PORT HOOD: The municipality approved changes to four policies during its regular monthly meeting on April 1 in Port Hood.

Warden Laurie Cranton said changes to the personnel and attendance policies included contingencies for exposure to COVID-19, among others.

“Basically, it outlines, when a storm happens, what are the rules around when you should come to work, and what happens if you don’t. Everybody was kind of doing their own thing, and this puts everybody on the same playing field,” he explained. “It answers questions. First and foremost, we want everybody to be safe. It also has to do with COVID and any cautionary measures people should take if they suspect anything as well.”

The changes also involve the guidelines for the closure of municipal offices and buildings, the warden explained.

“It could include our dump site, or our Kenloch site, or the Strathlorne site, where there are employees as well. It would cover any municipal operations, really,” Cranton noted.

Meanwhile, the approval of revisions to the public appointment policy, specifically sections 7(10) and 7(18), removes the prohibition of being appointed to more than one committee or external board/agency.

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To further discuss revisions to its sidewalk policy, it was decided that manager of infrastructure, Ellen Murphy will make a presentation to council at its committee of the whole meeting on April 15.

Council also approved a recommendation from the committee of the whole to change the section of the policy that refers to emergencies.

Warden Laurie Cranton said the part that required a change was section 6.10.

“In the event of an infrastructure emergency, included but not limited to, a water service disruption, then the municipality may prioritize the infrastructure emergency over the snow clearing operations, depending upon the circumstances,” he said reading from the policy. “So it gives our staff some latitude to prioritize where they need to be because there’s only enough staff to go so far.”

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Qualifications were approved for public members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee, which include nine recommendations: four members of the public must be appointed to the committee; at least three members must be people with disabilities or represent groups advocating for those with disabilities; two members must sit for a two-year term; two members will be appointed for a three-year term; all members must be at least 18; all members will serve without pay; members must be residents of Inverness County for at least for six months before applying; members must be eligible according to the municipality’s public appointment policy; and the committee must meet at least six times per year, or in other ways needed to fulfill its duties.

The deadline to submit applications to sit on the committee is May 7.

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In approving recommendations from the committee of the whole, council approved a request for a loan guarantee of $200,000 so the Valley Mills Volunteer Fire Department can purchase a pumper truck.

Council approved $6,267.50 for fencing around the municipal generator site on Broad Cove Banks Road, and $6,095 for the site at 14588 along Route 19.

To conduct geotechnical investigation in Inverness County, council greenlit $105,336.30, with $38,824 of the budget allocated for cue drilling for clearances, drilling and traffic control, and $56,936.27 for geotechnical and hydrology services, with funds coming from Gas Tax Funds.

The North Inverness Recreation Centre Association was approved for $27,932.71, with $9,250 coming from the district 1 CDC fund, $3,500 from district 1 discretionary funds, and $15,182.71 from the Recreation Facility Fund.

With council’s approval, the Inverness County Centre for Arts will get $10,000 from Regional CDG funds.

Cape Breton Highlands Education Centre and Academy will be awarded $5,000 from the Scotian Wind Fund.

The Margaree and Area Development Association will receive $9,684.73, with $2,500 from the district 2 CDC fund, $3,500 from district 2 discretionary funds and $3,684.73 from the Scotian Wind Fund.

Council greenlit $5,000 for the Judique and Area Community Economic Development Association from the district 6 CDG Fund, contingent on payment from the group’s municipal water utility balance in the amount of $1,526.79

The River Valley Equestrian Centre was approved for a letter of support from council to host cowboy mounted shooting clinics at their Margaree facility.

Council will fund 50 per cent of the request from the Whycocomagh Child Development Centre to the tune of $3,087.75, from the district 4 CDG Fund.

The Orangedale Station Association was approved for 50 per cent of its request to council, and will get $9,605.38 from the district 4 CDG Fund.

The original motion which was approved in February granting $10,000 to the Highland Trail Groomers was rescinded to allow the group to apply for funding from the Nova Scotia Trails Federation.

Council deferred a funding request from the Mabou Community Hall to the 2021-2022 budget.

Funding for the Dr. Bernie MacLean Recreation and Cultural Centre was deferred by council to next year’s budget.