Author: councillorpattidurkee

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!







Committee of the Whole meeting April 12, 2017

During today’s Committee of the Whole meeting, we had an Recreation update by Frank Grant. I am amazed at all of the programs that are available for people of all ages. Twenty students will be hired for the summer. There are so many ways to be active in Yarmouth County.
On January 20th and 21st, the new council met with Gord MacIntosh, consultant, to work on a strategic plan. We just received the report which highlights the process and outlines our priorities for the area. According to our CAO, the report will be reviewed and discussed at future meeting and timelines may have to be changed. Will share more info on this report in the near future.
We are pleased to hear that the Provincial government has dedicated $10 million annually to gravel roads. We will be inquiring as to where the money will be directed and how Municipality of Yarmouth will benefit!
We are working on a 150th Celebration, as decisions are made more info will be shared.
Following an in-camera meeting we held a short council meeting to pass three motions:
Accept the tender for the update to the envelope of the Cape Forchu.  Construction will begin very soon!
Provide a letter of Support for the Western REN Rural Broad Project which is an application process for the Federal Government’s Connect to Innovate Program.
Support the hiring of a economic development officer for a limited time period  though the Western Regional Economic Network to develop carrier service at the Yarmouth airport.



POOP!! I don’t like to mince words. Just took a walk down to Port Maitland Beach. Please pick up your dog’s poop and take it home or put it in a garbage can. I don’t get the concept of putting it in a bag and tossing it on someone’s lawn. It totally defeats the purpose and who is supposed to clean it up?? We don’t want kids or adults stepping on dog poop on the beach or having it pollute our oceans. I have contacted DNR and requested a poop bag dispenser for the park. It won’t help unless people use it. Will be requesting one for Cape Forchu from the Municipality, dog poop being left on the ground is a big issue there as well. My rant for the day! No picture on purpose!



Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Region Meeting

Attended the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities Regional Meeting today at the Mariner’s Centre. UNSM is a very important association which advocates on behalf of all the municipalities to the NS government. Five resolutions were made in 2016 and when we meet in the spring it will be interesting to review how effective the Province has been with addressing these needs. It was very helpful to meet with members of other councils in our region. Highlighted issues are: doctor shortage and retention, rural internet, forestry, public transportation in the region, economic development, sustainable funding for the seniors safety program. Thanks Pam Mood, Lyle Goldberg and UNSM president Laurie Murley for leading the meeting.

Committee of the Whole March 8th

Committee of the Whole March 8th

Welcome to March…. spring is on its way and so is the misery of driving on gravel roads. Some notes from today’s Committee of Whole meeting.

Don Houston of Transportation, Infrastructure and Renewal answered questions today and of course they will be getting to the gravel roads after the spring thaw.  FYI, higher volume roads are done first as well as those closest to the coast since they dry out faster.  We will be getting a Main Shore Road sign in Port Maitland in the spring!  I thanked him for installing the slippery road sign and repairing the highway in Sandford. You can find their 5 year plan for capital projects online.

Paul Beazley and Hubert Surette presented information on Property Valuation Services. Valuable information can be gathered on their website.  There are approximately 82 appeals on assessment in the Yarmouth County area and only 1 in 25 go to the appeal tribunal.  If your home is described incorrectly, for example, it says you have 2 bathrooms when you only have one, then you should contact PVSC to let them know. 1-800-380-7775.  The valuation of properties is based on: 1) Cost 2) Income  3) direct comparison.  PVSC always takes the capped value of your home.  The assessed value of a new house is higher than an older home due to 0% depreciation.

For those families in the Lake George area who have received letters from the Environment regarding land contamination, you can apply for a re -assessment. The assessed value of your property will likely be reduced while you are experiencing contamination issues. Please contact PVSC for more information.

Roger Devine, Development office, has been partnering with PVSC on Pictometry.  He has access to aerial shots of the coastline and heavily populated areas as well as many lakes in our county.  Fortunately, he is able to see illegal dumpsites, locations of derelict vehicles, and buildings where none should exist.  This is a reminder that you must apply for permits when building and adhere to local by-laws which are available online.