Smoking bylaw in the works
Top five things to know from Windsor’s Oct. 23 council meeting
Windsor town council held its regular council meeting on Oct. 23. A variety of topics were raised. Here’s some of the highlights.
1.Windsor town council acknowledges Mi’kmaq history
Coun. Shelley Bibby sought to acknowledge the significance of Mi’kmaq history and culture within the Windsor area.
Once ratified, council will begin each session of council by recognizing and honouring the unceded ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq First Nations in Nova Scotia.
“I had been thinking about the practice of acknowledging the historical injustices for some time,” Bibby said following the meeting. “There is sometimes a hesitation to act on these types of gestures for fear that we’ll say the wrong thing or not consider all perspectives. Or it will be viewed as too insignificant a gesture.”
Bibby said she conducted a lot of research herself leading up to the resolution she presented and contacted the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq to consult them.
Andrew John, the claims research manager for the confederacy, helped Bibby with the draft resolution.
“I figure that the only way to start a process is to just do it,” she said. “If you’ve failed to recognize something or inadvertently offended or excluded someone, you’ll find out soon enough. But unless you take that first step, you’ll never move forward towards the right path.”
2.Smoking bylaw update passes first reading
Councillors have moved forward with amending their current smoking bylaw, which would prohibit smoking of any kind – tobacco, vaping, cannabis, et cetera – on town streets and sidewalks.
Smoking is already prohibited in town parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities, and at public town events.
The violation of the bylaw comes with a fine between $250 and $500.
The amended bylaw still needs to pass second reading before it can become law.
CAO Louis Coutinho said that enforcement of the amended bylaw could impact the town’s budget, with the need for higher enforcement.
The amended bylaw, which would be titled Respecting Smoke Free Public Spaces Bylaw, or Bylaw 28, originally came into effect in 2009.
The province also regulates smoking through the Smoke-Free Places Act, which prohibits smoking from all indoor workplaces and public spaces along with select outdoor locations.
Essentially, if this amended bylaw goes through, the only place someone will be able to smoke in Windsor will be on their own property.
3.Pawnbrokers bylaw passes reading first
Titled Pawnbrokers Bylaw, or Bylaw 45, the town is seeking to regulate pawnbrokers to ensure merchandise is purchased and sold legitimately.
If passed, every pawnbroker in the town will be required to keep a record of all transactions, clearly legible in a ‘register of pledges.’ No entry in the register is to be deleted, defaced or torn out at any time.
The bylaw also says that the register of pledges, as well as every article or item pawned, ‘shall at all reasonable time’ be open to the inspection of the RCMP or member of the police.
The bylaw passed first reading.
The town’s chief administrative officer said the pawnbrokers bylaw has become a priority for the town after the RCMP indicated it as one of their strategies for reducing crime.
He said that the RCMP have recognized that pawnbrokers provide a legitimate service to the community, but at times they get approached to sell unregulated or unknown merchandise, in other words, reselling stolen goods.
Coutinho said this issue is seen as a province-wide priority, adding that most police departments are working with municipalities to establish similar bylaws.
“It is an opportunity… for the public to have some comfort knowing that if they’re purchasing items that businesses are not buying stolen property,” Coutinho said.
Kamile Chater, one of the pawn brokers in the town, was in attendance.
The bylaw will go to second reading and likely some further discussion and public input next month.
4.Commercial Development District passes
The Commercial Development District (CDD), primarily encompassing downtown Windsor, has passed second reading.
The CDD, which provides a tax incentive for developers and landowners to make improvements and upgrades to commercial buildings without getting stung with a big tax bill, was made possible via provincial legislation Bill 177.
(weblink - https://www.hantsjournal.ca/ news/windsor-may-establish-commercialdevelopment-district-to-boost-businessgrowth-164018/)
Councillors passed the motion second reading unanimously.
If the CDD doesn’t require ministerial approval from the province, then the CDD will be officially law once it’s advertised. for
5.Communications staffing position in limbo
Windsor council set aside funding for a full-time communications / marketing position in their 2018/19 budget. That person would be tasked with fielding media requests, writing press releases, and managing the town’s external communications.
(weblink - https://www.hantsjournal.ca/ news/local/commercial-and-residentialtax-rates-to-decrease-as-windsor-councilapproves-proposed-budget-209078/)
The town has been in negotiations with at least one candidate for that role, however, that position remains on hold as Windsor council deliberates sharing that role with West Hants, especially as consolidation gets underway.
The position will be temporarily removed from the town budget while those discussions with West Hants continue. Those funds could be reassigned, pending negotiations.
That motion passed unanimously by council.
The municipality of West Hants already has a communications person on staff.