Do you know your garbage etiquette? BY PAUL HERRIDGE
Grand Bank Citizens will face fines for putting refuse at the curb too early
Grand Bank town council met Tuesday, May 23. The following are highlights from that meeting.
Curbside waste policy
Council has adopted a policy regarding garbage and bulk items placed curbside too early.
Garbage placed at the curb prior to the day of regular collection and bulk items put out the day before bulk item collection is a violation of the town’s waste regulations.
Refuse should be placed at the curb only on the day scheduled for collection.
Residents who fail to follow this rule will be billed a minimum of $100, in accordance with the town’s policy.
Other factors that could increase the bill to property owners include employee time, use of town vehicles, travel to the waste disposal site at Jean de Baie and any waste disposal fees charged.
“It’s just a simple, straightforward, no-nonsense policy that we got in place,” said Mayor Rex Matthews.
The mayor said the town has been getting numerous calls about garbage and bulk items sitting curbside for prolonged periods of time and town manager Wayne Bolt needed direction from council on how to proceed.
“Once we do a few (fines) the message will get out around town, and the first time we got to take it to Jean de Baie somebody is going to get a big bill,” said Matthews.
The policy also states property owners have 30 days to pay charges or water services will be shut off.
The finance committee will consult with the town’s unionized employees about switching to direct deposit for payroll and biweekly payments instead of weekly.
Finance chairman Coun. Stan Burt said the topic was discussed at a recent committee meeting.
Coun. Clayton Welsh said the town prides itself on being proactive and modern and suggested paying staff with weekly cheques is outdated.
“I think if it’s presented the right way, people will see the benefits of it,” Burt said.
The change would save on printing cheques and the hassle of signing them, he added.
Finance committee chairman Coun. Stan Burt said tax collection to date for 2017 is significantly higher than this time last year.
So far, 52.72 per cent of taxes have been paid, he said.
Burt said it shows residents are paying attention to making sure their tax debts are in order.
Four motions were adopted regarding the town’s downtown redevelopment project.
The final report on the project, completed in March, was approved.
Any commercial properties in the project must comply with the concepts of the plan and only heritage style cladding and windows will be permitted.
The town will proceed with securing funding for areas E, D and A of the downtown/waterfront area.
As well, a concept design will be put forward to funding agencies this fall for the Samuel J. Harris Building.
Several important dates were approved for the upcoming municipal election on Sept. 26.
Nomination day for candidates is Sept. 5 and an advanced poll will be held Sept. 19.
Candidates considering running in the election should also be aware they cannot owe any taxes to the town as of nomination day, including the current year.
Messy business properties
The issue of unkempt business properties will be on the agenda for the next planning and development committee meeting.
Coun. Stan Burt, who has raised the subject in the past, said some of the businesses in the town are in an “awful mess.”
Burt said businesses should be held to the same standard council requires of residents to keep their property clean.
“That’s a valid comment,” Mayor Rex Matthews said in response.
Still no departure date
There’s still no definitive date for the departure of the Yahweh, the vessel formerly called the Atlantic Pursuit, from Grand Bank harbour.
The ship, which was knocked out of commission by a rogue wave in 2009, was recently acquired by a company looking to relocate it to Honduras.
Mayor Rex Matthews said he and Coun. Bruce Warren stopped by to have a chat with crewmembers from the South American country. They have been in town working on the vessel for the past three months.
The mayor said a new radar still needs to be installed on the ship.
“There’s still no clear, defined plan for when that boat will be removed,” he said.
The crewmembers suggested mid-June as a target date to leave, Matthews said, adding he didn’t have too much faith it would happen by then.
“As long as they’re still here, as long as they’re investing money into the vessel to get her ready, I guess that’s got to be a positive,” he said.