News from Council

Priorities are Mayor
Because transparency, accountability, and community-building are among my top priorities, I’ll be working on making everything that our Town Council does available online. Our Town Website will soon be much more comprehensive. I’ll also be using this page as my own record.

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

 

• 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
http://ntv.ca/huffin-and-puffin/
 

• 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!

We will be holding a 2-hour follow-up session 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 21, 2014 •
Late Summer Newsletter
To download in PDF, Newsletter 2014-08 PART 2

TIDY TOWNS
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!

HERITAGE COMMITTEE
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!

SEPTEMBER 7TH: COME OUT TO MEET THE FOLKLORE STUDENTS!
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!

COMMUNITY ENHANCEMENT COMMITTEE
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!

PUFFIN PATROL
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
(www.cpaws.org) 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 nlpuffinpatrol@cpaws.org

PLANNING RETREAT
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)
AUGUST 18TH: TIDY TOWNS JUDGING & COMMUNITY POTLUCK
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!

AUGUST 23RD: STRATEGIC PLANNING RETREAT
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.

RESULTS OF COUNCIL’S RECENT BY-ELECTION
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!

FURNITURE NEEDED
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!

RECREATION AREA & POOL
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.

INFRASTRUCTURE MAINTENANCE
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.

PUBLIC HEARING: TOWN OF WITLESS BAY 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

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: http://bit.ly/1r2pmcu
 

• 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
FINANCE

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

 


COMMUNITY ENHANCEMENT COMMITTEE
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

CULTURE, HERITAGE & ENVIRONMENT
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

PUBLIC WORKS & COMPLIANCE
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
DATE CHANGED TO JULY 1st!
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
 

WHAT COUNCIL HAS DONE OVER THE PAST SIX MONTHS
LOWER TAXES
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.

INCREASING COMMUNICATION WITH THE PUBLIC
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 (www.facebook.com/sebastiendespres.page) and a Website (www.SebastienDespres.ca)

MANAGING GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
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.

A SAFER COMMUNITY
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.

ESTABLISHING CLEARER POLICIES & PROCEDURES
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.

REPRESENTING THE TOWN’S INTERESTS
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

EXTERNAL GRANTS, AWARDS, & FUNDING
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.

COMMUNITY SPIRIT, BEAUTIFICATION & SUSTAINABILITY
• 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

All content Copyright © 2010-2014 Sébastien Després. All rights reserved. The views, opinions, positions and/or strategies expressed on this site and other sites owned and controlled by Sébastien Després are those of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of Witless Bay's Town Council.