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 (http://www.townofwitlessbay.com) will soon be much more comprehensive. I’ll also be using this page as my own record.
• February 9, 2014 •
Agenda for the March 11, 2014 Public Meeting of the Witless Bay Town Council
Town Hall – 7:30 p.m.
1. Call to order
2. Adoption of the March 11, 2014 Agenda
3. Adoption of the February 11, 2014 Minutes of Meeting
4. Presentations – Individuals/Delegations:
a) Ed Vickers
5. Business arising from Minutes:
a) Maintaining cul-de-sacs and compiling road list
b) Gallows Cove Road/Mullowney’s Lane per Minister Steve Kent’s correspondence
c) Outside Development Officer – Quote for proposal
6. General Business:
a) Group Ratification – Mobile Central High
b) PMA Schedule of Municipal Trainings – Information sheet
7. Committee Reports –
a) Snow clearing logs
II. Community Enhancement Committee Meeting
III. Public Works & Compliance:
a) Right of Way – Williams’ Lane
b) Application to develop residential dwelling – 149-151 Harbour Road
c) Application to develop residential dwelling – 115-121A Gallows Cove Road
d) Operate home based business – 37-41A Gull PondRoad
1V. Culture, Heritage & Environment:
a) Let’s Talk Garbage
• February 2, 2014 •
Council’s February Newsletter
IS WITLESS BAY THE NEXT TIDY TOWN? This year, Witless Bay will enter into the Province’s “Tidy Towns” contest! To help prepare the town for the competition, Council has created the Community Enhancement Committee. The main goal of this committee is to energize residents’ community spirit and make Witless Bay a better, even more beautiful place to live. Meetings will be informal, and will be held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The first meeting will take place on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 4th, at 7:30pm in Council Chambers. We hope to see you there!
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO!
THE REGIONAL WINTER CARNIVAL is soon here! It will take place from February 21st to March 2nd. The brochure with the full list of activities will be sent in February, but you can also check for updates on www.bbbaa.net. The lineup for this year includes Carnival Breakfasts, dances, seniors’ fitness events, skating, sliding, talent shows, the Seniors’ Outreach Dinner, card games, Bingo, the 50+ Potluck, Winter Frolics, a youth ping-pong tournament, a youth pool tournament, and more!
To volunteer, please contact Trudy: firstname.lastname@example.org / 334-2300!
MUNICIPAL TAXES: As many have already noticed, Council has reduced residential property taxes to 5 mils this year, in keeping with the commitment made during last September’s election campaign. All other rates and fees remain the same as last year’s (PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS NOW A UNIVERSAL $25 APPLICATION FEE FOR ALL PERMITS. I APOLOGIZE FOR HAVING FORGOTTEN TO MENTION THIS IN THE NEWSLETTER, BUT THIS DETAIL WILL BE INCLUDED IN THE NOTICE IN THE IRISH LOOP POST). Tax invoices have been mailed, along with important information, including:
• Taxpayers are entitled to a 5% discount on residential taxes if paid by March 30th 2014.
• Seniors receive a total of 10% discount on residential taxes throughout the year.
• All taxes are due and payable by May 31st 2014. Any taxes not paid by May 31st 2014, or without arrangements being made, will be charged an interest rate of 18% per annum. Interest on overdue accounts is calculated automatically, but will not be posted on accounts until after the final deadline. If the account remains unpaid after the deadline, the amount shown on your invoice will be a calculation of interest from January to the end of May. The office cannot remove interest from outstanding accounts.
• The Town accepts Visa, MasterCard, Debit, and pre-authorized payments. If acceptable arrangements are made with the Town Office before May 31st 2014 to have your account paid in full by November 30th 2014, no interest will be charged to your account.
• Delinquent accounts unpaid by November 30th 2014 will receive a final notice that their account is being prepared for submission to Credit Recovery for collection.
THE ANNUAL BBBAA AUCTION DINNER & DANCE is on May 10th this year. For more info, please contact Trudy at email@example.com or 334-2300!
WITLESS BAY HAS A NEW COUNCILLOR! Due to departure of Jeff Swain, who recently resigned from Council (Jeff is moving out of the community), there was a vacant seat on Council. On January 28th 2014, this seat was filled by Terry Dunne, who was acclaimed. Terry will be sworn in at the February 11th public meeting of Council.
MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY FOLKLORE DEPARTMENT FIELD SCHOOL
The incoming class of Masters and Ph.D. students at MUN’s Department of Folklore will be taking part in a three-week field methods course in Witless Bay this coming September. From September 7th to 27th, these graduate students will learn how to document heritage buildings in the community, learn how to conduct interviews with residents, and learn about Witless Bay traditions, practices, local knowledge and skills. Students will be living in the Holy Trinity Convent during their stay in Witless Bay. Several guest lecturers and experts will help out in the teaching and documentation. At the commencement of the field school, a welcome gathering will be held. Throughout their stay, students hope to immerse themselves in the daily life of Witless Bay, learning about the landscape, built heritage and oral traditions—meeting, visiting and learning from local residents. Students will keep a blog and reflect on their daily activities. During the final day of the field school, a presentation will be made to the community of what students found and experienced. The documented traditions will be available online through Memorial University’s Digital Archive Initiative. A published booklet of Witless Bay buildings and landscapes documented in the field school is also planned.
For more information, please contact Dr. Gerald L. Pocius (firstname.lastname@example.org; 864-8366).
PLEASE HELP MAKE OUR COMMUNITY SAFER BY…
• Having a plan in place in case of power outages and extreme weather.
• Checking in on neighbours (especially seniors) to offer help.
• Pairing up with a neighbour who is equipped with an off-grid heat source (a wood stove, an oil furnace, etc.) before the next power failure. Ensure that neighbours know they are welcome to “visit” when the power is out!
• Respecting posted speed limits when driving.
• Avoiding dumping any snow onto the roadway.
• Wearing bright and/or reflective clothing when out for a walk or jog.
• Checking culverts around your properties and helping keep them clear of debris so they can handle the rain and snow we will be surely getting in the near future!
THE TOWN COUNCIL & STAFF WISH ALL RESIDENTS A SAFE WINTER!
- Sébastien Després (Mayor), Dena Wiseman (Deputy Mayor), councillors René Astrada, Ralph Carey, Tommy Crocker, Terry Dunne, and Kevin Smart, Geraldine Caul (Town Clerk), and Barb Harrigan (Assistant Clerk)
• January 29, 2014 •
Our Council in Witless Bay now has a new member! Terry Dunne was acclaimed in the By-Election that was held on January 28th!
• January 18, 2014 •
At our January 2014 Council meeting, we created the Community Enhancement Committee! Our first meeting will be on Tuesday, February 4th, at 7:30pm in the Council chambers. Join up to help make Witless Bay an even better place to live!
• January 5, 2014 •
Regulations for Associations Seeking the Support of Council
In order to ensure fairness and transparency across the board, Council has ratified the following regulations to help guide us in our decision-making. The ratification process is simple and straight-forward – associations simply have to fill out a one-page “Association Ratification Form” in order to have their requests (also a one-page form) considered.
A. An “Association” shall be considered as a group of persons who have come together to share a common passion and achieve a common goal. Associations must have a clearly defined purpose that does not conflict with the Mission, Vision, Values, Goals, or Objectives of Council. The association must intend to carry out activities that do not infringe any federal, provincial, municipal or other regulations and which will not interfere with the business of the Town. The association must not infringe on the rights and privileges of others, including the rights of privacy and of freedom of expression. An association is a separate legal entity from the Council, subject to its own rights and obligations. The commitments of an association are the responsibility of its members, and under no circumstance shall Council be held liable for their actions.
B. In order to receive support or funds from Witless Bay’s Council, an association must have been ratified by Council. Associations seeking ratification by Council must submit a duly completed “Association Ratification Form.” For an association to be ratified, at least 20% of its membership must reside in Witless Bay. If this condition is not met, the association must demonstrate that a minimum of 20% of the association’s activities directly benefit the Town of Witless Bay and its residents.
C. The financial contributions that the Council may grant to an association should not constitute the association’s only source of income. Associations must finance themselves through their members’ contributions and other regular channels. Only when such sources of income prove insufficient will the Council consider granting financial support.
D. Approval or rejection of funding requests is at the discretion of the Finance Committee, subject to approval of Council
E. Associations seeking funding from Council must submit a duly completed Funding Request Form.
F. In order to receive funds, the association must hold a bank account in the legal name of the association, and must not have any outstanding debts with Council.
G. Funds must be used towards serving the residents of Witless Bay.
H. Funds must not be used for the private use of a few individuals.
I. Council will not disburse funds for direct donation to charity, the cost of alcohol served at any event, or the day-to-day administrative costs of an organization.
J. Any association receiving funds from Council must list the Town of Witless Bay as a sponsor in all advertising for the event or project for which the association received funding.
K. Applications for financial support will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Does the intent of the support requested fit within Council’s mandate?
- How do the support requested contribute to the success of the association’s event or project?
- How do residents of Witless Bay benefit from the event or project?
- How much external fundraising has the association done?
• January 5, 2014 •
Proposed Regulations on Permits
At the November 26 meeting of Council, I gave Notice of Motion to ratify the following Regulations on Permits. The great majority of these are not new regulations – they’re adaptations of the existing regulations. The intent of many of the changes proposed below is to soften the current regulations for residents, making them 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. Councillors have been asked to review the proposed regulations so that we can ratify them at the February meeting. Residents are invited to give their feedback on these as well!
1.No land within the municipal boundaries of Witless Bay is to be subdivided without the prior approval, in writing, of Council. (as per Statutes of Newfoundland 2000, 29.2:a)
2.No development, construction, extension, demolition, excavation, grading, clearing or grubbing is to take place without a permit from the Town.
(Current Regulations: “No excavation or development of any kind is to take place without a permit from the town.”; “General exterior repair permits will be issued to Seniors free of charge.”; “All sheds require a permit regardless of size and are subject to cost as indicated in tax structure.” From the Municipalities Act 1999, Section 194: “A person shall not within a municipality: erect a building; extend, repair, relocate or demolish an existing building; change the use for which an existing building is or was last held or occupied; or occupy a building that has been vacant for a period of 6 months or more or a newly constructed building, except in accordance with a written permit from the council.”)
3.Development applications which conform to the specifications and requirements of the Town Plan, which are in full compliance with the town’s development regulations, and which are less than or equal to $5,000 in value, may be processed without delay after a thorough review by the Town Clerk-Manager. In such instances of full compliance, a copy of the development application, receipt of fee payment, copy of the permit, background materials, maps, drawings and other documentation relating to the development will be filed and retained. In such situations specific prior approval of council is not required prior to issuing a permit. The approved development applications must be presented to council at the next public meeting of council. The purpose of such approval is to ensure that council is aware of all building and development activity approved within the town, and to seek information or clarification from staff as may be necessary. Council may not rescind development applications or building permits which meet the criteria of the Town Plan and which fully conform to the town’s Building and Development Regulations.
(Current regulations require ALL applications to be vetted by Council before a permit is issued.)
4. All building applications must be must be duly filled out and signed before being considered by Council. Applications must be in the Applicant’s name, and must be accompanied by a duly filled out plot plan, the applicable application fee, and a legal survey (for new home constructions and commercial applications, the survey must be not older than 5 years).
(Current Regulations: “All building applications must be accompanied by a detailed plot plan, survey not older than 5 years and in applicant’s name, and application fee where applicable.”; “Before a residential or commercial permit is issued the Town office must have a legal survey which is not older than 5 years.”)
5. The fees related to permits will be according to the Annual Tax Structure adopted by Council.
(Current regulations: “Building permit costs will be charged according to the annual tax structure adopted by Council.”)
6. If the applicant has any outstanding debts with Council (e.g. fines, levies, late taxes, etc.), this debt must be paid in full before any application is considered for approval. (As per the Municipalities Act, Section 404).
(Example: The City of St. John’s Building Bylaws read, “Notwithstanding any other provision of this By-Law any person who owes outstanding fines to the City of St. John’s for a by-law or regulatory violation for which he has been convicted shall not be entitled to a permit issued pursuant to this By-Law until such time as all such outstanding fines have been paid” (9.1).
7. Permits issued by Council are valid for one year from the date of issue, with the option of renewal for one year. After the second year, the applicant must re-apply to the Town.
(NO CHANGE. Current regulations: “Permits issued by Council will be valid for a period of one year from the date of issue, with the option of renewal for one year. After the second year, applicant must re-apply to the Town.”
8. Permits that are issued to an applicant cannot be transferred. If a property changes hands at any point before the construction is completed, the purchaser must make a new application to the town once he is in possession of a legal deed of conveyance, and submit all required documents with the application.
9. The Town does not provide compliance or occupancy permits. Compliance with existing codes is not implied or warrantied by Council’s issuance of a permit. Council’s approval of developments is in principle only, and subject to final approvals by the appropriate government agencies. The developer of any residential, commercial, or industrial development in the Town of Witless Bay is responsible for meeting all current provincial and national standards.
(Current regulations: “The Town will not provide compliance/occupancy permit.”; “Compliance to existing codes is not implied or warranted by the issuance of permits by Council.”; “The developer of any residential, commercial, or industrial development within the Town of Witless Bay will be responsible for meeting all provincial or national standards that exist.”; “Permits given the Town’s approval shall be in principle only and subject to other government agency’s final approvals.”)
10. The applicant and builder are both responsible to construct as per submitted plans. Any changes must be approved by Council, in writing.
11. Permits to develop will not be issued on newly-developed roads until the road is legally turned over to the Town.
(NO CHANGE. Current regulations: “Permits to develop will NOT be issued on newly developed roads until the road is legally turned over to the Town.”)
12. A driveway must be properly ditched and a culvert meeting the Town’s standards must be installed and inspected by Council before the Town can grant a permit to develop a new lot or construct a new home.
(Current regulations: “Prior to any new home construction, a driveway must be properly ditched and an appropriate culvert (plastic, min. 24″ in diameter) installed and inspected by Council. A permit will be given only when the work is completed to the satisfaction of council. (Motion #2006-094).”)
13. There shall be no unauthorized ditch filling or altering. Building on any watercourse constructed as a public storm sewer or ditch without prior approval from Town Council is an offence. Written notice will be given to the property owner that the installation will need to be removed upon the Town identifying, at its discretion; i) a potential detrimental effect to Town-owned infrastructure, ii) unsafe or failed conditions, or iii) the installation as a contributing cause to drainage issues. The property owner will be given five weeks (35 days) to remedy the issue. If the issue is not resolved within 35 days, the Town will rectify the issue at the owner’s expense.
(Municipalities Act 1999, Section 196: “A person shall not within a municipality: dig or construct ditches, drains or culverts; make greater use of existing ditches, drains or culverts; or connect to an existing storm drainage system, whether publicly or privately owned, except in accordance with a written permit from the council. A council shall not approve a permit under subsection (1) without the prior written approval of the Department of Environment and Labour.”
14. To construct, renovate, demolish or excavate without a permit or with an expired permit carries a fine of not more than $5,000 for a first offence and not more than $10,000 for a subsequent offence. In addition, if construction contravenes the Town’s zoning regulations or by-laws, an additional fine of up to $10,000 may be levied. Also, the owner will be responsible for the cost of dismantling such construction and restoring the site if so ruled, and the cost of rectifying any problems identified by Council.
In most Canadian cities, the fine for building without a permit is normally up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $100,000 for subsequent offences. Most towns with this type of bylaw specify $25,000 for a first offence and up to $50,000 for any subsequent offence.
15. Stop Work Orders can be issued by Council at any time if no permit has been issued for the civic address/addresses in question. Where a permit has been granted and has not yet expired, any Stop Work Order must be sanctioned by Council during a public meeting.The daily fine for disobeying a Stop Work Order shall be $500.
(Current regulations: “No excavation or development of any kind is to take place without a permit from the town.”; “All Stop Work Orders must be issued only if approved by Council at a public meeting and listed by civic number only.”; “The daily fine to be imposed if a stop work order is not obeyed will be $25.00.”)
16. Development applications which do not conform to the Town Plan, municipal by-laws, the Municipalities Act, and/or other development regulations will be denied. Specific reference to the regulations in question will be cited in the Town’s written response and denial.
17. All Discretionary Use Notices, Variance Notices, and Stop Work Orders that are posted will be listed by civic number only, and will be accompanied by a map as well as the intended use of the land.
(SLIGHT CHANGE TO INCLUDE SWOs. Current regulations: “All discretionary use notices and variances that are posted will include civic number only (if land is assessed) and will include a map, as well as intended use of land.”; “All Stop Work Orders must be… listed by civic number only.”)