TIDNISH – As it moves forward into 2013, Cumberland County plans to continue investing in its infrastructure.
Speaking in a year-end interview with the Amherst Daily News, Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter said 2012 saw significant gains in the municipality with the purchase of eight new tanker trucks for rural fire departments and the conversion to countywide curbside collection for solid waste, recyclables and compost.
“We enjoyed a very good year as a municipality,” the warden said. “We had some very good momentum in Cumberland County throughout 2012. We’re hoping to continue that into 2013.”
The coming year should also see the county complete the acquisition of the Cape d’Or lighthouse property and a partnership with the Mik’maq community regarding a nearby archeological site.
“Cape d’Or is part of the Fundy region tourism strategy and we want to take ownership of that property so it’s not lost,” Hunter said. “We want to make sure the public can continue to enjoy that property.”
The warden said curbside collection is important because it will help extend the life of the Little Forks landfill and save taxpayers from having to pay for the construction of additional cells or a new landfill anytime soon.
Hunter said he’s looking forward to the completion of a new sewage treatment plant for Maccan and is hoping to have the county come up with a plan to bring a clean water supply to Pugwash. Hunter said Pugwash’s water is very rich in minerals, including salt, and something has to be done to bring clean drinking water to the community.
“Water is an important issue to the growth of Pugwash,” Hunter said. “The village doesn’t have access to good water with a lot of unwanted minerals.”
Hunter said the county is also happy to be a partner with the federal and provincial governments and the village of Pugwash and the Pugwash Park Commission in the continued restoration of the Thinker’s Lodge.
The warden said the county is also looking forward to working with Amherst to extend town water to the Maccan area.
Hunter said the county’s energy committee, a partnership with Springhill and Parrsboro, should help make the area a hub of green energy. He sees the development of wind, tidal, geothermal, biomass and solar power as being key to the area and he’s hoping for the creation of green industrial parks in the coming years.
“We want to be a centre of excellence for green energy in Cumberland County,” the warden said. “We have laid the foundation with the green energy committee and the energy agreement we signed last year. Now it’s time to build on that foundation.”
The committee, he said, has already been active working with Sprott Power during the development of its $61-million wind energy project on the marsh near Amherst.
Looking back at the past year, Hunter said there was plenty of change on municipal council with the election of five new councillors including Don Smith in District 1, Lynne Welton in District 5, Bill Baker in District 6, Daniel Rector in District 7 and Mike McLellan in District 9.
Hunter was saddened by the death of longtime District 10 councillor Ratchford Merriam. He said a by election will be held in February to fill the vacancy on council.
“We’re going to have a very good council,” Hunter said. “We’re really going to miss having Ratchford on council, but I’ve been hearing some talk about who’s going to run there and there are definitely some good candidates thinking about it.”
Other positives from the past year saw county CAO Rennie Bugley elected president of the Municipal Administrators Association of Nova Scotia, while Hunter was named chairman of the rural caucus of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities.