District 1 councillor announces retirement, new water treatment plant project proceeding

PORT HOOD: Inverness Municipal Councillor Alfred Poirier announced he is retiring from the elected body.

During the Oct. 7 regular monthly council meeting, the district 1 representative said he will officially step down on Dec. 31.

Citing family and work obligations, Poirier thanked his wife who he said was behind him “every step of the way.” He said his time on council has been a journey.

“I am proud of the work I have accomplished in the past 9 years,” said Poirier. “After much discussion with my family, I believe it’s time for me to retire.”

Poirier was first elected in 2012 in the municipal district covering Grand Étang, St. Joseph du Moine, Chéticamp, and Pleasant Bay, and was acclaimed in the 2016 and 2020 municipal elections.

Warden Laurie Cranton thanked Poirier for being a “very strong representative” for his Acadian community, and wished him well in his retirement.

“Councillor Poirier has worked tirelessly in service of his community for nine years, not to mention his dedication to his volunteer work and his family,” he said. “Municipal council and staff wish him all the best in his retirement.”

The municipality said a special election will be called for District 1, with additional details to follow.

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Cranton explained why he was attending last week’s meeting via telephone.

Upon returning from a trip to British Columbia, the warden said he contracted an infection which caused “high fevers,” and although he was trying to get to the Oct. 7 meeting “things blew up” the night before, so he decided to call-in.

Cranton said he is scheduled for surgery this week, and after that, will be talking things day-by-day, until he’s healthy again.

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Inverness County says it is moving forward with a wastewater treatment plant for the Whycocomagh area.

Built in 1977, and upgraded in 1992, CAO Keith MacDonald said the plant needs to be replaced.

After District 4 Councillor John MacLennan complained the project has been ongoing since 2017, the CAO responded that issues kept popping up which forced them to change aspects of the original plan like the out-fall. He said the increase in users from the growing We’koqma’q First Nation also forced them to ensure the new plant can handle more users.

Now that the project is on schedule, MacDonald anticipated the approximately $6 million plant switch-over from the old facility to the new one can be on-line by next year at this time.

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CAO Keith MacDonald updated council on the implementation of the new Voyant Alert System.

The Chief Administrative Office said the public notification tool has been purchased by the municipality for information notices and emergency alerts. He said the alert is a multi-channel delivery platform (SMS, emails, social media, and mobile apps, voice, and landline) which can provide personalized maps, directions, and documents.

“The tool will deploy alerts to residents to keep them informed of municipal emergency management issues relevant to their region,” he said. “These alerts will include communications such as unplanned service interruptions, planned site closures, recreation programing, planned capital projects, planned maintenance, and emergency measures.”

Municipal staff members have been trained in the system, meetings have been held with stakeholders and the public launch date is Nov. 18, MacDonald said, noting they need as many people as possible to subscribe.

Deputy Warden Bonny MacIsaac said she is “excited” about the new Voyant Alert System and said it will be important to get the word out to get as many people as possible signed-up for the service.

“Most people have phones, even if they just have a landline, they’ll be able to get phone calls, and emails, and texts,” she noted. “It’s going to be a fantastic way to communication with our residents.”

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Council approved a tax exemption for the Mabou Hall Committee for $3,280.20, plus interest of $84.87 for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Council received approvals for temporary borrowing resolutions from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, John Lohr.

The first was for a loan guarantee of $301,000 for the Mabou and District Volunteer Fire Department for the purchase of a pumper truck, the second was to borrow $1,550,200 for j-class roads, and the third was to borrow $3,563,300 for the Route 19 Sanitary Sewer Project.