News from Council

Priorities are Mayor
Transparency, accountability & community-building are some of my top priorities, so I try to make Council’s work easily available here. We’re working on making the Town Website easier to navigate too. I love getting input & ideas from residents, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch – here’s my contact info!

• My priorities
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• Our Community Enhancement Committee
• Witless Bay’s (Proposed) Town Plan


• Posted March 8, 2015 •
Draft Agenda – March Public Meeting
Municipality of Witless Bay Town Council, 7:30pm, March 10th 2015

1. Call to order

2. Adoption of March 10, 2015 Agenda

3. Adoption of February 10, 2015 Minutes of Meeting

4. New Business:
a. Welcome new Councillors
b. Amendments to appeal provisions in Urban & Rural Planning – information only.
c. Public Discussion Sessions

5. Committee Reports:
a. Paid expenses
b. Snow Clearing logs

Community Enhancement Committee:

Public Works & Compliance:
a. Residential single family dwelling – Dunn’s Lane
b. Residential single family dwelling – 297 Southern Shore Highway
c. Residential single family dwelling – 202-206 Dean’s Road
d. Shed & Hot House – 166 Gull Pond Road
e. Crown Land application – Witless Bay Line (for culvert)
f. Appeal relating rural land on Gallows Cove Road

6. Adjournment

• Posted February 11, 2015 •
February 2015 Newsletter

Printable PDF Version: Town of Witless Bay February 2015 Newsletter

A by-election has been called to fill the two seats currently available on our Town Council. Voting takes place at the Town Office from 8am to 8pm on Wednesday, February 25th. Three residents have been nominated for election:

The goal of this committee is to make Witless Bay a better, friendlier, even more beautiful place to live. Meetings during the Spring and summer are from 7:30pm to 9:00pm on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The next meeting takes place on TUESDAY, MARCH 3rd at 7:30pm in Council Chambers. We hope to see you there!

The 2014-2024 Municipal Plan has now been submitted to the Province for registration. The result of many hours of study, analysis, and extensive public consultation, the purpose of this plan is to ensure smart development for a prosperous town. Attached to this Newsletter are the details relating to the two issues that have received the most attention during the past months. We invite residents to read about Council’s decision to retain the original RURAL zoning at Ragged Beach, and Council’s decision to increase the minimum lot size in undeveloped parts of the town, ensuring that future subdivisions are an asset, not a liability.

Describing what they wish Witless Bay would be like in the year 2030, residents painted a picture of a town that looks a lot like the place we know and love today: a beautiful community with rural charm, a rich heritage, and rugged natural beauty. The Town’s new Tourism & Business Renewal & Growth Strategy will help diversify our local economy and create a more stable commercial tax base by guiding Council in the coming years, establishing clear goals and actions to be followed so that we can continue to make Witless Bay an even better place in which to grow and prosper. Next month’s newsletter will have all the details!

Mayor Sébastien Després, Deputy-Mayor Dena Wiseman
Councillors Kevin Smart, René Estrada, & Ralph Carey
Town Clerk-Manager Geraldine Caul, Assistant Clerk Barb Harrigan, Grounds/Maintenance Aiden Carey.

• Protecting our water supply
• Preserving our community’s rural character
• Keeping taxes low

Lot size has an important impact on a broad range of issues. The most obvious of these is the risk of problems with the water table. Allowing half-acre lots in future subdivisions would eventually force the Town to install piped water & sewer, at great cost to our residents. We don’t need a crystal ball to know this – we just have to look to the hundreds of other NL communities that have found themselves in this position.
Until very recently, residential development in Witless Bay took place slowly and naturally. Because of this, the town we know and love today has narrow lanes, houses at various levels from the road, roads on steep inclines, irregular lots, and will soon have nearly forty kilometres of winding roadway. While these things make Witless Bay the gorgeous place we get to call home, they also would make the installation, operation, and maintenance of public water and sewer exceptionally costly.

Piped services are not a guarantee of safe drinking water
Most communities in the province that are currently equipped with public systems can’t guarantee a healthy source of drinking water to their residents. Almost 200 NL communities issued Boil Water Orders in the past two years, with 137 of these lasting for over 5 years. Residents in almost a third of communities in the province are drinking water with dangerously high levels of haloacetic acid and/or trihalomethanes. These disinfectant by-products are linked to cancers of the liver, kidneys, bladder & colon, & shorten life expectancies.

Other advantages of larger lots in new subdivisions:
• Larger lots are more comfortable for homeowners, their children, and their pets.
• They help protect the community’s rural character & are better for a rural lifestyle.
• They have a positive impact on the community’s property values & resale values.
• They allow subdivision developers to do selective cutting instead of clear-cutting.
• They are much more flexible. They allow for later remodeling and expansion.
• Larger lots allow for a better siting of structures and more organic landscapes.
• They allow for gardening, increased self-sufficiency, and enjoyment of their property.
• Larger lots require much less reworking for septic installation.
• Larger lots allow for better siting of Town infrastructure (storm drains, ditches, etc.)
• Larger lots also help produce privacy (for both current and future residents).

Residents have asked Council to protect the rural character of the community and its water table. This has come through as a priority during public consultations, strategic planning retreats, public hearings, residents’ advisory committee meetings, and in everyday correspondence. One-acre lots in newly developed parts of the town will help protect our water supply, preserve our community’s rural character, & keep taxes low.

Although many people are not aware of it, the new Town Plan does NOT rezone the private land at Ragged Beach. This area has always been zoned rural, and it remains rural in the new Town Plan. While Council did initially intend to rezone this section as “recreation,” it was finally decided, last August, that it will keep its original zoning.

Council thoroughly examined the proposal to develop Ragged Beach and met with the developer a number of times to discuss the many impediments to the project. Council finally assessed that allowing a subdivision at this site is not in the best interests of the community, since the issues, problems, lost opportunities, and costs related to the project far outweigh the benefits the Town and its residents would reap from it.

Issues with Access
The very first time the proposal for a development at Ragged Beach was presented to Council (early 2010), the issue of access was identified as a concern. This was set as a condition, and repeated throughout the history of the file. Access to the property has not been demonstrated, after more than five years of repeated requests from Council.

The issue of access is complicated by the regulations, which stipulate that no dead-end street can be over 300 metres in length. To circumvent this regulations, the subdivision proposal at Ragged Beach called for the construction of a cul-de-sac coming out from a dead-end road which itself would come out from the end of another lane at the end of another dead end road. This complicated scheme required the Town to treat three sections of the same road as three separate and distinct roads. Such distortion of the facts for the Town to avoid following its own regulations (and the Province’s) is questionable and would set a dangerous precedent.

Expropriation of Other Landowners & Financial Considerations
When the Ragged Beach file was discussed by the past Council, it was made very clear that no expropriation would take place. And rightly so: Expropriation is a governmental power reserved for circumstances where the public interest is clearly served, and the proposed subdivision does not meet this conditions. Since the path proposed as an access to the proposed subdivision has never been owned by the Town, the expropriation of land and assets from private landowners would therefore be necessary for development to proceed at Ragged Beach. Since the Expropriation Act is unclear about what constitutes “land detrimentally affected by an expropriation,” this could expose the Town to a many unforseen financial responsibilities.

Members of the former Council also made it clear that Mullowney’s Lane would not be widened to allow for the proposed development. Since then, however, the Minister has made the widening of this lane a condition for rezoning. While the applicant had offered to pay for a portion, a substantial portion of the cost would nonetheless fall on the Town. Legislation states that a municipality must compensate landowners for the removal of improvements within a street reservation when these were built before a road was approved by council. This is treated as an expropriation under the Planning Act. There are a number of such improvements on Mullowney’s Lane, including two wells. The widening Mullowney’s Lane therefore exposes the town to significant costs.

One of the top priorities of a municipal government is to ensure its financial wellbeing. Allowing the development of land at Ragged Beach would be detrimental to the town’s financial position, with costs far outweighing benefits. In addition to construction costs, road maintenance and snow clearing costs of the proposed roadway would be the Town’s responsibility. The cost of servicing and maintaining this roadway would outweigh the tax revenues generated by the proposed development. Piped water and sewer, should these ever be required in this area, would be cost-prohibitive.

Ragged Beach: A Key Asset
Ragged beach has long been recognized as one of the community’s key assets. Designated as a park in the 2005 Town Plan, the town’s 2010 Integrated Community Sustainability Plan highlighted the importance of preserving, sustaining, and protecting this site. Witless Bay is perfectly situated to capture an important share of the province’s billion-dollar tourism industry. One of the obvious stopping points along the Irish Loop, our beautiful town has a lot to offer: it is home to the largest colony of the province’s official bird, and our Puffin Patrol is attracting international attention. Witless Bay has breathtaking views, great beaches, tons of heritage homes and buildings, some of the best angling around, fantastic trail systems for hiking and snowmobiling, and a stunning pristine rural coastline. National Geographic Traveller Magazine has rated the Avalon’s Coastline as the world’s top Coastal destination.

Witless Bay just became the first town in the area to win a Tidy Towns award, and has been invited to participate in the national Communities in Bloom competition. These significant achievements demonstrate that Witless Bay is well on its way to realizing its extraordinary potential as a tourism destination. For the town to achieve its potential, however, its key assets must be carefully managed and protected.

Environmental Impact
A number of experts, specialists, groups, citizens’ organizations, and associations have voiced grave concerns about the environmental impact that the proposed development could have on the nearby ecological reserve, as has the Province’s Minister of Environment and Conservation, who invited Council to proceed with caution. The Witless Bay Ecological Reserve has great potential as an economic driver for our community, so it makes good business sense to protect it.

There has been unprecedented opposition to the proposal to develop a subdivision at Ragged Beach. Over 400 letters opposing the project were sent in by residents of Witless Bay. In addition to these, nearly 1000 additional letters were submitted by various other stakeholders. Only 11 individuals ever submitted letters in favour of the project.

Hundreds of residents have asked Council to consider the importance of Ragged Beach for their families, to recognize its symbolic importance to the community, and to realize this area’s great potential as an income generator for the town. The opposition to the development of Ragged Beach was consistent throughout the Public Consultation process that was held to allow for various stakeholders’ opinions to be heard. The report submitted by the Public Consultation Planning Committee was squarely opposed to it, and our Town Planner advised the Town against it.

The series of public consultations held by the current Council regarding the future of our town have re-confirmed the importance of this area to our residents. The Commissioner’s Report from last summer’s Public Hearing (available at the Town Office) confirms the merit of Council’s approach and validates the land use planning decisions made by the Town.

For these reasons, Ragged Beach will
keep its original RURAL designation
in the 2014-2024 Municipal Plan.

Printable PDF Version: Town of Witless Bay February 2015 Newsletter


• Posted February 11, 2015 •
At the November public meeting of Council, Mr. Fraser Paul accused Councillor Wiseman, Councillor Carey, and Councillor Smart of being in a conflict of interest in relation to the adoption of the Town Plan. Mr. Paul’s reasoning was that land owned by these councillors had been rezoned in the new Town Plan, therefore placing them in a conflict of interest. After reviewing the matter, however, it was clear that there was no possible conflict of interest in this case, since the decision to rezone this parcel had been voted on and submitted to Municipal Affairs by the former Council, years before these three councillors even took office.

During the public discussion session which followed last night’s public meeting, Councillor Wiseman and Councillor Carey were again accused of having placed themselves in a conflict of interest. This time, the accusation was relating to the town’s roads list for snow clearing. These stakeholders then declared that proof of wrongdoing on the part of Council had been revealed through an ATIPP request for correspondence between the Town and Municipal Affairs. (


At an informal meeting last September, a discussion took place between five members of Council regarding the coming year’s snow clearing contract. During this discussion, a strange case was brought up: a road in the community has been snow cleared by the town’s operators for the past number of years despite the fact that the road in question does not appear on the town’s Limits of Service map or the town’s Snow Clearing Roads List. While no one present could explain the reason for this discrepancy, the consensus was that the matter should be addressed.

The next day, it was discovered that Councillor Carey and Councillor Wiseman own a parcel of land situated along the road in question. Having confirmed the ownership of the land, and recognizing the possibility of a conflict of interest, I called Municipal Affairs for guidance.

Municipal Affairs staff explained the process to be followed in order to Council to deal with the concern, which entailed the Town’s sending a letter to the two councillors in question, informing them that a private hearing would be held in order for Council to discuss the matter and make a decision about whether the conflict of interest provisions in the Municipalities Act had been violated. Recognizing the seriousness of the matter, I asked Municipal Affairs for a template or an example of such a letter, but none was available. In drafting this letter, I made two mistakes:

1. Instead of stating that there were “concerns” about a “possible” conflict of interest, the letter stated the matter as fact.

2. The letter was sent on behalf of the Town without having been cleared by the remainder of Council (I was the only voting member of Council to sign off on it or see it before it was sent).

The day before the private hearing was to take place, five members of Council called a meeting to discuss pending issues. I was unavailable at the time for which this meeting was scheduled. When the matter of the conflict of interest and the private hearing came up, Councillor Wiseman and Councillor Carey excused themselves, and the three remaining councillors voted to cancel the private hearing I had called. Since quorum was lost after Councillor Carey and Councillor Wiseman excused themselves, however, the decision to cancel the private hearing was no more valid than my decision to schedule one in the first place.

While the private hearing did not proceed the next day, we did hold a meeting to discuss possible ways forward, where I explained my understanding that our duties as elected representatives require us to deal with the possible conflict. I insisted that a private hearing be held so that Council could make a formal decision on the matter. The two other councillors who were present at the time of the discussion in question (Councillor Mair and Councillor Hann) voiced their disagreement, explaining that they had no concerns whatsoever about what had happened, and that there was simply no reason for concerns relating to conflicts of interest. Recognizing the importance of discussing the matter with the two councillors who had not been present on the evening of the informal meeting and of giving an opportunity to Councillor Wiseman and Councillor Carey to present their position, I insisted that the private hearing proceed (as I had been instructed to do by Municipal Affairs). Dismayed by this unilateral decision about the necessity of a private hearing, Councillor Mair and Councillor Hann left the meeting, informing us that they were resigning from their seats on Council. Letters of resignation arrived shortly thereafter.

On the same evening, the Town received an email from Municipal Affairs with clarifications on some of the procedural matters surrounding the need for a private hearing. Since some of the information in this email could potentially have had an impact on Councillor Mair’s and Councillor Hann’s decision to resign, I wrote to Municipal Affairs explaining what had happened and asking whether the genie could be put back in the bottle. Municipal Affairs’ response made it clear that it was impossible for our two newest members of council to “unquit” and regain their seats because they had already submitted written notices of resignation.

Having lost two councillors, and with two councillors unable to vote on their own fate as per the Municipalities Act, Council was left without a way to resolve the situation, since a quorum of four is required for any decision of Council. In order to move forward, Councillor Estrada and I agreed to request the Minister’s permission for a reduced quorum of three to make the decision on behalf of Council. We received the Minister’s response to our request in late November. Permission was denied, leaving Council without the legislative means to make a decision relating to this possible conflict of interest until the town has a full complement of seven councillors.

While I did, in my role as Mayor, raise a concern about a possible conflict of interest, it is important to note that I do not have the authority to make a decision about whether such a conflict took place. This is necessarily a decision of Council. Without a full complement, however, Council does not have the power to make a decision either. Decisions relating to a conflict of interest involve the possibility of vacating the seats of duly elected members of a government, so these are particularly delicate and must be made following the proper protocol. Failing to follow procedures can expose the town to legal action.

Despite the fact that we serve on Council as unpaid volunteers, the responsibilities that go along with our roles as members of Council is enormous. Adding to the complexity of our roles is the public nature of this work. Our duty as elected officials is the stewardship of the public interest. As elected volunteers, our task is to work for the common good of the people of Witless Bay. In my capacity as Mayor, I am fully confident that the decisions that have been made and enacted by this Council since our election are in the best interests of the residents of our beautiful town. I am inspired by the Vision Statement that was officially adopted by the Town at last night’s meeting, and hope that this message brings us one step closer to achieving what residents have asked us to strive for:

“The people of Witless Bay stand united as stewards of rich natural, cultural and heritage resources to ensure our beautiful town’s continued vitality. We are recognized for an authentic identity and inviting character that makes our community a great place in which to grow and prosper.”

• Posted February 8, 2015 •
Witless Bay’s Tourism and Business Renewal and Growth Strategy 2015-2020

Witless Bay has been growing at a lightning pace for the past few years. In order to secure Witless Bay’s future prosperity and ensure the town’s long-term sustainability, we must now work to diversify the town’s tax base with growth in business and industry. This is important in terms of economic growth and tax base stability. It will also provide new opportunities for residents and stakeholders, create new jobs, enhance the quality of life of our residents, assist in the maintenance of our infrastructure, attract new investments, and help keep residential taxes low.

We’ve already made big steps in this direction. Over the past eighteen months, we’ve managed to grow our business complement significantly, we’ve worked to make our town a safer place, and have made increased investments in recreation infrastructure to enhance residents’ quality of life. But a lot more is left to be done.

At this Tuesday’s monthly public meeting of Council (7:30pm), the Town’s new Tourism and Business Renewal and Growth Strategy will be presented to Council by our consultant. The result of over one year of consultations with residents and local businesses, discussions with funding agencies and government departments, community participation, and professional input and analysis, this impressive document lays out the key goals to be achieved in order to ensure a strong and diversified economy for the town, and it identifies the steps to achieving these goals.

This is exciting news – Join us and see the presentation!

• Posted February 6, 2015 •
Draft Agenda – February Public Meeting
Municipality of Witless Bay Town Council, 7:30pm, February 10th 2015

1. Call to order
2. Adopt Agenda of Feb. 10/15
3. Adopt Minutes of Meeting of Jan. 13/15

4. Business Arising from Minutes:
a. Gas Tax projects

5. New Business:
a. Tourism & Business Growth & Renewal Strategy presentation to Council
b. Vision Statement for the Town of Witless Bay
c. Town Logo
d. Appointing Appeal Commissioner
e. MMSB Compost Bins

6. Committees
a. Monthly payables
b. Snow clearing logs/invoices

Community Enhancement Committee:
a. Launching the 2015 Adopt-A-Spot Program
b. Kinsmen Community Clean-up 2015 (Information only)

Public Works & Compliance:
a. Residential single family dwelling – 69 Country Path Drive
b. Garage – 21 Country Path Drive
c. Shed – 16 Gallows Cove Road

7. Adjournment

• Posted January 22, 2015 •
Municipality of Witless Bay Municipal By-Election

The following persons have been nominated for election to council:

For Councillor:
Brenda Armstrong
Ken Brinston
Albert Murphy

The election will take place on Wednesday the 25th of February, 2015 between the hours of eight (8) a.m. and eight (8) p.m. The polling booth will be located at the Witless Bay Town Hall.

Geraldine Caul, Returning Officer

• Posted January 18, 2015 •
PUBLIC NOTICE: Nomination of Candidates
Nominations of candidates for election to the council for the Municipality of Witless Bay will be received between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on January 21, 2015 at the Witless Bay Town Hall.

Nominations shall be in writing and state the name and civic address of the candidate and shall be signed by the Proposer and Seconder both of whom shall be present together with the candidate who shall sign also signifying his/her acceptance. In the event that a candidate cannot be present for his/her nomination, his/her Proposer and Seconder can complete the required form. Every candidate shall at the time of his/her nomination, deposit with the Returning Officer, the non-refundable sum of ten dollars ($10.00).

The qualifications of a candidate for election to council are as follows:
(1) Canadian Citizen of the full age of eighteen years.
(2) Resident of the municipality or area for at least 30 days immediately prior to the date set for the nomination period.
(3) Not indebted to the Council for any arrears of taxes or other charges.
(4) Not otherwise disqualified under the Municipal Elections Act.

- Geraldine Caul, Returning Officer

• Posted December 8, 2014 •
Meeting scheduled for December 9, 2014 (7:30 p.m.)

1. Call to order
2. Adoption of December 9, 2014 Agenda
3. Adoption of November 13, 2014 Minutes of Meeting

4. Business Arising from Minutes:
a. Town Plan 2014-2024

5. New Business:
a. Fire Department Rescue Unit – Motion to accept lowest tender $214,191.97 (Metalfab Firetrucks)

b. Municipal & Intergovernmental Affairs – Review of Protected Road Zoning Regulations (for information only)

c. CWTA – Recycle My Cell Project (for information only)

d. Tourism, Culture & Recreation – Community Recreation Development Grant (for information only)

6. Committees:
a. Income Statement (for information only)

b. Quote for 2014 Audit

c. Southern Shore Arena – Request for annual financial support

d. Knights of Columbus – Request for annual financial support for Christmas Hampers

e. Snow clearing invoices/logs

f. Clarke’s Trucking invoice – Septic Disposal installation on Recreation Grounds

g. Budget 2015

Community Enhancement Committee
a. Tidy Towns 2015
b. Tourism Plan

Public Works & Compliance
a. Residential single family dwelling – Gallows Cove Road
b. Residential single family dwelling – Lot 17 Tamarack Drive
c. Residential single family dwelling – Dunn’s Lane
d. Garage – Carey’s Road
e. Crown Land application – Gallows Cove Road
f. Request to have pole light relocated – Dunn’s Lane

7. Adjournment

• Posted November 2, 2014 •
Meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 13, 2014 (7:45 p.m.)

1. Call to order
2. Adoption of November 13, 2014 Agenda
3. Adoption of October 14, 2014 Minutes of Meeting

4. Presentations:
a. Ed Vickers
b. Gary Churchill

5. Business Arising from Minutes:
a. Town Plan – Final amendments before submission to MA
b. Fence – off Mullowney’s Lane
c. Crown Land applications – off Mullowney’s Lane
d. Fence – 27 Northside Track
e. Sub-grade road to access land for purpose of Groundwater Assessment Study
f. Small Crafts & Harbours
g. Upcoming By-election

6. Committees:

a. Income Statement
b. Funding request from Kinsmen Club of Witless Bay
c. Well cover
d. Drain cleaning cost

Community Enhance Committee:
a. Tourism Economic Development Plan
b. Vision Statement for the Town of Witless Bay
c. Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Heritage Committee

Public Works:
a. Residential single family dwelling – New Line Road
b. Residential single family dwelling – 11-17 Dean’s Road
c. Residential double dwelling 11-17 Dean’s Road
d. Residential single family dwelling – 217-227 Dean’s Road
e. Extension to existing dwelling – 3 Gallows Cove road
f. Shed – 15 Green Hill Drive
g. Fence off Mullowney’s Lane
h. Fence – 301 Southern Shore Highway

7. Adjournment

• Posted November 2, 2014 •
The next Public Meeting of Council will take place on THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13th at 7:45pm. (The meeting was moved by two days because of Remembrance Day)

• Posted November 2, 2014 •
We’re holding a special meeting of the Community Enhancement Committee on Tuesday, November 4th, starting at 7:30PM. Pat Curran will be helping us create a vision for the Town! Once approved & ratified by Council, this short statement will guide the Town in each of its undertakings. The purpose of this vision is to drive the town, its residents, businesses, industry, and, most especially, its Council, towards achieving a common goal, and to serve as a constant reminder of what we are trying to achieve together.
Draft agenda for the meeting:
7:30pm – Presentation: “The Mandate of Municipal Councils”
7:45pm – Drafting Witless Bay’s Vision (with Pat Curran)
8:45pm – Our Town’s recreation infrastructure (3-yr plan)
9:00pm – Tidy Towns 2014/2015
9:15pm – Christmas events
9:30pm – Meeting ends

We hope to see you on Tuesday evening!

• Posted October 24, 2014 •
Witless Bay: Tidy Towns 2014 Winner!
Tid Towns logoCongratulations to the hundreds of people who helped make this possible!!!

Thanks goes out to our residents and volunteers, the members of the Community Enhancement Committee, the Heritage Committee and Council, our Town staff, as well as the many groups and associations who pitched in and donated their time and energy to this effort (the Kinsmen, The O’Connor 50+, the Girl Guides, the Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, the BBBAA, the Puffin Patrol, St. Bernard’s Elementary School, Mobile High School, the Witless Bay Volunteer Fire Department, and all the others!).

Thanks also goes out to the many local businesses who helped us in our Tidy Towns bid, including the Witless Bay Home Hardware, Witless Bay Ecotours, Needs Convenience, Independent Consultants Group, and Felix’s. Thanks also to our Town Planner (Plan-Tech Environment), Eastern Waste Management, the fantastic staff at the Department of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs, and the great team at Municipalities NL!

• Posted October 13, 2014 •
7:30pm, October 14, 2014, at the Witless Bay Town Hall

1. Call to Order

2. Adoption of October 14, 2014 Agenda

3. Adoption of September 9, 2014 Minutes of Meeting

4. Adoption of September 16, 2014 Minutes of Meeting

5. Business Arising from Minutes:
a. Strategic Vision for Witless Bay 2030: Initiating our Integrated Community Sustainability Plan
b. Development/Control Officer update
c. Ratifying Policy on Submissions to Council
d. Ratifying Policy on Public Meetings
e. Ratifying Policy on Plan Amendments Requests
f. Ratifying Policy on Permits
g. Fence – Mullowney’s Lane

6. New Business:
a. Ratification of Group
b. Resignation of two Councillors (and related correspondence from resident)
c. Request to meet with Council to discuss private land
d. Bristol Landing, Phase III
e. Correspondence relating to ATV & dirt bike users
f. Canadian Union of Postal Workers
g. BAE Newplan Group Ltd.
h. Meeting with Small Craft Harbours – October 16 @ 3:00 p.m.
i. BBBAA – Regional Recreation Director’s Report
j. Fire & Emergency Services – Approval of Fire Protection Vehicle
k. Deadlines for Municipal Capital Works 90/10 projects & New Building Capital Funds (BCF) projects

7. Committee Reports:

Finance –
a. Income Statement & Payables
b. Lawlor’s Excavating
c. 50+ – Additional furniture for the Community Centre

Community Enhancement Committee
a. Report on current projects
b. Folklorists in Witless Bay
c. Tidy Towns results

Heritage Committee

Regional Emergency Management Plan

Public Works & Compliance:
a. Seeding where ditching has been done
b. Pothole Tender Results
c. Tender results for Salt & Sand
d. Request for upgrades to entrance of Gull Pond Road
e. Request for Council to address entrance of Harrigan’s Lane
f. Request to develop sub-grade road on Dean’s Road
g. Request to erect sign
h. Crown Land Application – 106 Southside Track
i. Crown Land Application – off Mullowney’s Lane
j. Crown Land Application – off Mullowney’s Lane
k. Residential Dwelling – Gallows Cove Road
l. Shed – 26 Tuff’s Road
m. Garage 1-5 Northside Track
n. Garage – 9 Green Hill Drive
o. Garage – 7 Green Hill Drive
p. Garage 112 Gallows Cove Road
q. Install culvert – 5 Diamond Place
r. Garage – 5 Diamond Place
s. Shed – 10 Green Hill Drive
t. Garage 126 Bear’s Cove Road
u. Shed – 126 Bear’s Cove Road
v. Gazebo – 126 Bear’s Cove Road
w. Fence & Landscaping – 27 Northside Track
x. Operate a Business – 211 Southern Shore Highway
y. Request for Council to reconsider subdivision proposal on Gull Pond Road

8. Adjournment

• Posted September 24, 2014 •
The bulk collection that was scheduled for last week has been rescheduled for Friday, September 26, 2014. Bulk items must be placed at the roadside by 7:00am on September 19th. It may take a number of days for bulk items to be collected from all residents. A limit of 500 lbs or one pick up load (whichever is less) will be collected from each household. The last bulk garbage pickup of the year will be on November 28th.

• Posted September 25, 2014 •
September 2014 Newsletter
Available in PDF format here: September 2014 Newsletter

Council held a contest where we invited the students at St. Bernard Elementary and Mobile High School to name our new recreation centre. Almost 200 students participated in the contest, and over 50 suggested that it be named after our Town’s main emblem, the North Atlantic Puffin. After a series of consultations, it was decided that the new building would be called THE WITLESS BAY PUFFIN CENTRE! The building is now available for rental – Drop by the Town Office to pick up a rental agreement!

Witless Bay Council is spearheading the preparation of a regional Emergency Management Plan for the Bay Bulls to Bauline area. Part of this exercise involves training the volunteers. Fire & Emergency Services will be coming to Witless Bay to offer the “Basic Emergency Management” course on three consecutive Wednesday evenings (6pm to 10pm): November 19th, November 26th, and December 3rd. Please contact the Town Office to sign up: 334-3407.

To protect residents & landowners from issues resulting from unregulated, unauthorized & unlawful development, the Town requires that a permit be obtained before the start of any construction project or project involving machinery which transforms the landscape or alters water flows. Carrying out work without a permit or with an expired permit carries a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offence, and if the work violates zoning regulations, laws or by-laws, an additional fine of up to $10,000 may apply. The owner may be held responsible for the cost of dismantling the construction and restoring the site, as well as the cost of rectifying any problems. The fine for disobeying a Stop Work Order is $500/day. If you’re considering a project, please visit the Town Office to obtain an application form & a copy of the applicable bylaws, policies & procedures. Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month, at 7:30pm. The deadline for your application to be considered at the next public meeting is at Noon on Thursday, October 9th.

The Town is holding a going-away party for the Folklore students who spent the month of September in the community. The party starts with a community potluck supper, followed by a presentation by the students. The students will tell us about their experience in our community, show us their work and describe what they’ve discovered. After the presentation, we’ll have a party with local entertainment! Remember to bring your instruments and your dancing shoes! Admission is FREE (just bring a dish to share!) and everyone is welcome!

Saturday, September 27th
Witless Bay Puffin Centre (the new rec centre on South Side Track)

• Posted September 24, 2014 •
Eastern Waste Management got in touch with us so that we can notify residents that the bulk collection that was scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19, 2014 has been rescheduled for Friday, September 26, 2014.
It may take a number of days for bulk items to be collected from all residents. A limit of 500 lbs or one pick up load (whichever is less) will be collected from each household.

The last bulk garbage pickup of the year will be on November 28th.
Click HERE for the Schedule
Click HERE for more info on Bulk Garbage & Other Services
• Posted September 15, 2014 •
Eastern Waste Management is doing a bulk garbage collection this Friday. Bulk items must be placed at the roadside by 7:00am on September 19th. It may take a number of days for bulk items to be collected from all residents. A limit of 500 lbs or one pick up load (whichever is less) will be collected from each household.

The last bulk garbage pickup of the year will be on November 28th.
Click HERE for the Schedule
Click HERE for more info on Bulk Garbage & Other Services


• Posted September 14, 2014 •
Draft Agenda: Special Public Meeting
September 16, 2014 at 8:30pm, Witless Bay’s Town Office

1. Call to order


2. Adoption of September 16, 2014 Agenda

3. Business Arising from Minutes:

a) Town Plan approval
b) Snow Clearing Contract
/ Tender

4. New Business:
a) Garbage collection tender for 2015-2018 (+ option to renew for 2019 & 2020)

5. Adjournment

• Posted September 6, 2014 •
Witless Bay’s Folklore Field School
Our Folklorists are hard at work: Documenting Joey & Jerry Yard’s fishing stores, photographing Mike & Sheila Ryan’s home, interviewing Sister Lois Greene, and doing kinds of other things! Read all about it on their blog, which they update every day!:

Folklore students at old cemetery

Folklore Students Dancing

Folklore Students in Chapel
• Posted September 6, 2014 •
Draft Agenda: September 2014 Public Meeting
7:30pm on Tuesday, September 9, 2014, in Witless Bay’s Council Chambers

1. Call to Order

2. Adoption of September 9, 2014 Agenda

3. Adoption of July 8, 2014 Minutes of Meeting

4. Business Arising from Minutes:
a. Reconsider policies on the Use of Witless Bay’s Community Centre
b. Ratifying Regulations on Youth Representatives
c. Ratifying Regulations Remote Meeting Attendance
d. Ratifying Regulations on Snow Clearing
e. Ratifying Regulations on Fences
f. Ratifying Regulations on Culvert Extensions
g. Ratifying Regulations on Professional Development
h. Applications to Operate a Business (Ratify new form)
i. Applications to Develop Land (Ratify revised forms)
j. Town Plan
k. Development Control Officer – Progress Report
l. Application to extend culvert on 37 Country Path Drive
m. Application to develop residential dwelling on 155 North Side Track/Jockey’s Lane
n. Application for Smoke House on North Side Track
o. Paving tender
p. Basic Emergency Management Training Sessions

5. New Business:
a. Notice of Motion: Revising the following regulations and policies (distributed to Council):
‣ Policy on submissions to Council
‣ Policies on Public meetings
‣ Policy on Plan Amendment Requests
‣ Policies on Permits
b. Motion to Evaluate the Feasibility of Extending Town Boundaries
c. Gas Tax Agreement – Motion to approve agreement
d. Gas Tax Audit – Motion to adopt Annual Expenditure Report
e. 2015-2016 Capital Works Applications
f. Tendering for snow clearing 2015-2016
g. MNL 2014 Convention
h. Ratification of Group
i. Request for weekly use of Witless Bay Community Centre for item 5 i.
j. Request to use Witless Bay Community Centre Monday to Friday for Educational after school program
k. Installing ladder in swimming pool
l. Installing storage space in recreation building
m. Weather station for Witless Bay

6. Committee Reports

a. Income Statement/Monthly Payables


Community Enhancement Committee:
a. Report on Tourism Development Workshops
b. Painting the Tourism Chalet & Change Rooms
c. Tidy Towns Results
d. Meet & Greet Supper (took place September 7th)
e. A Scuff & a Scoff scheduled for September 27th
f. Name of the Recreation Centre

Emergency Planning Committee

Public Works:
a. Flooding on Andrew’s Lane
b. Flooding on Dean’s Road
c. Request to re-zone land Southern Shore Highway
d. Request to re-zone land on Cemetery Road
e. Request for Town to take over section of road (Phase 2) on Emerald Estates
f. Standing ditch water – 106 Southside Track
g. Application for gazebo – 11 Evergreen Road
h. Application for fence on Mullowney’s Lane extension
i. Application for shed on 12 Ocean View Drive
j. Application for residential dwelling on Carey’s Road/Andrew’s Lane
k. Application for residential dwelling on 241A Gallows Cove Road
l. Application for residential dwelling on 101-109 Gallows Cove Road

7. Adjournment

• Posted September 5, 2014 •
Community Supper at our NEW rec building!
On Sunday, September 7th, Council is holding a community potluck supper at the new recreation building! We will be welcoming the graduate students who will be spending three weeks in Witless Bay this month, working to record our town’s traditions and customs. Join us at 6:00pm for supper and a time, and don’t forget your instruments! Mummers allowed in!

• Posted August 31, 2014 •
Business & Tourism Strategic Planning PART 2!
We are holding a 2-hour follow-up session so that as many community members can offer their ideas in terms of strategic planning on Tuesday, September 2nd at 7:30pm at the Town Office. All are welcome! I’m really looking forward to hearing even more fantastic ideas about how Council can help facilitate business development and beautify the Town!
• Posted August 28, 2014 •
CBC Radio: Deputy-Mayor Dena Wiseman on The Puffin Patrol


• Posted August 25, 2014 •
Huffin and Puffin: The Puffin Patrol on NTV
• Posted August 23, 2014 •
Business & Tourism Strategic Planning Retreat
The first part of the town-organized strategic planning retreat for business & tourism development went superbly. We got great community input: Twenty-seven residents and stakeholders participated in the eight-hour session that was held on August 23rd! A big THANK YOU to all participants!
• Posted August 21, 2014 •
Late Summer Newsletter
To download in PDF, click here: Newsletter 2014-08 PART 2

A great big THANK YOU to everyone who helped out with Witless Bay’s bid for the Tidy Towns competition this year! Going around the town with the judges, it was easy to be proud of what our many volunteers, service groups & committee members had done to shine up the town! Thank you to everyone who pitched in today, yesterday, last week, and over the past months – it was a fantastic community-wide effort! Nothing left to do now but cross our fingers, since the results will be announced next month!

The Heritage Committee’s “Name this Thing” contest was a great success at the PuffinFest. The antiques sure kept a lot of people guessing! Congratulations to the two contest winners: Colleen Dalton and Alexa Pynn!

A group of Masters and Ph.D. students will be spending three weeks in Witless Bay this September, working to record our town’s traditions and customs. They get here on Sunday, September 7th, so we’re organizing a meet-and-greet at the new rec centre! Come join us for supper and a time, and don’t forget your instruments! Mummers allowed in!

During the Fall and Winter, the Community Enhancement Committee will be switching to monthly meetings. Meetings will take place on the first Tuesday of each month, at 7:30pm.
New members of all ages are always welcome!

The Witless Bay Puffin Patrol is having its busiest year ever: the patrol has
rescued a whopping 468 baby birds so far, only one week after the first
pufflings fledged from the reserve. Once on shore, a puffling’s chance
of survival is very slim, and the great majority fall prey to cars, domestic
animals, and hunger. During the next few weeks (called “Puffin Savings Time”), please dim or turn off unnecessary lights. Puffins are easily trapped in window wells, so if you have them on your house, please check them each morning.

Please drive carefully at nights, and watch out for patrollers. If you spot a lost puffin, please call Leah Mahoney at 743-4019 so that the Puffin Patrol can come capture it. If you are interested in helping rescue and release these birds or learn more
about the mitigation measures recommended, please visit the C-PAWS Website
( or the Patrol’s Facebook page (“Witless Bay Puffin Patrol”). If you want to install more puffin-friendly lights, C-PAWS-NL will distribute these bulbs for FREE – contact them at

Witless Bay’s Town Council is interested in what YOU have to say about the town’s future in terms of business & tourism development! Join us for this strategic planning retreat, where we’ll imagine all the incredible things that Witless Bay could become if we set our minds to it! There IS such a thing as a free lunch! The retreat takes place on Saturday, August 23rd, from 8:45am to 4:15pm (New time!) at the Town Office. Please register – space is limited! 334-3407
• Posted August 9, 2014 •
Draft Agenda – August 12th Public Meeting
Meeting takes place at the Town Office, starting at 7:30pm

1. Call to order

2. Adoption of August 12, 2014 Agenda

3. Adoption of July 8, 2014 Minutes of Meeting

4. Business arising from minutes:
a. Ratifying Code of Ethics: Code of Ethics Guiding Witless Bay’s Council and Staff
b. Structure removal – 432 Southern Shore Highway
c. Election results
d. Public Hearing for Town Plan
e. Motion: Development Control Officer
f. Motion: Begin process of moving fire department to municipal garage
g. Application to extend culvert on 37 Country Path Drive
h. Discretionary Use Notice for Smoke House on Northside Track
i. Ditching and Paving tender results
j. Tender for pothole repairs
k. Tourism Development Workshop scheduled for August 23

5. New Business:
a. Notice of Motion: To review the town’s fence regulations
b. Fence around the swimming pool – completed (motion made at July meeting to accept lowest bid)
c. Remote meeting attendance & youth representatives
d. 2015-2016 Capital Works Applications
e. MNL Memo & 2014 Convention Newsletter
f. Setting fee structure for Witless Bay Community Centre
g. Request for weekly use of Witless Bay Community Centre
h. Ratification of Group
i. St. John’s Regional Fire Department’s Schedule of Fees (info purpose)

6. Committee Reports

(i) Finance:
a. Income Statement / Monthly payables
b. Invoice: Kendall Engineering – Progress billing 17, Community Centre
c. Invoice: Kendall Engineering – Progress billing 1, Parking Lot

(ii) NEAR Plan
a. NEAR Plan consultation session

(iii) Community Enhancement Committee
a. Update
b. Painting the Tourism Chalet
c. Painting the change rooms by swimming pool
d. Tidy Towns judging: August 18th (itinerary, action plan, potluck lunch
e. Tidy Towns Community Profile
f. Tidy Towns: Town Maintenance Person & Summer Students

(iv) Emergency Planning Committee

(v) Public Works:
a. Residential dwelling – 153 Harbour Road (deferred at previous meeting for review)
b. Residential dwelling – Lot 58 Country Path Drive
c. House to use for cabin – 73 Gallows Cove Road
d. Garage & culvert for driveway into garage from new road – 33 Country Path Drive
e. Garage – 40 Southside Track
f. Extension to residence – 229 Dean’s Road
g. Fence – 4 Island View Place
h. Light distribution approval – Emerald Estates
i. Home-based business – Youth Ventures
j. Home-based business – 94 Gull Pond Road

7. Adjournment
• Posted August 6, 2014 •
August Newsletter
(Available in PDF here: Newsletter 2014-08)
The Tidy Towns Judges will be coming to Witless Bay on August 18th. This means that we have two weeks left to shine up the town! We will be having a COMMUNITY POTLUCK LUNCH with the judges at the new Rec Centre starting at 1:00pm – please bring a dish you feel represents Witless Bay’s culture and traditions, or something delicious you love making! All are welcome!

The Town of Witless Bay’s application for a Community Capacity Building project was successful! The Province is financing a one-day Economic / Tourism Development Strategic Planning Retreat, which will be held on Saturday, August 23rd. All residents are invited to participate – please register by contacting the Town Office: 334-3407.

Congratulations to AnnMarie Hann and Jacqueline Mair, the newest members of the Witless Bay Town Council. We look forward to working together to make our Town an even better place to live and do business!

Ten graduate students in Folklore will be spending three weeks in Witless Bay this September, and we need five more beds (two need to be twin), two more dressers, and a refrigerator in order to accommodate them. If you have pieces that you’re willing to lend for the month, please call the Town Office and we will arrange for it to be picked up: 334-3407. Thank you!

In response to concerns about the playground’s proximity to the pool, a fence was erected to make the area safer for the little ones. Please note also that no dogs are 
permitted in the community swimming pool at any time, and
 that the recreation area is a smoke-free zone.

During the month of August, there will be roadwork throughout the community, with extensive ditching, road repairs, shouldering, and swales to better manage storm water. We apologize for any inconvenience or delays this may cause.

The Municipal Plan is the document that will guide Council’s decision-making in terms of land use and zoning over the next years. Witless Bay’s residents, landowners, business owners & other stakeholders are all invited to attend the public hearing that’s being held before it officially comes into force: Thursday, August 7th, at 7:30pm at the Town Office

Town Council and staff wish everyone a fantastic month!
Mayor Sébastien Després, Deputy-Mayor Dena Wiseman
Councillors Ralph Carey, René Estrada, AnnMarie Hann, Jacqueline Mair & Kevin Smart
Town Clerk-Manager Geraldine Caul, Assistant Clerk Barb Harrigan, Grounds/Maintenance Aiden Carey.

• Posted August 6, 2014 •
Council’s Code of Ethics
The Code of Ethics that was introduced at the last public meeting of Council will be presented for ratification at the August 12th meeting of Council. Click here to see it: Code of Ethics Guiding Witless Bay’s Council and Staff

• Posted August 2, 2014 •
Public Hearing about the Municipal Plan!
The Municipal Plan is the document that will guide Council’s decision-making in terms of land use and zoning over the next years. Witless Bay’s residents, landowners, business owners & other stakeholders are all invited to attend the public hearing that’s being held before it officially comes into force:
Thursday, August 7th, at 7:30pm at the Town Office

• Posted July 22, 2014 •
Island-wide Fire Ban!
The Department of Natural Resources has issued a complete fire ban because of “extreme levels” in the Forest Fire Index. There are to be NO OPEN FIRES WHATSOEVER until the ban is lifted. Please direct questions or concerns to the Forestry Services branch: 729-4180. To read the story in the Telegram, click here:

• Posted July 16, 2014 •
By-Election Results
The results of the July 16th election have been tabulated:

AnnMarie Hann: 154 (elected)
Jacqueline Mair: 125 (elected)
Joan Tobin: 91

This was a great turnout for a by-election (227 in total) – congratulations to all candidates! The swearing-in of our TWO new members of Council will be in the coming weeks. We will keep everyone posted!
• Posted July 12, 2014 •
A Crown Land Reserve in Witless Bay?
At the July 2014 public meeting of Council, it was decided that the Town would invite the Province to initiate the process of establishing a Crown Land Reserve along the town’s southern coastline.

This prospective reserve, measuring 99 hectares in total and 450 meters in width, is proposed to
begin at the first parcel of crown land at the end of Mullowney’s Lane, and to
end at the town’s southern boundary. This reserve would set apart the crown land along this
coastline as a protected area in order to provide open and unrestricted
enjoyment of this easily accessed pristine ocean shoreline & wilderness environment for generations to come.

This is just the start of what we believe will be a long and comprehensive process – the establishment of a Crown Land Reserve is ultimately a decision of the Provincial Government. If the Province is receptive to Council’s proposal, we will be holding a public meeting to outline in more detail what is being proposed, why it is being proposed, and to discuss the project with all stakeholders before any decision is finalized.

• Posted July 4, 2014 •
Draft Agenda for the July 8, 2014 Public Meeting of Council
1. Call to order

2. Adoption of July 8th 2014 Agenda

3. Adoption of June 10th 2014 Minutes of Meeting

4. Business Arising from Minutes

a. Revised Road Standards
b. Proposed Code of Ethics
c. Structure removal on 432 Southern Shore Highway
d. Municipal By-Election: Wednesday, July 16th 2014

5. New Business
a. Town of Witless Bay Municipal Plan
b. NEAR Plan process update
c. Correspondence: Municipal Affairs – Capital Works Applications Submitted.
d. Notice: Development Control Officer.
e. Fire & Emergency Services – Preparing an
Emergency Management Plan.
f. Motion to construct road leading to Municipal Garage.
g. Notice of Motion to begin process of moving Fire Department to Municipal Garage.
h. Replacing the fire hydrant near the Fish Plant.
i. Enquiry RE: Filling the pumper truck at the river.
j. Recommendation to the Regional Fire Committee increase the honorarium awarded to active members of the Witless Bay Regional Fire Department.
k. Re-evaluation of staff wages

6. Committees Reports

a. Cash Flow Analysis Report
b. Income Statement/payables
c. Audited Financial Statements 2013
d. Quote for Class A (for Upper Pond Tourist stop). Awarded;
Motion only
e. Contract Payment: Eastern Contracting – Witless Bay Recreation Centre
f. Contract Payment: Modern Paving – Track Road (Gas Tax Funding
portion) – Gas tax funding received to cover this cost
g. Contract Payment: Modern Paving – Track Road (90/10 portion:
Government $170,017.84 and Town’s portion 18,890.87) – Request made to MA
for release of their portion, Gas tax funding received to cover Town’s cost

a. PuffinFest preparations
b. New Date for Economic/Tourism Development Workshop
c. Roofing on change rooms by the pool
d. Painting the tourism chalet & change rooms by the pool
e. Tidy Town Hour – Wednesdays 6:00pm to 7:00pm
f. Tidy Towns Judging date: August 18th 2014
g. The Mayor’s Walk for Heart & Stroke
h. Canada Day Celebrations
i. Fence alongside the pool – quotes received

a. Motion for a municipal ban on the use of herbicide Tordon 101
b. Request for a provincial ban on the use of herbicide Tordon 101
c. Motion to request the reinstatement of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve Manager position
(to Park & Natural Areas)
d. Request to Department of Environment & Conservation for the establishment of a Crown Land Reserve (under Section 8 of the Lands Act) for 99 hectares of crown land on the Town’s southern coastline.
e. MMSB Compost Bin Program results.
f. NAACAP Coastal Erosion Study planned for Witless Bay

a. Residential single family dwelling – 12 Country Path Drive
b. Residential single family dwelling – 28 Country Path Drive
c. Residential single family dwelling – 1 Green Hill Drive
d. Residential single family dwelling – 3 Green Hill Drive
e. Residential single family dwelling – 1-3 Carey’s Road
f. Residential single family dwelling – 90 Gallows Cove Road
g. Storage garage – 18 Green Hill Drive
h. Garage – 142-144 Gull Pond Road
i. Garage – 161 Gull Pond Road
j. Baby Barn – 14 Lower Loop Road
k. Extend culvert – 37 Country Path Drive
l. Extend driveway – 227 Gallows Cove Road
m. Fence – 17-19 Hillsway Drive
n. Above-ground swimming pool – 39 Butler’s Road
o. Crown Land – Witless Bay Line
p. Crown Land – Gull Pond Road
q. Quotes received for grading roads in the community

7. Adjournment

• Posted June 28, 2014 •
Canada Day Celebrations!
Events include a hike, a healthy heart picnic, community olympics, a cake cutting, refreshments, a community BBQ, face painting, Sky High Amusements, local entertainment, and FIREWORKS! The Mayor’s Hike for Heart & Stroke starts at 6:00PM at St. Bernard’s Elementary, from where we’ll walk to the recreation grounds. Wear a backpack & bring a blanket & a healthy picnic! The celebrations will start at the Recreation Grounds at 6:45pm.

A big THANK YOU to all of the volunteers and community groups who pitched in to make this event possible: The O’Connor 50+ Club, the Witless Bay Heritage Committee, the Witless Bay Regional Fire Department, the Witless Bay Kinsmen Club, our local RCMP detachment, Our MHA (Minister Keith Hutchings), Town Council, Town Staff, and the members of our Community Enhancement Committee. Most especially, THANK YOU to the BBBAA’s leadership & its fantastic team of dedicated workers & volunteers for organizing this great event!

• Posted May 30, 2014 •
Information Flyer
Planning on building a house or an extension?
Hoping to put up a deck, a fence, or a shed?
Thinking about subdividing your land?
Planning to excavate a piece of land?
Thinking of putting in a pool?
You need a permit.

No development, construction, extension, demolition, excavation, grading, clearing or grubbing is to take place within Town boundaries without a permit from the Town.

To protect residents & landowners from issues resulting from unregulated, unauthorized & unlawful development, the Town of Witless Bay requires that a permit be obtained prior to the start of any construction project or project which involves machinery and transforms the landscape. Building on, redirecting or altering a watercourse or ditch without approval is an offense.

It makes sense to ensure that what you’re planning to do is allowed before you start building, since no one benefits from having to dismantle what wasn’t done according to the regulations. Developers, builders, & property owners are responsible for constructing according to the plans submitted and for meeting all municipal, provincial & national standards.

A permit must be obtained for the construction of any driveway. Driveways must be properly ditched and a culvert meeting Town standards must be installed & inspected before a permit can be granted to develop a new lot or build a new home. Building on, redirecting, or altering a watercourse without approval is an offense.

Developing, building, constructing, excavating, grading, clearing or grubbing without a permit or with an expired permit carries a fine of up to $5,000 for a first offence. If construction contravenes zoning regulations, laws or by-laws, an additional fine of up to $10,000 may apply. The owner is responsible for the cost of dismantling the construction and restoring the site if so ruled, as well as the cost of rectifying any problems. The daily fine for disobeying a Stop Work Order is $500.

If you’re considering a project, please visit the Town Office to obtain an application form & a copy of the applicable bylaws, policies & procedures.

Council meets on the second Tuesday of every month, at 7:30pm.
For your application to be considered at the next public meeting of the Town Council, the deadline for submission is Thursday, June 5th at Noon.
This is simply an informational pamphlet – not a complete list of the Town’s development regulations. In case of discrepancy between the official text and the text on this page, the official text shall prevail.

Witless Bay’s New Official Flower: The Orange Day Lily
Flowers are an important addition to any exterior beautification project. They symbolize life, and make an enormous difference in terms of aesthetics, adding interesting splashes of colour. The orange day lily has long been growing in gardens and planters in our community. Known as “the perfect perennial” because of its hardiness & low-maintenance, the variety that grows in Witless Bay is a brilliant orange with some yellow, which makes it a perfect complement to our Town’s colour palette (from the puffin). A generous resident has stepped up and offered to supply residents with the first 400 cuttings! Please contact the Town Office to reserve cuttings for your garden: 334-3407

“Learning to Compost” Workshop
TUESDAY, JUNE 3rd at 7:30pm, Town Office
The Town Council of Witless Bay is hosting a short “Learn to Compost Workshop” to help residents learn how to use composters to their full capacity!

Mayor’s Hike for Heart & Stroke
Starting at 10:30am at the school, we will make our way along the river trail leading to our recreation grounds, where we’ll share a healthy picnic & celebrate the Grand Opening of the new Community Recreation Building. After this, we’ll have Community Olympics, where both kids & adults will compete in potato sack races, tug-of-war, egg & spoon races, 3-legged races, and other sporting events! A good number of community groups and sponsors will be helping out at the event; we’ll keep you posted on this as details are set. Remember to wear a backpack (with a picnic to share inside!) so that pictures of the event look great!

Strategic Planning Session
The Town of Witless Bay is currently in the first stages of developing an economic and tourism development strategy. On August 23rd, Council will be holding a strategic planning session to help establish a strategic vision and determine priority areas for action planning. Join us to help give direction to our Town! Please contact the Town Office to register.

Composters for Sale
Through an MMSB-funded program, the Town of Witless Bay has purchased 50 composters, which are now available at cost ($25 instead of $80+). Sold on a first-come, first serve basis, they’re going fast – stop by the Town Office and pick one up!

• Posted May 15, 2014 •
Policies and Procedures of the Town of Witless Bay
At the May 2014 meeting of the Witless Bay Town Council, we officially ratified the Town’s Regulations on Permits. The great majority of these were not new regulations – they were adaptations of the existing regulations. The intent of many of the changes made was to soften the current regulations for residents, making the regulations less onerous for small-scale projects. The intent of other changes proposed is to protect residents and landowners from potential issues resulting from unregulated, unauthorized, and illegal development.
Click here for the updated regulations:OFFICIAL Policies & Procedures Manual 2014-05
For most residents, low taxes are an important consideration. Recognizing this, Council has reduced the mil rate by 11% in 2014, from 5.5 to 5.0.

The Town Council of Witless Bay believes in open, accessible, and accountable government. For this reason, we’ve done a number of things to connect with residents:
• Input from residents is now an important part of Council’s decision-making:
o Residents may now speak before a vote is made on an issue.
o A discussion session follows each public meeting.
o Individuals and groups can make presentations during public meetings.
• The Agenda for public meetings is now posted online prior to meetings.
• Minutes of public meetings are posted online.
• There are now two residents’ advisory committees who help provide advice to Council: The Heritage Committee and the Community Enhancement Committee.
• In order to keep everyone informed, the Mayor informally hosts a Facebook page ( and a Website (

Healthy development benefits everyone in the community. Council has worked to ensure that long-term growth is sustainable and beneficial to everyone.
• We have been working with developers to ensure that new developments benefit all residents and avoid future financial & legal liabilities for the Town.
• We have started preparing a Tourism & Economic Development plan for the town.
• We are proceeding with a feasibility study for hiring a Compliance Officer.
• Evaluated development applications for 14 new homes & 20 secondary structures.
• We have issued permits for FIVE NEW BUSINESSES in the town!
• Evaluated and made decisions on five subdivision development proposals at various stages.

Safety is an important priority for our Town Council.
• This Spring, Council will be installing a number of road signs throughout the community to control traffic, including speed limits & clearer indications for dangerous features.
• A complete assessment of the Town’s street lighting needs
was undertaken by our Public Works Committee, and issues were addressed.

We have been revamping the town’s policies and procedures to better serve residents and help ensure that their interests are protected.
• We have redrafted the Regulations on Permits.
• The building application form is now more user-friendly and less confusing.
• There is now an official ratification process for community groups & associations.
• Council has adopted the iCloud system for safe storage of town records.
• Public Council meetings now run according to
Robert’s Rules of Order.

Members of Council have been active in representing the Town and the interests of residents on a long list of committees, including:
• The NEAR Plan Oversight Committee and Working Group.
• The North East Avalon Joint Councils Committee.
• The Southern Shore Joint Councils Committee.
• The Bay Bulls to Bauline Athletic Association

Municipal taxes only account for a small portion of our town’s annual budget. To help maintain the town’s infrastructure, plan for and build new infrastructure, and offer quality programming for residents, Council has applied for a number of grants, subsidies, and awards from external funding sources. We have:
• Applied for funds to develop a Tourism and Economic Development Plan.
• Applied for funding for Phase II of the Southside Track.
• Nominated the Heritage Committee for the NL Environmental Awards.
• Assisted our Regional Fire Department with an application for a new rescue vehicle.
• Applied for funds to install doors to the front of the municipal garage.

• Council is funding 50% of the Regional Recreation Director’s position, with assurances in place for accountability and transparency. Monthly reports are submitted to Council.
• The Community Enhancement Committee is working on the town’s new “look,” including the selection of an official town flower, planning for new “Welcome to Witless Bay” signs, a community mapping initiative, and a long list of other exciting projects. We will have details about this work in the next newsletter!
Click HERE to see the ARCHIVES, where older posts are kept.
• My priorities,
• My biography
• Our Community Enhancement Committee
• Media coverage of Council

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