can look for changes to be made in the future.  I am hoping the new signs on the 101 Highway will go up any day!

Unfortunately, dog poop  and dogs off leash continue to be a problem at Port Maitland Beach. DNR has placed poop bags onsite and I have been informed that more signage will be installed.  The same laws apply to horses, owners are required to clean up the poop.

We are continuing to work on the Well Assistance Bylaw which should come up before council for first reading in the fall.

Some highlights from the regular council meeting this month:

• a motion was passed to amend the Land Use Bylaw to allow the construction of a garage on the Hardscratch Road.

• the provincial government has a new fund for the improvement of gravel roads, unfortunately the only road designated under this fund  is the Ellis Rd. We will certainly be highlighting roads that could benefit from this program in future.

• a Canada 150th event will be held in September. Councillor Cushing has organized the purchase of 7 trees to be planted, one for each district. More information will be forthcoming.

•  Ken Moses presented a CAO report which outlines the activities of Municipality of Yarmouth and how projects are progressing. You can find the report on the Municipality’s website

• Darlene LeBlanc, Director of Corporate Services, presented a report on Joint Municipal Accountability and Transparency Committee. Look for councillors expenses to be posted on our website in the near future.

For more information please see the council agenda and minutes on the Municipality’s website.

To quote Bugs Bunny, “That’s all Folks!”






June 29, 2017

June 29, 2017

Happy 150th birthday Canada!  How lucky we are to live in such a wonderful country! Hope for good weather on Saturday so everyone can participate in all of the outdoor celebrations.  Cape Forchu Lighthouse has a free concert for all ages from 5-9pm featuring Gerard LeBlanc, Triple Trouble, Elizabeth Wright, Mark Durkee and Session Hill.  There will be a cake, donated by Sobey’s and The Keeper’s Kitchen will be serving up some Canada themed food for purchase.  Donations much appreciated. Bring your lawn chair, a blanket and an umbrella… just in case!!

Hook ‘n Sea is hosting a day of music to celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday. All welcome and refreshments will be served.

Council Updates:

Last night at the regular council meeting, a motion was passed to deregister the Rockville United Baptist Church in Chebogue. Unfortunately it has fallen into disrepair and will be demolished.  It is very sad to see a heritage building come down however, it could not be repurposed. The land around the church was minimal and it lacked water and septic.

A letter will be written to the Department of the Environment requesting the continuation of the Climate Data project.  A grant for $100.00 will be given to the Y’ARC for the ACT awards and $1150.00 will be forwarded to the Tri-County Women’s Centre to undertake a comprehensive housing needs assessment.

A motion was passed to write a letter to the area MLAs and MPs regarding the installation of Doppler Radar or the latest technology in South West Nova.  We would like information from the Federal Department of the Environment on what monies have been spent in the area.  Due to our large fishing industry it was felt that we should have the most up-to-date weather tracking information.

I made a motion at the request of a local constituent to direct staff to write a letter to Transportation, Infrastructure and Renewal to make improvements to Spider Street in Port Maitland to make it accessible for walking. At the moment, there is a lot of water on the road and it is impassable. Motion passed. It would make a nice circular trail along the beach and through the village.

Please note that the Cape Forchu Lighthouse is OPEN during construction of the outside the the building by the Municipality. We are hoping that once the work is complete on the deck side, The Keeper’s Kitchen will be able to open.

Some local tidbits:

Still waiting for an estimate from Tri-county construction for repairs to the Sandford Drawbridge.

New signs will be up soon on the 101 for the Port Maitland beach and area.

There will be a public meeting at the Lake and District Fire Department on July 4th at 7 pm to discuss the extension of the firehall, comfort centre and recreation facility. All constituents living in the area are encouraged to attend.

Any local business who would be interested in adding a 4′ x 1’ sign to a group of signs which will be posted at both entrances to Port Maitland on Highway 1, please give me a call.  Each business purchases their own signs and we will share in the cost of the posts, permits and post holders.

The council is continuing to discuss the future of the airport, construction of the public works building and improving rural internet.  We also continuing to work on the Water Supply Upgrade Lending Program By Law which we hope will be in place by the fall.

We met with Don Houston, Dept. of Highways, at the last Committee of the Whole meeting and brought a number of issues to his attention. The Darling Lake Road is already on their radar for repair.

Please let me know if you have any issues or ideas to discuss regarding District 4.

Cheers and Happy Canada Day,








So Many Things to Consider….

Hello Followers.

It is budget time at the Municipality of the District of Yarmouth. A time to consider all of the grant requests and decide how to spend your money. This is certainly a learning experience for me.  Last week we reviewed the grant requests and there are many non-profits all needing a piece of the pie. As much as we would like to give everyone their request, it just isn’t possible but I can tell you that the council worked really well in coming to the conclusion of how to distribute the money.  There were a couple of circumstances which required much debate but in the end, majority rules and that is how a council should work.  Once the final budget is passed, information with be forthcoming.

This week we look at the big ticket departments, those that require a significant amount of money, many of which are pre-determined since we share services with the Town of Yarmouth and Argyle.  We share the Mariners Centre, the airport, Waste Check, Recreation, YASTA and the Western Regional Economic Network to name a few, none of which we could manage on our own. I am thankful we can collaborate with our neighbours.

A challenge will be the capital projects like sidewalks and infrastructure. Some projects were in the works before I joined the council and they will continue to be on the books until they are finished. At the last regular council meeting, we passed the Hebron Sidewalk Phase III.  It has been in the plans for 4 years. The sidewalk which is adjacent the 340 highway in Hebron will be repaired and an extension built to the rail trail.  This comes with a steep price, approximately $800,000.  Thankfully,  gas tax money has been put aside for this project.  Sidewalks are EXPENSIVE!

Another project approved by the former council which is still being considered is a public works building.  I can tell you that our staff work outside all winter to repair equipment! This causes many delays in getting our snow removal equipment out when there is a problem.  Our staff are looking for the most economical way to build this infrastructure and keep going back to the drawing table.  We’re not there yet.

All councillors sit on the By law and Policy Review committee.  This committee sets new policies and bylaws and these require much debate. At the present time, we are considering a well drilling program whereby the Municipality allows constituents to borrow money from us and have it added to their tax bill. This would be available to those individuals who are continuing to experience lack of water due to last summer’s drought.  It is not for new construction. It is to be repaid over 10 years. The province has approved the program but hasn’t offered any financial assistance.  Here are some of the concerns:

• There is no guarantee when you dig or drill a well that it will be successful. What if you spend $20,000.00 and you do not get water or the water quality is poor? The Municipality can’t be responsible for the quality of your water.  You still have to pay the money back!! There has to be a limit on how much you can borrow.

• How much debt can the Municipality handle on behalf of the constituents?

• What if a person applies but does not have good credit? As a constituent, would you want to take a that risk of someone borrowing your tax dollars and not being able to pay it back?

• Any loan puts a lien against your property.

• Most important though is we do not want our residents to experience the same water issues as we had last year. The three necessities of life are food, water and shelter!

All of the above are being considered in the development of this by law.  Hope this rain is helping and that your basement isn’t flooding.



Lastly for consideration: The Provincial Election

As an educator and now a politician, I urge you to consider the kinds of questions you ask a candidate when they visit your home.  There are SKINNY questions and FAT questions. Skinny questions are those that a person can answer with one word, easy to answer and do not require any thought. They begin with: Who, When, Where, Will …?

Do you support the ferry from Yarmouth to the USA?  Yes

Will your government build a full cancer clinic in Yarmouth? YES!

Are you going to bring new industry to Yarmouth? Yes!!

Will you repeal the Bill 75, the one which forced a contract on the teachers? YES!

Fat questions on the other hand require the politician to think through their answers. They begin with: How, What, Why….?

How will your government support the ferry link from Yarmouth to the USA?

How are you going to bring new industry to Yarmouth?

What will you do to improve education in the Province of Nova Scotia?


Yes,  we thankfully have many things to consider!


Happy Mothers Day!